Look to the Stars
by Alice Isom Gubler Stratton
Chapter 22
The New Deal
(1933)
A fresno scraper
Example of a Fresno scraper image from a patent application.

Image is in the public domain.

126 With the New Year came the snow, which clung stubbornly to the shady slopes of the canyon, and capped the dugway to Hurricane with ice. One morning as we started up the dugway, an old fellow hailed us, so Winferd kindly stopped to pick him up. The grade was too steep and slick. Our car wheels spun, and we skidded into the barpit, stalling three other cars behind us. The drivers all got out to push and help each other, but the old fellow who was the cause of it all, hobbled out of our car and mumbled, "I might as well be walking on." Finally, when all of the cars got traction enough to crawl up the hill, the old man tried to hail a ride again, but no one stopped.

Winter concentrated itself in the canyon, but the snow melted in the sun-swept fields up town. Winferd plowed the garden and excavated a basement for our house. The excavating was done with a fresno (scraper) and a horse. Neighbors traded work for swim cards.

I stayed to tend the business, which was so slow I had time to explore every nook of the shadow-trapped canyon. On the shortest days, the first rays of the sun reached the house at 10:00 a.m. and were gone by 3:00 p.m. Five hours of sunshine was not enough. The pipe line remained frozen, so hauling water became routine.

When the ice finally melted, little green things pushed up through the wet sod and the sun at last traveled above the south rim of the hill. Still, we had no water. Surely no ice could remain in the pipes in such weather, I thought, so I followed along the pipeline to investigate. There, just barely on our side of the meter, was a stream oozing into the ground where the pipe had burst. We could have had water long before, if only we had checked.

When the marshal made his six-month's reading, he gave us a water bill for $110.00.

"But we haven't had a drop of water for three months," I protested.

"That's too bad. The water was delivered to your meter. The bill has got to be paid."

"Look," I cried, "if the town had buried their part of the pipe, we wouldn't have been frozen out."

"Well, if you folks want to sit this out in jail, that's up to you," he said.

Luckily for us, Hurricane changed marshals at this time. Wilson Imlay became the new marshall. He walked along the pipeline with, and then said, "Would you pay $10 for water used?"

Would we! We were happy to. His kindness was greatly appreciated.

Grandmother Crawford passed away on April 13, at the age of eighty-two. I felt that she died of homesickness. Less than two years before, Zion National Park had extended its boundary line to encompass all of Oak Creek. 127 The house that Grandfather had built, as well as the homes of my uncles and cousins, were torn down. Although Grandfather had been gone for twenty years, Grandmother had kept his memory alive with touches of his personal belongings here and there about the sunny bright home he had built. How she loved and cherished every reminder of him, and now, she had been literally torn away from the one spot on earth that she held most dear. The little new house that was built for her in Springdale was never home to her. It seemed that it would have been a pitifully small thing for the Park Service to have let her remain in her home until her mortal life was through.

One day LaPriel tended the pool, while Winferd and I scouted the Pine Valley foothills in search of building sand.

"A herd of sheep has recently passed this way," Winferd observed.

Just then, we heard a plaintive little cry, so we followed the sound up a wash. There alone, among the scrub oak, was silky white baby goat. Kneeling, I held my hand out coaxingly. I was wearing a white wool sweater, and the little kid quickly saw the resemblance between me and his mother. Dainty-footed he came, nuzzling and whimpering into my sweater.

"Oh, please Winferd, can I have him?" I coaxed.

"You're asking for trouble," he protested.

"Please. We can't leave him here alone," I begged.

The little goat's tail flitted back and forth, as his head bunted and begged.

"Oh, alright," Winferd surrendered. "You're both too much for me."

Well! That little billy goat was the most sociable critter that ever lived at a public swimming pool. He adopted everyone and everything, cars included. No car was too slick or shiny for his prancing hooves. The number of vehicles we had to wash became mortifying.

"We've got to get rid of that goat," Winferd complained.

We had lots of takers, but I couldn't part with him. Early one morning, Winferd announced with a grin, "Billy won't bother us today."

"What happened?" I asked suspiciously.

"He's in a good safe place."

Leading me out the door, he pointed to a ledge above the swimming pool. There on a little shelf, the goat looked down at us, plaintively bleating.

"Oh, Winferd," I exclaimed, "we can't leave him there."

"Why not? It's a good place for him," he laughed.

"Please get him down," I begged.

"It's a perfectly proper place for a goat," he said. "When he gets ready, he'll figure out how to get down, the same way he got up."

128 Surveying the situation, I could see that if the goat jumped he'd kill himself. While Winferd cleaned the dressing rooms, I climbed above the ledge and let myself down onto the shelf beside the goat. I had intended to get hold of him and boost him on top. Much to my distress, I found the shelf too narrow for me to stoop. I'd fall over the edge if I tried it. The goat was so tickled to have company that he wiggled against me, almost knocking us both off. Digging my fingers in the cracks of the rocks, I screamed for help.

Winferd came out of the building, and seeing our predicament, bounded up the hillside. Standing above the little cliff where we were trapped, he looked down at us. I was so scared I whimpered almost as pitifully as the goat.

"You're a fine pair," Winferd panted.

After pulling me onto safe footing, he reached down and got the goat. His sense of humor was maddening. He chuckled all the way down the hill.

Homer and Joe Englestead came for a swim, and when Joe said, "I'll give you a dime for that goat," Winferd said, "I'll take it."

Tickled over the deal, Joe took the little fellow in her arms as she got in the car to leave. "You precious little darling," she cooed.

Homer started the moter and Joe said, "Oh, oh," raising the goat up from her lap. A steaming puddle glistened on her black satin skirt.

Laughing uproariously as Homer, Joe and the goat drove out of sight, Winferd said, "What shall we do with the dime?"

In the evenings, Winferd drew house plans with as much zeal as if he had money to execute them. Digging a hole for a basement was one thing, but building was another—especially without cash. But optimistically he planned. Our contract to run the pool would soon be up.

The dirt that came out of the basement was sticky, red gumbo, so Winferd conceived the idea of building forms for garage walls, and tamping in the clay. For reinforcement, he strung old barbed wire and scrap iron.

The original settlers in Hurricane and LaVerkin had lived in tents or graineries while they built their permanent homes. With the coming of the automobile, people built garages for their temporary homes. And so our garage sprouted, growing round upon round, as the hole for our basement increased. Window frames and door frames took shape, and finally a roof was shingled, cement floors were poured, and walls plastered. The total cash investment was $100, and we owned a home that was all paid for. True, it was a mud hut, with cracks in the outside walls that had dried too quickly, but all of this would eventually be covered with siding. The mud, like adobes, was excellent insulation, and the little house was cozy.

Whenever I could break away, I'd hike up town. Up on top, the fields were green, and the horizon stretched beyond the orchards to the mountains. I had grown weary of having my view hampered by canyon walls. Up on top, I felt like a bird out of its cage. I wanted to fluff my feathers, flick my wings and warble. Anxiously I counted the days until the first of June. And guess what! We were going to have a baby! Every day I chattered happily about moving and about plans for our baby.

129 On the last afternoon in May, when we should have been packing, Winferd put his arm around me and said, "We won't be moving tomorrow."

"Why not?" I asked in alarm.

"I have signed a contract to run the place for another year. "

All the happiness I had felt drained from me. "Oh no," I sobbed, "I can't stand this canyon for another year."

"Look, darling," he pleaded, "now that there is a baby coming, we have no choice. I don't know any other way to make a dollar."

After all, he was the provider, so I had to accept his decision.

He did his best to relieve me of "canyon fever." Donworth, LaPriel or Kate often tended the springs on a Sunday afternoon, so we could get out.

One afternoon, as we cruised above Duncan Flat, something across the river caught Winferd's eye. Slowing the car to a crawl, he pointed.

"Look over there, beyond that clump of cottonwoods." Then he gasped, "Look out!"

He had steered in the direction of his pointing, and we were slowly going over the bank. I sized up the pile of Russian thistle trapped below, and knew we would land in it, upside down.

But we didn't. Surprised, we hung as though on a sky hook. The rear of the car was in the air and we were leaning against the windshield. Gingerly, Winferd rolled the glass down and peered out.

"We're caught on the end of a culvert," he announced.

Carefully he crawled out, then after rescuing me, we scrambled up the bank to the road.

"Wait here," he said, "while I go for help."

As I sat on a rock, I mused. We were unharmed. We could have been pinned beneath an upturned car, but we weren't. We weren't even scratched. I thought of the important little person who would soon join our family. It was all quite clear. That little life was not to be snuffed out before it had begun. For our car to come down at exactly the right angle to become firmly balanced on that culvert was no thing of chance. We had been protected.

Winferd hiked to Evan Lee's farm. Oddly enough, drillers from the Virgin Oil Fields were there with a crane. Greasy, black and cheerful, they came to our rescue. With a hook and chain, they hoisted our car onto the road. Total damage: two smashed milk bottles in the back seat.

When Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn in as President of the United States in March ofr 1933, estimates of the number of unemployed ran as high as 18,000,000. He made his inaugural address to a badly frightened nation. "All we have to fear, is fear itself," he said.

He had been working on reform measures since he accepted the nomination in 1932, and he immediately called Congress into an extra session, known as "The Hundred Days," although it was actually only ninety-nine 130 days. Every important measure the President asked for was passed, usually by an overwhelming majority. Franklin D. Roosevelt knew exactly what he wanted and moved swiftly to get it. These measures became known as "The New Deal."

President Roosevelt was a Democrat, and we were Republicans, and there was a definite difference between the two parties in those days. The President had the brilliant idea that we could spend our way to prosperity by getting money into circulation.recklessly, it seemed to me. Even his philosophy about fear scared me. But he seemed to thrill and excite our nation. Certainly he got things going. As always, song writers reflected the spirit of the times. Snatches of two songs, that came daily over the radio, still come to my mind:

Happy days are here again, the skies above are clear again,
Let us sing a song of cheer again, happy days are here again.
All together shout it now, there's no one who can doubt it now,
Let us tell the world about it now. Happy days are here again.

From "Happy Days Are Here Again" by Milton Ager (music) and Jack Yellen (lyrics)

And—

There's a new day in view,
There is gold in the blue,
There is hope in the hearts of men.
All the world's on the way
To a sunnier day,
'Cause the road is open again.

From "The Road Is Open Again" by Sammy Fain (music) and Irving Kahal (lyrics)

Oh, I'll tell you, to the optimistic, President Roosevelt held a magic wand that would banish all of the ills of the depression. Fearful Republicans could see the beginning of national debts.

One of the first measures that struck close to home, was the setting up of the Civilian Conservation Corps. The radio continuously broadcasted the need for young men to save our natural resources, plant trees, build dams and bridges and fight fires. Thousands of men from coast to coast signed up, and CCC Camps were built, one in LaVerkin, one in Leeds, one in Washington, and one in Zion Canyon, and boys and men in khaki green swarmed the country side. They built picnic tables and made recreation areas such as Oak Grove, and the Pine Valley Campground. Through the CCC's, President Roosevelt was responsible for many romances and quick marriages. Many of our local girls married CCC boys. (In fact, my dear children, that is how you got your Uncle Luther Fuller. He was supervisor over the construction of the LaVerkin CCC Camp.) Missionary work was done on a large scale, and some of our strongest church members were converts from President Roosevelt's "Happy Days Are Here Again" program.

Winferd and Kate, scheming together, planned vacation for Mama and me. Mama needed rest, and I needed to get out of the canyon. Winferd took us to the Pine Vally Campground, which was under construction, pitched our tent and set up our supplies. Kate was to run things at home in Mama's stead. Poor Papa. How he suffered. For thirty-two years Mama had never been out of his sight. This vacation, not planned by him, was total agony to him. After Winferd had made our camp cozy, he returned home.

The first night, after Mama and I had snuggled into bed, we heard something rattling about among our things. Startled, I started to rare up, but Mama pulled me back.

"It's a skunk," she whispered.

131 During the day, the woods swarmed with CCC boys. Often we had to take cover when they dynamited. Tiny clods and pebbles sprayed down through the trees onto our tent.

Daily, Mama and I hiked seven miles, round trip, to the Pine Valley post office. Usually we were rewarded with letters from home. Papa was so homesick for Mama it was pitiful. At the end of the first week, Winferd brought him to see her. A week later, when it was time to break camp, he brought Wayne and Papa too. They spent the day fishing. Winferd didn't catch a thing, but Wayne caught one fish on his water-willow pole and string. Wayne was so sunburned, his ears were peeling and his red face made his white hair look even whiter. The excitement of catching the only fish in camp stretched his grin across a face that still hadn't grown up to match his two big front teeth.

This vacation was a choice experience.the only time in my life when I had my mother all to myself. But we were both glad to return home.

The LaVerkin Ward boomed with the coming of the CCCs. I first met Luther Fuller when he came to the Springs to get me to type the parts of a three act play. Luther was the Drama Director for the MIA, and we had never had it so good. His performances were some of the most outstanding our area had ever seen. He built all new scenery for the stage, and with his efforts, our church house suddenly spruced up. He was a real blessing to the ward. (He married Winferd's sister Rosalba, 5 July 1934.)

It was during 1933 that all of the banks in the nation were closed for four days. Panic-stricken people had made a run on the banks, withdrawing their money, so President Roosevelt ordered that all banks be closed until they could prove they were on solid footing. Zion's Bank, our one and only stood the test.

Our radio was our most treasured luxury. Grandpa Gubler had won it at a Christmas Eve drawing, two years before, at Graff's store. Grandpa already had a big cabinet radio, so Winferd swapped his phonograph for this table model. We listened regularly to "Amos and Andy," "Lum and Abner," "Fibber McGee and Molly," "George Burns and Gracie Allen," and to "One Man's Family." And we sang along with familiar songs. One of them in particular seemed written for me. Part of the words were, "She may be weary, women do get weary, wearing the same shabby dress, and when she's weary, try a little tenderness. I know she's waiting, just anticipating, things she may never possess, and while she's waiting, try a little tenderness."

I used to sing this, almost with a lump in my throat. I wasn't used to being pregnant. I had just two maternity dresses, and was awfully tired of them both.

Our baby was to be born in January, so at Christmas time I felt quite unglamorous. When I opened my gift from Winferd, it was a glazed cotton dress of blue and white, with a white lace trimmed dickey.

"To wear after the baby comes," he smiled.

132 I tried it on. It fit. It fit me now, on Christmas Day!

Oh, how weary I had been "wearing that same shabby dress."

"I'm sorry darling," Winferd said. "I got the dress much too big for you to wear after the baby comes."

I hugged and hugged him. Such happiness was mine to wear a new dress on Christmas Day. "You made a wonderful mistake," I assured him.

Online Publication Notes

Online notes provided courtesy of Andrew Gifford, 11 Jul. 2011.

  1. "Happy Days Are Here Again" was first recorded in 1929 as a song for the film Chasing Rainbows in which bootleggers celebrate the upcoming repeal of Prohibition. It was later used by F.D.R.'s campaign, and has since been associated with his "New Deal" politics. See Wikipedia: Happy Days Are Here Again or hear the original song on YouTube
  2. The Road is Open Again (1933) was a short film put out for the National Recovery Administration (NRA) by Warner Brothers. The song, with the same name, was written by Irving Kahal (lyrics) and Sammy Fain (music), and is sung by Dick Powell as the credits play at the beginning. Watch a short film which included the song at the beginning - FDR Presidential Library Internet Archive
  3. Wikipedia: Amos 'n' Andy or listen to a radio episode of Amos 'n Andy on YouTube
  4. Wikipedia: Lum and Abner or listen to a radio episode of Lum and Abner on YouTube
  5. Wikipedia: Fibber McGee and Molly or listen to a radio episode of Fibber McGee and Molley on YouTube
  6. Wikipedia: Burns and Allen or listen to a radio episode of George Burns and Gracie Allen on YouTube
  7. Wikipedia: One Man's Family or listen to a radio episode of One Man's Family on the Bay Area Radio Museum
  8. Try a Little Tenderness
    (1932)

    She may be weary,
    Women do get weary

    Wearing the same shabby dress
    And when she's weary,
    Try a little tenderness.

    You know she's waiting,
    Just anticipating

    Things she may never possess.
    While she's without them,
    Try a little tenderness.

    I'ts not just sentimental,
    She has her grief and care,

    And a word that's soft and gentle,
    Makes it easier to bear.

    You won't regret it,
    Women don't forget it,

    Love is their whole happiness.
    It's all so easy
    Try a little tenderness.

    Irving King (lyrics)
    Harry M. Woods (music)