Look to the Stars
by Alice Isom Gubler Stratton

Chapter 31
War Boom
(1942)

161 Again the world was at war. Actually, the twenty years between the signing of the Versailles Treaty and the time Germany invaded Poland was more like an armed truce than a period of peace. World War I was a struggle for empire and power. So was World War II, but it was also a struggle between democracy and fascism. President Roosevelt called it a “war for survival.”

Adolf Hitler, dictator of Germany, was a megalomaniac, possessing the same kind of world power ideas that Kaiser Bill once had. Isaiah must have witnessed the scenes of World War II when he asked the Lord to close the vision. The most horrible accounts of human torture that can be conceived came out of the Second World War. In this conflict, the different theaters of war affected every ocean and continent. It was a total war. When Germany invaded Russia, reporters commented, “Let dog eat dog.”

Our ward had farewell parties for every departing service man and missionary, with dancing, cake, and freezer ice cream. Big money jobs with Uncle Sam boomed across the land, with wages as high as $60 a week. All it took to become a carpenter for Uncle was a pair of white overalls and the willingness to leave home. There was a general exodus of farmers rushing to Nevada to build barracks and ammunition dumps. Orchards and fields were forsaken. The gold rush was on.

Marilyn turned eight years old in January, and Winferd baptized her in one of the private baths behind the swimming pool. After he pulled the board to let the water out of the bath, we left Marilyn to dress. As I stood outside her door, I heard the water pounding from the spillway into the empty bath. Then came a crash and a scream. Pushing the door open, I peered through the steam. The bench Marilyn had been sitting on had rolled with her into the cement pit below. She lay with the bench on top of her, and the water splashing over her. Poor, bewildered little girl. I gathered her up and soothed her.

The following day, Winferd and I faced the greatest test of our married life—that of parting. He had been a farm hand for Mr. Graff, but now the “gold fever” hit him. Now was the time to make some of the big money so we could finish our home. Six people crowded into our little garage was beginning to be a problem. In our twelve years together, we had never been apart, except for a day or two at a time. Suddenly I felt timid and uncertain of myself. Could I cope with being without him? Then I was buoyed up with the thought that the Lord wouldn’t want me to be a weakling. I’d pray earnestly every day, and we would get along just fine.

Brother Iverson offered to take our milk cow. I had never confessed to Winferd that I knew how to milk, because I didn’t want anyone to expect it of me. But now I said, “Thanks, Brother Iverson. I will take care of the cow myself.”

162 On January the 12th, Winferd left for Nevada, and I was left with our four children, the cow, and a flock of chickens. With a queer, hollow feeling, I realized Winferd would not be home for supper. He wouldn’t even be home when darkness fell. He wouldn’t be bringing in the bucket of milk for me to strain. I was on my own! My heart trembled. Cry? Who, me? Oh, no, not I. I would think brave, strong thoughts. I walked through our new house. The windows were in, the floors laid, and the doors hung. Exciting projects leaped to my mind. “I’ll clean the putty off the glass. I’ll paint the baseboards, the doors, and the closets. I’ll get the lot plowed and planted, and put in fruit trees and berry bushes.” Projects presented themselves to my mind with exciting rapidity, and mentally were as speedily accomplished. For a full twenty-four hours I felt the strength of Atlas and the speed of light.

Then I listened to my trembling heart and whispered, “I am not big and brave. I’m little and alone.” After the children were asleep, I walked under the stars and wept, “Come back, Winferd. I can’t live without you.” Loneliness stalked every quiet moment. How thankful I was for the children. How blessed, I thought, is the house that is noisy with children.

For two anxious weeks we called at the post office, then finally a letter came from Winferd. He had checked out jobs in different localities and at last had arrived at Hawthorne, Nevada.

Brief excerpts from parts of our letters will pick up our story:

Hawthorne, Nevada, January 22, 1942

Dear Alice and family: Journey’s end for the present. Arrived here about 4:20 yesterday and spent the rest of the time till 9 looking for a place to lay our heads, then Elmer and Leona Hardy opened their davenport for us.

The ride out was uneventful and there is little to see but the same kind of hills with no vegetation except shad and match brush. No trees hardly the whole day. … This morning we went to locate a job and got a place to fix up here in town. The other work is out of town from two to four miles. A Greek is having his bar enlarged and we go to work at noon. The other big job we came up here for is held up for material, so this little town job will tide us to the time the other outfit can use men. … This is just a note to put your mind at ease somewhat. I have been imagining all the fun (?) you’ve been having since I am out of the picture. Still, I hope “distance lends enchantment” to a point where you can still go on thinking a few kind things. When I know where I can change my mind, ways, clothes, or do as I please, I will have a little more to say on the subject, but now I will just leave it to I love you always. Winferd.

LaVerkin, January 24, 1942

Dear Winferd, we’ve had your letter about two hours, but it seems if I write back at once, I may speed the next word from you. Norman brought your letter in while we were at the dinner table. The kids hovered breathlessly over my chair while I opened and read the precious document. I admit I felt somewhat the same as they.

Norman complained that Jane and Dee had letters from their daddy that were all theirs. He and Marilyn wanted to divide your letter.

163 DeMar cried for you last night. That’s the first time he’s mentioned you. It’s odd, but he’s never thought of saying his prayers until the first night you were away. He listened from his bed to Marilyn and Norman, then he called, “Com’mere Mudder. Mar get up say blessing.” I let him out of his snuggler and he kneeled in his bed while I helped him. Each night since, this has been repeated. I’d say, “...and take good care of Daddy and bring him home to us.” He’d repeat it after me each time, but last night he started to cry when we got to there. He said, “Daddy come home,” over and over.

I suppose you’re overcome with curiosity about me and the “old sot” (the cow). Well, I’ll put your mind at rest. We’re getting along famously. Fact is, the old gal has concluded that I’m quite nice. I lead her to the tap each time and let her carry her own water. While she’s here at the house, we get the milking done, the cow and I. She sniffs the stool each time, trying to make out what it’s for. (Winferd never used a milk stool.) It took me one-half hour the first time I milked. Yield: One gallon. Gradually we’ve increased to nine quarts a milking. I was so elated at first, I could have kissed the cow, but I got over that. My milking muscles that have slumbered all these years, began to groan and creak over the sudden burst of activity. I’m lame up both arms, clear to my ears.

Your dad and Uncle Joe brought a bunch of Wickli names from Switzerland for me to type on family group sheets. They don’t know I’m too lame to plunk a typewriter. My days are crammed to the brim and topsy-turvy. I can only type a little in the evenings. My world is upside down. Everything I do seems but a part of a strange dream. My senses have all suffered a relapse. I do not cry. I could not. I feel nothing of fear, loneliness, anxiety, in fact, I feel nothing, only my arms. I work harder than ever before. I shut you up in my mind and heart and try not to let you out. Otherwise, I would be swept away in a flood of loneliness that I could not endure.

I raked yards most of the morning and turned over a corner of garden for lettuce and fenced it off with chicken wire. Van will plow the lot when it’s dry enough. It’s still too soggy...Goodbye, and lots of love. Alice

P.S. Shirley is sitting on my lap watching the pen with great interest. She’s a perfect darling.

Hawthorne, January 25

…Well, I joined the union, or should I say, paid my first fee to the tune of $10.00. I am supposed to pay a dollar a day for each day I work till my $50 is in, then I get my card good anywhere.…I eat at cafes and sleep in hotels, so it is sure costing plenty, when you think of spending $1.00 a night for bed and an average of 50 cents for regular meals.

This burg harks back to the good old days. I tell you, there is plenty of the same spirit. Gambling bars everywhere. There must be ten places here, or more, big saloon type places (bars) and believe me, the gangs do pile in and toss around the cash. There was supposed to be a dancer at one place last nite. We went down to see her, but it was plenty tame. I think every girl and woman smokes and drinks and they all have the genuine look of the roaring ’50s when these mine towns were booming. This village is about as crumby a place as ever was. Shacks all over with no regard for cleanliness 164 or anything. Old frame shacks of the old past and no sidewalks to speak of…I pray all is well with my family, and I do look forward to getting a letter. Best wishes and all my love, Winferd.

LaVerkin, January 27

Dear Winferd…I’ve just come in from Mutual. I stood around after it was out, waiting. Suddenly I realized you were not walking home with me. I looked around the hall, and you were not there. I haven’t come to the realization yet that you are really and truly gone. I keep thinking of things to tell you when you come home at night, and then with a queer feeling I remember you are not coming.

Your folks are so nice. Rosalba, Van, and your dad all came Sunday afternoon. Van milked the cow Sunday night and tonight. Your dad staked her out. Kate stayed all day Sunday. I took her home in the flivver at nine at night. I’ve parked it to stay now. It has developed a new complaint. The kids (your kids) have wounded it fatally. That old pitchfork was hanging over the front bumper when I went to use the car, and as I filled the radiator, water spurted like a geyser from the front of the radiator. I suspect the fork on the bumper explains the hole.

Van plowed our place today, and you should see it. It is sticky and boggy. He suggests that I let it dry hard to slack and clods, and then pond it with water, and when it’s dry enough, harrow it. He’s going to come down the last of the week to look at it.

Wednesday, 11 p.m. Thank you so much. Your letter came today. We were so happy to hear from you. Marilyn brightened when I read in you letter that you were thinking of Las Vegas, that you might come home once in awhile.

Sister Church, Sister Thompson, and Sister Stratton were here when Norman brought the mail in. (The Relief Society Presidency. I was a counselor to Sister Church, along with Gretchen Stratton. Kate Thompson was the secretary.) They left at 4:30. They were here two hours. I could hardly wait to open your letter…We are going to knit for the Red Cross in Relief Society, so I suppose I’ll be learning the art…

Thursday. “All things come to him who waits!” How many times have you aggravated me with that statement? I could not post my letter yesterday because those ladies stayed too late, and anyway, I didn’t want to post it until after I had your package in the mail.

LaPriel and Jimmy went to California for their honeymoon. They were coming back here before he goes in the army. (Cornelius.)

Pop and Clint looked in on us yesterday to see how we were surviving your absence. All of a sudden folks are kind and thoughtful as though there had been a bereavement in the family. The similarity is striking…

Later. There was another letter from you. My, but we did enjoy it…You know, the funniest thing, Sunday during church, the thought came to me, “Winferd was called to speak in Sacrament meeting today.” And sure enough, you were! That’s pretty good, isn’t it!

I’ve checked everywhere. Nobody has a scrap of hay to spare. I stake the cow around, and she does quite well.

165 January 27 - Marilyn dictating: Dear Daddy - The chickens sure wish they could get in the car to lay an egg. They are always jumping up and looking in the window and thinking how nice it would be. They sure wish they could lay an egg. The new yellow chickens are laying now. There is a nest in the basement and there is one under the bridge by the berry bushes. I looked down the ditch bank and behind the currants and i found a rotten egg and I stomped on it and the top blew off and went “plunk” way up in the air. Sure was funny. We sended your parcel too. From Marilyn

Norman dictating: Dear Daddy, my trike seat came off. Marilyn pulled it clear out and I took the pliers and fixed it and then it wouldn’t turn. It would be a good idea to go down to Las Vegas and then you could come home some Sundays. Mother saw a bee when she was out washing one day and she told me to bring my cherry plants outside so they could get cherries on. And lots of love X O O X from Norman

January 29 … This is the most measly town you’ve ever heard of. Thora says practically everyone in town has measles. Marilyn has come down with them now.

Note: Winferd shares a room with Luther Fuller (Lew). His letters are sprinkled with Lew’s views. Since Lew took possession of the two-foot table for his correspondence, all of Winferd’s letters were penned on his knee as he sat on the edge of the bed. Lew prefers the outside of the bed, so Winferd has to climb over him, mornings and nights. “One day I’m going to have a bed with two outsides.” The Sears Catalog is Winferd’s encyclopedia, which brings forth Lew’s scorn. For three days they debated (argued) over who sold the best tools, Sears or Pennys. Three of Winferd’s letters were filled with the debate. Winferd says Lew was bullheaded. Of course, Winferd wasn’t. He just hung doggedly to his original opinion. The debate was a tie.

LaVerkin, February 3 …Shirley has discovered her feet. She sticks them up in the air all the while she’s awake and watches them. Her booties won’t stay on five minutes. I buttoned those little red doll shoes on her today. That tickled the kids. Norman wanted me to put her down and let her walk. He insisted she could if I’d just let go of her. Marilyn is still in bed with the measles, but she got up to see Shirley. The kids screamed and laughed so much at her that she became as delighted as they were. I wheeled her bed into the front room where the kids could watch her, she was so interested in the shoes.

…You’d feel repaid if you could see how delighted the kids were with the cards you wrote them. They carried them around all afternoon. Norman says, “Daddy sure can write good letters, can’t he.” DeMar has been rigging up a play car today. He says, “Fix a car up and go find Daddy.”

Hawthorne, Nevada, February 4

…This place is going to be the biggest operation Uncle Sam has anywhere before they are through. …I spent an hour or two yesterday and sewed up my coat,. The sleeves and seams were out. I bot some size 16 thread and self threading needles for 20¢ and did the job myself. The shop wanted 50¢ for doing it. …It’s surprising how many things I see every day that reminds me of some phase of home life—kids, wife, house, etc. etc. …Ardella told me that Paul and Clifton Wilson were drafted. …I was just thinking, this is one place where kids don’t 166 have to be scolded about keeping out of water. No mud, no ditches, no water. …Be writing soon again and between time thinking a lot of lovely things of my family. Hello to all my kids and kiss each one for me.

LaVerkin, February 4

…When I was introduced to Maud Reid’s mother, Maud said, “This is Mrs. Gubler, Mother.” Her mother said, “Indeed? That is number twenty. I’ve counted them all and you are the twentieth Mrs. Gubler.” …I wanted to tell you how much we want a buggy for Shirley. It has been such wonderful weather. Shirley could have enjoyed it so much if I’d had a buggy for the kids to wheel her about on the square. When I look at the baby laying in her bed, with all this spring weather going to waste, and the kids needing occupation, I mentally take the buggy out of the luxury class and put it down among the necessities.

Later: What is a person supposed to do when the cow gets too affectionate? I just came in from milking. I got a handful of hay and came up the lane with it so she’d follow to water. If I didn’t do that, I’d have to tug and tug on her chain to pull her past the hay. She kept stepping a little faster and stretching her neck a little longer, and I kept stepping faster until finally we were running, and I got scared, so when she grabbed the hay, I let her have it, and we were only to the sand pile by then. I tried to gather some of the hay and come on, but she made awful noises at me. Worse noises than you’ve ever heard her do, and she looked funny, too. When she finally came for a drink, I sat on the stool to milk her and she kept sliding over to me, and I kept hitching my stool back a little further, like she was going to lay down on me, and I was thinking how heavy she’d be. Finally, she turned her head way around and looked at me. I wondered whether she was friend or foe, then she sniffed at my sweater and tried to lick my face. I think she likes me, but I hope she doesn’t expect me to romp with her. When I staked her out, she bucked and took after me. I ran. I was glad she could only go to the end of her chain.

Sugar rationing makes me mad. On one of those defense broadcasts, they said there would be enough for our needs. Well, the store is out of sugar. They’ve used up all of their allotment and won’t be able to get any more for awhile, and when they do, people will have to buy $2.50 worth of groceries for each ten pounds of sugar, and then it costs 75¢ for the sugar. And we don’t even buy groceries. We have all the milk, eggs, butter, etc. we can possibly use, with the fruits and vegetables we grow. As I said before, it makes me mad.

(Note: Times were crazy. Because of the war, building material and everything containing metal was frozen. Metal was reserved for ammunition and building material for barracks and ammunition dumps. Fabrics were reserved for uniforms. For a time, all yard goods disappeared from store shelves. People, in a panic, had begun hoarding. To buy nylons, one had to be on a black market mailing list. For a price, you could get six pair, all of which shot runners at the first wearing. Lines formed at checkout stands in the big stores. When customers saw a lineup, they automatically got in it, knowing that some extinct item was being dispensed at the other end. It didn’t matter what it was. If it was hard to get, everyone wanted it. Meat, sugar, and gas were rationed. People had to register the number in their household before they could receive stamps to buy them.)

167 Hawthorne, Nevada, February 8

Here it is just after meeting and I still feel the need of visiting with you, Sweetheart. After years of only having Sunday as a day of leisure, working early and late the others, and spending what time I could where you were, I did it this way.

It is such a beautiful day. The lake looks beautiful down the valley and the pure white tops of the mountains west are restful and serene. It would be a pleasure to climb the hill.

Today has been nice for several reasons. The Stake President, Brother Hurst, and Relief Society Stake President, Sister Purdy, were here for meeting. They had to drive 136 miles to get here, so their visit meant quite something. Willard Duncan and Brig Hardy’s son Frank played a duet with accordion and guitar, “O My Father,” and it was nice, too. Brother Hughes, Superintendent of Sunday School, had a heart attack and the doctor gave him up completely. They had the Priesthood in and held prayer circles and feel like the hand of death had been stayed. The doctor said only some magic power saved him.

I wish I could hurry and get my debts off my mind. They’re heavy. I do considerable daydreaming for a man of my age, but then I need some pleasurable time consumer to to keep up my spirits. Our needs are so many and our wants quite a few. I grow impatient. I buy up no more dead horses after the herd is paid for, providing my purchases can be timed to travel alongside the purse. My daydreaming is not always on just financial lines. I spend a lot of time connected with my family and their needs.

How my love goes out to all of you. There is far more pull in your direction than I ever could have known when you were single, much as I loved you then. I think you are a good sport, a brave woman, a lovely pal, and the sweetheart of all my idealism.

Got your clock turned on tonite? Never did see just what good that faster time did for anyone. Makes me peeved. … Oh, my, I’ve been on the go so much and an hour earlier out here that I begin to get my usual Sunday weariness and with only a half rest all day. Guess I’ll join L.C. (Lew) and take my beauty sleep. If I’m up early, I can add a few fresh lines tinted by morning sunshine. Bless you dear for your virtues, and I’ve asked it at the right place for “his” too. Good nite and pleasant dreams. W.

LaVerkin, Sunday February 8

… The one that’s away from home misses out on the fun of the family. The kids are swell. Shirley is the cutest little tyke I’ve ever met. She’s unbelievably good. I’m too busy during week days to hardly look at her, but I’ve been playing with her this afternoon. DeMar is cute, too. Shirley was fussing a while ago, and he took a book to her crib. “Don’t cry, Shirley,” he said, “Mar read a tory.”

Kate slept here Friday night and we talked until one a.m. I was dopey all day, and then last night I was up till midnight. My usual Saturday night jinks. I thought I’d rest today while DeMar napped, but the little scrub lay and hollered, “Wanna gettleup.” He was in that cheesecloth snuggler. When I finally took him out, there was nothing left but the zipper.

Marilyn is broken out with measles again. Dr. McIntire says to keep her down, but she’s bounding all over. Her eyes are awfully red. I’ve carried 168 a tray of food to her bed each meal until this morning. I decided it was silly. She’s been in here half the time, crawling back in bed when I started to fix a meal. She gets a thrill out of that tray. Man! Has she got galloping consumption! She’s constantly shouting that she's hungry. With elation she counts each dish I put on her tray. She can't comprehend my extravagance with dishes. I put everything on at once to shut her up so I won't have to trot my legs off. Being an invalid is just one big vacation to her.

Hawthorne, February 11, 1942

Yesterday I visited with Leah (my cousin Leah Stout Pearce) for an hour or more. She wanted me to stay longer. First time she has been around anyone who knew the same folks as she. She had a letter from her mother and learned of LaPriel's marriage.

… I trust the kids all got a kick out of the package and the valentines … I keep thinking about my kids. Trying to figure what they would be doing and how they are making out. How long before the others will be down with the measles, etc. You're doing a great and mighty work. Try to keep up the cheer and just kick ole man worry in the seat of the pants. I may be a long way off so you can't hear, but I'm cheering you on in this race. Every nite I ask our Father to keep my family, and I know he will.

LaVerkin, February 12, 1942

We got two letters and the valentines yesterday. The candy came today. The kids were excited and the valentines amusing. That "from the bottom of my heart" one of Norman's made the kids giggle. The "Hi Honey" to Shirley was most appropriate. She is a wonder and a marvel. Never really cries, just fusses when she's uncomfortable. She's a noisy tyke. You should hear how lively she can scold. The kids laugh over that too. Your valentine to me was the nicest of them all. The letter in it made it so. I hope before I'm through with this life I can justify all the good things that come my way … We appreciate your prayers in our behalf. DeMar prays for "Daddy way off to Pok Corn." I can't get him to say Hawthorne.

February 13. - DeMar climbed upon Shirley's bed and it scooted out from under him, banging his head. I put a cold pack on his forehead. His eyes had a funny, glassy look. That was about 4:00 p.m. He hadn't snapped out of it by milking time. The cow was out and I almost froze before I found her. When I got back, DeMar was whimpering in his rocking chair. He acted like he had an awful headache. I felt so sorry for him.

That old brute of a cow almost gets me down. As I led her across the square, she'd stop every little way and shake her horns at me, jumping stiff legged in little circles. I didn't dare run. Once when I ran, she took after me. All that saved me were the trees I ran behind, where her chain caught. I know she'd ran her horns through me. When she does that wooden legged dance, I stand still, scared to death, hoping my guardian angel is close by. I was so mad at her yesterday I felt like I couldn't stand it at all. She kept at me all the way home. I was weak from fright and anger and when I came in the house, there was DeMar. His head looked bad. Then he got sick to his stomach. I knew I'd never rest until he was administered to, so your Dad and Van came and gave him a good blessing and said he'd be all right. I felt tons better. After they left, I went back to that old hag of a cow. She was ornery about being milked, lifting one 169 hind leg then the other, way up high, all the while I milked her. I don't know what possesses her. I've been giving her a quart of oats morning and night. Maybe they're making her frisky. Please get rich quick so you can come back home.

February 17. - Things always happen when I leave the kids alone while I do the outside chores. Last night, instead of taking off his shoes, Norman decided to kick them off. One of them flew through the upper window pane above the sink. I nailed up a pasteboard to match the bedroom window that he broke last week and paddled him good. He said he'd go earn the money to buy new windows. It was dark and cold, but I was so enfuriated I told him to get started. He took off on his tricycle. I called to him that he could sell his tricycle and get enough to pay for the glass. He got almost up to the store three different times and then came pedaling back home, howling all the way, to tell me that all the world knows that any little boy wouldn't like to sell his tricycle that Santa Clause gave him to keep, and besides he could run errands lots faster if he had it and I might be in an awful hurry some day. So I handed him the flashlight and sent him to the basement for coal. Intrigued by the light, Marilyn went with him. She liked to ride the tricycle too, Norman reminded me, so that was another reason why he shouldn't sell it … After I dressed DeMar this morning, he came holding up one foot saying, "Get the cinder out." Taking off his shoe, I discovered it had a marble in it.

Yesterday at dinner, Norman said, "Can I have another doughnut?"

"No, you've had enough," I said.

"Well, can I have another?" he asked.

"I said no."

"Well, can I?"

"What did I tell you?" I was exasperated.

"You said no."

"Do I ever say yes after I've said no?"

"Well, once when Joseph Smith was writing from those gold plates, he asked the Lord if he could take what he'd written and show his folks. The Lord told him no and so he asked again and the Lord told him no and he asked again and the Lord told him yes." A triumphant gleam was in his eyes.

"And what happened to those records?" I asked.

"They were lost, but I wouldn't lose the doughnut. I'd eat it. Can I?"

"No!"

Somewhat downcast, he said, "I thought you'd be as good as the Lord."

You need to be with your children. They are a joy. DeMar says such amusing things, and Marilyn and Norman are learning to assume responsibilities. Marilyn would take full care of Shirley if I'd let her. Shirley is so cute. She sits up and takes notice of all that goes on. My mother says Shirley is unusually peaceful and sweet because the Lord has honored us for keeping up with our church activities.

170 Hawthorne, February 20, 1942

You just can't imagine the cash that's in circulation here. Just like gold rush days. Think of guys like Orin and Sheldon working at 75¢ an hour for ten hours a day, getting eleven hours pay, making $8.25. Everybody feels like money is nothing, after the first pinch is over, and four out of five of them just throw it around just like any gold camp. Most people don't want to go into a cabin or housing game, because it costs more for labor than the cabin is worth, and being unable to guess the future, don't do anything but eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow, who knows. … I hope your cow trouble is going to be less. I dreamed last night that i was there on the sqaure and feed was knee high, and you were looking well.

Home, Saturday night, 11:20, February 21, 1942

Do you remember those "little moments of eternity" when we could relax at the end of the day? Do you remember how we caught a bit of heaven realizing how much we loved our life together. … You have a beautiful sould which makes itself felt across the miles. I feel your humility, sincerity and kindness in every letter. It is lovely to be Mrs. Winferd Gubler. … I went to see your dad tonight to get a little cow-education. He and Van made merry over my troubles. They said I'd been too good to the cow, that she was trying to show her appreciation. I do get nine quarts of milk every day. They told me not to give her two quarts of oats a day but to cut down a little. That cow has got me hoodooed. She chases after me and bucks every time I come in sight. When I stake her out, she chases me to the end of her chain and then stands and bawls because she can go no further. I led her onto the square tonight and she thundered after me as I went after the peg and hammer. I got over the fence into the field and ran to the house. She bellered and beat me there. I didn't take her back, but hooked her to a post in front and gave her a flake of hay. Your folkscame in the car and Van turned the lights on her. When she tried to follow me into the house, they all laughed and said she was idolizing me. I don't go for this cave man stuff, especially from a cow. I don't know what to make of her. We just don't speak the same language.

I didn't get a letter from you today. Kate says that's good for me, that disappointments strengthen the soul. Well, they don't I want to cry and be cuddled. I get tired of being a brick, of being brave and dependable. I'd enjoy throwing a tantrum. I'd rather be my sinful self and quit trying to be what I'm not. I don't like Hawthorne, Nevada. I don't like war. I don't like concentration camps and the draft and all the farmers wearing carpenter overalls. I'm sick of people grabbing for this and that because they're afraid they can't get any more. I hate newspapers. I'd like to tie a pillow to Hitler's face until he smothers to death. I'd like to sink Japan in the ocean and take a broom and sweep the world clean and tell you to come home where you belong, and let you have your cow back and quarrel with you and kiss and make up and I'd like everything that is not! There! I've got that out of my system. Oh, darling, I love you so. Goodnight.

Hawthorne, February 23, 1942

I hope I see something for Norman's birthday around here. I guess he wouldn't mind what I got him. … I love to write to you for it seems that then I draw close to you, that you ought to talk to me. I love to think about you and dream about and even wonder. Though that usually brings on a great yearning to be with you. I'm trying to keep on the sunny side of life and like a good LDS, go on living for the future 171 when all things will be restored and brought together. If I am, I'm not on the right sea. Gosh, beautiful, I hope that compensations will be large enough to bribe me for awhile and bring visions of other things to keep the mind obscured from immediate personal desire. I'll go right on loving and caring with all my heart.

Home, February 24, 1942

The world is white outside. Norman Fuller just delivered your amazing package. DeMar was enthused over each treasure that was extracted from the box, especially your shirt with the spot of mercurochrome "where Daddy was shot," taking into his own personal possession the bread wrapper and the nail. I speedily put away the rest of the hardware lest Norman G. get hold of it and be as positive as DeMar that it was meant for him. DeMar has concealed the nail in the pages of a Digest, and is unwilling to relinquish it to anyone. It is from Daddy. Was it Ruskin who said, "If a straw tickleth a man, then it is an instrument of happiness?" … I like your wisecrack about how interesting a wife would be if she was as spirited as a cow. Now that you've had your little joke, I'll tell you one. She's been a good cow since she has her new headdress. Does that remind you of a wife? The halter your dad made for her has calmed her right down. Now I'm worried about feed. She has grazed the square bare, and the same with the back lane. And there's no hay to be had. There just isn't any feed. I took her across the road today. There's about two day's feed there. It hurts my pride to have to drag her all over town. Can't we build a shed before another winter, so her hay won't spoil? Oh dear! There goes a big wagon load of hay this minute in front of our window. Let's see! No, it didn't turn up the hill. It went on. I wonder who and where! I've never been so interested in hay before.

Hawthorne, February 24, 1942

After supper tonite we walked up to see if the kids were back with their wives. Yes. They got in about 3 a.m. and Ardella was quite tickled to see us. Willard was moving in an old stove Orin and Sheldon brought out, not half so good a one as we sold for five dollars.

Ardella said you were sitting on your door steps pining your heart out. Oh my! What must I do? Life without the fruits of love, and a world without love are two bad examples of famine I think I should never want to overtake me. … I feel strange being on a big job among total strangers. I get quite a variety of tasks to do - putting on roofing, trimming the outside of the buildings, helping on the planer. … I went to the store and told the lady i wished I could find a spoon for my lunch bucket and she had her boy run in the house and bring me one of their odds and ends. It is a fine enough spoon too. Now I can take me a can of beans along for dinner. … Guess I had best be visiting the sandman. I'm still in love with you and hope you can find a few sparkles of light for your fairy dreams now as I begin to get some pay days. Be good to my best girl and all my kids. W.G.

Hawthorne, February 25, 1942

Sweetheart, hear another heart warmer. Only because I love you do I write, or do a great many other little things in your behalf. But I love everything that brings you near me, and here I am. Only telling is a trifle, and repetition is very sweet when it goes for making sure you never forget for one little moment the fullness of my heart for you. Absence does make the heart grow fonder, when one lives for long with just a sweet bit of heaven for a memory - always forgetting the dross of life - then it is what I call an eternal, unfalterable love. Now I've known the sweet, I have to come away to appreciate my loss the more keenly and you may be sure I couldn't stay away for many moons.

172 I saw a beautiful sunrise this morning, right out in your direction, and even that took me to memory lane. And I've discovered why it is I like to go to shows. The love scenes can take me over into a reincarnation of mine for you. Then Lew is hardly the right pal to stay with steady, now is he?

The idea of me nearly filling a page without one blush. Now I had expected to start my letter entirely different. I got out the paper and Lew said we had to be going if we saw the show, and the girl in it was so much like you I had to come home and tell you over again.

I'm mailing Norman his birthday card. Also enclosed is a little expense money. I have some to do till Saturday night, then I will see a pay day. They make the weeks end on Thursday night, so I get me about $20 this week. … Just you keep on dreaming and let's make a few of them come true. That's what I'm here for and with the Lord's help, we can't lose. … I'm on the ground floor now on the job, and on the past two days, I'm getting the tempo of the works. I enjoy working with the bunch very much. They are mostly California guys. We work in a big shed (shop) and two of us work on a setup. There are three tables and we make forms on them. We only do three a day and they don't pile up very fast. We will be months getting a bunch ready, then they will use each set about ten times - make ten buildings and then have us tear off the plywood and put on new. It's a big job. They figure on making about two buildings a day, and they have hundreds to make, so unless Japan can get the U.S. taken over sooner, this job here is as long as the war lasts. … I wrote and told Dad I would return to the farm if things turned out that he was left without help.

Don't blame my baby brother for wanting to join the Air Corp. I know very well I'd be just like he is if I took the notion my draft was closing in on me. Now would you afterall? The farm didn't do anything for Don but pile up debts, and the Air Corp pays $75 a month and expenses while you learn and then $250 per while training others. Attractive eh? As compared to $21 to $30 in the draft.

I'm packing my lunch as I told you, and liking it. I get by for so much less and have a good third more to eat for so much less and can get more variety than at the cafe. There it is the identical thing every day. I'm going to buy a bottle of preserves to make my sweet sandwiches and cut down (out) taking a bar each day. … Is your grain up at all yet? Cheers to my little farmer. Yes, we must get a shed up for next year. That's a project. See Ed and find out if he would have some hay to spare. Max had some of Nellies once. He may still hold it for sale.

What has become of your folks? You never say much about them. Have Bill and Clint come out and get some of this easy money. They could go to work the next day after getting out here and make $40 or $50 a week.

Hawthorne - No date.

Surprise again darling. You will get one every day for two days. I just finished my supper a bit late, and now I'm sleepy. Your letter came today and duly enjoyed. The kids art work was great stuff. Give Norman two more years and he will do some pretty good drawing, won't he? … I long for the day when we can begin to lay up our supplies. I live down there with you half the time while I work out here at the job. You play a big role in my little world and I would like to rehearse with you again so the play can go on. Or is it me that's off the state? Well, anyway I still love to think about a bright day in the future when there will be a difference.

173 Don't go without anything you need. And I'll pay your ticket any time you can find a ride to Hurricane to a show. … Why don't you get yourself a new spring coat? I didn't have your measurements to send for one. But I would like to have you get one. Also a dress so as to make up a snazzy outfit. I'm getting my old gray trousers cleaned and fixed up and I can use them for clean up each evening. … Well, I'll close out today's account and send along a nice big hug and kisses to go with it. I'm a lonesome man, I'll have you know, and all I can do about it is tell you and make you that much more so. But be long suffering, and there'll come a day. My blessings on the little gal, and someday I'll be a pal. W.

Hawthorne, March 2, 1942

… Oh my, but today has been a beauty. Spring fever has me. I sure like one scene here and that is the white peaks up above the pure blue lake, both in sun or moonlight. I took a stroll down the street, drinking in the scene and fresh air and thinking of you. I always come to that and wish a thousand wishes, mostly tied up in our biggest wish of all, that you could be with me. It is funny to think of it being so true with both of us, and yet there is such a little known of what lies ahead, that one instinctively hesitates to take any very costly action to realize the desire. Luther asked me today, as he sat here thinking, (I reading the paper) if there was anything that would keep you from coming out here for two years. Now he has the idea of getting our families our here and just staying on as long as the job lasts. Well, it could be made into something. And a lot of members here are doing the same.

Just before I turn in to do a lot more thinking before the sand man gets me, I want to do just a few lines of the favored song hit, "I Love You Truly." That theme is my great comfort and protection. So much of life that is exotic and enduring comes to life in us only when in turn can both give and receive love. Across the miles I send you a heart full to the brim, and life is only worth the living when you have some measure of it to help carry the load. I don't know how to appreciate all you mean to me or do for me than to more than say, Sweetheart, how I love you. Winferd. P.S. Tell Marilyn and Norman I am going to write to them next, and for them to write back to me. I've looked for notes from them ever since I sent cards before.

LaVerkin, March 1, 1942

… I'm afflicted with the affection of a cow. I haven't tied the old heifer up since milking her this morning - jus gave her full range, but she keeps trotting to the house and stands looking at the windows and bawling. I get so mad at her. I take her back to grass and the old biddy follows me back like a puppy. I took her to the bottom of the lot then came to feed Shirley. Soon there was a lot of squealing outside. Going out, I found Marilyn and Norman and all of their friends up in the apricot tree, holding onto the cow's chain. They practically had her standing on her hind legs. Her nose is so sensitive since Van fixed her halter. They were really hurting her. I scolded the kids and made them get down. After I went back to the baby, I heard shouting and laughing in a new direction. The kids had corralled the cow and were climbing all over the fence, yanking her chain this way and that. I saw red and threatened to whip every one of them. I took the cow up the lane and pegged her out to keep her from following me.

174 Today is a red letter day for Marilyn. Her duck laid an egg in the straw. She ran all over with the egg, lovingly rubbing it before finally taking it back to the straw. Those ducks have been furnishing their share of occupation lately. The kids dug that hole wider where you got the clay for your mortar. They flood it then they each catch their duck and carry it to water. They heard them there and won't let them get out. The female doesn't mind spending the day in the water, but the male would rather stand outside squeaking his admiration at her.

Marilyn gave Norman a can of viennas for his birthday and DeMar gave him a package of punch powder. Norman was impressed with the idea that he could do with them just as he pleased. The minute dinner was over today, he asked for bread and butter sandwiches and a bottle to make punch in and the kids went up the late for a picnic. They consumed their second dinner before one o'clock.

Hawthorne, March 3, 1942

… My little visit to the bishop tonite netted me a job of ward teaching. They have eleven beats here of four families each. I am to go with a Brother Hughes, a young priest. … By the way, I bought a piece of rock salt for the cow and it was up in Ed's pear orchard by the gate. She needs a taste once in awhile, every week I guess would do. Take Marilyn or Norman along to carry it to her. … I sure did enjoy your letter. I don't take any grains of salt with the nice things you tell me either. … My check for the last week's two days was $4.00 more than Lew's. I don't know just how the company did it. But he got $1.25 an hour and I $1.50. It would be great if they kept that up a few weeks. … At present I am with

UNDER CONSTRUCTION - CHECK BACK LATER

Online Publication Notes

  1. Hawthorne, Nevada

    The following links give some background information about the city of Hawthorne, Nevada during the World War II era in 1942, specifically as to why the town had a lot of job opportunities, which was why Winferd went there to work:

    —Andrew Gifford, 9 Jul. 2011

  2. Davenport

    It seems that Winferd was referring to a couch that folds out to become a bed, whether made by the A.H. Davenport company or not, as can be implied from the Wikipedia entry for "Davenport (sofa)."

    —Andrew Gifford, 9 Jul. 2011

  3. Flivver

    According to Dictionary.com, a flivver is "an automobile, especially one that is small, inexpensive, and old." Also it may refer to "A Model T Ford" automobile.