Monday, February 16, 2009

Morgan 3: Jessie Christensen Morgan, Part A

Excerpts from an interview of Jessie Christensen Morgan, April 1, 1977, Salt Lake City, Utah. By James Tanner.

On her childhood

I remember going to school and I remember my geography class more than anything because Lyle Greer was my teacher and see the top of the map was North and he’d say right up at the top and I thought he meant right up in the stars, and I would say how far up, how far up in the stars, and he’s say come here. Come here to me and I’d go up to him and he’d put a chunk of ice down my back and every noon when I’d go home for lunch, mother would have to change my clothes cause I’d be so wet clear through with ice down my back and she told him if he did that again, she would have him barred from teaching and so then he would have me hold my hand out and he’d strike it with a ruler and I’d shut my hand like this so mother couldn’t see. It was just bleeding where he had hit my hand with the ruler and I’d go this way so mother couldn’t see. Oh, he was mean. I would have liked to have choked him.

And I remember they used to pay their tithing with eggs, fruit and all this stuff, grain, and over at the tithing office they had a cellar with a door that opened out and some boys pushed me down on the grain and threw a mouse down there, and I screamed and screamed and finally had a regular convulsion I was so afraid and that made me afraid of mice. That was mean. I was just scared to death. They used to have lots of mice in the homes. I’d go home from Mutual or something and see a mouse and I’d jump from one chair to another.

I had a little Shetland pony that was mine. I used to go out to the sheds once in a while. Dad would let me ride it with an Indian blanket and a loop on his nose—just a rope and a loop on his nose. And I’d go out with the calves and there were a lot of prairie dog holes and whenever he’d see a prairie dog hole he’d stop and I’d go over his head and sit on the ground and then I’d get up and pick up my blanket and get back on and then we’d go on. I guess I’d go over his head about four or five times every time I rode. Dad said he would give me a dollar if I would milk the cows and oh, that dollar was big, he pulled it out of his pocket—silver dollar it was. So I went down to the corral and he sat on the granary steps and I started to say, so, just as I started to climb through the rail fence to get in to milk the cow, and I got up to her and I said so, so, so and she turned her head to look at me and I ran for the fence. And then any time I did anything that was big or important, he’d give me a fat calf. When I was married I had seven head of cows. I had one old jersey cow that was so tame, and when I had got her she was so mean I had to tie her legs together to milk her. I was scared to death of animals.

To be continued...

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