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Thursday, April 28, 2011


I am always thrilled when one of you sends me any information.  Imagine my excitement when I got the following pictures from Cousin Doug Bingham.  The picture are some he took in Sweden when he was there with his son Scott.  Doug, and his son Scott fulfilled missions in Sweden.Doug sent me a Power Point Presentation.  I do not know how to link that to the blog.  If anyone knows how, please send me an email. 

The symbol of Sweden

This is the Asker, Orebro, Sweden church.  It would be the main church for the Asker Church District.  In this church, Grandpa Carl Oscar Johnson was christened.  I have a copy of that record which I will post at another time.  (Carl's mother lived with her father on a farm (usually a group of houses or a village)  in Asker.  For an explanation of how place names can be interpreted, see the post about Anders Peter Jonsson.)

 Another picture of the Asker church, and the cemetery.  Even more important is the picture of Cousin Doug Bingham.  Doug and Scott looked for graves and records of ancestors at this church.  However, any grave over 100 years old has been emptied, and the remains sent to a central "bone yard" in Sweden.  All the records for this church are available - not at the church - but on films at the LDS Family History Center in Salt Lake City, or on Genline - a Swedish Record site, or at a central storage in Uppsala County in Sweden. 

 Doug and Scott also visited this church in Brevin, as it is in the Asker District.  They wondered if Grandpa was christened here.  However, since I found Carl's christening entry in the Asker Church Records, I believe he was christened in Asker.  However, this picture, and the following pictures are representative of the Swedish Countryside.

 Doug and a man he converted on his mission are speaking with the cemetery caretaker at Brevin.  Doug was impressed with the Brevin area.

 Another picture of Brevin.   The pictures Doug sent of this area of Sweden remind me of the Snake River Valley.  No wonder Grandpa and Grandma were comfortable settling in the Valley.  They probably felt at home. The following picture is another of the Asker District countryside near Brevin.

 The name on this sign thrills me. I have done a lot of research in the records of this place, as this is where Grandma Gerta was born and raised during her childhood. She had fond memories of this lovely place, especially the wildflowers. When she was a teen, and after her mother died, the family moved to Stockholm to be near or with an Aunt.

Isn't this church in Tryserum beautiful. Baby Gerda Theresia was christened here.  Gerda's older sister Anna was christened, then died and was buried here before Gerda was born.  Later, a brother Karl was christened here, and probably, Gerda's mother was buried here.  However, there would be no markers left.  See explanation above.

Another beautiful Swedish Countryside scene.

THANKS SO MUCH, DOUG for all these wonderful pictures.  They help make our ancestors and thier lives a little more real for us.

Monday, April 25, 2011

FAMILY UPDATE (Doug Bingham)

Occasionally I hear from some of you, and try to post something on the blog, as I think it is a good way for the Johnson Descendants to be aware of each other.  I ALWAYS enjoy hearing from any of you. 

Rencently, Doug Bingham, son of Norman and Berniece Johnson Bingham sent me an e-mail which included the following that I thought was of interest.

" I am still in Canyon, Texas working at West Texas A&M University as Assoc. Dean of Agriculture, Science, and Engineering. Kathie and I have eight grand children with our oldest grand daughter coming home from her mission to Japan the end of May.

May the Lord’s richest blessings be upon you and your family.  Doug Bingham

Friday, April 22, 2011




Father of Carl Oscar Johnson

Note:  Included in this post are two pictures of the Swedish Countryside that I copied from a book about Sweden.


Over a long period of history, Swedish farmers lived together in small villages with common grazing lands and allotments in common croplands. These small villages were sometimes referred to as farms, and several of these establishments together would comprise a parish, and one church would be provided for the parish.  Each farm would have a name.  Often in christening and burial entries, the place name included first, the name of the farm; second, the name of the parish with it's name applied to the church in that parish; third, the name of the county; and fourth, the name of the Country.
Example:  Boda (farm), Asker (parish and church), Orebro (county), Sweden (country)      or
                  Segerum (fam), Tryserum (parish and church), Kalmar, (county), Sweden (country).

Anders Peter Jonsson was born on the farm of Boda in the Parish of Asker, Orebro Sweden in 1844, the fifth of eight children born to Jonas Jonsson and Lisa Stina Olsdtr (Olsdaughter). He lived with his parents until he was about 18-20 at which time, he stayed on the farm, but lived elsewhere independently. In about 1863 Anna Louisa Eriksson moved to the Boda farm to work. She was born in the same Parish of Asker, but on a different farm called Tangsater Bostalle. Her father was a soldier. He moved his family two or three times during Anna Louisa’s childhood, finally settling on the farm of Kilsmo. Anna Louisa was the oldest of seven children born to Leonard Eriksson and Anna Stina Andersdtr.

While working on the Boda farm, Anders Peter and Anna Louisa met. From what the records show, it is assumed that they fell in love, and eventually Anna Louisa became pregnant. As with many couples, housing was scarce, as was money so marriage had to wait and Anna Louisa moved back with her parents to have her baby. Anders moved to Grindtorp in Axberg to work. There he told the village priest that he was engaged to Anna Louisa who lived on the Kilsmo farm in Asker Parish with her parents.

In the meantime, Anna Louisa gave birth to a baby boy, Carl Oscar, in 1865. Four years later, while she was still with her parents, probably waiting to marry Anders Peter, her mother died. One year later, in 1870, Anna Louisa died, having never married her fiancé, and leaving her son to be raised by her father. Information handed down in the Johnson family tells that this upbringing was strict and sometimes harsh.

Carl Oscar gave Anders Peter Jonsson’s name as his father when he went on his missions, in the Shelley ward records, and Carl had the temple work done for Anders Peter, listing him as Carl’s father. He also listed Anders Peter’s parents as his grandparents. This comprises the knowledge of the accuracy of Carl’s father.

Back to Anders Peter. He was still living on the Grindtorp Farm, presumably (because he had given public notice of his engagement) working toward marrying his fiancé and being with his son. At the same time, on that farm lived a girl named Johanna Jonsson. She bore a son in the same year Anna Louisa died named Anders who eventually married and had four children. However, it is not known who the father was. Five years later, and five years after the death of Anna Louisa, Johanna became pregnant again, and it is assumed this time the father was Anders Peter, because this couple married before the baby was born. It is also assumed that Johanna’s five year old son was raised as a son of Anders Peter. This son, and the next were born in the Parish of Overselo in Sodermanland County. This son, named Albert never married, lived with his parents at various times in his life, and was a woodworker. Another son, Karl August was born to this couple. Research indicates that as a young man he moved to a large city, where no record of him has been found.

In 1880, the family of Anders Peter and Johanna moved to Badelunde in Vasteras in the county of Vastmanlands according to the household examinations done by the priest in Asker Parish. In Badelunde in 1880, a daughter, Ida Carolina was born to this couple. Johanna was 38 and probably thrilled to have a daughter, especially since her youngest child was about 10 at the time. The family then moved to Loftorpet, Aberga, Tillberga, in Vastmanlands where in 1882 (on Halloween, USA) another daughter was born, Frida Maria. In this parish, Ander Peter was a well-known builder. The next year, in Sept, both little girls became ill and died 4 days apart. Certainly this was heart-rending for this family. Soon Johanna realized she was pregnant again, and the couple probably hoped for another girl in view of their recent losses. However, they endured another double tragedy when 9 months after the death of their two daughters in 1884, twin girls were born, given names of Wilhelmina and Anna, and passed away on the same day. The grief of those four little graves must have been almost unbearable.

This family had not attended their church during their married life, being listed as not known at church when their first daughter was born. But, possibly because of the death of his four half sisters, in 1885, the son, Anders, was confirmed on 24 May and partook of the sacrament for the first time.

When the twin daughters were born in 1884, and Anders was confirmed in 1885, the family was living in Tillberga, Vastmanlands. Fifteen years later in 1900, Anders Peter and Johanna are living in Badelunde, Vastmanlands, along with their son, Albert. Karl August is not found in the Census, but Anders is in his own household with his wife, and four children.


NOTE: Genline is a Swedish Internet Site that includes all church records of Sweden. Each of these thousands of records is given a specific number. The Genline number or GID number indicates the page you access when you wish to look at this research. Film # indicate a film at the library that contains the same information that is provided on Genline. Fische are another type of film records listing Civil Records for Sweden. SVAR is a Census Record Site on the Internet for Sweden.

IND   YEAR  AGE of APJ      EVENT                                                              SOURCE

APJ   1844, 18/6 Born in Boda, Asker according to CS. Births are missing Genline-1841-45-                                                                                         284.36.54800   for that time period.

APJ   1846-55 (age 11) Lived with parents in Boda. Genline-1851-55-284.6.38700

APJ 1856-60 Lived with parents in Boda. Film #423-873

ALE 1860  moved to Fintorp, Asker from Kilsmo, Asker Film # 423-873

APJ  1861-64 (age 16-20) Moves out of family home but stays on same farm. No Anna
 Louisa Nilsson on farm. Anna Louisa Ericsson is a worker on the farm.     Genline-284,11,19200

ALE  Dec 1864-13 Jan 1865 Moves from Boda, Asker to Basketorp, Ervalla, Orebro, Genline-                                                                                                                                   284,11,19200

APJ   1865 (age21) Anders family moves to Boengen, Asker. Genline-284,11,19200

COJ   2 Mar 1865 (age 21) Carl Oscar born to Anna Louisa Ericsson

APJ    1866 (age 22) Moves to Axberg from Ervalla. No Anna Louisa Nilsson in          Ervalla.                   Genline-454.2.2500

APJ    1866-75 (age 22-31) Lives in Grindtorp, Axberg. He gave info on CS that he
was engaged to Anna Louisa Nilsson in Kilsmo. The only Anna Louisa   (Genline-2242.2.64800)
in Kilsmo is Ericsson. Johanna Jonsson lives on the Grindtorp Farm.    Genline-2242.4.2270

JJ       1870 9/9 Johanna Jonsson bears a son, Anders, in Grindtorp, Axberg.

ALE    1871 24/4 (age 27) Anna Louisa Ericsson dies.

APJ     1875 5/9 (age 31) Marries Johanna Jonsson in Grindtorp, Axberg five years after Johanna's first son is born. Genline-2242.4.2270

APJ      1875 3/10 Albert born to Ander and Johanna in Axberg Genline-2242.5.57200

APJ   1877 24/9 Carl August born to Anders & Johanna in Overslo – though they
live in Grindtorp, Axberg. His birthplace is listed as Ekero. Genline-100004.37.10500

APJ    1876-80 Anders Peter & Johanna family live in Grindtorp, Axberg. Genline-2242.5.57200

APJ     1880 This family moves to Badelunde, Vastmanlands orVasternorlands. Not listed in “incomings” in Badelunde, Vastmanlands so could not locate family  Genline-2242.5.57200
                                                                                           (Film # 0393463) in 1778 – 1881.
APJ & JJ 1881-1890 CS Loftorpet, Aberga, Tillberga, Vastmanslands, Sweden GID-2400.30.39000.  Entry includes info:
Anders Petter Jonsson - 1844 – building master – Johanna- 1842,
Anders 9 Aug 1870 to Johanna and first husband
Confirmed 24 May 1885 and attended communion next day
Albert – 6 Oct 1875 to these two parents in Ofvre Selo
Karl August – 24 Sep 1877 in Badelunde
Ida Karolina – *19 May 1880 in Badelunde   + 21 Sep 1883  GID# 1000199.47.65800
Frida Maria-   *31 Oct 1882 in Badelunde     + 25 Sep 1883  GID # 100019.38.47200
Wilhelmina –  *29 May 1884 in Badelunde    + 29 May 1884  GID # 100019.12.15500
Anna -             *29 May 1884 in Badelunde    +29 May 1884 “& 100019.12.15500

APJ  1895-1907 CS Skalby, Badeluna, V., S. Fische #6144263-8 FHC
Anders Peter, Johanna &Albert and Karl August

APJ 1890 Census Tillberga, Vasmanlands, Sweden SVAR Record 376022
Anders Peter Jonsson and Family living in Tillberga, V, S

APJ  1899 Skalby, Badeluna, V., S. Fische #6144263-8 FHC
Karl August to Vasteras

APJ  1900 Census Anders Peter Jonsson, Johanna, and Albert are living in SVAR Record 25 Badelunde

APJ   1900 Census Eriksholm, Vastmanlands, Sweden SVAR Vastmanlands
Anders Jonsson – 1870 in Axberg, (working man)
Emma Matilda Hedlund – 1872 in Vasteros, Vastmanlands

AH 15 Nov 1872 to Anders Hedlund (worker)   Caren Larson GID 100019.51.53400   In Vasteras

AJ   md. 23 Oct 1892 Anders Jonsson (still living at home) GID 100019.19.5100   Emma Matilda Hedlund

EMH  Elsa matilda – 1893 – Tillberga, Vastmanlands GID 100019.1.10500

CAH 7 Sep 1893 in Tillberga   Carl Albert – 1894 – same GID 100019.4.2800
* 5 Sep 1894 in Tillberga

ETH  Ester Teresia – 1897 in Badelunda, Vastmanlands GID 100019.10.31200  * 4 Feb 1897 in Badelunda (Jadra)

JAH   Josef Albin – 1900 in Vasteras, Vastmanlands Fische # 6144413-1 FHC  15 May 1900

*1904 Skalby, Badeluna, V., S. Fische #6144263-8 FHC
Albert moves to Vasteros

APJ    1909-1913 CS Stentorp, Skalby, Badelunda, V, S Fische #6144264-5 FHC
Anders and Johanna alone after Albert moves to Maria Parish in Stockholm

APJ  1914-1919 CS Stentorp, Skalby, Badelunda, V, S Fische #6144265-4 FHC
Anders and Johanna. Albert (moves in and out)

AJ   1915 Albert from Maria Parish to Badelunda

AJ  1916 Albert from Badelunda to Maria Parish

APJ 1920-1931 CS Stentorp, Skalby, Badelunda, V, S Fische #6149018-7 FHC
Anders + 5/6 1927 (Maurice in 6 years old      JJ  Johanna + 4/6 1921

AJ  Albert + 23/5 1927

1888 When baptized, Carl Oscar known as Petersson
1897 & 1912 Anders Peter Jonsson listed as father of Carl Oscar Jonsson when Carl went on mission.
1901-1907 A P listed as father of Carl Oscar in Murray and Shelley ward records
Carl Oscar listed himself as Heir and Son of Anders Peter Jonsson when he had him and Jonas Jonsson and Lisa Stina Olsson (Parents of AP) baptized for the dead along with about 100 other ancestors.

2008 The four little half sisters of Carl Oscar Johnson were sealed to their parents.  (See article on this blog entitled "Four Little Girls".Attending the sealing were Doris, Von, Carolyn, Kristie, Michael, Michael, Marisa, Kanda, Roy, and John and Mary Lou Gardner.

Family tradition based on professional research would have it that Anders Peter Jonsson married Anna Marta Johansson in 1866 in Mordviken, Jamtland County. However, our Anders Peter Jonsson was living in Orebro County (quite a distance from Jamtland) at the time, so that information has been removed from the records. There is also a record of an Anders Peter Jonsson marrying Christine Andersson in 1875. This too is inaccurate as our Anders Peter married Johanna Jonsson in 1875. An Anders Peter Jonsson died on 18 Feb 1912 in Mordviken, Jamtland, and that date was included in family records. He was a Forester and died of a blood disease or cancer, after having been seen by a doctor. However, his birth is listed as August 4, 1844 at the time of his death, which does not match the birth date of our Anders Peter Jonsson.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


A second part has been added to the history of Maurice Oscar Johnson.  More pictures, an update, and other materials will be added later. CJC

Sunday, April 17, 2011


(This history was originally typed by Maurice in December of 1978. Later it was re-written. Then again, in 1995 and 2011, the two histories were compiled and additional information was included by Carolyn.)
(I am putting this history on the blog in several PARTS as it is quite long.)


Part I (1921-1944)

For better or for worse, this is the life history of MAURICE OSCAR JOHNSON, whose main purpose in life is trying to be a good husband, a good father and providing a comfortable home for all.

My desire to write this history is strengthened by many circumstances. First, is because we are told by those in authority to do so. Second is because as I try to remember my Father and his life I realize there is very little I know about him. That shouldn't happen to my children because of me. Third maybe some of my experiences, especially spiritual, will help strengthen the testimony of others to some degree as they have mine. Fourth most of my children have never seen their Grandpa Johnson. They will all probably live most of their lives without the blessings of having grandparents to love and associate with so in case that happens to my grandchildren, maybe this history will help them to know their grandpa a little better. When we all meet in the hereafter, it would break my heart if I were a complete stranger to any one of them. Fifth and probably one of the most important is the day is rapidly approaching when my beautiful wife and I will be separated for a time. If I go first, maybe this history will help keep some of the beautiful and happy experiences we've had together a little brighter in her memory.

As I try to remember my father and his life, I realize there isn't much I know about his personal life. He was a quiet person and seemed very private, not saying much of his feelings or life's experiences. So I wrote this history, hoping my experiences, especially the spiritual ones, would help strengthen the testimonies of my posterity and others. I hope it will help my young grandchildren and the posterity yet to be born, to know more of me and recognize me as we meet in the hereafter.

I learned from my father and mother that they were born respectively, in Asker, Orebro, Sweden on 2 March 1865, and in Tryserum Kalmar, Sweden on 21 April, 1880. They were both converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Sweden and came to Zion where they later met and married.

Father heard the Mormon missionaries in Sweden, was converted and baptized. He then served one mission in Sweden after which he immigrated to America, finally settling in Murray, Utah where he worked in the smelters. He was married to his first wife and had two children, Wilford (Oscar) and Ebba. His wife died shortly after Ebba was born.

Mother heard the missionaries in Sweden also. Her conversion and experiences are very faith promoting. Because she joined the Church she was disowned by her family and after many trying times, she also made her way to Murray.

Mother and Father were married in the Salt Lake Temple while living in Murray. Two children were born in Murray, Gerda and Allen. Then my parents moved to Shelley, Idaho and soon bought and traded for the farm that I and my family now live on. After moving to Shelley, eight more children were born; Elsie who died in infancy, then twins, Edith (who died in her teens) and Edwin. They also had Ruth, who passed away in her forties, Wallace, who always lived through the fields from us, and Walter. (See note A)

Being the youngest of ten children, I was often called the "baby" of the family. Father Johnson was 56 years old when I was born, so I only remember him as an older man--but kind, honest and hard working. Memories of my mother are of a wonderful person who’s life was dedicated to her children and their well-being.

Because of their Swedish ancestry, both parents were very modest, very honest, very humble, very spiritual and very genuine people.

I was born October 8, 1921, in a large white house across the road from the old Second Ward Church in Shelley, Idaho. Now, whenever I go to church, I can see the window that lights the room where I was born. My first seven years were spent living in that house. Some experiences have long since escaped me, some memories are rather dim, some are still vivid.

Of all my brothers and sisters, I only remember actually living with Wallace, Walter and Bernice, as the older ones were gone from home when I was a baby. The most important and earliest recollection I have is that of my mother rocking me in an old wooden rocking chair in the huge kitchen in that old white house. I felt so warm, comfortable and so secure as I curled up in her lap.

The first Christmas memory was of a little truck I received; the box being used for a garage. Other gifts were put on this box. When I pulled the truck out of its garage, it collapsed. Just then my parents called for Church. All through Church, I thought about that broken garage, but we were taught to obey our parents immediately, so there was no time to fix it, before Sunday School.

Many of the customs of our family were customs that had their origin in Sweden.

I started school at the age of six in the Shelley Elementary School. It was while attending this school I discovered a new and wonderful feeling burning within me. Being farmers, my parents usually bought our winter clothes after they received the money for their crops. While in the first grade they bought what I remember as the warmest, heaviest winter coat I ever had. One very cold morning while walking to school, I met one of my classmates, crying sorrowfully. After asking the cause, he told me how cold he was. Noticing he didn't have a coat, I took my new coat off and gave it to him. I was uncomfortable that day for fear of what mom would say when she found I had given my coat way. Four o'clock came and it was time to go home and tell her. Boy, what a worry! To my surprise, when I told her what had happened, she gathered me in her arms, pulled me onto her lap in that old rocking chair and hugged me. There were tears in her eyes when she told me how proud she was of me. There was such a warm special feeling come over me. About two weeks later I met my classmate and his brother going to school. Again they both told me how much they appreciated that coat; they were wearing it as they walked to school. They told me that they would put it on their bed at night to help them to sleep warmer. Once again, I felt that same warm special feeling.

Now the reason there has been so much said about this incident is because for the first time I knew the message of the Savior when he said "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me." I have many times been grateful for this feeling that was manifested to me at that time.

Another incident in the elementary school, (second grade) taught me another lesson that has always stayed with me. All the students were going to have a surprise peanut shower for our teacher. The day for the shower came, and I forgot to bring any peanuts. After the shower, our teacher (Helen Wadsworth), came to me and hugged me and said, "I know this was your idea, and I love you for it." It wasn't my idea and I had even forgotten my peanuts. I felt so terrible I decided I would always try to do my part, do my share of the work, and wherever possible, pay my share of the way.

The remainder of my elementary school experiences were much the same as most young boys; playing marbles, riding an old work horse named Brownie, getting into a little mischief, attending Church and school sometimes unwilling, but nevertheless attending. I remember some trips we took as men and boys in the family to the hills to get cedar for our winters supply of firewood. (Note B)

With friends, during my teenage years, among other things I spent many summer hours swimming in the neighborhood canals and public swimming pools, went often to movies (picture shows), car riding, eating .10 cent hamburgers and ice cream sundaes at the drive-ins, and in the winter -- sleigh riding; pulling little two-man sleds behind cars, a sport forbidden by law now, due to the growth of population and traffic. I also worked hard to do my share of the farm work, milking cows, caring for the cattle, and assisting with all other farm work.

The night I graduated from the eighth grade, I learned a lesson that was to stay with me for the rest of my life (MOJ age 14). Three of my friends asked me to get drunk with them. Refusing earned me the name of purity, which stayed with me all through high school. Twenty five years later I met one of those friends in town. Because of drinking, which was started the night of the eighth grade graduation, this man had lost his job, family, home, and everything important in life. He reminded me of the incident long ago, asked me if I remembered it, and told me with tears in his eyes how desperately he wished he had earned the name purity so many years ago. Wouldn't it be wonderful if this lesson could be learned by the millions of Americans who are alcoholics!

After graduating from the eighth grade I attended high school rather unwillingly. My thoughts and interests were so much at home on the farm which I loved, that I seldom went to football games or participated in any other extra-curricular activities. Instead, I would run the two miles to our home to work on the farm. I usually stayed home one or two days a week for the same reason. Consequently my grades weren't very good, but my love for the farm increased and the experiences I gained there had tremendous value in my chosen profession. One of my teachers, who also taught Walter, asked me why I wasn't as good a student as he, and didn't I want to go to college? She agreed with me that experience was also a good teacher. My high school years weren't particularly happy years. I was always looking forward to farming on my own.

Graduation day was in the spring of 1939. During this time there was a very lovely young girl I wanted to date. One Sunday afternoon after mustering enough courage, I went to her house to ask her for a date, only to find she had the mumps, and that was surely a letdown. Sometime later a friend and I attended a movie in the Paramount Theater in Idaho Falls. It was a good show, "The Wizard of Oz", but was made even better because this same girl spoken of, whose name was Doris Kirkham, sat in front of us with her date. While he was out to get some popcorn, I leaned up and asked Doris for a date and she accepted. Little did I know she was to be my eternal wife. The theme song in the show, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow", became "our song". We courted for about a year, a time filled with wonderful and joyful experiences. In the spring of 1941, on Doris' graduation night, she accepted a diamond from me which needless to say, was such a happy occasion for me. (Note #1)

That summer was full and happy in preparing for our marriage in the Fall. We picked peas from the field one day, and that evening, Doris and I and her parents and some of their neighbors sat on their front porch and shelled and canned the peas. That was the beginning of our food storage program. We canned other fruits and vegetables that summer as part of our preparation for marriage.

Early that fall I started working in the sugar factory at night and harvested my crops during the daytime and visited with Doris when I could. I didn't see her nearly as often as I would have liked, but it made it possible to furnish a nice apartment in the basement of my parent's house.
We paid cash for all of our furniture which, along with our food storage, prompted the statement from a local merchant that we were the most prepared couple for marriage he had ever seen. A pleasant memory of those preparation days is the first fire we built in our new kitchen range; the new shiny black paint on top of the stove burned off, filling our beautiful new home with black smoke. We have laughed about it many times since, as it did no harm, but at the time it was a little frustrating.

The fun and excitement of our marriage, which was to take place on December 19, 1941, was dimmed a little when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, causing the United States to enter World War II.

Not knowing when I would be called into the military service, we went ahead with our wedding plans and were married in the Salt Lake Temple on the planned date. It was a beautiful wedding performed by the temple president, Stephen L. Chipman. Being young and lacking in experience and knowledge, I didn't understand the importance of celestial marriage then as I do now, or it would have been even more special. (Note C)
We planned to go to Bryce and Zions Canyons in Southern Utah for a honeymoon, but after spending the night in Beaver, on the way, with Doris' sister and her husband, we were so anxious to get back to our own little home, we cut short honeymoon plans and returned to Shelley. (Note-CJC: Dad has loved being at his own home from the beginning of his life. Also, Maurice and Doris dropped Grandma Sarah off in Salt Lake or at Adah’s, thus prompting Maurice to mention to his children that his mother-in-law went on their honeymoon with him & Doris.)
After spending three months in our basement apartment, Dad and Mom moved to Idaho Falls, so Doris and I moved upstairs and have lived in the same house ever since.
During the war years, food was needed so badly that all farmers were advised to stay on the farms, but we lived the next three years wondering when the time would come when we would have to say goodbye. Those were sad and worrisome times, but there was a close feeling among all the people in the nation being united in such an important cause. That same dedicated, patriotic feeling, it seems, has never been felt so strongly in the nation since. They were also good years, years of doing without in order that every effort and material could aid in winning the war.
As the war continued into 1944, more men were needed badly enough to draft even the young farmers. So the time came in November of that year for Doris and me to say goodbye. That was one of the saddest experiences of my life. Doris was carrying our first child, we loved our home -- had just prepared a beautiful little nursery -- and I wanted so much to be there when the baby was born, but this wasn't to be. We said goodbye in Blackfoot where I boarded a troop train bound for Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City where we were processed for military service. Six of us out of 300 were chosen to go into the Navy.

Notes from Carolyn
1. Mom often told me how she and Dad would date on Sundays by going to church, and then to a movie afterward. The older people in their ward were so impressed that they would attend church first before going to the movie. Also, Mom remembers going on dates with Dad to church in various wards as his father spoke as a High Councilman.

A. Maurice and Wallace always farmed together. It is amazing that the two brothers were able to continue farming together, and share equipment for all the years they did with as little trouble as they had. They always seemed to work out their problems, or ignore them for the good of the enterprise.

B. Doris tells, in some notes she wrote, how much Maurice loved animals, especially dogs. Therefore, it is easy to imagine that his pets were an important part of his childhood.

C. Probably, because of the war, Maurice and Doris had a small party instead of the usual reception. I believe the 50th Anniversary reception made up for any disappointment they may have had about their lack of a wedding reception.

Part II (1944-1999

We were given hotel rooms in Salt Lake and were told we wouldn't be sworn in for three days and given permission to send for our wives if we were married, which I immediately did.

Even during all that sadness some things can be humorous. That night I told the desk clerk that my wife was coming to stay with me and to expect her. He misunderstood me and thought I said she was already here. Well, late that night when Doris arrived and asked the clerk for my room number, he told her she couldn't go up because my wife was there. Doris informed him she was my wife and after looking and seeing her obviously pregnant condition, he realized his mistake and allowed her to come to the room.

Knowing she was coming, I wanted to buy her the nicest gift I could afford. My choice was a solid gold watch, a beautiful gift which I gave to her that night in the hotel room. The next evening we sat in the little café eating dinner when a little old lady approached our table selling Christmas corsages. After paying fifty cents for one, we pinned it on Doris’ dress. The gift and corsage don’t seem important enough to mention in a life history, they being only two of many gifts given to Doris, but they do have a significance which will come out later in the history as I tell what a beautiful and wonderful person my wife is.

In the three Christmases we had been married up to this time, Doris had showed me a very beautiful way to celebrate Christmas, so my fourth one was very sad being away from her while stationed at the Naval base in San Diego. On Christmas Eve as I lay in my bunk listening to Christmas carols being played over the public address system, I was so very homesick.

Carolyn was born January 13, 1945, and how I wanted to be there. I was informed of her birth with a telegram while on guard duty. Just as the company commander passed I let out a big whoop. He rushed over with fire in his eyes, but upon learning the reason, he told me to go ahead and yell. (MOJ age 24)

We almost lost this sweet little baby soon after birth. The doctor told the Red Cross our baby would not live so they allowed me to come home (Pneumonia). As I crossed a drill field that evening while leaving the base I knelt in prayer. My Heavenly Father made it known to me that our baby would be aright and we would be permitted to raise her.

The rest of my military service was spent in San Diego; Gulfport, Miss.; Shoemaker, Calif.; and aboard two different ships – the U. S. Emory and the LSTL 527 and I was discharged in March of 1946. (Note D)

While in the service I prayed constantly that I would get to see my aged father again before he passed away. These prayers were answered but he lived just two weeks after I got home.

Doris and I kept the farm we loved so much. It was waiting for us when I returned home. As Idaho farmers, we plow and plant in the spring, irrigate and cultivate in the summer and we harvest in the fall. This might seem dull and drab to some, but when you understand the feeling there is when you watch the rich brown moist earth turn behind the plow and watch the seed sprout and grow, watch the plants mature and change color, watch the beautiful russet colored potatoes and golden grain pour into storage, you may understand the rich full life I was to have after returning home. However, as much as I love to farm, it was not the most important thing in my life. By far the most important being my wife and children.

Maureen was born June 20 1947 at the Eaton Maternity Home in Shelley. She too, was beautiful and most welcome. (MOJ age 26)

Up until this time, my life had been occupied mostly with my wife, children, farm and military service, but being a member of the true church, activity there became more and more important. I was first called to be an assistant Ward Clerk, then a counselor in the MIA. Note #2.

On November 17, 1949, Carl, Named after his grandfather Johnson, was born. Now it was special to have a fine son added to our family. He became the apple of his grandmother Johnson’s eye. (MOJ age 28)

I was then called to be the MIA President. This lasted only two months before Bishop Eugene Christensen asked me to be his first counselor in the bishopric of the Shelley Second Ward.

Phyllis was our fourth child, born on 15 November 1952, also at the Eaton Maternity Home, another special spirit in our home. It is wonderful how beautiful, sweet, and serine these little ones are when they come to us so recently from the presence of the Lord. Oh, what a responsibility but a most welcome one. It’s such a joy to watch them grow and mature. (MOJ age 31)

After serving as counselor to Bishop Christensen for two years, just before my 30th birthday, President J. Berkley Larsen called Doris and me into a meeting one evening telling us that President McKay had called me to be the Bishop of Shelley Second Ward. I was ordained Bishop by Steven L Richards on October 9, 1951. It will always be a vivid memory of Brother Richards laying his hands on my head. It was a very humbling experience. (MOJ age 29)

We started by organizing the ward and by starting to add to and remodel the old rock church. This was a very time-consuming, frustrating, but good experience. We laughed when one person asked four year old Carl what his daddy did for a living and he said, “He works at the Church.” No wonder he thought so; all of my winter daylight hours were spent working at the church, as well as most evenings. I had never worked so hard in my life but the rewards were great. My life as a bishop was rather a lonely experience in that there were so many problems to solve and decisions to make that could be shared with no one, not even one’s wife. It can be a sad life as you share heart-breaking experiences of others in trying to help – a happy life as you share their joys. I was to find after being released that I remembered only the pleasant experiences.

I had a faith promoting experience once as I sat in the Church Office Building waiting to talk to the church building supervisor. President McKay walked up to me, shook my hand and said, “Are they taking care of you, Bishop?” He had never seen me before but still knew I was a bishop. Note #3.

Brother John Longdon dedicated the building after we had struggled for two years to raise the money and worked hard on the construction. To me it seemed such a restful and peaceful church.

Dale, our fifth child and second son was born January 25, 1957. Five days after his arrival, he became very jaundiced due to RH negative blood factor and was taken to the hospital with an extremely high temperature. The doctor advised us to have him blessed and named, as he probably wouldn’t live more than a few hours, and that if he did survive, he would probably have brain damage. We administered to him and blessed him and he healed after a few days. During the first grade, he won the reading prize for reading 364 books and as I write this he is a straight A student at Ricks College. (MOJ age 36)

I was released from my calling as Bishop and was called to the High Council where I served for eight years. (MOJ age 35) These eight years were filled with trying to serve my Father in Heaven, and by trying to be a good husband and food father. (Note E)

We watched our children grow and become educated with Carolyn and Maureen finishing high school and going off to college and then working. Doris and I also served as Idaho Falls Temple Missionaries for several months. It was prior to the time they had the Information Bureau, and we spent several hours each week talking with tourists who visited the temple grounds. Note #4.

In 1958, Deloy Yorgensen built a new modern bowling facility in Idaho Falls and hired me to manage it. Bowling was coming in again as a popular recreating sport with many people getting involved and it was an exciting time. I held that job about two years, leasing the farm to Wallace one of the seasons. It wasn’t long before I grew tired of the environment there, seeing so many people spending too much money and neglecting their families. I was happy to return to the farm again. Note #5

My experiences in the church were rewarding, but being behind the pulpit so much of the time also made it difficult. I was released from the High Council the same day that I was set apart for the Stake Presidency as first counselor to President Eugene Christensen (1964 – 1974 MOJ age 43-53). This was an awesome responsibility for me. The real enjoyable experiences were meeting General Authorities and having them in our home to stay overnight, and to eat meals with us; Brethren such as President Kimball, Paul Dunn, John Vandenberg, and many others. One of the responsibilities and joys of the Stake Presidency was to meet in Leadership meeting with the various organizations.

Being asked to speak at a Primary Leadership Meeting one Christmas season was the incident spoken of earlier in this history, concerning the corsage and gold watch. The Stake Primary President asked me to bring Doris with me. Doris didn’t tell me she too had been asked to speak – about one of the most precious Christmas gifts I have ever given to her. As she spoke, she opened a box and removed the little dried-flower corsage I had bought from the little old lady a quarter of a century ago and gave to her as we sat in that little café, the night before we parted for my time in the war. It was interesting to me that she kept the sentimental 50 cent corsage that had such special meaning. I had never thought about the corsage again after that night I gave it to her until the meeting 25 years later. As she removed the flower from the tissue-lined box, and I recognized it, my eyes filled with tears, my throat became very dry, and needless to say, it was most difficult for me to be the next speaker.

My life in the presidency was filled with enjoyable experiences such as the day we completed Project Temple and took 44 families to the temple to be sealed for time and eternity. We had the temple reserved for the occasion. There are also sad memories such as the night the beautiful Stake Tabernacle burned to the ground. I had been baptized there, had grown up attending many social functions, religious meetings, and even graduated from High School there. Tears still come to my eyes as I think of it. (Note # 6)

When Dale was 10 years old, another sweet baby girl was born to us on October 22 1966 (MOJ age 45). Kristen Kay has been such a joy to us, keeping Doris and me feeling younger.

My calling in the Stake Presidency came to an end in September, 1974. The Shelley Stake was being divided into the Shelley and Firth Stakes and as I was released, Doris was sustained as Stake Relief Society President. (Note # 11)

I have had several other church opportunities since that time. I’ve been called as a Stake Auditor, a teacher in the High Priest Group, a Home Teacher, the Family Relations class leader, and supervisor of all the brethren who served as recommend clerks in the Idaho Falls Temple. I am also serving as District Fire Commissioner at this time. (1978)

We had two foster children in our home, coming through the Church Social Services. Michael Sellers lived with us for a year, then went back to live with his family in Clearfield, Utah. Kelley Mutschler lived with us for four months then went back to live with her father for some time, then with her mother.

The family farm is the central gathering for all of our family, no matter what the occasion might be. All of our children meet each Fast Sunday as a Family Organization for spiritual lessons and association. The Maurice O. Johnson Family Organization is designed to make us self sufficient., We have a year’s supply of food there for all. The organization is complete with officers and responsibilities for all. We have work projects such as a family garden, also a family fund that children might borrow from in time of emergency. We sing our original family song and read scripture dealing with the real purpose of family and responsibilities. This is found in Mosiah 4:14-15. We’ve been invited to give presentations of our Organization to several groups in Blackfoot, Idaho Falls, and Shelley. (Note #7)

The homestead is basically the same, but with some modern improvements. The 50 acres has been put under sprinkling, joining leased ground belonging to Sophia Fielding, which allows for one big field, instead of several small ones.

When Allan, my brother, developed the potato picker, I purchased one and we thought that was the ultimate in speed. It guided the potatoes into bags as I rode a platform at the back as the spuds came over the chain. I set the sacks onto the ground in rows, then I would load them onto a tractor drawn wagon, haul them to the cellar and dump them down a chute. Sometimes I handled four hundred 100 pound bags three times in one day. Now the men can harvest about 6,000 bags a day, never lifting a sack.

We started with 50 acres – now we’re farming 600 acres of leased land to accommodate Dale and Carl who have chosen to farm also. We think often of the little farm in 1941 with three horses, a few pieces of simple machinery compared to 600 acres with the $25,000.00 (plus) tractors & trucks, sprinkled irrigation, a 40,000 sack potato cellar with an automatic ventilating system , well-stocked work shop where we do our own repairing and machine work, the CB radios for communication over the distances. Dale’s college farm program is teaching farming by computer. What would Carl and Gerda Johnson think of all of it now? And what new changes will there be in the future! (Note #8)

Now I’ve saved the most important thoughts till the end of my writing, that being how much love I have for my wife and the kind of person she is. I thought I loved her when we were first married, but found I didn’t really know what love was. Each day, it grows deeper, and I am eternally grateful that we have a celestial marriage.

Doris has always been so thoughtful of others. I doubt she spends five minutes a day thinking of herself. It is no wonder our children have all lived good lives with her great spiritual guidance.

I have never been ashamed to bring anyone to our home because she keeps it so neat and clean at all times. It's a home our children could bring their friends to without shame. We've been told on several occasions that there is a special spiritual feeling in our home. This is a reflection of Doris.

She sometimes worries over what she calls her mistakes, but I know without a doubt, if there are any, that she has been forgiven of them.

Doris is looked up to by all and is known as a beautiful quality sort of lady, someone who is always on hand in time of need. One of the greatest compliments you can give a person is to saw they are genuine; Doris is genuine. All her children and grandchildren love and respect her and are proud to call her Mom or grandma. As you can tell from reading this, I am happy with my eternal partner.

Now, during this beautiful season of the year, just as we enter the Holidays, I turn over my journal to you. Maurice O. Johnson

Update to Maurice Johnson Life History by Carolyn J. Christensen-2011

The last part of this material about Maurice first includes an update to Maurice’s history, then a paper written by Carolyn as an assignment at BYU in 1986 or 1987. The assignment was to interview a man mature in his career, and discover the themes and successes of his life. It tells how Maurice’s farming occupation came to an end. This was a tragic time for him, but it was soon evident that his life would move forward in a good direction.

Due to the changing farming practices, several years in a row of crop disasters and a depression in the value of farm produce, Maurice eventually declared bankruptcy. When the bankruptcy was completed, the worst nightmare did not come to fruition, thanks to a good friend who had a great deal of respect for Maurice. Maurice and Doris were worried that they would lose their home. However, a friend bought the home and allowed Maurice and Doris to buy it back from him, so they were both able to live in the family home until their deaths.

Shortly after the bankruptcy, Maurice was hired as a night watchman at Idaho Supreme, a potato processing company, in Firth.

Then in 1988, he and his wife were called to serve a year mission in McComb, Illinois. This was partially financed by the good people at Idaho Supreme.

On their mission, Brother and Sister Johnson they were given a list of 100 inactive people who were “lost” to the ward, and they were given the assignment to find all of them, and activate who they could. They spent many hours traveling all the big and little roads of the surrounding communities trying to find these people, which they eventually did. Some were gone, some became interested again, and many preferred to stay inactive. The other major assignments they had on their mission was to support the young Sisters and Elders, take them to and from meetings in Nauvoo, and Maurice and Doris were also able to participate in productions at Nauvoo as well as being extras in a church film. They loved their mission. For more information about their mission, you can read the typed version of Doris’ journal by contacting CJC.

Through the years until Maurice’s death, he was respected, honored, and his company & advice was sought by his children and grandchildren. As often as possible, He and Doris were invited to participate in the family events of all six of his children. This included trips back east several times, many trips to Salt Lake, trips to California and Disneyland, and many “overnighters” camping and traveling throughout Idaho and Utah. Maurice loved the family reunions every year which were started in about 1975. He and Mom were grateful for all the fun things they got to do with their children. In 2011, Maurice has six married children, 30 grandchildren along with 18 partners and 46 great grandchildren.

One event that meant a lot to both Doris and Maurice was their 50th Wedding Anniversary Party. It was planned to take place in their yard. Maurice even added a decoration to the house that indicated 50 years of marriage. However, the day of the celebration dawned with storm clouds and wind, and plans were quickly changed. Everything was moved to the Shelley Stake Center where that night, the anniversary party was as lovely as any wedding reception. The fun finished with Maurice and Doris driving away in a painted car, trailing cans, and being shivereed by cars driven by their relatives through town.

Christmas was Maurice’s favorite season. As he mentioned, he learned to love it after he was married. He loved decorating the house, and all the activities associated with Christmas. Carolyn remembers as a girl that Doris and Maurice had the only “white” Christmas Tree – a natural tree calcimined by Maurice to get the snowy look. Carolyn also remembers when she coaxed and coaxed to put the tree up early, and we finally put it up two whole weeks before Christmas, when everyone else was waiting another week. Maurice usually made sure there was a large basket of oranges and a basket of apples sitting on the floor somewhere in the living or dining room for all to enjoy. He loved buying gifts, and often bought poinsettias for his married children.

One Christmas we will always remember, Maurice bought a new diamond ring for Doris for Christmas. Even though two of us were married, all the children were at home for Christmas to witness the exciting event. To our surprise, before the ring ever appeared, we each received $100.00!!! A lot of money in those days. Another year some of us got overstuffed rocking chairs – and on top of that, Maurice had to travel to Salt Lake in a pick-up to take the Christensen chair home after Christmas. (Von and Carolyn road in the back of the pick-up snuggled in sleeping bags and blankets. All of us remember that Dad would threaten to “whack our bottoms” if we didn’t go to sleep on Christmas Eve.

About two years before Maurice passed away, a health incident occurred which caused some dementia. Maurice had a hard time remembering events, and was often confused. However, his family felt very blessed in that Maurice never lost his pleasant personality, and he was always able to remember names and who his family members were. He was still able to accompany his family on trips and outings, and enjoyed them. One night, in 1999, Maurice and Doris were watching Lawrence Welk on TV, when Doris looked at Maurice lying on the couch, and realized his spirit had quietly passed from this body to the other side.

The following week was a spiritual, happy, time for Maurice’s family as they celebrated the wonderful life of their father.

Some of the characteristics Maurice was noted for by all who knew him were his gentleness, his concern and care of his wife and family, his generosity to all in need, his leadership abilities motivated by love, his love of his Father in Heaven, his thoughtfulness, his service to others, and his happiness with what life gave him.

Notes from Carolyn

1. Mom often told me how she and Dad would date on Sundays by going to church, and then to a movie afterward. The older people in their ward were so impressed that they would attend church first before going to the movie. Also, Mom remembers going on dates with Dad to church in various wards as his father spoke as a High Councilman.

2. As a tribute to Dad, I tell the following: When Dad was my young father, he sometime swore when he was angry at machinery or situations. I don’t remember hearing him do so, but I do remember him deciding to quit swearing, announcing such, then never hearing a swear word come from his mouth again in his lifetime. I don’t think the other siblings remember this incident.

3. Another memory I have is of going to Salt Lake with Dad on the train to meet with church authorities when he was a bishop. I also remember when he went to Salt Lake on other trips, I could hardly wait until he arrived home as he always brought us each a bag of penny candy. How exciting.

I remember one thing about the remodeling of the old second ward church. The old church had a sloping floor in the chapel that sloped toward the pulpit. Dad wanted to keep the sloping floor in the new remodeled building, and had to convince the authorities that this was a good idea, which was quite difficult. He was very pleased when the sloping floor was authorized.

Dad was bishop when Grandpa Kirkham died in 1953, and conducted his funeral as the last funeral in the old stone church. When Grandma Gerda Johnson died in 1955, he conducted her funeral, the first in the newly remodeled church.

4. 1957. Maurice was 36 & Doris was 34.

5. 5. Dad had to travel to Chicago and then to California, to a bowling management training session and it seemed he was gone for several weeks (about 1958, MOJ age 37). During that time, as a surprise, Mom took us children to a professional photographer to have our picture taken. It is the colored professional picture where Dale is only a year or two old. Dad was still at the bowling lanes when I was dating at the age of 15 (1960, MOG age 39). It was fun to go with my friends to the Bowling Lanes, and I was a fairly good bowler then, though I didn’t like it at all. I was glad when Dad quit working there. Dad, while he was the manager, hired Uncle Karl G. Smith to run the restaurant bar that was in the Bowling Lanes. Karl came up with making Curly Fries, the first we had ever heard of them.

While being a manager, he still ran his own farm on the side and rented out what he couldn’t take care of. Later he decided to quit, but due to pressures from the owners of the Bowling Lanes he worked half days at the Bowling Lanes and farmed his own farm completely. Finally he quit at the Bowling Lanes and I think we were all glad, for it was hard for Dad to work there because he disliked it so much. There was so much corruption and Dad saw many things happen there that weren’t up to his standard of living. Dad is his own boss when it comes to earning a living.

6. I think his wife and most of his children can say the same thing about the Old Stake Tabernacle Building.

7. This Organization was established in 1977 when Dad was 56 years old. The formal organization lasted for several years – and was the foundation for a close knit family still in place. Through working in our organization, we all learned how important it is to work together as a family through thick and thin.

8. Most of us know what new changes came in the near future. In the mid 1980s, farming became a super business. Farms were bought up by large companies to comprise mega farms of thousands of acres, and produced foods for less expense than the small farms could. Eventually Dale left for College in New York State and the farms run by Dad and Carl were either bought or were no longer profitable. The time came when Dad and Carl had to retire from farming. Never again will this country know that magical culture of small farms, and small farm families.

A. Maurice and Wallace always farmed together. It is amazing that the two brothers were able to continue farming together, and share equipment for all the years they did with as little trouble as they had. They always seemed to work out their problems, or ignore them for the good of the enterprise.

B. Doris tells, in some notes she wrote, how much Maurice loved animals, especially dogs. Therefore, it is easy to imagine that his pets were an important part of his childhood.

C. Probably, because of the war, Maurice and Doris had a small party instead of the usual reception. I believe the 50th Anniversary reception made up for any disappointment they may have had about their lack of a wedding reception.

D. Doris was able to visit Maurice in Gulfport, leaving Carolyn with her parents. A picture of Doris and Maurice in a photo booth still exists. Doris is wearing Maurice’s hat. When Maurice was discharged, Doris left Carolyn with her parents for five weeks and went to Butte Montana to meet Maurice.

Sometimes Dad would talk about the Navy. He told us several experiences, two of which I will relate. He was quite unpopular with most of the men for his beliefs in the Word of Wisdom and fidelity and the principles of our gospel. Because he treated the cook as a person and complimented him on his food at times, the cook baked a pie especially for Dad at Christmas time. One detail the men had was to clean the field of cigarette butts and it was awful as they were usually water soaked and filthy and smelled terrible. When the sergeant realized Dad didn’t smoke, his name never appeared on the roster for this detail again. Dad loved to walk alone and he said that privacy was one of the things he missed most, and he also told how extremely lonely he was while in the Navy.

E. I thought it was interesting that even though the church had announced that families should have family night, no family I knew when I was a child, participated in the program, except my parents. We had family night, and made a scrapbook of our activities. I remember one night we had a “war” with the boys against the girls. Somehow the girls got the men cornered in the bathroom, and to our surprise, Dad climbed out the bathroom window (which we didn’t even know could be opened) and surprised us, leaving us laughing, and admitting defeat.
MISC.  One funny story about Maurice:  he had been working with the tractors and machinery out in the field.  One evening he came in from the field, and while chaning clothes, discovered that his leg was black and blue.  How had he done it.  He couldn't remember falling, or bruising it, but surely it was black and blue.  He immediatley called Doris to render her opinion.  Her opinion was that they should call the doctor "now" and Maurice was to sit down.  Then Doris would sponge off his leg so it would be clean when the doctor arrived.  Needless to say, quite soon, a call was made to stop the doctor as Doris' cleaning had sponged the bruise right off his leg. 

MISC:  At noon each workday, Maurice would come in and eat a large meal, then rest for 15 minutes - always just 15 minutes, during which time he would SLEEP.  I also remeber my mother using a mirror to signal Dad when he was out in the back fields, so that he would know when it was time to come in.  Often times she took treats out to him in mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

Part III


In 1985, I (Carolyn) was given the assignment in school at BYU to interview an adult male about his life’s dream. The following material is taken from an interview with Dad at that time when he was about 64 year old. I developed the following paper from that interview, therefore, this tribute may be somewhat formal and very honest. I remember interviewing Dad as we sat downstairs in the red and black family room with the fire going.

His Furrowed Acres

By a.m. bailey

My father looked upon his farm that day

When summer thrust its fullness green and dense

In leaf and root and spear. His keen survey

From hill to river bend, from fence to fence

Encompassed more than ripened grain, the field

Of sun-striped corn, the lucerne’s emerald square.

He saw his furrowed acres sweet with yield,

His handwork in all things growing there.

He said no boasting word, but quiet pride

Was in the sudden straightening of his stance.

His winter nurtured plans seemed satisfied

And met the sternest measure of his glance.

In such a way, I think God must have stood

And looked upon the world, and called It good.

For years, Maurice Johnson’s children have referred to his life as having four main themes. During the interview with him, he stated this fact also. They are marriage, farm life, children, and church work.

Around Maurice’s childhood and adulthood home are huge cottonwood trees with roots going deep and spreading far. His life is similar in that the themes of his life were established in the trunk of the tree during his childhood, then branched and grew during his adulthood. This tree was a short trunk, for Maurice’s adult growth began early. It has deep roots for farming develops that way.

Carl and Gerda Johnson moved to Shelley several years before their last child was born. Gerda had been rejected in Sweden by a family who couldn’t accept her testimony of a new and strange religion. Both her parents had passed away at the time. Carl, who had been without parents since his mother died when he was five and who had been on his own from his youth in Sweden, at age 17 joined the LDS Church and went on a mission in Sweden. In the the early 1890s, he traveled to the United States and married there. After the birth of the second child and his return from another mission in Sweden, his first wife died. He then re-met and married Gerda, 15 years his junior. He had taught the gospel in her congregation when she was still in Sweden. Carl and Gerda eventually had nine children and settled in Shelley, Idaho to farm.

The church was extremely important to these good people. Their children were also, but they were strict and demanding and somewhat aloof parents (not unlike many Swedes), establishing some strong needs for affection and love in some of the children. This is not surprising considering the families in which they were raised. This is not meant as criticism, but as fact considering the background of both parents. Maurice was the youngest, and feels his parents may have “softened” and treated him a little different than the older children. He had strong memories of his mother’s love and care when he was a child, and he had great respect and love for his father.

We have thus prepared the soil into which we plant the youngest Johnson child. We can see Maurice gained his greatest nourishment and strength from the firm character of his parents, their love of farming, and their devotion in the Church and family. In the growing years, Maurice was taught that a man’s name was all important, and that people in general all deserved to be treated with respect.

Maurice feels that his father helped him start in farming, but his love for it was inherent at birth.


A proud time for Maurice came when at 14, his father hired him at a man’s wages to work on their farm. He had been helping throughout his life to the occasional exclusion of school work, and extra-curricular activities, simply because he loved working on the farm. He even managed to talk his parents into letting him skip school once or twice a week to stay home and work.

At age 14, Maurice began planning for his future. He bought his first piece of machinery in partnership with his brothers with an eye to “being on his own” soon. At age 17, his father, who was 73 at the time, turned the farm over to Maurice completely to run on shares. He did this for three years, then at the time of his marriage, Maurice bought the farm from his father.

Now that we have planted our tree in fertile soil, let’s examine the branches or themes of Maurice’s life. All stems and leaves such as leisure time, social life, friends, hobbies, etc., are produced through the four branches mentioned earlier: marriage, children, farm life and church work.


There was that cute Doris Kirkham sitting alone at the movie. Her date was out buying popcorn. This was Maurice’s chance. He sat behind her and asked her for a date for the next night. She accepted, and this began a year of courting. (Note # 9)

Maurice wanted to get married, had considered doing so, but found no one yet that filled his bill as the “one and only”. Doris seemed to be that one more than any others. But, Maurice didn’t want to rush it. Then, one night he saw her walking hand in hand with another man from a church meeting. That did it. Maurice would put a stop to that quickly and he did so by proposing.

She accepted and they were married when Maurice was 20 years old and Doris was 18. Maurice is still very proud of how prepared he and Doris were for marriage. He likes to tell his children how people couldn’t believe they had a home ready, with furniture paid for, fruit on the shelves, and a farm to support them. It was really important to Maurice to provide a “comfortable, cozy” home for his new bride. He wanted her to enjoy being a homemaker so that she would be a good one.

He wanted her support and help on the farm, but he also wanted to keep their roles defined. In doing so, he tried to keep her farm duties’ limited to helping in the planting season and during the harvest, and running errands, while many farm wives were taking care of animals and doing farm work throughout the summer.

Maurice has always treated his wife with great respect. He never tires of helping her in the house when he isn’t working, buying new things for her, talking about her, and being with her. He believes selfishness is the root of marital disasters, and has tried not to be selfish. Maurice wanted a good marriage and has worked hard toward that end. At this time in his life, he feels that his marriage has been everything he could have wanted, with most of the credit going to his wife.

Farm Life

Maurice’s life dream included the raising of children and marriage with being a farmer as the occupational part of the dream. As already established, he wanted this from a very young age. By the time he was 20, and fully established in an adult world, his dream had sharpened and been defined to include such ideas as:

• Provide a good home and living for my family.

• Provide a lifestyle my family can enjoy.

• Become respected as an excellent farmer in the community.

• Become known as an honest man of excellent character.

• Have a beautiful farm

• Enjoy farm work.

• Keep the farm at a size to provide a living, but keep it small enough that I can do my own work.

• Be as generous as possible

• Provide a legacy for my sons if they choose to be farmers.

• Stay up to date and use modern methods in farming.

With these guide lines to define his dream, Maurice proceeded to work towards the fulfillment of his dream.

Over the years he enjoyed farming very much. If ever he wondered if he should change or revise his dream, his answer to himself would be “what kind of life could be better?”

Just to make sure, at one time when he was 36, he decided to accept a friend’s offer to manage a bowling lane. It was agreed that he would continue farming, but the bowling lane venture sounded like it would be a fun and profitable side job, and it would give him a chance to see if he liked doing other kinds of work. He didn’t! In fact, as he has often said, he hated the experience. Mainly, he did not like the type of people with whom he came in contact. Some were very nice, but many were thoughtless and dishonest when it came to their own families, and Maurice cannot understand this attitude.

The money part of the venture did not materialize because two other lanes were put in the town as the same time. But Maurice feels he would have quit regardless of how much money he was getting, because he disliked the work so much.

If Maurice was re-evaluating his dream during this time, he certainly decided his dream was worth pursuing.

Maurice says that there are certainly ups and downs in farming. Some years, a year’s worth of hard work is destroyed by poor weather or a bad market. At those times, following the dream becomes discouraging. However, a farmer is always hopeful and ready to try again come spring. Overall, farming has been good for Maurice, and good to Maurice through the majority of his life. He feels he did realize his dream.

Maurice is now trying to evaluate his life work in view of what has happened in the last three years. Three years ago, he attempted to expand a great deal in order to provide a farm life for both sons. He staked what he had built over his life to increase the yield by threefold.

That year, harvest culminated in a weather disaster, and the crop was lost. The following year, the market was poor. They have been unable to recoup their losses and now face bankruptcy. This has been extremely hard for Maurice to deal with this loss, he has done a great deal of re-evaluation. Over the time of this disaster, he has tried to accept that fact that he did his best, was successful and fulfilled his dream, during his lifetime, and this current disaster does not invalidate what he accomplished during the first 60 years of his life.

Maurice would like to continue farming, but is unable to because of the bankruptcy. Also, in the past few years, farming has become a different enterprise than it once was. Farming has become a big business controlled by people who care not for the farmer. Dishonesty is often the current mode of dealing with people . Maurice feels he cannot be happy working in this atmosphere in spite of the satisfactions he receives from the actual farming.
In Maurice’s mind, he is in the process of separating these last years from the successes during the major part of his life.


In discussing his children, Maurice was as positive as when discussing his marriage. He feels that his children have turned out well, they were satisfying to raise, and in spite of difficult times, he couldn’t have asked for a better child-raising experience.

He feels an element of his life dream was to have successful children, and that has been accomplished. They are a major part of his life structure at this point; providing recreation, leisure time activities, and fulfilling many of his social needs.

He has often said in the past three years that any man who has as wonderful a family as he does, need never feel like a failure. He feels that his marriage and children have more than made up for the occupational situation he is experiencing. Incidentally, his family has grown to include 33 (in 1985, 42 in 1996, and 109 in 2011). Some of Maurice’s greatest joys have been the Johnson Family Organization, and how close his children have stayed to each other in spite of occasional differences. His family has been asked to give 30-40 presentations on how to effectively organize a family, culminating in an article in the Church News. (Note #10)

Church Work

This fourth element of Maurice’s life is church work. It seems to have filled the role of hobbies, much of his leisure time activities, and much of his social activities. Church work and service have obviously been very important to him. Maurice mentioned two experiences that have meant a lot to him. One is a program he initiated in the LDS Church in his stake called Project Temple in which they helped 44 inactive families become active in the church and attend the temple on the same day. He is proud that this group showed a smaller than average attrition rate over the years.


The other experience he mentioned is a series of similar incidents during his life, always centered around the joy he receives when he is able to help those who are in need. The most recent of these experiences was at Thanksgiving. Maurice and his son took a kitchen full of groceries to a needy family in spite of their own lack of funds at this time.

Since Maurice was young, his hobby has been to do this kind of service, and the church has provided a way for him to be in tune with those he could serve. (Note #11)

In summary, Maurice feels that he has been successful in the three most important of four major themes of his life, and successful in the fourth theme throughout the majority of his life, with extenuating circumstances curbing that success in later years.

Tribute to my father, Maurice Oscar Johnson by cjc

This ends the paper I did for my school class. Now, last of all, I want to pay tribute to my father. There are many, many things that I could talk about – for Daddy is almost perfect. But I’ll focus on a few.

First, I would like to mention that I have always viewed my father as the “ultimately” successful career man., He loved his chosen profession, gave his heart to it, was honest in his dealings at all times, and was ultimately very successful.

As a church worker, my father has always been the example. As I do my church work, I turn to things he taught me about hard work, honesty, discernment, faith, organization, and many other qualities. But most of all, my father is humble. We are told it’s not how fast we travel, but whether we stay on the straight and narrow path. Not only did Daddy stay on the path, but brought many people with him because of his sweet and humble attitude towards his Father in Heaven.

Dad’s life of service will live on in the good it has done for generations. Any good we have done as a family was in accordance with the example we received from our father and grandfather, Maurice.

Dad was always there to support me. He and Mom came to almost everything I did. I have watched children all my adult life waiting for their Dads to show up for programs, etc., and not make it. Dad supported me!

Dad passed on those feelings to me he learned in grade school. He has helped me understand the worth of the human individual – and the joy of service. (Note #12)

My father respected women. I have NEVER been plagued, as so many women I see – with feelings of inferiority engendered by the less than ideal treatment of women. Daddy taught us that women are not only equal, but very special – and I have always felt that. Probably at this time, because of what I see in this world, that is a most precious gift to me. (Note #13)

Dad always provided stability, love, shelter, necessities, values, ethics, and a SAFE environment in which to grow. This is so rare. I know from the example of my father what a real “successful” husband and father is. Few men measure up. (Note #14)

I often think of the lives of all of us children. Our parents provided the strength and foundation – through their love, stability, and teachings, for us to move forward in a frightening time with frightening problems, and be able to keep our roots in place. It was their job to help us become adults that could weather these horrific times and help some of God’s chosen spirits – and like few others, they did their job. Like all parents, Maurice and Doris were not perfect parents, but they did the important things right – and showered us with love. Thank you, Dad for everything you are, have been and for what you stand for. Your legacy is mightier than warriors and kings, for you have changed the world for good – just by being you.

Additional Notes

9. Two more courtship stories are told elsewhere. Maurice had been to Doris’ home to ask her for a date earlier, but she had the mumps. Also, Doris tells that they were both continuing to date others. When she felt that Maurice needed a reminder of how important she was, she deliberately left Mutual on the arm of another handsome young man, which caused enough jealousy in Maurice to realize he needed to propose to Doris.

10. In spite of the fact that the family organization is not formally functioning at this time, (2011) or for some time, the purpose of the organization was accomplished. The family stays close, helps each other, and stays concerned about each other. The organization was to help us in this life and prepare us to be an eternal family. That is still happening.

11. Maurice’s generous, loving, and giving attitude was noted by a General Authority of the LDS Church when Maurice was released from the Stake Presidency. At that time, the Authority stated, “Maurice Johnson is a man without guile.”

12. I remember after we had been to Costa Rica to adopt a son, Dad told his Priesthood Group how proud he was of what Von and I were doing.

13. Along with not asking Mom to do hard work on the farm, (though she helped him a great deal) Dad helped Mom a lot in the house. I remember him in the laundry room in the winter running the clothes through the washing process. During the winter, Dad did quite a bit of housework, watering plants, sweeping, washing thousands of dishes, etc. He was always trying to make our home comfortable for all who entered.


(Some of the following is repetitive. However, I include this because it gives some new insights into Maurice’s life as it was written by Carolyn in 1966 when she was 21 and Maurice was 45.)

I think I shall never forget spud harvest. Daddy and my Uncle Wallace who lives next to us would work on the spuds together and our combined families would harvest them. We worked every day for sometimes three and four weeks to get the spuds out of the ground, through thick and thin, cold and heat, rain and snow, and we hated it yet after we had left home, we missed home most at spud harvest.

(Note: CJC-2011. Harvest meant the culmination of a year’s work, planning, prayer and hope. Many days we were anxious for the weather to co-operate. Machinery break-downs were common and frustrating – especially to the men. At night our clothing would be left on the laundry room floor where we went to don it the next morning, hating to put on the filthy clothes. Many of the women wore “turbans” to cover their hair to keep the dirt out. On dry sunny days, we would wear goggles, and sometimes scarves over our noses and mouths to keep the dust away. LaNea (my cousin) and I took turns driving trucks – her for her Dad and me for mine. Dad always made me feel like I was a much better driver because I was good at driving the old trucks Dad had, even when LaNea had a new truck to drive. During breaks, or breakdowns, LaNea and I would play in the dirt, or make straw tunnels in the nearby straw stacks. One year we made so many tunnels in one stack that when our parents saw it, they closed it down to us, as there was not a good support base, and they were afraid it would fall in on us. I liked harvest best when Kirk worked. He would drive truck, and I would ride with him and read catalogues to him, and we would make plans about what we were going to purchase with our harvest money.
When I first began working in the harvest, I worked on an old potato digger. I even remember my grandfather Kirkham working with us .(Evidentially, Dad’s oldest brother Allan thought up the idea of the potato digger I worked on.  See the history of Rula Beck Johnson. This accords with what I had heared about Allan and machinery when I was young.)   Dad would stand on the back of the digger and bag potatoes as they came over, then set them off on the ground. Later we would all rest while the men got the tractor and wagon and “bucked” the sacks of potatoes onto the wagon to take them up to the cellar. One day Kirk and I decided to play a trick on the men, and filled a sack with straw. We learned fast from a frustrated father that this trick was physically hard on the unsuspecting man who lifted that sack. I remember I started by earning 25cents an hour, and was so excited when I worked up to $1.00 an hour. Dad always made me feel indispensable.

Mom made sure there were “nickel” candy bars for everyone on the morning and afternoon breaks. I loved that part. I learned to love “Snicker” bars during those breaks. While I drove the truck, I would lick mine so it would last a long time.

It was so exciting to plan to spend our money all during harvest, then actually do it at the end. One year I bought a new coat and wore it on my first date. My mother had to cut the tags out while my date waited, as we had forgotten to do that. Another year, I had my eye on a beautiful four place setting of purple glass dishes at Doug’s Store in Shelley, and hoped they would still be there. They were, and I still use them today.

One other thing about Spud Harvest. Maureen and I would spend hours planning Christmas, and begin to prepare by writing and discussing skits, planning and making decorations, and planning gifts while we turned at the ends of the rows, endlessly during the harvest.

As I got older, it was exciting to have Dad and Wallace purchase one of the new harvesters, one of the first in the valley. No longer did the crew consist of so many people. Before, on the digger, Dad would have 4-5 people working, plus the spud bucker at the back. Also, there would be a crew on the wagon and tractor of 2-3 men taking the spuds up to the cellars. Now, with the new harvester, one man drove the harvester, LaNea or I drove the truck in the fields and took turns working on the harvester with one other person. Then one or two people would be hired to take the trucks to the cellars or the distributors. )

Daddy is very wise with other people and he can judge character well. He knows when people are basically good and is always willing to help as much as he can. I think much of this resulted from his experience as a Bishop for I believe Bishops see much in life that few other people do. People trust Daddy a lot. He never has trouble getting financial loans. He can call up his bank and they hardly question him as to what it is to be used for. He is proud of this, as we all are.

I think of the ordeal we have to go through when being punished for something done wrong. Daddy gets angry at us and if necessary, spanks us, explaining shy we are in the wrong, but this isn’t the bad part. Daddy always comes and apologizes for it being necessary that he punish us and asks our forgiveness. It made us feel like we had hurt him ten times more than we had been hurt.

Daddy and Mom never scold us in front of our friends or speak a harsh word when they are there. After visiting homes where this isn’t practiced, I realize how terribly important it is. Also, Mom and Dad never argue in front of us and I doubt if they do when we’re not around too. Our friends were always welcome in our home and many are the fun parties we’ve had. I had one girlfriend in particular that was with me constantly and she would come home with me very often, most of the time before I even had a chance to ask my parents, yet they never objected.

(Note-CJC 2011- This was Vondis Landon)

Mom and Dad show a great interest in what we are doing. If one of us is singing in a group in church or something similar, they make a special effort to be there. No matter what the occasion where we are doing something special, we always know that our parents are there to back us up. They truly practice that the home is the most important place there is.

Often times Daddy has taken us camping and we have had some good times. We would go up in the hills in our bouncy pick-up and us kids would be in the back on a mattress and Mom and Dad in front. Daddy put up with the many things we had to take along with us. One time we went over a particularly high bump and by the time we stopped, you couldn’t tell what was kids or toys or blankets. Maureen ended up with a strawberry container on her head and my Dad, when he saw her, laughed so hard I was beginning to wonder if we were going to be able to finish the trip. Daddy usually did the outdoor cooking and it was always good. This and gardening are two of the few hobbies Daddy really enjoys for most of his time is spent in farming and church work. He loves to camp, but fishing and hunting are not his favorite sports. One time when I was up in West Yellowstone, I looked out of the window of the café and there were my parents on my little brother’s new Yamaha. They had come to spend the night in West and brought the Yamaha to give me a ride on it. They had made their journey in our large spud truck. Another time I remember we reached Wolverine (where we spent many of our camping trips) and we fixed supper, then down came the rain. We loaded into the truck, went home, and 8:00 the next morning found us back up to Wolverine cooking breakfast. May Dad is a very good sport.

(Note-CJC 2011. Another memory I have of camping is that us children wanted to communicate with Mom and Dad in the cab of the truck – so we came up with the idea of using a hose long enough to extend from the cab to the back of the truck. We would knock on the window, then use the hose to listen through and talk through with our parents.

Often times on our camping trips, the Smith family was included and what fun. Those times Mom and Adah would sit in the back with us, and Karl was in the front with Dad. The ladies would have us play games, in particular, “Quaker’s Meeting” where we would try to be the last one to make a noise. Of course this spurred on a great deal of merriment and laughter. The summer I worked at KID Radio, we would go and cook our supper in different places every Monday night with the Smiths, having the same menu of eggs, bacon, potatoes, and Mom’s warm homemade cinnamon swirl bread.)

Daddy likes to travel. When he was a Bishop we spent many week-end trips in Salt Lake. Often times we would put our luggage on the back floor of the car and pt a mattress on top of it and spend our trip riding on this. This is how we road on our trip to California. There we went to Disneyland, and we certainly enjoyed it,, but most of all, my Mom and Dad did, I think. We all had shirts alike that we had received for Christmas (that Mom made) and everywhere we went we were allowed to ride together. When we went on trips we were not extravagant, but Daddy always made sure we could afford a trip comfortably. One time Dad, Mom and I went to Las Vegas to a missionary testimonial and on the way back we drove off on many little roads to see beautiful sights. Dad isn’t one of these no-stop men. He wanted us to enjoy the trip.

(Note-CJC 2011) I remember some things differently now. When we were young, we would plan a trip to Yellowstone. Because of the farm watering chores, we had a certain number of hours in which to accomplish our trip. We are one of the few families that could see Yellowstone and Jackson in one day. At least once we did this by us children riding in the back of the pick-up, waving at the bears as we passed them.

When Dad was Bishop, we developed a tradition that lasted until I was grown of going to Salt Lake on Thanksgiving week-end, staying at a hotel, probably the Carlton, and watching the Thanksgiving parade. We would take all our Thanksgiving leftovers, and make the most delicious roll and turkey and dressing sandwiches. I remember standing on a street corner, watching the parade, thinking I was the luckiest child alive. This was right after us children had played in the halls at the hotel.)

Daddy has good taste in styles. Our home has always been beautiful inside and out…and Mom and Dad have always done the decorating themselves. They are always working on yard projects. Often times women must take the gifts their husbands buy them back to stores and exchange them for something that fits and that is in style, but Daddy has always been able to choose clothes and jewelry for Mom that suits her well.

(Note-CJC 2011) I still remember the long tables set up in the dining room to be used to roll out wallpaper and add paste to the back of it before putting it on the wall. One paper I remember in particular was dark green with huge peonies or some flowers on it. This repapering and repainting or remodeling would always go on after harvest and before Thanksgiving. I remember as a child waiting for Dad to come in from milking on Christmas Morn, sitting at the table in the dining room, not being able to see into the living room where the tree was because of the wall between the rooms and a door arch.. Later Dad remodeled and removed the arch between the rooms, adding open work bookshelves there, and opening up the arch to the vestibule with shelves.

Mom and Dad made sure we had nice bedrooms. The first bedroom Maureen and I had downstairs had grey flowered linoleum on the floor. We had two chest of drawers, two beds, a table and accessories, including bedspreads Mom made that were pink flowered with a green ruffle around the bottom. Maureen’s chest and headboard were accented in pink, and mine in green. Later, a light lavender blue was the main color. All the drawers and headboards were accented with this color, and wonder of wonders, we got a white princess phone for our teenage room.)

Many, many young people as well as older people have told me what a wonderful man my father is. He is looked up to where ever he goes. Vondis Landon, my girlfriend, always considered him and Mom as second parents.

When I think of my father in church I always can see him walking to the pulpit, putting his hands on either side, waiting a few seconds, and then begin talking with “my brothers and sisters”. He is a very humble speaker.

There are many things I would like to say about my father yet I feel that what I say cannot make him what he really is to people who read this and don’t know him.

I want to close now but I shall probably write much more on the one subject I have left to discuss… perhaps the most important thing to me in my home life. My mother and Father really know how to celebrate special occasions. Our birthdays are always special. We usually have a dinner party, so to speak, that Mom cooks or we go to dinner. We always have a birthday cake and sometimes our birthdays were almost as big as Christmas. At Easter everyone receives something new to wear. We go on a picnic, if the weather permits, the day before Easter, and Easter morning the bunny leaves his surprises in a basket for each child. These worldly pleasures are only a small part, for the true meaning of Easter is stressed. On Valentine’s day we exchange valentines and always receive a heart shaped box of chocolates from Daddy. Thanksgiving brings thankfulness to our home…perhaps most, thankfulness for each other. A huge, delicious meal is part of the celebration but the fun of preparing for it is the best part of the mal. Daddy always washes the dishes after while the girls do the rest. Daddy usually does this on Sundays also. Well, the meal at Thanksgiving was only the start of our celebrating. The afternoon following the meal we are all packed up to go to Salt Lake to watch the Christmas Parade and help usher in the Christmas Season. Us kids cram everything we can into our suitcases as soon as we start loading the car we begin sneaking pillows, paper dolls, stuffed animals, magazines, books, food, purses, camera, toys, papers and pencils, and any other amusements we can, out to the car. Daddy tells us we can’t take a lot of junk, but we run passed him lugging our loot and stashing it in inconvenient places like the back window, under our feet and seats, and under us. Each trip Daddy says, “Now don’t plan on taking as much stuff…” but I have noticed that he is usually helping us load the car as he is telling us we can’t take it.

Mom always includes a large box of food that we stop to eat, the favorite being biscuit sandwiches with turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce and pickles for the filling. Well, after about 99 stops on the way we make it to Salt Lake. We have always managed to stay at the same hotel. Daddy entertains the younger kids and the boys while Mom, Maureen and I take off shopping. Phyllis joined us last year. We go down and watch the parade the next day, we get there early and have a beautiful view until about five minutes before the start of the parade,. My Dad doesn’t believe in crowding and won’t push so we usually end up seeing the tops of all the floats, but what fun it is! After two nights in Salt Lake we journey home so full of Christmas Spirit that we have most of our plans made before we get home. Now we begin full scale on our Christmas plans.

There is no end to the decorating, baking, nuts, candy, programs, music and fun that goes into preparing for those 24 hours called Christmas, but at the back of all this, the most important things are the beautiful nativity, the Christmas Carols, and the church programs, love and friendship that bring out the true spirit of Christmas. The house is usually covered from top to bottom with decorations including trees in all the bedrooms and the living room and decorations outside. There is a Christmas shopping trip and Daddy always makes sure that each has enough money to be able to get what we want for each other. In our home we have truly reached a point of what will so-and-so think of the gift I will give them, not what am I going to get. Often times the gifts are homemade and always very special. Each year the week before Christmas is crammed so full that I think back and wonder how we managed to get it all in. There are always last minute shopping trips, ward, MIA and Primary parties and programs, parties with friends, and outside things but most important, us kids are always scooting Mom and Dad out of the house in order to practice the Christmas Eve Play. Usually we have a baking day, and so-called leisure day. We usually spend one night driving through Idaho Falls looking at the beautiful lights. The night beginning the week always brings in our tree that has been flocked or white washed and Daddy does his share by stringing the lights and tinsel. We all pitch in to help hang ornaments but icicle time finds Mom and one or two stray helpers still at it. Christmas Eve finally arrives. It begins by our parents visiting relatives usually for 45 minutes. We are home frantically setting up, diving into costumes, and practicing our final time for the play. The play is religious in nature and although simple, it is a highlight in each of our lives. I have noticed that as we grow older we lose interest in childish things but Christmas brings out simple joys again and not even our teenage brother has ever balked at his part in the Christmas Eve Play.

Of course Mom and Dad have never watched such a wonderful production as the Christmas Eve Play. After the play Dad explains that we cannot wake him until 9:00. Well we complain and plead for him to change his mind – knowing that we couldn’t possibly keep Mom and Dad in bed any later than 4:30. We hang up our stockings, set out the food for Santa, have family prayer and finally we are in bed – BUT NOT TO SLEEP. We toss and turn and call to the folks to see what time it is then turn and toss and call again. Finally it is time to get up and we pile upstairs to see a sight any kid couldn’t believe. Of course we get what we want but Santa always picks up something special that we weren’t expecting. Next the gifts are opened one at a time and I can remember my baby brother saying, ‘let Mom open hers next”, and I think this expressed the feeling in our home very well. The rest of the day is spent in visiting relatives and seeing a show and playing games.

The next holiday was New Year and each New Year has ushered in a better year than the last!

JUNE 1969

The fall of 1966 brought us the highlight of our family life. Dale was now ten years old, and long before, it was concluded that he would be the baby of the family. No so! On the 21 October 1966, a baby girl, Kristen Kay, was born. Only our family, who waited with the emotions of hope and joy, fear and anxiety the morning our mother was taken to the hospital, can ever know what Daddy’s words meant to us when he phoned that “It’s a girl. They are both fine. And oh, she’s a beautiful baby.” And what joy we have received from that baby. Only a family very much wanting another spirit in the home, receiving one after years of waiting, can know how it was.

But Krissy was only the first of the changes to come. 1968 saw the graduation of Maureen from Dental Assistant School, the graduation of Carl from high School, Phyllis becoming of age to date, and that’s not all.

Maureen, after years of frustrated wondering, found the man just right for her. She taught him the importance of the Gospel and he taught her the importance of being herself. On 2 Aug 1968, the families of Roger Milton Squires and Doris Maureen Johnson merged as the couple was united in the Idaho Falls Temple. And lucky for the families, Roger and Maureen planned to stay in the area for a while.

A lifelong dream of the entire family was realized in November of 1968 when Carl turned 19 and entered the West Spanish American Mission,. His three months of language training would prepare him to work with the Spanish people in California.,

January of 1969 saw Daddy’s youngest son Dale enter the Priesthood. That was another thrill for us all.

It is now June of 1969. I will close for now with this last current report. Farming is doing well. Daddy is trying to do too much. He is still in the Stake Presidency. Mama is in the Relief Society Presidency. Krissy is growing too fast. Dale is getting so tall, and is the biggest tease ever in the family. Carl is filling an honorable mission in spite of his setbacks in the form of two operations. We are expecting the first grandchild in December. And we are preparing to accept a new member of the family, Von Earl Christensen, as Carolyn’s husband, in September.