Monday, May 31, 2010

Henry Richard Emanuel Wessman: A Biography, Part 8

Henry would pick out different things in each child that pleased him. That became the thing that he would center in to show that particular person some attention. Marilyn had snow-white hair and he would call her the "little Swede." Keith was a premature baby and did not do well at first. Henry said to put him out in the dirt and sunlight. He got quite brown. For many years, he was called "Brownie." Gam was called "Dynamite."

Henry loved to swim and play in the water. He insisted that the kids learn how to swim. The Municipal Warm Springs was his favorite spot to go. At Beck Hot Springs, there was an odor and taste to the water so it was not as good of a place to go. Back then, the hot springs would be used as a folk lore to cure all ills.

Keith with his niece Ann

Henry was good at swimming under the water. Henry taught Ernie to do it about as long as he did. However, as soon as Ernie got to the top of the water, he needed his father because he was not as good there.

Ernie was fearless in the water even though he could not swim on top. Ernie remembers going off the diving board or whatever was there right into the water. He knew that his father was there ready to catch him. Henry would catch his son, take him to shore and it would start all over again.


Jeans’s earliest memory of her father, is sitting on his shoulder watching the parade of soldiers coming home from World War I. She was about three years old at the time. Henry liked being with his family. He loved baseball. He would play baseball with his children.

The family would get in the old 1918 Dodge touring car and go on trips. They would go to Utah Lake, Geneva, and Saratoga, up in the canyons, camp, eat, and swim. He liked to take the kids camping.

He was always concerned for each child. He and his wife would forego their pleasure and comfort many times so the children would have the things that they needed either physically or emotionally. He would always bring home a gift for the sick child. For instance, when John (almost six years old) broke his arm by going down a slide, Henry brought him a small ball. The children loved having this type of special attention paid to them. He was always thoughtful of his children.

One night Norinne was sleep walking and walked out the second story of their home through a window. Jean heard her crying and asked someone to go check on her. Jean realized that the crying was coming from outside and so she went and found her daughter who was muddy. Norinne remembers nothing about going out the window. She does remember being in her parent's bed. Norinne was not hurt. Someone got hold of Henry and he came home to make sure that she was all right.

When the Wessman family lived on Roosevelt Ave. in Salt Lake City, there was a hot water boiler in the basement that would heat up the home. Henry would go down and build a fire in the furnace with coal. It would take about an hour to heat up the house if the fire was started from scratch. However, if the heat had been kept going, it would not take that long.

Henry was a good father but he worked long hours. The family did not see a lot of him because he would work night and day. When he was home, he spent quality time with his family. He enjoyed playing with his children. He would play marbles with the boys. He would play jacks and jump rope with the girls. He would also play jump the rope. He never raised his voice. He never hit anyone. He would sometimes help Harry to move faster by putting his foot on his behind. When Henry said, “quit,” everyone did. We were in the habit of doing what we were told. He thought that girls did not do heavy housework. The boys did the heavy cleaning of the inside woodwork.

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There was an empty field across from their home 36th and Jefferson in Ogden, Utah. This is where Henry made a make-shift golf course. He had two golf clubs and so they had their own little golf club. In addition, while living in Ogden, there were little foothills (36th and Harrison) that Henry taught his children to ski on. Now it is a residential area.

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