S: The Bill & Jennie Harding Family
BC: Created by Rebecca Harding Orr September 2012 | This collection of tales is dedicated to my grandmother Jennie, for making me feel I was her favorite grandchild; my uncle Glenn, for always making me smile and, man, can he weave an awesome tale; and my father Keith, for too many reasons to list. Each has touched my heart in a special way. I am deeply grateful to be a member of the Harding Family.
FC: The Bill and Jennie Harding Family | A small collection of true tales about growing up on the family farm in Taber, Alberta
1: Harding Family | William John Harding Nov 10, 1907 | Jennie V Johnson Jul 7, 1908 | John James Harding Nov 25, 1878 | Helen Christina Palmer Jul 29, 1883 | Frank Milton Johnson Oct 25, 1881 | Rose Hannah Francis Dec 2, 1881 | William Blaine Jan 20, 1934 | Donna Joan Jun 11, 1936 | Glenn Aug 26, 1937 | James Edward Oct 19, 1941 | David John Nov 25, 1943 | Keith Evan Oct 30, 1945 | Brenda Kae Jul 20, 1947
2: Clockwise from top left: Bill, John James Harding, Helen, and Iola; Bill's mother, Helen Christina (Palmer) Harding; Bill (age 1); Bill's stepmother, Mary (Mollie) Aspinall Harding; Mollie and her sister
3: William John Harding | Bill was born November 10, 1907 in Raymond, Alberta, Canada. His parents were John James and Helen Christina (Palmer) Harding of Utah. He married Jennie V Johnson on April 26, 1933 in the Cardston Alberta Temple. He died on January 5, 1982 and is buried in the Taber Cemetery. Life History - in his own words The earliest recollection I have of anything in my life, is crawling over my mother's feet as she lay on the bed. I don't remember anything else until I was about 4 yrs old, when I found myself living with Uncle Reed and Aunt Sarah Harding. There was a little girl about my age next door. I used to play with her whenever I got the chance. I was told to stay away from her place, but I'd sneak over once in awhile. During this time I was given a small hammer as a present. It was magnetized and would pull the nails out while I was trying to drive them in. I remember one day I tried to nail myself inside a box. Uncle Reed and Aunt Sarah were a newly married couple with their first child. Their daughter Olive was born while I lived with them. One day they left me alone with Olive and I fed her some salted peanuts that I had. I sure got in the doghouse for that, but the peanuts didn't seem to hurt her.
4: My dad came from Provo, Utah, which was a good place to come from, and he worked for a while on a canal, herded sheep for a while, bought a small farm north of Raymond, courted my mother and married her. About this time, my father got the homesteader fever, and as homesteads were up for grabs in Taber district, he came over here and got himself a homestead. Sometime during this period, I was born. My mother wasn't very happy about leaving her family and friends and coming over to this den of iniquity, and away out in the lonely prairie. The General Authorities of the Church at that time were not favorable toward immigration to Taber, and there was a house of prostitution down by the river. About a month or so before my youngest sister, Helen, was born, a man in Taber shot the place up and killed a person. Dad had a two-room house built. There was a enough room in the attic for a bed, and I used to sleep there sometimes with the hired man. The first time I slept with him, he pulled the covers off me in the night. I nearly froze and was afraid to wake him. That was the last time anyone ever pulled the covers off me. I learned to get the bed covers in my hand and tuck them under my shoulder, and always turn so as to pull the covers around me. My memory only goes back to when I was living with Uncle Reed. However, I remember stories that were told about me after my mother died. I guess I was inconsolable. Uncle Leslie Palmer said I cried steady for two weeks. A 3 yr old child couldn't remember why his mother went away and left him. I expect that experience left an indelible mark on my psychic, making it difficult for me to give whole-heartedly to people. I always held something in reserve subconsciously. I don't intend to get hurt like that again. My sister Helen, who was born when my mother died, was raised by my Grandmother and Grandfather Palmer. Iola stayed with a neighbor, and dad tried to keep me with him, but it didn't work. I started living with Uncle Reed. They were pretty good to me considering I was the first little kid they had ever tried to raise, and I wasn't their own, and I probably had been badly spoiled. In those early days, when I was 5 or 6, the area 3 or 4 miles south was mostly open prairie, and all round the sloughs the grass was 8-10 inches high. Dad would take his mowing machine and rake and he would cut grass for hay and I would ride home on a fragrant load of prairie hay. I can still remember 65 years later how pleasant it was lying on my back looking up at the blue sky with just a few fluffy clouds sitting around, no wind, and the gentle swaying of the load. It was one of my most pleasant memories on that hayrack. Later on in my life I had some most unpleasant memories on that same hayrack. Some years later when it was very dry and grain crops were short, the Russian Thistles grew up almost as high as the grain; we would cut the crop with the mowing machine and put it up like hay. The thistle would get dry and brittle and get in my shoes and stick in my feet and as it was my job to stack the hay on the rack. I used to wrap my feet and lower legs in sacks to keep the thistle out of my shoes. It was always a mystery to me how the cattle could eat that stuff in the winter time, but they did. In the fall of 1913, at the beginning of the school year, my father enrolled me in Montpelier school. It was 3 miles from our home, and we walked. I walked to school three times; the last time there was someone there who sent me home because the teach had quit. That ended my schooling for that year. Next year I went to Wadena school. The people there were very friendly. I can remember a number of games we used to play: baseball and anti-i-over. One time I brought some carbide with a little water in a jam can. Us boys got together and punched a hole in the bottom of the can, then placed a lighted match to the hole, and there'd be a loud explosion blowing the lid off the can. The teacher found out about it and I was reprimanded. | Additions by his wife Jennie V Johnson Harding: - In December 1906, John and Helen (along with her father as chaperon) traveled to Salt Lake to be married in the temple. As the temple was closed for the Christmas season, her father performed the ceremony on December 24 and they were sealed in the temple on January 17, 1907. - Helen wasn't well during her third pregnancy. In the middle of her 6th month, her condition was critical and her parents came over from Raymond to be with her. On the 13th of May 1911, she died in childbirth. The baby Helen weighed only 2.5 lbs. As no one expected her to live, Grandpa Palmer named and blessed her that same day. He and grandma then took her back to Raymond and raised her as their own. - Bill was 3.5 yrs old and his father kept Bill at home with him, but it was very difficult to carry on with his farm work. He took Bill out in his arms as he drove the plow. Bill fell asleep so his father stopped and laid him on the ground while he went on with the plowing. Bill woke up later and was terrified alone out there on the prairie. - In the spring of 1912, Mary Aspinall (Mollie) (a convert to the church from England), through the urging of the Wilde family of Welling with whom she was staying, took a job as housekeeper for John Harding. Soon the whole family learned to love her and decided they couldn't live without her. John and Mollie were married in the Salt Lake Temple on January 10, 1913. Bill learned to love his new mother and had great respect for her all his life. She loved Bill too, and that was evident many times. - John and Mollie had three more children together: Norman (Oct 13, 1913), Vera (Sep 12, 1915), and Phyllis (Apr 29, 1920). | "I always said he was the star player, but maybe it was because I couldn't keep my eyes off him. Other girls thought he was pretty neat too. I really had to watch out for myself!" -Jennie Harding on Bill playing basketball
5: Additions (continued) - Bill never went past Grade 10 in high school because he was needed on the farm so badly. But he did attend the Raymond School of Agriculture for two years in 1927-29 and graduate. He studied Agronomy (soil and plants), Animal Husbandry, Physics, Math, English, Science, Chemistry, Carpentry, Blacksmith and Welding, Bee Keeping, and Auto Mechanics. Once he wrote an essay on sugar beets and won an award of $25. - One summer Bill wanted to get a way for a while so he bought a round trip train ticket to the Calgary Stampede. When he left the train station, he locked his suitcase in a locker, and then when he returned at night he would get his suitcase, find an empty boxcar and change into his old clothes and sleep over night. The next morning he would change back into his good clothes, shave in the washroom, and then put his suitcase back in the locker. This way he had a good time without spending a lot of money. He always loved to go the Stampede and see the displays. And he never liked to spend a lot of money. - Bill took many parts in plays. One of them he took the part of a detective and Witt Harris was the villain. They took this play to Grassy Lake and when the end came and Bill grabbed his gun to shoot the villain, Jimmie Jensen jumped up in the audience and shouted, "Shoot him again!." - When Bill was living home with his family he seemed to enjoy music. He took violin lessons for a while, played a flute very well, and was a master with the mouth organ. His folks had an organ and he did pretty well on that. Later he mastered the art of getting heavenly music out of a saw, playing it with a violin bow. For all the Seventies parties and other programs he was asked to play his saw, and he usually had a lot of good jokes to go along with the entertainment. - Bill married Jennie V Johnson in the Cardston, AB temple on April 26, 1933. - He was very quiet and, like his father, not easily riled. He was very peaceable and would not take part in any hostility. Once an Indian slashed Bill's throat, but almost instantly Bill was forgiving the Indian and would not press charges. - Bill had a very good sense of humor. He was honorable, honest, highly respected in the Church and community, and a man of his word. He was very spiritual, loved the gospel, and lived to do the Lord's work. Once he said, "I would like to work in the Lord's house, doing the Lord's work, all the time." - One time Bill was cultivating beets on his dry farm and they were badly in need of moisture. He got off his tractor, took his hat off, and prayed to the Lord. He told him that he had planted the beets in good faith and they needed moisture. Almost immediately, rain fell heavily over that part of the field. He was soaked to the skin and couldn't even get the tractor out of the field. So he walked to the car, and he drove home on dry ground. Whenever Bill planted his crops, he always took his hat off in the field and asked for a blessing on his crops. ` | Bill cultivating beets, June 1958; Starting the new house (below)
6: From top left, clockwise: Rose Hannah (Francis) Johnson; Frank Milton Johnson; Frank; Jennie, Myrle, and Leo; Baby Jennie; Jennie and Rose; Jennie, Leo, Myrle, and Frank; Beautiful Jennie and Leo.
7: Jennie V. Johnson Harding | Jennie was born July 7, 1908 in Taber, Alberta, Canada. Her parents were Frank Milton and Rose Hanna (Francis) Johnson. She married Bill Harding on April 26, 1933 in the Cardston Alberta Temple. She passed away on September 15, 1999 at the age of 91 years, and is buried in the Taber Cemetery Life History - As written by Jennie, herself I was born on the 7th day of July, 1908, in Taber, Alberta, Canada, in a little small house in the northern part of Taber. My mother almost lost her life, and I was almost strangled to death, because the chord had wrapped around my neck. After I was born and revived and my mother was out of danger, I guess my father was very much relieved. When I was blessed, I learned that my father carried me up to be blessed under his arm like a sack of potatoes, and my mother was very amused. When I was 1.5 yrs old, my father was called to serve a mission in West Virginia. My mother took me and moved in with her parents and took in sewing. My father paid for his own expenses on his mission; he had saved up quite a bit of money, had sold his property before he left, and purchased a piece of land in Mapleton, Utah, where he built our home two years later.
8: My mother had a baby boy, who was still born. This baby was born on October 1, 1912. It seemed awful to me to see that sweet little baby lying there so still and cold, and we were very saddened. We did enjoy our new home, and soon my parents planted many things around it - fruit trees of all kinds. We had a big porch with banisters on the sides, and as I grew older I used to run and leap over them onto the ground. My parents took me to a circus in Provo one time, and I am told that an ice cream man came around and wanted to sell me an ice cream cone. My mother said, "No", so he whispered in my ear to cry for it. So I did, and I got it. I think I must have used this method quite a bit in my lifetime. We went to Canada for the winter in December 1914. My brother Leo Frank was born. My mother was sick most of the winter, and I suppose my father had his mind on her most of the time. One time, on the way to church in the buggy, I fell out and he went on without me. When I came in the church crying, he was very surprised because he had never missed me. In early spring we went back to Utah. The irrigation ditch ran right by our house, full of mountain water. It was the most wonderful place to play. Big tall, beautiful trees grew by the stream, grass on the banks, and moss in the top of the ditch, little waterfalls, and pools that looked deep. I used to spend so many pleasant hours playing there, dreaming my dreams. It was always shady and cool. As I got older, I'd read by that stream, do my fancy work, or crochet, the sounds of the stream trickling along, the rustle of tree leaves, the birds singing. Oh, to go back to my childhood and to feel as I did then. It was all so much a part of me. My father purchased some homestead land on top of a mountain, up in Spanish Fork Canyon, just above Thistle. We used to go up there and stay for a week at a time in our one-room cabin. When I was quite young my father would go to Billy's Mountain a lot. One time my mother was standing in front of the stove, building the fire for supper preparation. She heard a cat meow and left for a moment to give the cat some milk. As she was coming back, she stepped into the kitchen when all of a sudden our house was struck by lightening. It came down through the roof of the kitchen right in front of the stove where she had been standing, making a big ugly hole in the ceiling. It made a terrible noise and we were terribly frightened. My mother said a ball of fire circled the room several times and then went out the door. I was rocking the baby in the other room. She came in and we knelt down and thanked our Heavenly Father for his protecting care. I remember how safe I felt when my mother prayed. On the 28th of May, my little sister Myrle was born, and I was thrilled and happy to see her. I had wanted a sister so badly. When I looked down at this little baby, I knew my prayers had been answered, because I had prayed that I would have a sister. | Jennie ages 16 and 18; Jennie and Myrle; Leo; and home in Mapleton.
9: One of my childhood friends was Stella Hatfield, and she had a brother named George. He was deaf and dumb, and it was hard for him to make himself understood. He could only squawk hideous sounds, and he used to go quite crazy at times. One night, when my father was away, we heard George coming because he was making those awful noises. My mother had locked the doors, but we were still afraid. We knelt down in prayer. My mother prayed for a long time, asking the Lord to bless George and calm him down so he would go home. She really prayed for our protection. He finally did calm down and went home. We had a hard time sleeping that night, but we were so thankful. When I was 8 years old, my mother bought me a nice dress, it was all white with eyelet lace. I thought it was really elegant. Also she bought me an expansion bracelet and a locket. Then she curled my hair and put a pretty ribbon in it, and then we had our picture taken, Leo and I. I suppose the big occasion was my baptism. I was baptized in Hobble Creek on August 6, 1916. We often had time to take fishing trips up in the different canyons, and many times we stayed over night. It was so wonderful to camp out under the stars at night, to be able to hear the trickle and murmur of the brook all night long, and hear the horses as they chewed their hay and stomped around. I loved this more than anything else we ever did. My mother loved it too. She would put the baby in a box and read or do some kind of sewing or fancy work. It seemed like they were peaceful, lovely times. We had wonderful Christmases at our home. Father loved to play Santa Claus. He was always the town Santa. He always sounded so jolly and real, and used to play such tricks. One time he hung his stocking, and I hadn't noticed there was a hole in the toe. The next morning all the goodies for the stocking was on the floor and the stocking was empty. One would never know what they would find on Christmas morning. One morning, while father was out doing the early morning chores, I heard Santa come with his reindeer. I heard him say "Woe" to the deer, and repeat all of their names. I heard him stomp in the house, rustle sacks, fill stockings, and say "Ho! Ho! Ho!" and leave. And I heard him get in his sleigh and the bells jingling, and the pawing of hooves. Later that day, I went out to look in the snow, and sure enough there were sleigh marks and little reindeer hoof marks. In April 1918, my mother took Leo and Myrle and went to Canada for a month, and we got so lonely without her. My father was taking the lead part in one of Grandpa Johnson's plays, and it was required of him that he had to make love to the beautiful heroine in the play. I was so upset by it that I thought he was falling in love with her really, so I wrote to my mother and told her that her husband was falling in love with someone else. That brought her right home. I'll never forget how glad we were to see them. I loved my little sister and brother so much. My father was the leader of an orchestra and played the clarinet. Some of his favorite pieces were Felex Mendlesson's "Spring Song", "Kathleen Mauvaurneen", and he loved to sing "Asleep in the Deep". He was a wonderful comedian and could give a reading | without cracking a smile. He took many parts in plays and seemed to love doing this. Yet, off stage, he was very quiet and shy. My mother had four years of university and taught school for two years. She was also shy and quiet in company. She had a very strong faith that seemed to radiate from her. On June 28, 1919, my mother had another baby boy. Mother wanted to name him Samuel. We were all so happy with our new little baby. I slept in my mother's room on the floor, so I could hear if she wanted something in the night. On the morning of July 4, at 3 a.m., my mother screamed, "Jennie the baby is dead..." Oh, it was a terrible shock. He had died of a bad heart, and it was just so hard to understand. Next spring my mother was expecting another baby, and she was not well. She was very worried. She talked to me one day and told me many things she thought I ought to know. She told me she was afraid she would not live through this confinement. I cried because I couldn't bear to see her leave us. When it was time for her to have the baby, she was so terribly sick, and the doctors could not do anything to help her, so sent for a specialist. We children went to the neighbors, and I remember how I prayed for my mother. Late on May 27, 1920, my mother passed to her rest and peace, and the baby girl was still born. My father was so grief stricken, he just walked up and down the road. We started trying to get along without our mother. I had never worked in the house much with my mother, because I was always helping my father in the timber. Eventually I learned to cook, keep house, and do the washings and ironings, etc. Myrle and Leo helped. The next fall, I went up to Billie's Mountain with my Father to help Aunt Margaret cook for threshers. When we were finished, my father was taking Uncle Willis' team of white, beautiful horses down for him. They were named Molly and Pet. I wanted to ride Molly so bad, she was so pretty the way she pranced around. But my father said "No". He said she had been running wild all summer and was not dependable. But I coaxed, and finally he said I could if I promised to ride behind the wagon. I got on and she was prancing and stepping so high, it was hard to hold her in. I thought it wouldn't hurt to let her run alongside of the wagon. I felt myself going high in the air as she arched her back, and then away she went, just a white streak across the field. I had no control even though I pulled on the reins. I was so frightened and I had to do all I could do to stay in the saddle and pray. It was a terribly rough ride because of the steep dugway and sharp curves. There was a long straight road and then a sharp hair-pin curve, and then another sharp hair-pin curve, and at this curve was a road going into a field. I gathered up the reins and spoke to the horse, thinking that I might guide her up into this field. But she had other ideas, because I never remember anymore. Either the saddle turned or I fell off, but apparently my foot was caught in one of the stirrups. When I did come to, you could see where I had been drug for quite a way. My shoe was a long way down the road. When I regained conscience, I thought I was dreaming and the mountains were a picture on the wall. I was so dazed and bruised. My hide was rubbed off me nearly all over my body, I hurt all over, and I had a dreadful headache. I was a sorry girl, but didn't seem to have any serious injury.
10: being nice to me. She bought me something to eat. I felt happy and secure. We went up the canyon to their camp, which wasn't very far, and I enjoyed the rest of the summer in this beautiful canyon. I learned many valuable things from my father. He tried to live a righteous life of honesty and keeping the Lord's commandments. His example for me was nearly perfect. His life was mostly spent in 'doing good for others'. He set patterns for me that I will never forget in teaching me the things that were best for me. I loved him very dearly, but he missed my mother so much, and I think he was very discouraged at times. He was not so happy, and I noticed this more than ever this winter and it made me sad. As I look back on my early life with my parents and brother and sister, it seemed so short and so long ago, but it is still very real to me. And the great love that we had, and the fun and pleasant things we did, and how much our dear parents desired we children should grow up and love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They taught us many powerful and important lessons in the short time they had with us. In the last remaining years of my father's life, I suspect I was one of the reasons he had so many worries. I was spoiled, there is no doubt, because my father always gave me whatever I wanted. I just had to do a little coaxing. And I knew he loved me. Still at the age of 16, he would hold me on his lap and call me "Little Jennie". In January 1925, my father became very ill. He was sick a long time before he finally gave in and went to bed. He had been cutting trees down and sawing them up for firewood. Uncle Lewis came and did his chores and Aunt Alice came and stayed at my father's bedside day and night. My father had suffered a great deal, and I had stayed up all night with Aunt Alice, and the next morning he called me in. He took my hand and told me to be brave, and to take good care of my brother and sister, and remember my mother's words to me before she died. He told me that his whole life had passed before his eyes like a moving picture, and he had seen bands marching by. Another thing he said was, "I feel I have been such a failure all my life." I didn't know what to say to him then, because I was crying to much, but I wished I could have said,"How could you be a failure when you have been such a good father?" And remind him of the many things he was always doing for others, and he always did it so quietly, no one knew. I have wished so many times that my children could have known my parents. They were such wonderful people. But my father died, even though I still believed he wouldn't. After the funeral, Grandma Francis took my sweet little sister, Myrle, and we all had to be farmed out to other homes, because we couldn't live in our own home. It was the next thing to be repossessed for the mortgage on it. I sure hated to see my sister go to Canada, but I knew it was best for her. Leo stayed with Uncle Lewis and Alice for awhile, and then he went to live with Uncle Hugh and Aunt Margaret. I went to live with Aunt Ella and Uncle Elmer. They were all very good to us, and we had wonderful homes to live in, but it was terribly sad to be without our parents. | I was terrified of horses for a long time after that, and couldn't even watch a movie with a horse in it without shaking. The next summer Uncle Willis' family made plans for me to ride Molly again. They put a saw bit in her mouth so when you pulled on the reins it sawed into her tongue. They assured me it was fool proof. I was not looking forward to this experience. I got on. As usual, Molly began to prance around and was raring up. This time it didn't give me much of a thrill because I knew what she was up to. She whirled around raring and came down on Pet's rump, making a big gash in her. And she lit out on the dead run for Thistle. I held the reins tight, and it stopped her. I got turned around and went back to the buggy. I figured that was enough and I had all I wanted of her, so I got off and tied her to the buggy. But this did help because I seemed to get over my fear of horses. At the time I never thought of what a cruel way to govern a horse, and I was sorry I had done it. Those were good times, and we needed this because we were so sad and alone without our mother. We had a family picture taken at this time, and none of us smiled, we all looked so sad. But I guess that's how we felt. We traveled up to our beloved Billie's Mountain many, many times. It was an all-day journey. We had a half-way mark by a little stream that we called Cold Springs. We'd have our dinner, we could gather some watercress and put on our sandwiches. We unhitched the horses, gave them a drink and let them do a little grazing. Those were wonderful trips to me. It certainly had a magical spell on those that did live there. Aunt Margaret called it her "Paradise Lost". Many of us have called it our "Shangri-La", but eventually it was bought by Robert Redford, and maybe he still owns it. In the year of 1923, my father decided to send me up to Aunt Margaret's in Clear Creek, Garfield County. I got up early to catch the train which traveled very slow and in every town we came to, it switched back and forth so many times - leaving cars and picking up more. I never was so tired out in all my life before. When we reached Clear Creek, it was raining and getting near evening. I didn't have a coat or money. I had a dreadful headache, and I was hungry and felt forlorn. My father had given me instructions to find a Mr. Chris Houtz and ask him where my Aunt Margaret and Uncle Hugh lived. I had to walk up a big flight of steps to get to his place, and by this time I was soaking wet. His wife came to the door. I was just about in tears and told her my plight. She said, "Well, my husband isn't home and I don't know when he will come. I am entertaining friends...." I knew she didn't want me, but I didn't know what to do, so I asked her if I might stay until her husband came home. She reluctantly said she guessed I could. She made me sit by the door and never offered to help me get dried out. It was getting dark. I looked out on the road, and I saw a wagon go by. The man looked like Uncle Hugh, so I ran out quick, but couldn't catch him. I followed him up a canyon, and then when he turned around, I could see it wasn't him. I didn't dare go back to Mrs. Houtz place, so I wandered around in the rain. I walked up the road by the tracks, and no one seemed to care about me. It had stopped raining so I went back to the store. And just when I thought I was the most lonely girl in all the world, I saw Aunt Margaret and her boys come into the store. I have never been so glad to see anyone in all my life. She was so mad at Mrs. Houtz for not
11: Now I was beginning to get very interested in Bill Harding. I was going out occasionally with Bill. There was something special about him. He had a car and he was so handsome. When he looked at me with those gray eyes, I almost flipped. Iola was one of my best friends, and it was due to her that I could see Bill oftener, because, naturally, I went down to her place to visit her, but I guess I couldn't help it if Bill happened to be there. The next summer, Bill was a away shearing sheep. I thought he had another girl, and so I decided to go to California with Cloy Francis to stay with Aunt Mabel. I left Taber thinking I would probably never see Bill again. I saw many beautiful things in California. I couldn't seem to get Bill out of my mind. We did correspond, but he didn't seem to write back very promptly. And although I read between the lines, and I was sure he loved me, he didn't exactly write it out. But I used to meet the mailman faithfully every morning and be disappointed so many times. When I went to the dances, and was dancing, I used to shut my eyes and imagine it was Bill. I could never seem to have any interest in anyone else. I guess it was hopeless. I was in love with Bill. In 1932, I came back to Taber, and surprised Uncle Ted and Aunt Eva. I had been in California for two years. I was so glad to be home. I enjoyed the courting days with Bill, and at Christmas he gave me a string of sparkling crystal necklace. I always just loved it. On April 26, 1933, we were married in the Cardston temple. That was a day never to be forgotten. I felt the presence of my mother and father there that day. I am sure that they were as happy as I was. | In April 1927, I left for Canada. Uncle Ted Francis had been wanting me to come to Canada to live with them and to help them. I decided to go because my little sister was up there and it would be so nice to be with her again. It took three days by train to travel from Salt Lake City to Taber, but it was a pleasant journey. When we arrived, the wind was blowing very mournfully and it was cold. I noticed the lack of trees and the bald-headed prairie, and I wondered how I could ever like to live here. I wanted to turn around and go back, but I saw my dear, sweet sister so eagerly waiting to greet me, and I forgot all about going back. It was so wonderful to see her again. I know she had looked forward to this day. It was good to be with my sister. Before I came to Canada, I was going around with friends who were going off the deep end, so to speak. They were fooling around with drinking and smoking. I felt it was getting out of hand, but they were my friends from way back. I kept having these disturbing dreams of my father, and he always seemed so sad. But when I came to Canada, I never had these dreams anymore, but I knew I was in with a real nice crowd of young people. One more thing I'd like to add is that almost as soon as I arrived in Taber, Uncle Ted said to me, "Now Jennie, there is a fine young man here in Taber, and his name is Willie Harding. He comes from good stock. Now the procedure for getting married is that you pick out a nice boy, you find out his good qualities, and if he comes from good stock, then you fall in love." Well, I didn't like that idea at all. In fact I knew I was going to hate this Willie Harding, and I would never have anything to do with him. Well, to save me the trouble of hating him, he was going to school over in Raymond. It seemed to me that it rained all the time in this country, and it was cold. I was terribly homesick and wasn't well at all. I had constant headaches and was sick to my stomach. I just did not seem to have any strength. Even though I was very desperately sick, I would not tell anyone, because I wanted to go to church where I got to meet all my friends. It was during church that I thought I might die. I stayed with Grandma that night and next morning. Uncle Ted took me to the Lethbridge Hospital on the train. They said it was typhoid fever. I spent the next month in the hospital. Many came to visit me, but I was not aware of it. It took me a very long time to get my strength back, and I was terribly thin. Then I started to lose my hair, and it fell out so much that Uncle Ted said I need to get it shaved off so the other hair could start to grow. So I suffered him to shave off my remaining hair, and that was a terrible day in my life. I also was plagued with 22 boils at one time. Some of these boils were as big as eggs. I felt pretty low at this time. Soon my troubles were over and the boils healed. I began to despair about ever getting hair, but soon after I started working at McPhee's, it looked like my hair was starting to grow. I coaxed it and prayed, and treated my head so tenderly , and finally I did have hair again, and it came in so curly and beautiful. I felt very rewarded for the long wait and I was very grateful. I had met Willie Harding briefly the summer before, but I thought he was a stuck up so-and-so. I didn't pay much attention to him. This summer, I noticed that the kids called him Bill, and that made me look at him twice.
12: 1. Blaine 2. Blaine and Joan 3. Glenn and Joan 4. Jennie and Joan 5. Bill, Glenn, Joan, and Blaine 6. Joan (Blaine in window) 7. Glenn 8. Going to Church 9. Jennie, Bill, Blaine, Glenn, and Joan 10. Blaine | 1 | 2 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 3
13: Jennie: In 1939, Bill purchased a rubber tired wagon drawn by our team of horses and that’s how we got around. The next year, in 1940, Bill's father purchased a big Farmall tractor. When the weather would permit, we used this tractor many times to go to Church on. Bill held Joan on his lap. Glenn would stand just in front of the steering wheel and hold on to a bar, and Blaine and I would stand on the back. Glenn: "I remember going to Church on the tractor. It was cold and I thought I would freeze to death before we ever got there." Joan: "Sunday mornings when we were snowed in, the days before snow plows, Dad would pull his warm clothes over his suit and walk the five miles to church through the snow drifts and cold. He loved to go. I remember one time, I walked with him. I followed in his footsteps. It was important to try to step in the same places in the snow that he stepped in. There is symbolism in this too. And I have always tried to follow him. I'm so grateful that he was following the Saviour." Jennie: In 1942 we got our first truck so now we had a way to go to Church. Glenn: "I remember riding in the back of that truck with Blaine and Joan going to church. It was cold and dusty as could be, and we’d be covered in a layer of dust by the time we got there. Later on dad built a little kind of dog house in the back for us to get in out of the wind and most of the dust. It helped a little, but we still had to clean ourselves off when we got there." Jennie: Wadena School closed up in 1946 and our children then rode on a school bus to the Taber School. Glenn: "The bus only came as far as Sekura’s corner and we walked the half mile to catch it. Lots of days when the weather was really cold and the wind was chilly, we’d freeze our ears, cheeks, and even our fingers. They’d turn white with the frost, and when we got to the house and started to thaw out we’d end up with the chillblains. HOH that used to hurt. The school bus never came the same time each day either. Some days we’d get to the corner and have to stand there and wait 15 minutes and other times it’d be at the corner and we’d have to run the whole half mile as hard as we could go with a dish full of mush sloshing around in our stomachs." In 1958, a terrible blizzard struck while the kids were at school. When the bus arrived, Brenda couldn't move. She floundered around in the snow, and when Bill got to her, she was gasping and crying. He had to carry her into the house. | 8 | 9 | 10
14: 1. Glenn 2. Blaine, Glenn, Jim, Joan 3. Jennie, Bill, Jim, Blaine, Glenn, Joan 4. Joan 5. Jim 6. Blaine, Joan, Glenn, Jim 7. Jim and David | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7
15: Dear Myrle; I shouldn’t tell you this because you are liable to grieve so, but I have just experienced the most horrible thing I have ever been through in all my life. Our home at the Dry Farm lies in ashes this morning amid practically everything we and Iola owned. Oh, I just can’t think. Everything races through my mind so fast and so cruelly that I can hardly stand it. Yesterday, I was home alone with my children, and I built up a wood fire. The wind was from the north, and I forgot and let the fire go up the chimney. Every other time in my life I have gone out to look at the roof to see if everything was alright and this time I didn’t. I must have worked around for five or ten minutes, and I went in the front room and it was full of smoke. I dashed upstairs and it was true; I couldn’t believe it. Everything went blank before me and I was panic stricken. I thought for a minute I would drop, but then I decided I had to come out of it. So I dashed down and got two buckets of water, but I couldn’t reach the fire from there because it was on the roof and in the loft, so I dashed around to the left side of the house and carried the ladder. Then I crawled up twice with water and tried but it was no use so I carried the ladder around the other side and carried three buckets of water up there but I must have known all the time it was futile and I had wasted all that time, so I ran and got the children out. Then for just a second again, I wanted to give up the ghost, but I fought with myself again and went to work, and how I worked. I prayed God to give my strength and I know he healed me. And oh how I prayed for someone to come. First of all, I drug Iola’s china closet and dishes out and broke some of the dishes, then her silverware. Then I ran for my cedar chest and grabbed Iola’s rug as I went. Then I threw pots, pans, kettles, tubs and things out the window. I went upstairs and grabbed what clothes I could and the dirty clothes too. Then I carried what bedding and mattresses I could find and I thought of Iola’s stove and her clothes, so I got what clothes I could find and I found out later I got a bunch of things she hardly ever used, but I got Calvin’s suit and forgot Iola’s good coat and Dick’s. The worst of it was all of Iola’s bedding and nearly all our winter clothing were packed away and I didn’t get it. All this time, the house was going like paper, but before I tackled Iola’s stove, I prayed so hard for strength, and it came, I don’t know how. I just grabbed it and pulled it to the door, but I couldn’t get it any farther. Then I threw out a few of her chairs and buffet and pulled the couch to the other door. I tried so hard to save her bedding and mattress, but I couldn’t. Then I went to my place again because the fire was worse in Iola’s and the ceilings looked like they would fall in any minute. I tried to pull the bookcase out but I decided it was too hard, but I grabbed a few things out of it and put them in the baby buggy, and I remembered your picture and waved goodbye to the old rocker. Then I came in and pulled the radio out of its sockets and it had been going bravely all the time. I put that and the batteries and suitcase and a box or two in Blaine’s bed. I came back twice for the dresser, sewing machine and trunk. Then I couldn’t go back for any more so I went downstairs for two of Iola’s cases of fruit and then two of mine. Then I started trying to get the stuff back when everybody came. Calvin ran for his stove and the men pulled the stuff back. Then all at once, someone said, “Where is Joan?” Then I lost heart, but I felt so sure she must be safe and she was. Later we found her in the toilet. Then I could finally give up. You know, I pulled Glenn’s bed out in the dry weeds and all of Iola’s stuff and the only thing we saved was the baby and Iola’s sewing machine and a chair. Her china closet turned to ashes after I worked so hard to save it. That’s what made me feel so terrible, and poor Glenny, he got burned. I could hardly get him out. Their stove was saved anyway. I wrenched my back and am black and blue all over and I suffer aches and pains, but thank heaven, I have my children and that is all that matters. Oh Myrle, it seems such a mean trick of fate. We had nearly all our winter’s supply of fruit, peas, beans, and corn and 150lbs of flour and sugar. I remembered to save a can of honey. Poor Iola has suffered. I felt so sorry for her when she got there. She couldn’t cry but she was thankful to get what she did get. Everyone laughed at me because I sat there hugging the radio as if that was the only thing that mattered. Iola said, “I should have got Bill’s violin and played farewell to our home as it went down!” Such ideas eh! But a good one at that! We still have our crop, thank heaven, and there are many people today who are mourning the loss of their crops. A terrible hail storm came up and hailed so many people out. It hit Hall’s place and I feel so sorry for Sister Hall. They say all the crops from Lethbridge to Macleod are taken too. Isn’t it a shame? We have something to be thankful for. Dad says our wheat is not threshed yet though and not to expect anything until it was. I saved the knitted suit that Aunt Mabel sent me. We are going to town today to see if we can get some credit and start all over again. I imagine maybe the people around here will help us a little though. Everyone is so kind. Norah has already offered her home to Iola and Calvin. I don’t know yet where we’ll live. Our shack will have to be fixed up a lot before we can live in it because it only has one layer of boards. Glenn: Holy Cow, is that ever heart wrenching. You know I've heard mom talk about that experience quite a few times during her life, but never like she poured out her feelings in that letter. Iola never really forgave mother for that fire. She used to bring that up to her every once in a while, and I could always see how it hurt mother. She suffered from that experience practically all her life. Joan: My opinion is the same as yours, Glenn, and just as strong. She carried or dragged that stove across the kitchen (and they made kitchens large in those days). It took four men to lift it where ever else they were taking it. In that house with her prayers, she navigated from "fainting spells" to superhuman strength. Mother was risking her life to try to save Iola's stuff. Another thing, she said, "Poor Glenny got burned. I could hardly get him out." That indicates to me that the tall, dry grass was engulfing your crib in flames and that she had to go through fire to get to you. My mom is a heroine. I'm so glad she got to you in time Glenn. You're the best. I suspect that Mom and Dad did not get the credit they applied for at the bank, because the little shack with one layer of boards was not improved at that time and we lived in it. | Letter from Jennie to her sister, Myrle
16: 1. Jim, Bill, David 2. Joan 3. Jim 4. Blaine, Jennie, Joan, Glenn, Jim, David 5. Jim, David, Keith 6. Jennie, Joan, Bill, Blaine, Jim, David, Keith 7. David 8. Jim 9. Keith 10. Glenn and Blaine 11. Keith 12. Jennie and Joan 13. Blaine and Glenn 14. Blaine 15. Blaine and Bill | 8 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 9 | 10 | 11
17: Jennie: These were the war years, and we had a very hard time being able to buy the things we needed. Underwear, stockings, socks, and material were the things we needed most. It was a real struggle. Most of the time I had to darn and patch constantly. We were rationed on many things. We had to have German prisoners come and do our beet thinning, hoeing, and bean picking. The guards, accompanied with a gun, came out in the field with them. We paid them so much a day, and they worked better if we gave them special things to eat. I had to boil water for them three times a day (for their coffee) and usually fed them sandwiches and cookies. There were 20 prisoners picking beans and 10 doing our beets. These men sure liked Glenn. It was just one and a half months away from the time I was to have a baby (Keith). It was a great burden to have to spend so much time taking care of the German prisoners and my family. I wasn't well, I had swelled so badly, and it was miserable for me. I was lucky enough not to go into the hospital until we were almost done our beets. Glenn: I used to go out with mother to give the prisoners the food. I remember how they would pick me up, play with me and tussle my hair. I loved it, but the guard did not like it. He would shout his warnings to the prisoners. I remember thinking, "why is that dumb old guard so mean?" Jennie: We were also rationed on sugar, and so that year Bill went into the bee business. Glenn: First dad put the beehives west of the house about 50 feet. We couldn't even go to the outhouse without being chased and stung by bees. I remember mom giving him an ultimatum, "Bill, either you move those hives or I am going to burn them!" He moved them. I remember the first honey harvest we had. Mom and dad would take the honeycombs frames and put them in the oven on cookie trays. The honey would melt off and they could pour it into jars. However, the beeswax would melt too and it would float to the top of the jar and form the perfect seal. When we started to have our own honey, mom suddenly became a much better cook! | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | The War Years
18: 4 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 5 | 6 | 1. David, Keith, Jim 2. Keith 3. Keith and David 4. Keith 5. Blaine, Jim, Joan, Glenn, Keith, David 6. Harding children at Cameron Falls, Waterton AB 7. Grandma Mollie Harding, David, Jennie, Keith, Jim, Blaine, and Glenn 8. Keith, Bill, David
19: 7 | 8 | Glenn: Dad was different somehow. I honestly think he was comfortable with silence. I think he, for the most part, chose silence. And I'm going to tell you why I think that. But before I do that let me say that dad could handle himself in conversation very well. He could express himself with the most profound clarity I've ever heard from any man. I've heard him give talks in Church that were absolute masterpieces. Members would reflect and talk about their experience with dad's talks for months afterwards. Dad played the saw. I don't know how many of you remember that or even knew that. He was pretty good at it too. He was asked on a number of occasions to entertain at Stake Social gatherings. Dad developed a humorous routine of jokes and stories along with playing the saw that would send the audience into gales of laughter. I watched Doug Miller at one of these Socials, laugh uncontrollably so hard that he fell right off his chair into the aisle. A couple of men had to help him up he was so weak from his laughing. Maybe some of you, maybe all of you that can remember dad, will remember some of the incredible bits of wisdom or the amazing lessons that he would teach you from one simple sentence or phrase. I'll never forget the lesson taught when my sister Brenda, requested a Priesthood Blessing, A Father's Blessing, from dad. Dad felt very humbled and honored to do it but requested a couple of hours to prepare himself. Eventually he came down stairs into the livingroom where we were waiting. I was surprised to see him dressed in his Sunday best clothes. He placed a chair in the center of the livingroom and then he simply said, "I've done everything I know how to do to make myself clean. I've bathed and washed my body. I even cleaned under my fingernails. I've combed my hair and shaved and put on my very best suit of clothing. I've spent about an hour and a half on my knees repenting and pleading to Heavenly Father to forgive my weaknesses and to let me enjoy His Holy Spirit as I give this blessing." Then he invited Brenda to come and sit on the chair and he asked me to assist him and together we laid our hands on Brenda's head and dad gave his daughter one of the most wonderful blessings of comfort and counsel I have ever heard given. We all wept with the Spirit and marvelled at dad’s gift of saying just the right things that needed to be said and the powerful lesson he taught us of the importance of being clean. The question is, why didn't he talk more, why did he choose silence? This is what I think. 1. Dad absolutely abhorred contention of any kind so he chose not to debate, question, or even comment on opinions or issues that others had. And I think he was pretty wise in this. I've heard him say, "It's better never to debate the idea of whether you are an idiot or not than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." This was always a great dilemma for mother who was very spirited in her desire for conversation. I've heard mom say on several occasions, "Talking to your father is like talking to the wall." 2. Dad chose very carefully the things he would say or the comments he would make. I've heard him say numerous times, "If you haven't got anything intelligent to say, don't say anything at all." 3. Dad loved to learn. He read an awful lot. He knew a lot of things. Besides being a farmer, and a good one at that, he was a carpenter, a builder, a brick layer, an electrician, a welder, and a musician. Mostly all self taught. I've heard dad say many times, "As long as you are talking, you'll never learn a single thing that you didn't already know. So shut up, listen and learn." Keith: I often remember riding along with Dad in his truck without any conversation - mile after mile. To me it was a comfortable silence and did not bother me. Years later, those times seem almost special - like a bond of some kind that did not involve words. Dad did not say that much, and because of that, when he did say something you really paid attention - and it stuck with you. I only remember one thing that was said at my missionary farewell. Dad got up and said " I only have one thing to say to you - Be Obedient", then he elaborated on that a little and sat down. I have never forgot that! I also remember some short, to-the-point conversations out on ditch banks. I can remember the words and how he said them. Pretty good when I can't remember what I did last week. When Dad got older and kept driving around in that little red Chev truck, he couldn't judge the distance to the intersections, so we would come up too fast. At the last minute he would hit the brakes and skid around the corner, gravel flying everywhere. Then he was so nervous, he would just poke along for about a half mile, gradually getting braver and getting his speed up again just in time for the next intersection and often repeat the same thing. Even in those stressful situations (stressful for both of us) still nothing was said. He didn't have anything to say and I guess I either didn't want to make him feel bad or didn't think saying anything would do any good. | A Quiet Man
20: Glenn: We had lots of chores to do on the farm every night and morning. I don't think any of us enjoyed it very much either, especially in the early mornings. Us older boys would take our frustrations out by maybe pulling, yanking, or squeezing the cows teats a little too hard. But Keith who was a little too young to milk yet, would take his frustrations out in a way more dramatic and entertaining way. Every morning he would chase a calf that we kept locked up in the corral until he caught it. Then he would wrestle the calf until he could get it in a headlock, and then he would bulldog or wrestle the calf until he could throw it down on the ground and then just maul this poor calf. He was just acting out what we all felt. It was the most entertaining thing to watch. Everyday Keith would catch this calf and wrestle it to the ground. After a few minutes he would let the calf up and it would run away, and Keith would chase it again and repeat the process. After about a month of this daily beating up of the calf, it finally got smarter. When Keith would finish mauling it and then let it up, the calf would just lay there and refuse to get up again. And it really got smart a few days later. Whenever it saw Keith coming out into the corral, it would just lay down flat on the ground and play dead. This took all of the fun out of it for Keith, and he left the calf alone after that. The really amusing thing about this story is that about a year later Dad wanted to sell the calf at market. I was assisting Dad to load this great big steer, and it was refusing to go in the chute to be loaded on the truck. We poked it, prodded it, twisted its tail and did everything we could think of to get this animal on the truck without much success. Just while we were vigorously prodding and pushing, I noticed the steers head come up and its eyes get wide, like a light just came on in his brain. Without a moment’s hesitation, the steer laid down right there in the chute just like Keith had trained it to do a year earlier. It was the only time in my life I ever heard dad swear at Keith. Incidentally the steer did not go to market that day as we could not get him up until we left the corral. Smart calf and well trained by Cactus Joe Keith. | Cactus Joe Keith | 2 | 1 | Glenn: In 1965, Mom and Dad were asleep in their downstairs bedroom when all of a sudden dad awoke and looked up and saw an Indian standing over him with his arms raised and something in his hands that looked like a knife. Just as the man plunged the weapon down, dad got his feet up and kicked the man hard enough to send him flying backwards against the wall. But dad’s throat was cut very badly. Mom screamed and the man took off running up the stairs and out of the house with dad right behind him. Dad said later that he didn’t know what he would do if he caught the guy. Anyways dad chased them all out of the house. In the meantime, Loyia and I were sound asleep at our place and unaware of any of this drama. It was about 2 am, I think, that mom came running over to our place and banged on the door shouting, "Glenn, Glenn, come quick! Dad's throat's been cut!" I awoke with a start and such a fear that I couldn't even find my clothes. I put on my pants and ran barefoot across the yard as hard as I could go. Dad was sitting in the kitchen holding a towel against his neck that was dripping with blood. I helped dad out into the car and drove him to the hospital as fast as I dared go. I didn't know if his juggler was severed or where all this blood was coming from, so I just drove hard cause you don't live long if the juggler is severed. I took dad right into emergency and they were pretty quick in taking him right in. I was sure glad. I waited for dad to be patched up. It was a very serious cut made by a shoe horn and not a knife. It barely missed the juggler vein but went quite deep into his throat. So dad was pretty lucky to have survived that. He received about 10 stitches and a large bandage over the wound and then released and I drove dad back home again. When I got home it was starting to get light and the police were still there gathering evidence and waiting for me and dad to show up. The first thing they did was to sit dad and me down separately and interviewed us. They wanted to know if dad and I had ever had any arguments or disagreements or if we had been in a fight. I suddenly realized that I was suspect here. As I came to that realization, I was sick to my stomach and horrified that anyone could think that I could do such a terrible thing to my Father. I gave them my statement and told them that I loved my Father and that we had never fought, ever, nor had we even had a disagreement. The police had done a very good job in gathering evidence. They had lots and lots of fingerprints that didn’t match ours. They had their search dogs and had followed one fellow north towards town and caught him. He was the guy that had stabbed dad in the neck. They picked up another fellow on the road about half way to Sekura’s corner and another fellow about a mile east of our place. All three had fingerprints that matched those found in mom and dad’s house. That experience really affected mom and dad. They never felt safe in their home again after that. Rebecca: Seems to me that I read somewhere that grandpa did not press charges and forgave them. | The Indian Attack
21: 1. Brenda 2. Joan, Brenda, Keith 3. Keith and Brenda 4. Brenda 5. The Harding Children 6. Blaine diving 7. Blaine 8. Joan 9. Harding Family 10. Keith (Spotty on left) - note all the tongues hanging out! | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
22: Joan: The fall of 1951 was a terrible year for the sugar beet industry. It is still today recognized by farmers as the worst year of all time. Winter came early. The ground was partially frozen early in the season. It was unusually cold and irritating to the beetworkers. Blaine, Glenn, and I stood bundled up against the cold on the back of the International Sugar Beet Harvestor at 5 o’clock in the crisp, chilly morning. Because the ground was partially frozen, the escalator belt not only brought up the sugar beets, but it also brought up great frozen clods of dirt attached to each beet. If the beets hit the belt with a thud before, it was now a clobbering. You wouldn’t want to get your hand under it. There were great poundages of sugarbeet-dirt clods bombarding the moving belt, sending up large, billowing clouds of dirt and dust. Not knowing what else to do, we breathed the dirt while we worked. We didn’t only have to top the beets, we had to get the dirt clods off. It was hard, dirty work! It was going to be this kind of work continually from then on for the rest of the season. The farmers were desperate. There was no let up from the cold and frozen dirt. We had breakdowns more often. The Harvestor had to work harder and slower. We were kept out of school for more than a month that year. Our working days were longer. We had to work morning, afternoon, and late into the evening in a race to get our beets up before the big freeze. We were doing 16 hour days. I would get home for supper, look in the mirror, and see a black face. The dirt caked in my eyes, my nostrils, my mouth, my lips, and settled on my skin generally. There was one night when we got home late at night that I just fell on the floor and went to sleep. Everyone else headed straight for bed. When I woke up in the morning, I was on the floor, still dirty with my dirt-laced face and hands, yet called to begin another 5 o’clock morning. It was the harvest from hell. In all of this, I do not believe that anyone ever complained. Mother was an angel, doing everything humanly possible to make us delicious meals, desserts, and homemade root beer never ending. Dad knew that October 31st, 1951 would be the last night we could do any more beet harvest that year because the weather report had said that there would be a real deep freeze in the night. The sugar beets would be totally frozen into the ground by morning. Dad had rigged up a light somehow so that we could see what we were doing and we could work all night as long as the ground would let us. Mother felt so bad that we were doing this work in such cold weather and so long into the night that she had hot chocolate waiting for us at the end of every round. We were working on the southeast part of Dad’s land, so the half mile rows started close to the house and the rounds ended near the house. Mother’s hot chocolate was waiting for us every time. She wanted to keep us warm. As we were working, with the familiar clods of dirt hitting the belt and smothering us with dirt, I was thinking about what our friends were doing this Halloween night. I wondered if they were toilet-tipping, or doing a scavenger hunt, or partying at one of the homes where they might be playing tricks on each other. “Do you want to see stars?” someone would say. “Then look into the end of this empty sleeve!” The person peering into the empty sleeve would then suddenly come into contact with a fist. Oh, the things we did! But we always had fun! I came out of my reverie when a beet knife hit my bare wrist. I didn’t even look at the wound. I just let it bleed. I kept that scar for many years and probably bragged about it. The time came in the night when the Harvestor would not move any more! We were finished! The ground was frozen solid. There were many acres of sugar beets that were lost! And not just Dad’s beets, but all the farmers together lost thousands of acres of sugar beets that year. It was a year to be remembered and still is not forgotten. Glenn: In 1951 (the harvest from hell) we often worked in blizzard conditions. Snow storms with blinding and drifting snow driven by hard north winds. Mother once wrote that she would watch out the window of the house as Dad and us kids would trudge out to the Harvestor and climb on and then slowly disappear out of sight in the blinding blizzard, and she would weep and pray for us. It was on one of those blizzardy days that I remember looking at Joan beside me and across the Harvestor at Blaine and seeing their faces literally covered with snow and ice. I remember wanting to laugh and cry at the same time, and then the realization that my face probably looked the same. As I'm remembering some of these experiences there really isn't any words to adequately describe what we did and what we went through. | The Harvest from Hell
23: 1. Jim, Keith, Brenda, David 2. Bill 3. Keith, David, Brenda, Jimmy James Edward Hoe Handle Humperdink Harding (as so lovingly named by Glenn) | Glenn: When I was a kid growing up, nobody had indoor plumbing yet, especially in the country. Even quite a few in town still used the old "Out House." One of the favorite Halloween tricks kids would play was to sneak into the yard and tip these toilets over. Well, one Halloween night I was with the Layton boys (don't remember if Blaine and Joan were there or not, probably were), and we went out toilet tipping. After quite a successful evening we came back to the Layton home and were gloating over our many conquests, and Dick Layton got up and announced that he had to go to the toilet. It was pitch dark outside and as he groped his way to where the toilet should have been he all of a sudden fell in the toilet hole. Someone had been there and tipped it over. He came back into the house so mad he just threw himself onto his bed. Unbeknownst to any of us, the cat had been on his bed and did its business right on Dick’s pillow. Dick did a huge face plant right in cat business, and that was even funnier than Dick falling into the toilet hole. One Halloween night dad had put off milking the cows until way after it was dark. Well, he went out into the corral (which was made of barb wire fence) and proceeded to milk the cows. Our toilet was right next to the corral fence. All of a sudden the cows all turned to face something coming. Dad stopped milking and just sat there quiet. Then he heard the barb wire fence make a squeaking noise, and he knew someone was sneaking up to probably tip the toilet. He waited until the guy got right up beside the toilet and then he yelled, "BOOOOOO!" Dad said the guy took off running and hit that barb wire fence so hard it sounded like a truck going through the wires. Next day dad had to tighten the wires they were stretched so bad and he found pieces of torn clothing still attached to some of the barbs too. Joan: I was there the night we all went toilet-tipping. When we did Layton’s toilet, I fell over a rake that was in the yard. One of the tongs of the rake actually punctured into my ankle. The next day, my ankle and foot were swollen way out of proportion. So that was my punishment for tipping toilets. We also got shot at that night. At least, we heard the gun shots and high-tailed it out of there. This was a farmer north of town whom I presume didn't want his toilet tipped over. Blaine: I don't think I was a part of that Halloween escapade that got Dick his just desserts. I don't think I could have forgotten that. I remember in those days it wasn't tricks or treats, it was just tricks. To us that was the excitement of Halloween. My own story wasn't humorous, in fact it caused me to have guilty feelings and I don't remember if any of my siblings were involved or not. Well Lloyd Conrad invited me (us?) to go tricking one Halloween night. We went over to Mrs Holvite's place, commonly referred to as "the Belgian”, and did as much mischief as we could. Obviously Lloyd was the leader- I would never have initiated those kinds of things??? There was some light machinery parked around the pond. We pushed it into the pond. Don't remember if we tipped the outhouse over or not, but it's not something we would have missed. We had had some of that kind of fun, then we entered the chicken coop and had some fun there, left with a chicken and went home. I'm wondering if we remembered to close the chicken coop door. I was sure the Mrs Holvite would be over to our place the next day threatening us with extermination, but there never were any repercussions and we never heard a peep from her. I don't remember what we did with the chicken- probably sent it home. | Speaking of Halloween.... | 1 | 2 | 3
24: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 1. David, Keith, Jim, Brenda, Bill 2. Keith 3. Jim 4. Brenda 5. Bill David, Brenda, Keith 6. Bill, Keith, Jennie, Brenda, David (and swimming suits drying on the antennae)
25: Keith: When we were boys we would sleep in the attic, and it was unfinished so we had the rafters and the roof boards and the shingle nails were sticking through, and there’s no insulation up there. First of all there was just this ladder that was straight up the wall; we’d climb up there and then there was kind of a plywood lid that you could put over the hole at the top. But later we got fancy and we got one of those ladders that folds down out of the ceiling and goes up on an angle. Dad would get us all up there at night, and then he would fold it back up and close it up so he could keep the house warm. So we were up there for the night – that’s it, and the frost would form on the bottom of the shingle nails, so in the morning you would have a big ball of frost on the bottom of the shingle nail. We were all bundled up snugly in our beds under the mattress sometimes. We didn’t have beds, we just had a pile of mattresses so you just kind of move down as needed. And then in the morning he would come and open it up and get us all down there, and he’d have the fire going in the stove, and we’d all gather around the stove and probably get our socks on down there or something, and then go outside. Glenn: When I was just a little kid we had neighbors, Mr. & Mrs. Holivite, (not sure of spelling) who lived just to the north and east of us. Mrs. Holivite was a very large woman, bossy and mean. Her husband was a meek little man who hardly ever said anything. He was a really nice man. In later years I got to know him quite well as we farmed right next to them. But she was a large woman, mean and domineering. We could hear her yelling at her husband, cussing and swearing half a mile away. Sometimes when we used to go swimming in the big canal we’d have to cross their land and she’d see us and come running up the field yelling and hollering, waving a big stick and swearing at us kids to get out of there because we were trampling her grass. Actually we weren’t even on her property. We walked along the canal bank which is Taber Irrigation land. But we were afraid of her because she was so mean. It was mom and dad that introduced us to the title of, "The Old Lady" and it was kind of a fitting title for her too. On very rare occasions our cows would find a hole in the fence and get into the Holivite place. Mrs. Holivite (The Old Lady) would march right over to our place and give mom and dad a good sharp piece of her mind and demand the animals be kept off her property. So dad put up an electric fence all around the pasture to deter the cattle from getting into the neighbors anymore. One day dad had an old sow that got out of the pen and went over to the neighbors. Electric fences just tickle pigs don't ya know. Anyways mom and dad happened to look out the window just in time to see "The Old Lady" marching over to our place to bawl them out for this wayward pig. She got to the electric fence and got nicely straddled it before the first jolt hit her. She was so stunned by it that she couldn't let go of the fence and every time another jolt would hit her she would jump and scream, “AAARRRRGGGHHHH.” She took about 10 jolts before she finally tumbled over the fence. NOW she was REALLY mad. That's when dad disappeared. I think he went out and hid in the toilet and let mom take the fury of, "The Old Lady.” I don’t think mom ever forgave dad for abandoning her that day either. I didn’t actually see it happen myself but the vision I have in my mind of The Old Lady straddling the electric fence and growling like an old grizzly bear each time a jolt of electricity hit her is one that has entertained me to this very day. Mrs. Holivite died in 1960. I was just returned from my mission and was in town with dad one day and we happened to meet Mr. Holivite in front of the Post Office. Dad expressed his sympathy to Mr. Holivite for his loss. Mr. Holivite answered and said, "It's OK Bill. She's at peace now AND - SO - AM - I." That was so funny. I laughed till I hurt it was so funny. I'll never forget that. I’d often wondered how Mr. Holivite felt about living with “The Old Lady” and now I knew. | The Attic | The Pig and the Old Lady
26: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
27: Brent (Joan's son): I remember Mom telling this story to me when I was fairly young. In later years, I shared my version with Grandma who suggested that some of my facts might be incorrect or embellished. Even so, my version is pretty fun, so I'll share it. Around the time Keith was preparing for his mission, Grandpa had been struggling with the loss of some cattle. At one point it had been stated that if one more cow were to die there wouldn't be enough money to send Keith on his mission. One morning while making breakfast, Grandma looked out the window to see a cow lying feet up in the pasture. Glenn: She ran out of the house, jumped in the car, and headed towards the dry farm to get some help, which is where we were harvesting beets. She met up with me coming down the road, told me what was happening and gave me the knife. I drove as fast as my beet truck would go to the house, leaped out and ran as hard as I could go across the fields leaping fences to where the cows were. The cows were fine. However, at least one of the cows looked like it had been bloated. It's left side was still puffed up a little bit, but it was standing in the drain ditch with its back legs down in the bottom of the ditch and its front legs up the bank, which is about the only way a cow can be relieved of the bloat on its own. It was chewing its cud and belching. I remember thinking, "Cows never do that on their own. It was like someone had led the cow to the drain ditch and positioned her there." When mother got back to the house she remembered her toast. She ran into the house which was filled with smoke and discovered that someone had unplugged the toaster and let the sides down possibly preventing a fire, but the toast was burnt black. Brent: The toast was nicely buttered on the counter. Glenn: The toast was definitely not buttered. Joan: A few days later at church, Mom visited with Dad’s cousin, Jesse Harding. He had been hunting ducks on the Harding pond that day. He said, “What in the world was going on at your place the other day? I saw Jennie come running out of the house, jump in the car and go tearing up the road. Then I saw Glenn come roaring up the driveway with a big load of beets in a cloud of dust. He jumped out of the truck and went racing across the field as hard as he could with a knife in his hand chasing two men dressed in white clothes. What in the world was going on out there?” Glenn: Well neither Mom nor I saw the two men dressed in white clothes that Jesse Harding saw me chasing across the field. We have no idea who unplugged the toaster and let the sides down possibly preventing a fire, and who was it that positioned the cow in the drain ditch so perfectly so as to alleviate the bloat? These are questions that go unanswered even to this day. Joan: When I had the opportunity to speak to Mom in her own kitchen looking out the window as to where the cows had been. I was impressed that the site was quite a distance away. I said, “Mom, how did you know the cows were dead?” She replied, “Joan, their feet were sticking up in the air!” So after hearing that comment, I believe that two cows were dead. If I’ve got my facts right, this all seems quite clear to me. Keith was having a struggle getting ready for his mission. It seemed that everything that could go wrong did. His calf died, the one that was supposed to grow up and make money for his mission. Then he was in a car accident which damaged two cars that didn’t belong to him. Keith was devastated. It seemed that Satan was working against him. I know that Keith was fasting. Mother tried to get him to eat but he wouldn’t. Day after day, she left enticing food on the counter for him, but he never touched it. Dad, whose support Keith needed in the mission field, was having troubles too. He had said, “If one more cow dies, Keith can’t go on his mission!” I said, “Mom, don’t you see what’s going on here? The three Nephites came to the farm to save Keith’s mission. You know, Jesse saw two men in white clothing jumping the fence ahead of Glenn and running toward the cows. The cows were okay when Glenn got there.” Mom said, “Yes, but Joan, Where was the third Nephite?” “Well!” I replied. “Who unplugged the toaster?” | Mysterious Happenings on the Harding Farm | 1. Glenn 2. Blaine after his mission 3 & 4. Keith on mission 5. Brenda 6. Joan and Jennie
28: William (Bill) Harding The Gospel has always been important to me. I have always believed in prayer. I know that God lives and Jesus is the Christ. He came to save us from our sins. He took our sins upon Himself, on condition of repentance. The Church is true. We have a Prophet at the head of our Church. Joseph Smith is the Prophet who restored the Gospel on this earth for this dispensation. I always believed that, without a doubt. I love each member of my family. The highest teachings of the Gospel are all on the progress of the Eternal Family. And all the teachings of the Gospel lead us to this. In fact, the Gospel is "The Eternal Family." The Book of Mormon is true. I leave my blessings on my family. Amen. Jennie Harding I know that Heavenly Father lives. Hallowed be His name. I also know that Jesus Christ is God's only begotten son. He is our Redeemer and beloved Savior, and our Mediator. He will intercede for us to the Father. His atoning sacrifice was the greatest thing that ever happened on this earth, which gives us hope of Eternal Life. Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. I know this to be true. Our present day Prophet is Ezra T. Benson, who stands at the head of the Church. I love to read and study the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon. It is another testament of Christ, and I know it is true. Amen. | Testimonies | The Love of Two Sisters | Janet (Glenn's Daughter): I remember one time when Grandma came to Utah to visit Aunt Myrle. They sat on Myrle's couch for about 2 hours exchanging compliments back and forth to each other until, by the end of the evening, each of them was the most wonderful human being on the planet. David and I even sensed a little bit of competition with each other. Oh well, either way, a competition in being nice is not such a bad thing. They were great ladies. I loved their visits and their cheerful example. Jennie: My sister Myrle and I have always had a great love for each other, and since we are the only ones left in our family, I believe our love has become stronger.
29: Dear Jennie, I have thought a lot about what to give you as a Mother's Day gift from your husband. I could give you a card with a verse expressing some sentiment or other. But that is an easy way out for someone who is too lazy or thoughtless to give something of himself. I could get you some flowers or a vase or a platter of some kind, or dishes or kettle, but all of these are only material items easily come by. Oh, they are not to be sneered at. They represent, if given, the same as does the card, the thought I have for you, not just now on Mother's Day, but every day of the year. I've thought a lot about you lately and wondered what you got out of life. Is what you have received worth the work and ache and pain? Is it worth the disappointments, the skimping and doing without things other people would take for granted? Is it worth cooking and washing and serving and cleaning for people who seldom comment unless something went wrong? I've thought a lot about how you came to live with me as my bride. How we loved each other! How eagerly we faced the future! A temple marriage; children born under the New and Everlasting Covenant. How we would teach them the Principles of the Gospel! No child would ever go astray! I've thought a lot lately about the future. About which of us will be first to be called into the Spirit World. It doesn't matter, I'll be lonely without you whichever way it is. Then on the morning of the first resurrection, will I be worthy to call you forth as my wife to live together forever in Celestial Glory? Oh how I pray that I will be! How bitter it will be for me if I'm not. I love you. There has never been another since the day you said you would be my wife. I pray that God will grant you health and happiness here and joy and rejoicing hereafter. Yours, Bill | The Love Letter
30: THE PURE LOVE OF CHRIST, I have learned this is what true love means and how deep it can be, and it has filled my soul. It has written itself upon the tablets of my heart. My whole being has been filled with the pure love of Christ. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I love my family and just everyone. I love the beauties of the earth. I am so thankful I had the privilege of coming to this earth and so journeying through life. I have had trials and tribulations like everyone else, but I think I always retained a bit of happiness to tide me through, and then I was so blessed with a wonderful husband and wonderful children. I was so blessed with very good parents and stalwart ancestry and very good relatives that took us children into their homes and helped in raising us. Then the family I married into have been so good to me. I love them too, and friends, dear good friends. My cup runneth over, dear Lord. And I can't forget my beloved grandchildren, and now many of them have sweet children who are my great grandchildren, which I adore. They brighten my life with their sweetness. The Lord has blessed me more than I ever deserve. What a great life I live. I thank my Heavenly Father for it every day. There is only one grief in my life, and that is seeing so many of my grandchildren fall away from the Church. I wanted to tell you, and I am sure I am speaking for my husband also, that there is a way to come back. You can be forgiven, you know, and we will all help you. It is very important that you think seriously about this, because we are living in very troubled times, and the prophecies concerning the end of the world and the second coming of Christ is near at hand. We all love you and pray for your welfare. Please come back into the fold of your dear family, and we will all welcome with the greatest of love. You are part of our precious family. In the New Testament, Christ gives a parable. It is found in Luke, Chapter 15. It will tell you about the lost sheep and how the shepherd leaves the 99 and goes out searching for the one lost sheep. When he finds it, how joyous and happy he is. The lost is found. Read the whole chapter because you will read the parable of the Prodigal Son. So there is a way back, my dear beloved grandchildren, and we will be very joyous of your return. I love all of you so much. | Opposite: Keith standing in front of the 1840's home of Aaron and Polly Johnson, Nauvoo; Jim; Jennie and Joan, the farm house as it stands today; the entrance to the farm - also known as Memory Lane.
31: MEMORY LANE