Thursday, July 5, 2012
Apostles in the Berry Patch...a Family Story!
The Fruit Farm...
Detail from Friendship Pennant
This summer, many of the bloggers I follow are exchanging pennant shaped tags that represent the personality of their blog. Since my blog is called Zetta's Aprons in honor of my Grandma Zetta, I made my tags to reflect her life on the old Fort Canyon fruit farm.
Apple Crate Label from Andrews Farm.
Before Mel and Zetta bought their farm they lived at the Andrews Farm and worked for Mr. Andrews and his son, Emery. If you've read any of my "Lost Plane" posts, you will remember that Emery and Grandpa Mel were the first to find pieces of the plane. You can read about it here: The Lost Plane
Zetta and her berry picking crew...
You notice in the picture that Zetta's workers are all young women and girls. During World War II, they were unable to get men to work on the farm, so in the spring Mel would drive the old truck to Zetta's home town of Ferron, Utah to pick up a load of young women...and Zetta's sisters...to stay with them for the summer. My dad would often make the trip with him. It was a long, dusty trip in an ancient truck that...if it broke down...could not be replaced in those war years.
Visitors were always welcome to stop by and visit the raspberry patch.
Apostles in the Berry Patch...
Tad and Jane about the time of this tale.
When Mel and Zetta first moved to the farm in Fort Canyon, he had purchased a one-half share of the place on a contract and operated the farm jointly with the other part owner. My dad wrote, "In 1939 we were able to get a bank loan and pay off both of the former owners. To obtain a bank loan in those days [at the end of the Depression] was quite a feat. Now I don't know just how much he was able to borrow but it was probably less than one thousand dollars. In those days a thousand dollars was a major debt." In the story of the Lost Plane, many men searched for months for the chance at the reward money....one thousand dollars. Grandpa got his loan at The Peoples State Bank in American Fork.
Clifford E. Young.
The Peoples State Bank was organized by a man named Clifford E. Young. Mr. Young was a very prominent man in town. He was also the son-in-law of Heber J. Grant, the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church. Somehow or another, Grandpa Mel and Mr. Young became friends.
At the time Mel applied for his loan, Mr. Young had been promoted to a high church position called Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve...which meant he worked with the Twelve Apostles of the LDS Church. These are the "rock stars" of our church. Today there are 15 million Mormons all over the world who love and revere the current president and apostles and would love to see them and speak with them in person. This isn't the best explanation, but I wanted to put some perspective on what happened later.
President George Albert Smith
Served from 1945 to 1951.
President Heber J. Grant died in 1945.
My dad continues the story," About 1946, he [Grandpa Mel] was conducting business at the bank when he was approached by Mr. Young. [He] wanted to know if Dad would be home later that afternoon. Dad replied that he would and Mr. Young stated that he would like to bring some associates up to the farm. He did not say who the associates would be.
"That afternoon, Mr. Young arrived in his Model A Ford town car. Another car had followed him up the canyon. Dad met them at the barn and they all drove up to the farm.
Top: Apostles Ezra Taft Benson and John A. Widstoe
Bottom: J. Ruben Clark, of the First Presidency and Apostle Harold B. Lee.
Ezra Taft Benson was the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under Eisenhower.
Both Ezra Taft Benson and Harold B. Lee would later become Presidents of the Church.
"I had no idea who the men might be. After a short time I became curious and walked up the road. When I arrived at the strawberry patch, I found Dad and several men walking through the berry patch, occasionally stopping to pick and eat a berry. As I approached I recognized some of the men from pictures I had seen in Church publications. On this day, there were five General Authorities in Dad's berry patch." President George Albert Smith and the four men pictured above were those who visited Grandpa's farm.
I've only known this story for a few years, since Dad sat down and started writing the story of his life. I am so grateful that he did. How I would have loved to have seen those men...walking and talking to my grandfather...and eating strawberries on a sunny summer afternoon.
My Friendship Garland Pennant...
The front of the pennant...Zetta and Strawberries!
The back...the old house, baby Tad and The Lost Plane.
I was able to get most of my pennants mailed today.
Just a peek to see where Elizabeth's little bluebird is perched.
I am really looking forward to seeing what my swap partners make for their Friendship Pennants!
No hurries...no worries, though! =D