History: Lillian Alcorn

I get quite tired lately and I am often discouraged, but I have lived a full life and I am grateful for the many things I have experienced in my lifetime. I have been blessed with a wonderful husband who holds and honors the Priesthood. I have born nine wonderful children. I have passed through the sorrow of losing two of them, which sorrow only those who experience can understand. I have seen three sons leave on missions for the Church and two return safely home to us. Yes, I have indeed been blessed. I still enjoy doing my genealogy work, but I wish some of my children would develop more of an interest in it so I would feel good about letting them take it over. Perhaps someday they will realize the importance of the work.

Vonna gave birth to her third child on 2 December 1959. They are so thrilled to get a little girl and they will name her Pamela. They say that she looks like me which is very nice. She certainly will have her hands full with three little ones two and under. I hope Douglas will help her out as much as he can.

Christmas is coming and I am planning to have a lovely family gathering. My brother Harold and his wife Mary and their daughter, Mary Francis will also be here. Grace and Don are in the United States now and as far as I know they, too, will be here for Christmas. I am so busy at the sewing machine lately. I’m making bathrobes for all my grandson and robes for my granddaughters. I hope they enjoy them as much as I am enjoying making them.

We had a lovely Christmas. Marjorie and Dwain came up Christmas Eve and with Harold and Mary here we had a wonderful family night with singing and telling of the true meaning of Christmas. The next morning was one of the excitement and anticipation. It keeps us young to have youngsters around us once in a while. Marjorie and her family had to leave before dinner and I was sorry they did, but Mary was there to help me and she is a good helper. The day was saddened only because Grace and Don didn’t make it home.

Time passed and it was soon New Year’s Day 1960. I baked bread and made some cookies and then did some sewing. The next day, 2 January 1960, I again began to sew as I wanted to finish an apron I had started the day before. I hadn’t been sewing long when the family decided to go into Doug and Vonna’s apartment in Salt Lake City to visit with them. Doug had a flat tire on his car and he wanted Dave to help him fix it. Clayton wanted to go to a movie instead so he went to a show in Bountiful. It was a little late in the afternoon when we finally got away, about 2:30pm or so. When we got to the apartment Dave and Grant stayed downstairs to help Doug fix the tire and I went on upstairs to see the kiddies and Vonna. Little Pamela was only a month old. In fact, it was a month ago to the very day that she was born.

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History: Lillian Alcorn

We also came down to spend Christmas 1958 with Marjorie and the family. It was a lovely day and we enjoyed it very much. However, before we came down, Vonna gave birth to their second baby. Scott Calvin, their second son was born 19 December 1958. She was delivered by cesarean section, but got along really well. They were thrilled at his arrival. This made 10 grandchildren, now.

Hugh was getting anxious to go on a mission so he approached the Bishop there in Bountiful and talked to him about going. The Bishopric was happy that he wanted to go and started the ball rolling. Hugh left for the Argentina Mission Field on 9 February 1959. He flew to New York and to Argentina. Again my heart was full for this spiritual blessing of having sons go on missions for the Church. We were still receiving some of the insurance money left us when David was killed in Korea and that helped to support Hugh, as it had Ralph and Clayton.

I was called to be a Visiting Teacher there in the ward soon after we had moved and I do enjoy it very much. It keeps me in contact with the sisters and members of the ward. I also was called to be the Speech Director in MIA and this is another job I really enjoyed. Since all but Grant were gone now I enjoyed working with young people again. It was part of my responsibility to assign all the talks that were given by young people in the ward. This included 2 ½ minute talks in Sunday School, talks in MIA and in Sacrament Meetings. I also taught the lessons that were outlined. I like to feel that the young people liked me as much as I enjoyed them.

We missed Hugh as any parent would and Grant seemed lost without him, but we know he is serving our Father in Heaven and doing a good work. We loved him, all the more for doing it. Clayton was working for the Dixon Paper Co., in Salt Lake City and living home with us. Ralph and Aleene were in Texas and expecting another baby. Doug and Vonna are in Salt Lake City and of course Grace and Don are in Germany. Marjorie and Dwain are still in Provo and they come up to see us as often as they can and we enjoy going down to Provo to visit them. Marjorie comes up sometimes and spends several days or a week with me. We sew or have other projects to keep us busy and I do enjoy her companionship and being with her kiddies. In the spring of 1959 she and Dwain went on a little trip and we kept David with us for a week. We surely enjoyed it. Once before we had kept Dwana for two weeks while they went on a trip to California.

Douglas and Vonna also bring their children out and my they are sweet children. They are growing so fast and getting so big. We try to have family get-togethers as often as we can. We are looking forward to Christmas this year as we expect Grace and Don and their family to be here and all the other children who can come. We hope to have a very nice family get-together. It should be a wonderful day.

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History: Lillian Alcorn

Aleene was from Washington State and went home to work for the summer. Ralph had to spend two weeks in Washington with the ROTC program for summer camp and they were able to see each other during this time. They planned to be married 21 August 1957 in the Salt Lake Temple. Ralph and Aleene were both good planners and things seemed to go just as they had anticipated. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on 21 August 1957. Dwain and Marjorie and others of the family came up for the ceremony and the reception which followed in the 4th Ward in Salt Lake City. Now four of our seven living children had married and all in the Temple.

With the coming of fall we had two lovely new grandchildren born to our children. They were adding up fast now. Marjorie had her little girl Dwana Kay Judkins on 26 September 1957 and Vonna had their first baby, a boy on 4 November 1957. He was named William Douglas Rowley. We are always so grateful when these precious souls come into the world healthy and strong.

The city bus lines had a stop across the street from our house and I would catch the bus right after Grant left for school and go into Salt Lake City and spend the day at the library. I would come home before Grant got home from school. I did a lot of research on Dave’s lines because I had come to a standstill on my own lines. I enjoyed doing this research very much and felt that it was a very important part of our salvation. I only wish I could find more on my own lines and I wish some of my children would take more interest in this wonderful work and help me a little. I also enjoyed taking genealogical courses that were offered through the Stake. (Mother completed three of these courses and the family was given the certificate for the last course the day after her death).

Clayton came home from his mission in June 1958 and had some wonderful experiences to tell us about. He was riding his bicycle one day in Crescent City when he was hit by a car. He received some bad cuts above his eye and on his forehead, but they did a very good job sewing them up because the scars were hardly noticeable. It was wonderful to have him home again.

In April, 1958 Marjorie and I planned and gave a baby shower for Aleene as they were expecting their first baby in May. She was still teaching school and Ralph was still attending the “Y”. Aleene’s principal let her teach for quite a while after he was supposed to let her go which helped them quite a bit. The shower was held in Marjorie’s new home in Orem, Utah.

On 21 May 1958 Aleene gave birth to their baby, a boy, at the Utah Valley Hospital in Provo, Utah. They named him Kurtis Wayne. Ralph was a typical new father, happy and excited and grateful that both his wife and new son were well and had gotten along so well. This brought our number of grandchildren to 9; 5 boys and 4 girls. It surely doesn’t take long for one’s posterity to grow.

Dave was still in construction work and with the fall and winter coming he was soon out of work. Dwain’s father, Leonard Judkins who is a small contractor in Provo, gave Dave work for the winter months of 1958-59. Dave stayed with Dwain and Marjorie and their family. It was hard to be without him during the week, but the boys and I did come down on some weekends and Dave came home on others.

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History: Lillian Alcorn

When Dave was still out of work and the time came closer for us to leave, Marjorie received a phone call from Dwain and he asked if they couldn’t be married in April if both Dave and I could be there. Dave hesitated a minute or two and then he said okay. We were invited to ride back with some friends from Fortuna, Frank Adams and his wife. Marjorie and Dwain were married 7 April 1954 in the Manti Temple.

Now we had both of our daughters, two sons in the Armed Services and one on a mission. This left us with only two boys at home. The house seemed quite empty and we had some time getting used to it. Hugh sort of filled in the empty spot Marjorie had left. She had been a big help to me and we were quite close and good companions. Hugh took her place in the house doing much of the work that she had done for me. And Grant, he was always a source of happiness to us. We did enjoy our little family togetherness, and Dave and I were proud of our children away from home.

In the fall of 1954 Grace and Don came home from Germany. Grace was expecting her third baby in November so she stayed with us while Don went on to his duty station. It seemed good to have Grace and the girls in our home for a little while again. We missed her when she was gone and she was gone so much of the time. Well 7 November 1954 came and Grace gave birth to a lovely baby boy. When Dave called Don on the phone, Grace had asked him not to tell Don he had a son because Grace wanted to tell him. But Dave slipped when he said “He is doing just fine,” in answer to Don’s question on how the baby was doing. Don was very happy to finally have a son and they named him Ronald Steven Smith.

In March 1955, Marjorie was expecting her first baby and I wanted to be there with her. It is such an important event in the life of a woman and Marjorie and Dwain had written and asked me to share it with them. They sent me the money for one way on the bus and we managed the other way fare and I arrived in Salt Lake City about a week before her baby was due. Her baby was a week later than expected but he did arrive on 7 March 1955 and was a healthy perfect little boy which they named David Lenn Judkins.

I returned home and Dave and I decided that we would sell our place and move to Utah. We could be closer to some of our children and close to the Temple and Genealogical Library where we could do research work and temple work. So we found some buyers for our house in Eureka, stored our furniture with some friends, bought a Studebaker Station Wagon and headed for Utah. We got to Marjorie and Dwain’s apartment and spent several days with them. Then we found a basement apartment and moved to ourselves.  Dave found work with the BYU maintenance crew. We stayed in Prove for about two months and the decided to move to Salt Lake City. We found a house for rent in the 4th Ward, Temple View Stake and moved in.

Dave then hired a man with a truck to take he and Hugh back to Eureka to get our furniture. The Eel River was flooding and was doing a lot of damage. It was washing away whole towns and devastating roads and bridges etc. It rained almost all the time they were traveling. They got to Eureka safely and got the furniture loaded and Dave bought a large tarp to cover the whole load. Some of the furniture had gotten wet while in storage and some of it was ruined but most of it came back to us in fine condition.

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History: Lillian Alcorn

The Relief Society helped out at home very much, although Marjorie took over the major portion of the work and cooking. Ralph liked to tease her by saying that he lost over 7 pounds with her cooking. While I was in the hospital, which was over six weeks, Marjorie also had to buy Grant’s school clothes. She did a fine job except she didn’t allow for him to grow. By the time school was half over they were all too small and we had to get him some more.

When the time came for me to come home from the hospital the doctors wanted someone to be there with me and to help with the work and worry. So we made arrangements for Grace to come and stay with us and help me. She came from Virginia where they were stationed. Soon after she came with her two little girls, Don was given an overseas assignment, but he was unable to take his family with him right at first, so Grace and the girls stayed there in Eureka with us. After I was back on my feet a little, Grace and the girls decided to find an apartment and she went to work as a waitress in a local drive-in.

To help me avoid having to get up out of bed to answer the phone, we had an extension put in my room by the bed. I read and did genealogy and many other things to pass the long, long days that came with each sunrise. I enjoyed my handiwork at this time, too. I did a lot of crocheting and hand sewing.

It did seem good when I was able to get back to Church after months of staying at home. I was able to work in the Relief Society and enjoyed my associations with the sisters very much. I loved to sing and enjoyed singing with the Branch Singing Mothers’ group. There weren’t many of us but we certainly enjoyed singing and were called upon many times to present programs. I also served as the Improvement Era director in the branch and enjoyed going to MIA with the children. All of them except Grant were old enough to attend mutual and so we usually just took him with us anyway. They had an adult class called the Special Interest class.

We were still living quite close to where Melva lived and I was able to see her more often. Then after Douglas graduated from high school in January of 1952 he joined the Air Force and was stationed at Travis Air Force Base which was in the San Francisco Bay area and we made a trip or two to see him also.

We hadn’t been in Eureka very long when we were able to pick up an old piano for about $27.00 and Marjorie started to pick at it. Years before, she had had a girlfriend who took piano lessons and she learned the notes and keyboard from her. She began to pick out pieces and before too long she was able to play for our family enjoyment. Soon she was also playing in Jr. Sunday School, Primary and in MIA. We certainly appreciated having a piano in the home and music available when we wanted it.

We enjoyed living in Eureka very much. There was much in the mission field that was very good for us and the children. The branch was a closely knot unit because in the whole city if Eureka, there were only about 300 of the Latter-Day Saints. The children had many wonderful close friends. The young people of the branch did many things together. They held Fireside Chats twice a month on Sunday evenings after Church. We also had many Church outings together and had wonderful times.

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History: Lillian Alcorn

Their beliefs of the life after death were so much different than ours, that it was a real testimony to the family and myself when we saw how distraught this other family was. As far as they knew this was it, the end. But we knew that someday we could see our son again. We received word in December that David had been killed and as soon as they could they would send his body home. We were all saddened by David’s death but we would prefer that to his being a prisoner and going through some of the experiences that we had heard that our prisoner were going through.

The children all enjoyed school in Gridley. Grant started kindergarten in Gridley the last year we were there, in the fall of 1950. The children all learned to like Gridley and had many friends and enjoyed their associations. Hugh had a paper route part of the time we were there, and Clayton worked on a dairy farm for a neighbor. We were able to have a garden here and I enjoyed that very much. I also had some chickens here and it just seemed more like home.

The boys were active in the Future Farmers of America organization in school and had projects of chickens and pigs at home. Douglas had the chickens and Clayton had the pigs. One Saturday afternoon, the boys had all gone to the movie except Grant and Hugh. Clayton’s pig was due to have a litter anytime and it happened while the boys were at the show and Dave was at work. I took Hugh into town and sent him into the theater to get the boys. When he found them they were in the middle of the row and Hugh couldn’t get to them so he said in a loud whisper, “Clayton, Clayton, come quick, your pig is having chickens!” Needless to say this brought down the house as all the people around the boys heard Hugh’s excited declaration and had a good laugh.

27 September 1950 was a day of mixed emotions for me. I received word that Grace had given birth to another lovely little girl the named Donna Diane; and we also received word that my father, Clark Alcorn had died (27 September) in Idaho, and they were having his funeral 3 October 1950. We wanted to go to the funeral, but we couldn’t decide whether or not to take the family. Dave remembered that at his Dad’s funeral, he was the only one without his family, so we decided to take the children and go to Harlem. We made arrangements to leave and had a safe trip. It was good to see many of our relatives and friends again, and all of my brothers and sister were together again for the first time in a long while. Even Verl was able to make it. It was a reunion, saddened only by the purpose.

Dave’s employers had both been drafted back into the Armed Services, and so his job was gone and in looking for the other work, we found that it was scarce around Gridley. So Dave went to Eureka, where his brothers Walter and Emerson lived, and found work there. He worked in Eureka the winter of 1950-51 and into the spring. Then I went over to see if we could find a house and move our family there. We looked at several, but we hadn’t decided on one when I had to go back to Gridley. When school was out, we knew we would have to make a decision on a house and we finally bought one located at 4217 Little Fairfield St in Eureka.

The children said their farewells again to many friends they had made and we picked up after selling our house in Gridley and made another move. We all liked Eureka, except for the undependable weather. Adjusting wasn’t too hard as Dave had been there for over six months and he knew the people in the branch quite well. We also had relatives there for the children to enjoy.

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History: Lillian Alcorn

We had a wonderful group of friends in El Monte and we used to do quite a few things together. We would go to parties, movies and enjoyed being together. We were all members of the Church and attended Church functions as a group, too. There had been several surprise birthday parties given within the group and Dave said one time that it would take a lot of doing to surprise him. So the gang decided to put it to the test and they planned a surprise birthday party for him. We were going to have a get together on Dave’s birthday anyway and go to the Deardens’ home to make donuts and play games. What Dave didn’t know was that they were coming to our place first to surprise him. They all parked their cars around the corner and came quietly into the house. One of the ladies came in first and asked where Dave was and I told her he was in the bedroom, but to be careful that he might be dressing. Well she didn’t hear the last part of my sentence and the whole group, led by several ladies barged into the bedroom with a big “SURPRISE.” I believe they were as surprised as Dave was because he was just putting on his trousers and they were all very embarrassed. We had many good laughs about it later.

Grant had a little red wagon and a cute little puppy dog. One day he put his puppy into the wagon and went for a walk. He was about three years old or so and he walked with a pretty steady gait. When I missed him, I began to look for him and soon many of the neighbors were helping me. I finally found him about two blocks away in front of the Nazarene Church sitting on the steps. I gave him a good scolding and switched his little bottom a time or two and told him that he mustn’t go off like that again with his wagon and puppy! A few days later, Grant came running into the house and said, “Mommy, I went for a walk, but I didn’t take my puppy and wagon!”

Another amusing story about Dave happened here in El Monte. The ward had asked him to be a helper for Santa Clause at the ward Christmas party. The children happened to be around when they brought him the suit and were quite proud to tell their friends that they knew who was going to be Santa Clause at the party. The night of the party came and the children lined up to talk to Santa, when Marjorie got up to him she had the most astonished look on her face  and as she walked away she said, “that must be the real Santa, because it isn’t my Dad!” We had asked our good old neighbor, Mr. Hester to take Dave’s place.

In August of 1946, Grace was expecting her first baby and of course our first grandchild. We were very excited and anxious about the event. When her time came, they were unable to get in touch with her regular doctor and finally after she got to the hospital and was delivered, they discovered that the little boy had tried to inhale before birth and his little lungs were so congested that he had to gasp for every breath. They worked with him for fifteen hours but to no avail, he died. It was a terrible shock to all of us as we were all looking forward so much to the baby. Grace and Don were very upset about it as they had wanted a baby for a long time. He was named Donald Eugene Smith, Jr.

Our oldest son, David was about 17 years old now and really enjoyed going to dances and having good times. He was a very good dancer and was well liked by his friends. David became unhappy with school and was mixed up about a lot of things. He disappointed us when he decided to quit school and join the Navy, but we have to learn to accept the things which come. We had wanted him to finish his schooling and all, but he didn’t want to. He was stationed in San Diego, California.

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