Look to the Stars
by Alice Isom Gubler Stratton

Chapter 30
Shirley
(1941)

157 The young married folks in LaVerkin enjoyed getting together. If it wasn't Finley Judd's or Wayne Wilson's birthday, we celebrated because it was June or July, or someone had ripe melons, or because the nights were crisp enough for a bonfire. Wherever Winferd was, there were games; and wherever Bill Sanders was, there was singing, especially around a bonfire.

After the last marshmallow had been toasted, and we sat cross-legged on the ground watching the glowing embers, Bill started the singing—"Just a Song at Twilight", "The West, a Nest and You", "Utah Trail", or some other beloved melody. The richness of his voice and the flash of his smile was compelling, and we sang until there was only the starlight to see us home.

And then we came down with a rook-playing fever. Once a month we played cards. Finally one brave soul said, "Sometimes I get the feeling that we could spend our time better than this."

158 Still another brave soul suggested, "We should be spending this time doing temple work instead of playing cards." Then the rest of the crowd confessed their true feelings, and the card playing stopped.

Winferd had already been spending one night a week in the temple, and now this became a "get-together" night. Cleone and LaFell Iverson were our travel companions and took turns driving. Elzyvee or Ursula Segler tended our kids.

Mr. Graff was very good about letting Winferd off at 4:00 o'clock on Thursday afternoons. Each evening after the temple session was finished, we went to the Whiteway, an ice cream parlor kitty-corner from Penny's store in the center of St. George. The ice cream was homemade from fresh milk and cream. Mixes, synthetic food and drive-ins hadn't yet been invented. A banana, split lengthwise, heaped with ice cream, topped with strawberries or pineapple and nuts, was delectable. I could work cheerfully all week sustained by the happiness of last week's date with Winferd and the Iversons, and with the anticipation of the coming Thursday night. Dressed in our best and radiant from our temple session, with a dozen other young couples, we flocked into the Whiteway, where we surrounded the little tables and delicately savored our ice cream, served in sparkling cut glass boats.

On his second birthday, DeMar was just recovering from the chickenpox that had freckled him for the past week. Winferd was late for dinner, but the table was too pretty for DeMar to resist, so he climbed upon a chair, exclaiming, "Pretty, oooh, pretty, pretty."

As I stepped out of the room momentarily, I heard a crash and a wail, and DeMar lay on the floor crying. In each hand he clutched a tiny birthday candle. As I picked him up, he held out one broken candle.

"Boke, boke," he sobbed.

A fringe of coconut whiskered his mouth. In reaching for the cake, his chair slipped from under him, but he was far more upset about the broken candle than the fall. I carried him outside to meet Daddy. That was always antidote for any ill.

To DeMar, Daddy was a man who came home near the end of the day and let him ride on his shoulder from the gate to the house. Then after the evening meal, took him on some little errand in the car, or pushed him in the swing, or let him carry water to the cow and let him stand by while the milking was done. Daddy never scolded, but treated him like he was a darling little boy. To Mother, DeMar was a two year old boy who could be very naughty at times and had to be spanked. Of course Mother had to kiss him better a dozen times a day, and cuddle and love him. His latest two discoveries were how to kiss, and how to open and shut a door. Opening and shutting the bedroom door was his greatest fascination. Always before, when he shut himself in a room alone, he'd persistently call, "Come in", until the door was opened for him.

By now we had another child on the way. From the first queasy months to the ungainly latter months, I was in the temple each week with Winferd and the Iversons. During that time, Gretchen Stratton and I were counselors in Relief Society to Areta Church. I also taught a genealogical class 159 on Monday nights. Grandpa Gubler was the ward genealogical representative. Fifth Sundays, in those days, were genealogy Sundays.

One morning when I was busy getting my little ones ready for Sunday School, Victor King, the stake genealogical representative, knocked on our door.

"Sister Gubler," he said, "will you give a talk on genealogy in Rockville this afternoon? Alvin Allred from Springdale will take up most of the time. If you'll take up five minutes, we'll appreciate it."

I gulped. I had never talked in church. Even when I bore my testimony, my heart pounded 'till the building shook. The thoughts of talking in Rockville terrified me. Besides, my baby was almost due and I felt big as Pinevalley Mountain. Helplessly, I looked at Winferd, hoping he'd rescue me. Instead, he gave me his of-course-you-can-do-it smile. His philosophy was to never say no.

My voice quivered, "I'll try."

"That is good enough," Brother King said.

After he left, I plunked down on the couch and howled, "Everybody ought to leave me alone."

"Weeping won't help," Winferd said. "Dry your eyes and get yourself dolled up and go do as you're told."

"Why don't you do it for me?" I wailed.

"You're the one that was asked," he replied.

"You don't want to see your wife lumbering like a hippo up the aisle to stand before an audience, do you?"

He put his arms around me. "You were never more beatiful than now. When you're expecting a baby, your face has the tenderness of an angel. And your blue silk pleated smock with the lace dickie is cute. Come on now and smile. The people will love you."

His mind was made up that I would be a great success. He and the children went with me. Well, at Rockville there must have been at least thirty people in the congregation, but no Alvin Allred. Although I watched anxiously for his form to come through the door, it never did.

After the sacrament, the bishop announced me. With a fluttering heart I arose, clutching my Book of Remembrance. My voice quavered as I said, "Everyone should have a Book of Remembrance." Then I opened mine and told briefly what it should contain, said "Amen" and sat down. I had used the five minutes Victor asked me to do, and now it was up to the bishop to call on someone for the sermon. Instead, he announced the closing song, they prayed and filed out.

Shaking my hand, a little old lady said, "That's the best meeting I've ever been to, because it was so short."

My face burned.

When Victor told his secretary, Aunt Suzie Campbell, that he had sent me to Rockville, she exclaimed, "Sakes alive, couldn't you have let her stay home and have her baby?"

160 Innocently he replied, "I didn't know she was expecting."

Three weeks later our baby arrived. Shirley was born 20 September, 1941. She was our first child to not be born at home. Maternity homes were the latest thing. Shirley was born in LaVell Hinton's home. LaVell was the full-time nurse, cook, and wash woman. She took total care of the mother and child for two full weeks for $50.00. The doctor charged $50.00 for his few minutes at the time of delivery.

LaVell also took care of DeMar during those two weeks for a small additional fee. Her daughters Shirley, Beverly and Lorna romped and played with DeMar and he had fun running through their house banging doors. His crib was on the opposite side of the room from me. In the nights, I'd awake and tiptoe softly to him to pull his little blankets over him. I was a little fearful of the old wives tales that if I ever so much as sat up in bed within the two weeks, I'd be an invalid for life. But from the third night on, for the full two weeks, I walked to DeMar's bed every night. I felt great. I felt so strong that laying in bed all day seemed silly. On my last day I confessed what I had been doing.

"You should never have done it," LaVell scolded. "I am responsible for you. What if things go wrong? I will be condemned."

I hadn't considered that angle. "But I've always been faint and shaky after two weeks in bed. Now I feel great. I've liked walking in the night."

"You should never have done it without the doctor's permission," she insisted.

When we said goodbye to the Hinton children, as Winferd came to take me home, I looked at their cute faces. "Shirley," I asked, "can we borrow your name for our baby?"

Giggling, she nodded.

Our Shirley was named for Shirley Hinton and for the child star, Shirley Temple. Since our baby had spent the last nine months of her preexistence in the temple, that was a natural.

"Ah, Alice," Sister Church used to say, "Shirley is the lily of your family."

She was an angel of delight. It takes a fourth child before one can begin to really appreciate a baby. The tenseness of sticking to government bulletin rules eases with the fourth baby and relaxed enjoyment sets in.

On Sunday morning, December 7, more than one-hundred Japanese fighting planes, torpedo bombers and dive bombers attacked Pearl Harbor, the United States' largest naval base in the Pacific. When the attack ended one hour and fifty minutes later, five of the American battleships had been sunk and a number of other ships damaged. The American dead included 2,343 sailors, soldiers, and marines. In Tokyo, the Japanese Government declared war on the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands. On December 8, Pres. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan.