Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Henry Richard Emanuel Wessman: A Biography, Part 2

The two oldest children, Harry and Merle

Henry loved to read, as did many of his children. He loved to read Western stories that were published weekly. He liked the Zane Grey books. Different reading material was passed from person to person. It was definitely well used by the time the last person received it. His daughter Jean remembers staying up late with her dad and both would be reading. Jean (the mother) would come and lovingly chastise them for staying up so late. Many times, the father and daughter would not talk but it was very comfortable spending time together in this way. Jean loved being around him anytime she could. He would tease but not a lot. Jean called him “Daddy.” She said, “My father was a great father.”

John learned how to read with help from his sister Jean but also by reading the newspaper as Henry read it. John would stand in front of Henry and read it upside down. Henry would lovingly tease him and say, "You must be a printer. Can you read this the right way up?" Many of the other children could read upside down and from right to left instead of left to right. Is this because the printing skill was genetically in the family?!

Henry and his family always went to church while they lived in Mammoth, Utah. They belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He went to church a lot in his early years but in his later years when he moved to the city, he had to work quite a bit and could not go as often as he liked. When it came time for his children to be blessed and given a name, the family would do it in Henry John and Elizabeth Ann Hayward's ward in Salt Lake City. Church was a big part of his life even though he was not able to participate, as he wanted to.

No one is sure how Henry and Jean met. Some suspect that it may have been at a church function. It is also possible that they met in some sort of music activity. [Another history says that it was at a dancing class.] Jean's parents did not think it was a good idea for her to get interested so they thought it would be good for her to get away for awhile. They sent her away to Germany to study music. It did not make them forget each other. She was gone for a year. Sometimes Henry did not write as often to Jean as she wanted. One time, she sent a post card saying something to the effect "Henry, why haven't you written?" They married sometime after she returned to America.

He was very devoted to his wife. Henry liked to take Jean out on dates. One activity that was enjoyable was going out with his brother Joe and his wife Anna Wessman. They would like to play cards. Henry loved to play cards. When they would get together, someone always brought candy. John made sure he was around so he could kipe a piece if the situation arose. Someone would come and stay with the kids so they could have time together.

Henry adored his wife. They were a close couple. They always seemed to have a sparkle of romance in their eyes for each other. Is that why they had 14 children? He would show his love by bringing her little special things. He would bring little seafood dishes, desserts, and nippy cheeses that he really liked to share with his spouse.

He tried very hard to take good care of her.

He taught his sons mainly through example that they should reverence womanhood. He did this in many ways. When Hazel was sick, had a baby or anything like that, a woman would come into the home and help. Many times, it meant more strain on the budget, but Henry felt that it was important for his wife to have that help.

During the times that Jean was feeling bad or her health was poor, Henry would make breakfast and lunch for the kids. This was a great support to her. When the woodwork needed cleaning, it was the boy’s job because "cleaning woodwork is not a woman's job." The girls did light work like vacuuming.

He was kind to his wife in so many ways. She knew that she was truly loved and valued by him.

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