Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Rees, Robert A.
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Personal Voices I 181 "THAT THEIR DAYS MAY BE LONG. . . ." Elsie Dee My father and mother greeted me as the first of five daughters, eleven months and sixteen days after they were married. During the fifty-five years of their being together, I have been home with them, daily or weekly, except for twenty-two months when proselyting for the Church, six months concluding graduate work out of the state, and a few short vacations. I have now stopped asking myself, "Why didn't challenging professional opportunities appear further than fifty miles from the home front?" "Why didn't marriage and a family come to me?" "Why has it been my lot to remain at home?" "Whose responsibility is it to care for elderly parents?" But I can't help asking another question over and over: "Does it have to be so hard?" For the first ten years of their marriage, my parents moved back and forth from southern Nevada to central Utah trying to settle. Father had been reared in Nevada with seven brothers, all trained to be productive in cattle raising and agriculture. But as one daughter after another arrived, Father looked at her daintiness and finally decided to return north to Mother's country. "We can give them better schooling," he said. Our parents gave us a memorable childhood. Our winters were spent in town, attending school, playing with friends, and going to all Church functions. Summers were spent in the canyon where Father was a flume patrolman for the utility company. Here all of the cobwebs we had accumulated during the school year were gently blown away. We hid among the trees, played paperdolls, swam in the river, and read. To develop our character, we picked strawberries, during the season, down in the valley. We were paid ten cents a crate, which not only developed character but a stiff back for a bonus. We never had money to go on a trip. In today's terminology I suppose we were economically deprived, but those were glorious and peaceful years. Mother's discipline was easy going, but we minded Father as law. Both were kind and earnest, desiring to see all of us mature socially, economically, and educationally. Throughout our growing years Mother stressed Church attendance, paying tithing, saying our prayers, and doing what the Church authorities said. Father emphasized being honest, helping everyone, working hard when doing all tasks, and giving more for a day's work than we were paid. During the subsequent years these principles have been our anchorage. Starting about 1927, each time Mother became restless or bored she purchased real estate. We had, on the average, a new mortgage every four and one-half years. A few of the houses were sold (as a last resort), one was lost during the depression of the Thirties, but the rest have been rented, usually to students who stayed, at best, one school year. We moved at least every six months, in those early years, into whichever unit was unoccupied at the time. Finally in 1938 Mother bought a large lovely family dwelling where we are yet living and where Mother wants to spend her last years. During these productive years Father turned most of his wages over to Mother. He also repaired, painted, and remodeled the rentals and worked full time for the power company. He kept reminding us that it was a good thing he was in the family. All of us agreed with him; he could fix anything. Indeed, Mother's rental units were a project that involved the whole family. Mother always said, "If you can carry a scrub bucket to our houses, you can make money." Until they married, my younger sisters and I carried the scrubbing gear to empty real estate purchases while Mama collected the money. She used the money to help us advance, spending very little on herself. However, as my sisters left home the cleaning-up task became almost entirely mine. Until her eightieth birthday Mother was full of subtle humor, taking her renting troubles lightly and meeting the financial needs of her daughters with calmness while they were growing toward maturity. Several years ago, a girl who commuted with me to work said one day, "My mother is now seventy-five. You can expect changes to come to your parents anytime after seventy." Mother gradually began disliking little things the renters did. She would ask them to leave, have me clean up the apartment, then rent a single unit to three different couples. When things went wrong she scolded and blamed me. She began increasingly to compare me to my younger sister, now living four miles away, who has always been Mother's favorite because she is our peacemaker, can calm stormy weather. "Why aren't you more like her?" Mother would ask. Though I was trying harder to agree with her, I was steadily pleasing her less. Father has always been a great talker, bringing home a multitude of stories about the progress, regressions, business accomplishments, and humor of individuals and families.