Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Morgan 3: Jessie Christensen Morgan, Part B

On Childhood and Marriage

I got married the 28th of March and I wanted to be different. But I was just a woman and I got married and left immediately for Holbrook to go through the temple and we went back and went through the temple and it took us all day at that time to go through the temple. It took us all day long and we never had anything to eat—we didn’t eat anything and when we got out Harold was so sick. Got in a taxi and it was kind of hot in there. The Salt Lake Temple.

I remember one big snowstorm we had in St. Johns. Boy it was cold. And mother had gone to Phoenix to visit Addie and left we children with Dad and Dad had run out and the cellar was built on top of the ground with the double wall and little windows and he would go out there and cut off a piece of meat, it was frozen stiff, put it in the kettle and make some soup. We sure had lots of soup and the potatoes were frozen—just frozen and we’d have to peel the potatoes and put them in some water to take the frost out and put them in the soup and my little brother Paul had some boots and he had a boot jack to pull off his boots and he sat there and pulled off his boots and put them on until it froze his heels. We were in a mess when mother got home. All of the fields frozen. Then we had a big fire. Everybody in town was in it trying to…haystacks burnt up, trying to get the horses out—you know you can’t hardly get a horse out of a fire. They’d pull on the horse and pull on it and finally they would get them out, but they won’t go out of a fire, they want to stay there. This fire started on the Conrad Overson side. I think he was smoking and threw a cigarette down and started the straw and that started the hay and there was no water in town, they turned the city ditch water down and ran buckets of water down but it didn’t do much good. They didn’t have a fire department or anything. Someone said St. Johns had grown clear out to the Mexican graveyard. … I’d hate to live out there—if the reservoir broke, boy, would they ever go down.

Did the reservoir ever break when you were little?

Yes, it did. I remember all the houses floating off and one house cracked right in two, furniture going down.

Sister Greer had her home just above us and they opened her house for a mortuary and it was full of dead people. One woman I remember, mother told me, this woman had this long hair and it was just full of cockleburrs and they had to just comb it the best they could and then cut it off so they could fix her hair. Yes, that was a terrible sight. Never will forget that.

Where did you live after you were married?

In the Aircastle. It was just an old house. It was just a slim house with an upstairs and they called it the Aircastle and they had a little room built on the back and we lived in the little room on the back—in St. Johns. They had an apple tree out just by my door, I lived…so I would take those apples that fell on the ground and peeled them and dried them and I had a flour sack half full of dried apples and then I took some of the crabapples and made jelly and bottled them whole, and I didn’t pick any, I just took what had come from the ground, and when they come over and saw what I had, they charged me for it and then we moved. We were paying them rent and they were so mad to think I had got some of their apples, they charged me for them. The rest of the year they just lay there and rotted.

Dad was a blacksmith and Brother Udall asked him if he would take some apples on part of his pay and Dad said he would do that, so he said for me to go up and get the apples, and Brother Udall said there they are on the ground, you go and pick your wagon full. So I took the apples home and mother said, well these are all bruised. I said, well she had me pick them up off the ground. So mother said well, you stay here, I’ll be back in a minute, so mother took the wagon, spitting fire when she left, and she went and dumped them in Udall’s lot and she went to the door and said I brought your apples back, there they are, she said, I’ll take money for what you owe my husband. The Udalls were just beside themselves. Nobody could get the best of mother. She said you better get it, I’ll take the money. I’m not taking rotten apples. Mother was a regular businesswoman.

If Dad had let her do the charging and collecting he’d have been rich, but he was so good to people. I don’t know whether that is good or not. I guess they didn’t have any money—if they needed something from the market, I guess they’d charge it. He did keep books, but he never collected much, until after he’d call. Mother sure collected.

Where was your first baby born?

In St. Johns. Mother’s home. Helen, oh she was cute, oh she was pretty. Everybody in town came to see her. She was the prettiest thing—well, I thought so, I was her mother. She laughed. I used to take her to choir practice with me. I used to keep my babies clean. Sister Brown would come down and say what’s the matter with Jessie. And mother would say, why. And she would say well all the other girls take the babies out but I never see Jessie take any of them out. Mother asked why I didn’t take the babies out and tend them for the mothers and I said because they stink. The babies did stink. They didn’t keep them clean. Mother said well that is excuse enough, I don’t blame you.

To be continued...

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