Monday, February 9, 2009

Morgan 3: Jessie Christensen Morgan, Part IV

I’ll tell you my mother was a dressmaker. She used to sew for all of the Mexicans in town and half the white people. She sure made me some pretty dresses. She had one pattern and she made everybody’s pattern from that. They were all different dresses. She had a pasteboard and everybody’s size was punched in holes on it and she just put her pencil in and drew all the holes and then cut the pattern out. She was sewing on her machine all the time. She even made wedding dresses. I had the prettiest dresses in the school.

Marinus Christensen on the right in front of his blacksmith shop.

My Dad was a blacksmith and he was also Superintendent of the Stake Sunday School. My brother Elmer was his secretary. One day Elmer told Dad that if this certain brother came in and slapped him on the back that morning and said, “Good morning, Brother Christensen,” he was going to leave. He didn’t like anyone paying attention to him. He sure was a good secretary. So pop just busted to get over there before the meeting so he could warn the Brother but just as they walked through the door, he slapped Elmer on the back and said “How are ya Brother Christensen?” Elmer got up and left. That irked Elmer because people would call him Brother Christensen. Then they put me in as Stake Secretary. But Elmer did all the work. He was excellent in figures. I knew my figures but I wasn’t as smart as Elmer.

In St. Johns during the dances we couldn’t hear the orchestra for the feet a scraping on the floor. The orchestra was just Brother Mineer playing his fiddle and somebody else played the guitar. We had wonderful dances. One night Joe Jarvis came in a cart with two horses hooked on it. He stopped and got me first and then he went up and he stopped and went in and got Ethyl Greer. It just tickled me so much and I thought it was funny. Ethyl just sat there with a solemn face. So we got to the dance and he said, “Well, I’ll tell you, Ethyl. I picked Jessie up for the dance first so I’ll dance with Jessie first and then I’ll come and dance with you.” Ethyl was not too happy. As we were going down to dance Joe said, “I’m dancing with you first because I’ll never get another chance.” He didn’t.

Jessie is second from the right, next to Albert Anderson, her boyfriend at the time.

The desperados used to ride through the town in St. Johns when I was a young girl. One time they came up through town shooting up the town. I crawled under the steps of the old school-house as they passed and they just shot in the air and everyplace and rode back and forth through town shooting. They shot out over these pastures in St. Johns. They weren’t all wet and soggy like they are now. They rode out over there and then a posse of men went out after them and the desperados shot Willey Berry and killed him.

I had the worst time in my life trying to be educated in music. There was nothing I wanted to do more than play some instrument or take music lessons. So I went down to Uncle Andy’s sister Naomi Gibbons and I washed and scrubbed floors for two days to get a piano lesson. She was good. The problem was I never got a very good lesson. Her kids were always jumping up on the stool and screaming in and out and yelling and pounding on the upper part of the piano until I quit. I said I wasn’t going down there anymore and Mother agreed with me, I still enjoyed singing. I was always in a quartet or a double mixed quartet either in church or school. I was singing all the time.

One time my mother went to Phoenix to visit Addie and we were left alone with Dad. While she was gone we had one of the biggest snow storms that ever hit St. Johns. My brother Paul wore some boots and he had a boot jack that would help him pull his boots off. He’d just sit down and pull his boots on and off. He kept them off so much pulling them off and on that I let him freeze his heels. I didn’t know his heels were frozen. Mother came home and Paul had his heels frozen and I’d never made the bed because Elmer wouldn’t let me in the bedroom. He’d get up in the transom and take a broom and if I started in the bedroom to make the bed, he’d swing the broom and hit me. We’d have soup every day when Mother was gone. We had a cellar that was built on top of the ground with windows. It was just as cold as ice inside. Dad always had half of a beef hung in there and sheep and there was a rug for the pans of milk. Dad would go out and saw a piece of meat and put it on to boil and then he’d bring some potatoes in and I’d have to peel them and put them in the soup. It seemed to me like Mother was gone forever.

When she returned she brought a trunkful of oranges home from Phoenix. Just to tell you the kind of Mother I had, she sent a little bucket full of oranges to all of the neighbors and then we had a taste. She said we had enough and she didn’t want the neighbors to go without.

To be continued...

Picture of oranges from

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