Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Henry Richard Emanuel Wessman: A Biography, Part 9

The younger as well as the older kids would love to play baseball with their dad. It was quite fun. There were enough kids in the family to get together a good size team. He was pretty patient. He used to enjoy showing off by throwing a softball. Not one kid could throw a ball higher than he could. It was so fun. Henry was somewhat athletic. He could play the games such as baseball etc. quite well. He could also slam pretty well. Those are great memories. He was a kid at heart.

They also had picnics. Everyone piled in. Sometimes, they would take along friends. The washtub would be full of lunch to take up the canyons or to a resort to go swimming. “We were all taught to swim while we were little.” The family had two cars. They would be loaded up and up the canyons they would go. Friends would come if there were room. They played baseball, hiked and took instruments and played songs. The family did not go away on big vacations because there were too many of them.

Henry expected certain things out of his children. One time, Keith tried to run away from church and he almost got home. The next thing that he knew, he heard the old Dodge tearing up the road. Henry never went over 45 miles per hour.... He came screeching up the road and spotted Keith. He got Keith right back in the car and took him back to church. Keith does not know how he found out he was gone.

Another time, Keith was attempting to cut school (the first time). Henry ran him down and took him right back. Keith did not try to cut school again until he was a senior.

Life was certainly not boring with so many children around. He never knew quite what to expect. There were illness and disease such as scarlet fever, chicken pox, whooping cough, measles, small pox etc. that were prevalent. Some of his family became sick by having these diseases. A quarantine sign with big black letters would be nailed to the front of the house.

Liz with children Julia and Rich

There was an irrigation pond that was called either Ellison or Beuss Pond. Some of the children snuck in when they were not supposed too. Liz almost drowned but she was saved. She was scared to death and would not go back into the water. A friend name Owen threw her back in so she would not have a fear of the water.

The whole bunch of kids made a deal that they would not tell what happened. Especially to their parents. They were afraid of the repercussions if the situation were known. Jean (the daughter) does not know who squealed but someone did. Imagine the surprise of Henry and his wife when they read in the newspaper that their daughter Liz almost drowned. A very interesting conversation must have followed...

Henry had his certain opinions about hair. He liked long, straight hair. He certainly did not like curly hair. Especially when it was not natural. When his daughter Jean came home and wanted to get a perm, he said "NO." Jean cried and cried. She used one of the oldest excuses in the book, which is "Everyone else does." Henry decided to let her have one. Jean loved it but Henry did not. He never said a word about it though.

Joe Wessman (his brother) also liked long straight hair. Anna and Jean decided to have their hair cut one day. Their spouses were very upset when they saw the new hairstyle. However, Jean did bring home her hair in one long braided piece. It was quite long.

Henry expected the children to live up to the rules of the home. He was the disciplinarian. Jean did not do it. She did not have to. All she would have to do is cry and the children did not like that. It could be heard "don't make mom cry." He did not allow the children to sass or talk back to his wife. If they did, they would incur his wrath.


The family spent evenings together. There was not as much distraction outside the home as there is now. The home environment was great due to their own entertainment. The family was very close. They learned to get along with those with whom they associated with.

In later years, the family still got together when possible and enjoyed each other’s company. They like playing games, reminiscing, etc. By now, there are spouses involved and it makes for more family memories. The children of Henry and Jean live in different places and are involved in different activities but there is still a close bond between the children.

To be continued...

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