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The History of Myself, Ruth Elizabeth Pehrson Anderson

I was born on a hot and sultry day, July 20, 1914, on Monday forenoon in Logan, Utah. A half hour later my twin sister was born.

When I was about seven months old, Mother couldn’t let Ruby and myself together when eating because Ruby would get done with her bottle first, then take mine. Whenever I got a new nipple I would break it in, only to have Ruby take it and I would have to break in two instead of one. I was told that I used to get along fine with Ruby, and that we were together most of the time, sharing our toys and being happy together. I think it will always be that way no matter what happens.

At the age of one I tried to walk down our back steps in a walker. It was a complete failure as I ended feet up in the air and head down. I received a bad cut on my lip which was probably lucky for the neighbors, but not me. The scar was a means for them to distinguish between myself and Ruby for a long time.

I can plainly remember sitting by the window and watching the neighbor children coming and going to the Whittier school. My main interest was to see if they were in step or not.

I started school September, 1919, at the Whittier School. My first teacher was Mrs. Johnson; Miss Gessel, my second;, Mrs. Jennings, my third; Mrs. Borgoyne, my fourth; Miss Davidsen, my fifth; and Mr. Wotton, Mr. Frank Baugh, and Mr. Hansen, my sixth grade teachers. Mrs. Jennings brings to my mind time-tables, and once when I copied from a paper for a spelling test. She tore my paper to pieces and threw it in the waste basket. In the second grade I dance around the May Pole.

The first and only time I rode on a train during my childhood was when I went over to Mendon to spend Christmas with my grandparents. I have a dim recollection of two brightly lighted and decorated Christmas trees at each end of the Church hall. Everything in sight was decorated and I had a fine time.

In winter the Boulevard Hill would become so slippery it was almost impossible to climb, but very easy to descend. I would sit on my coat, books, paper, tin, or anything handy, and go bouncing and sliding down the hill. I froze my coat stiff many times in the back sliding down slides. I remember once trying to get into the house when my coat was in such a condition. I took my coat off before reaching home, folded it up and carried it. I slipped into the house but my idea didn’t go over so good, for Mother wanted to see my coat the first thing, and I had to show it to her. I was spanked or scolded, or maybe both, and my coat hung up to thaw out.

When the soldiers came home from World War I, Mother took we children down to see them in a parade. There was a lot of them all dressed in full uniform. Some of them were crippled and otherwise injured.

I had about every children’s disease possible and missed a lot of school. I can remember laying in bed with Mother sick with the flu. Everyone had it except Phyllis. I certainly was weak when I first got up. Later Phyllis had pneumonia and nearly died with it.

Erma got Scarlet Fever when she was about five years old. I was sent up to Aunt Hilda’s place to stay. On the way home from school I would look down on our house from the top of the hill. I got very homesick and sat at the bottom of the stairs and cried. Everything seemed so big to what they are now. I was surely glad to get home.

Ruby and I were invited to Fae Benson’s party when in the fourth grade. We put puzzles together and played games The cake had a nickel in it. Ruby took a broken piece and found the nickel. She also got the puzzle together first and received a glass doll as a prize. I felt badly because I hadn’t got one and didn’t give Mother any peace until she weny down town and bought one for me just like Ruby’s.

I used to play for hours with Erma and our dolls. She had a little doll named Thumbline. I had one named Donna. We would let them float down the ditch in pans, make clothes for them, and play they were going swimming and let them get drowned.

When there was a playground on the Tabernacle ground, Ruby, Erma, and I went down there nearly every Sunday. I would get big broken blisters on my hands from the giant-stride, swinging rings, and crossing a laddr with my hands, and wear my clothes out going down the slide. I surely used to enjoy it.

In the sixth grade at the end of the third term, Mr. Wotton called myself and some other students into his office. He gave us the terrorifing news that we were to go to the Woodruff schoolfor the rest of the year because of lack of room at Whittier. I nearly cried my self sick about it. The next day we went to the Woodruff. The person I noticed most was Laurel Higgens on account of her long ringlets. We drew cuts to see whom shouldgo to Mr. Baugh’s class and whom to Miss Hendricks. Ruby and I both drew odd numbers which meant to go to Mr. Baugh’s room. I was certainly glad of that. I liked him very much. He taught me to write with my hand in the proper position, which I now appreciate very much. My grief soon blew over after I became acquainted and I was glad that I had been sent there. I used to stay until 4:30 p.m. every night playing on the giant stride, bars, teters, swings and the slide, and I always had Ruby along to enjoy them together. We also enjoyed going down to the Logan Senior High School to watch the students swim and dive.

We went Christmas Carolling with Mr. Baugh and the class. We sang by the doors of the houses. Many of them invited us in. As we were going through town, the manager of Woolworth’s gave each if ys a candy bar. We visited Mr. Hansen who was sick in bed. He had had his tonsils taken out and had almost died with a hemmorage. He was very glad to see us. We sang two or three songs for him.

There used to be a patch of lucern next to our house. I would lay in it and listen to the bees, birds, grasshoppers, and other things. It was a dandy place to hide in when playing Hide-and-Seek or other games. I used to get some flour, go to the lucern, put it on for powder, and play house. I don’t suppose Mr. L. Hansen liked us to tramp it down so his goat couldn’t eat it.

The older boys used to tell us that Skabelund’s house was haunted. They would go in the house, open and shut doors, bang things around and nearly scare us to death. They tried to catch us and put us in the house. We would run, yell, gather up courage, and then come back for more. I bet they got a lot of fun out of it and we did too.

Ruby and I spent much of our time playing upon the claybanks, playing ball, jumping the rope, playing hop-scotch, going sleigh-riding, and playing games down to Skabelunde and Kennards. One summer we all went in for stunts and acrobatics, which we learned to do pretty good after very much practising.

When Mr. Wallace Loughney, our neighbor, built his barn my sisters and I would go over and watch him. We talked to him quite a lot and he told us many interesting things and experiences about his past life; such as, getting knocked off his house by lightning.

Our neighborhood had a track meet. It lasted nearly all afternoon and consisted of races, javelin throwing, high jumping, broad jumping and hop-skip-and-jump. Prizes were given. It was a lot of fun and also interesting. When about fourteen or fifteen, while picking beans in Hyrum we went in swimming. The boss came back from dinner and found us gone. He certainly was angry with his daughter, May, for letting us go. We went back to work and didn’t try that anymore.

When I was fourteen, I went to Skabelund’s camp and stayed for three days. The weather was very pretty and I enjoyed it very much. Some boys came up one night and we played “I Want a Wave”. I slept with Esther Kennard and Ruby. We went for a hike and found a snake in the rocks. We threw rocks at it until we killed it, although it wasn’t a very noble thing to do and I didn’t enjoy it. We played jacks, read books and watched ground squirrels eat the remains of the eatables. We wrote our names in the sand by the edge of the river, and rode home in Skabelund’s old Ford. It was fun.

Ruby, Erma, and I stayed over to Mendon for three days. We rode over on a milk-wagon with a man called “Uncle Charlie.” He showed us some fish in the river. Uncle Wilford let us ride his horse. We spent a lot of time walking the railroad and cracking walnuts; helping Grandpa pick up some peas, for which he seemed very grateful.

One night I went over to Skabelunds and played Flinch Ruby, Florence, Erma, Mark, and Fred. I was sitting on the piano bench and it tipped over with me. I didn’t get hurt, the other got a laugh from it, but I was quite worried about the piano bench.

Fred Scholes and Mark Skabelund would come up about every night and let us take their bikes. They would also give us rides on their “bug”, and play games with us. I used to enjoy it a lot.

On September 4, 1930, I went for a wennie roast with Lowell Baxter, Ruby, Deloris, Ethel, Fred, and Alex Christenson. We ate and then went around hitting each other with sticks. We started walking home, climbed upon a mountain, and then Mark came along, picked us up, and took us home. (Deloric Hansen, special friend and Ethel Mickelson)

The family and I went to “The Message of the Ages” in Salt Lake City in 1930. I have never seen anything so grand in my life. Things that especially impressed me were the creation of the earth, singing, the Saints coming across the plains, the tomb of Christ, Joseph Smith receiving the keys of the priesthood and getting the plates from the Hill Commorah.

On Sunday, April 11, 1932, the family went down to Conference. We attended the afternoon session. Elder Merrill, Elder Talmage, and Pres. Grant talked. Pres. Grant mentioned the many lies that were circulating about himself and other members of the Church, and wanted it understood they were false. One of the songs they sand was “The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning.” The organ was interesting to me because it was the first time I had ever seen it. The Conference thrilled me and helped me realize what wonderful and intelligent men the authorities of the Church are. The day was very pretty and I liked to watch the birds and especially the sea gulls as they hovered, swooped, and swirled over the Temple grounds (Salt Lake City, Utah).

Mother and Dad always made such a wonderful home for us. Dad had an electrical sore of his own–Pehrson Electric Company, and he was especially hard-working for himself and also when he worked as a lineman, for Utah Power & Light Company, and as an electrician. He took us with him in his trucks whenever possible, and always came around our way to pick us up as we walked home from school for lunch. We climbed in on the back of the truck on top of ladders, rolls of wire, etc., or hung on the side of the running boards, and always managed to get home safely. These “lifts” helped out a lot as we had quite a way to walk to the Woodruff School, Logan Junior and Senior High Schools. I enjoyed so much having four sisters and later one brother to be raised with in our home. Mother was an excellent homemaker, cook, seamstress, great teacher and help with our lessons, and one to whom we looked and got counsel. We all attended Religion Class, Sunday School, Sacrament Meeting, and Mutual and numerous practices for sports. Primary, too, was a highlight and I remember the courses we had and being young when we attended all these things.

We all went for many hikes up Logan Canyon, did a lot of mountain climbing, had family get-togethers with Aunt Ione and Uncle Wilford Larsen (Mother’s brother) from Mendon, and had wonderful times together in our home at birthdays, parties, Thanksgiving and Christmas time. Dad loved Logan Canyon very much and loved to take us up there and also over to Bear Lake. There we visited with his sister Aunt Augusta Bunderson and family at Montpelier, Idaho, returned home in the evening tired and sunburned from swimming in the lake. We always took wonderful home-made refreshments and lunches and ice-cream with us. On one of thse trips, Erma drifted far out across the lake in a leaky row boat, but was brought back in by our cousin, Tony Pehrson. We prayed for her rescue, in the car, and she was brought back safely to us. She was very cold from exposure, but suffrered no bad effects.

It is a joy to look back and recall the prayers that we said in the evenings at Mother’s knee before going upstairs to bed. She took time to read to us–the scriptures from the Doctrine and Covenants, the sounding of the seven trumps from John’s revelations, the signs of Christ’s second coming, the Word of Wisdom–these stand out in my mind. Also, we were kept up-to-date on the newspaper’s continued series about Peter Rabbit in the Cabbage Patch. She sat in the rocking chair in the front room and read the complete novel of “Little Women” to us. What a choice experience this was! This influenced me a lot in encouraging me to do a lot of reading for myself later, and I always kept a library card, filling up one after another, with rental books from the Logan Library. During the summer vacations, Ruby and I would lay out on the lawn reading our books, which ranged from our four scripture books (which we read through, including the Bible and Book of Mormon) to the world’s most famous novels (Charles Dicken) and Shakespeare.

My sisters and I always had our assigned household duties to do. Phyllis helped a lot with this, and Ruby and I helped a lot with the gardens and mowing the lawns. Ruby and I were assigned bread-making when we were fourteen, and we enjoyed this and continued with it through the years, making bread for our own families. In the summer, we all picked strawberries, cleaned them, got up about 4:00 a.m. and walked up Canyon Road to Floyd Adam’s patches (this area is now all filled in with modern homes-about 10th east, island access roads). We all remarked about the lucious loaded plants and berries we would see on our own ceilings when we went to bed at night and closed our eyes. We also picked beans in Hyrum.

A favorite summer past-time was shower-bathing and swimming in our own ditch and later swimming and floating in the near-by four-foot canal on 6th East Canyon Road. The water was very cold, and the moss deep and thick so we wore old rubbers held on with old red bottle rubber seals. Ruby and I learned how to swim quite well, enjoyed it in Logan Junior and Senior High School pools during school months, and swam at Logana and the USAC pool during the summers. We also loved to wander on the trails on the newby hills and claybanks above Canyon Road. We played games with the neighborhood “kids” abd went for many pleasant walks in the evenings.

All through our growing-up period, Ruby and I and Deloris Hansen wre the closest of friends, making a fun “threesome.” We were pals in the true sense of the word. Mamie Hansen, Deloris’ sister was Erma’s pal, and they are to this day. We were all three in the same highest sections all through school and seminary.

Ruby and I graduated from Logan Seminary on May 24, 1931. We got a lot out of the study of the New Testament, with L. Ray Robinson as teacher. Mr. Passey took us through Church History and we used Mr. J. Evans “History of Joseph Smith” as our text book.

On May 6th, 1932, we were graduated from Logan Senior High School, with Elder Hugh B. Brown delivering the address. We got good grades and managed to stay in the highest sections throughout, and I can honestly say that the courses were interesting to me. We participated in the closing swimming meet which was a well attended event. Mother made some beautiful long pink graduation dresses for us.

Ruby and I began piano lessons in November, 1932, from Mrs. Lucy Baugh, who was an excellent teacher and was so wonderful to us, and we enjoyed these lessons so much and practised hard during the time we had to spend on it. Our father rewired she and her husband’s home on 2nd North and 1st East in Logan, and we were allowed to take lessons while they worked out the complete job. We have always been so grateful for this, and it makes our lives’ activities so much more interesting. We participated in two of Mrs. Baugh’s recitals held in the Logan 4th Ward Chapel, one on June 27, 1933, and another one held one year later. We played some duets together in a number of the Logan Wards, and once at St. Anthony, Idaho.

On Thursday, January 26, 1933, Bishop Joseph H. Watkins of the Seventh Ward called Ruby and myself as correlation officers for the twelve, thirteen, and four-teen year-old girls of the Wards. Then in September, 1933, we were called as Primary teacher of “Zion’s Boys and Girls Class.” We worked hard fulfilling this assignment and became well acquainted with the children. That year Ruby and I attended General Conference in Salt Lake City, taking in nearly all the sessions, all of the organ recitals (Frank Asper and Alexander Shrinner), visited the Bureau of Information and relics on the grounds, the Children’s Hospital and the Relief Society Exhibit at the Z.C.M.I. Store. We stayed with Aunt Maggie Bergener at SLC.

On Monday, March 12, 1934, Utah experienced the most severe earthquake in its history at 8:06 a.m. and 11:21 a.m. It caused cracks and mud volcanoes near Great Salt Lake. Our upstairs bedroom door was jarred out of line, preventing proper closing.

Ruby and I received patriarchal blessings from Patriarch John E. Carlisle, of Logan, Utah, on October 16, 1931. We received much joy and comfort from them and re-read them many times. I received an additional one from Patriarch Samuel B. Mitton on November 10th, 1937.

Our family was hit hard by the depression that occurred in 1929 and continued on for about a decade. Dad’s work was scarce; it was impossible to collect the money from his debtors, and for the work which he did do. Money had to be borrowed and the home mortgaged. It was so hard to see our parents so worried about these problems. Three of us were in High School. We worked on meager jobs to help pay tuition fees, and were very careful with what money we did get. WPA Projects of the Government helped pull the country out of this slump and gradually things started to improve. I did housework for a number of women, did quite a lot of sewing, practiced hard on the piano, earning the money for my own lessons by working up a small class of my own. Phyllis went into Nurses’ Training at the Budge Hospital, from which she graduated. Finally Ruby got a job with Dr. E. I. Stewart Real Estate, as an office clerk and typist (about 1935). Ruby married Willard H. Esplin on Oct. 6, 1938, and I took over her job as dental nurse (Sep. 19, 1938) until the Nov. 30 1940. I then taught music lessons my full time and held a nice recital on March 31, 1941, in which twenty-one students participated, with Virginia Carlson and myself playing the concluding duet.

Mother was taken seriously ill with varicose vein leg infecion (phebitus), lingered for nine weeks, then passed away on June 24th, 1941 at the age of fifty-one. I felt her loss very deeply, and hope that I may always be an honor to my wonderful mother. It was a great shock to Dad and very heartbreaking for him to get along without her. We girls tried to help as best we could, and helped to see that our brother Calvin was able to graduate from Logan High School. Phyllis helped so much during Mother’s illness, and also for the first few months afterwards. We all missed her so much.

I worked my way through a nine-month secretarial course at Henegar Business College in Salt Lake City, commencing June 1, 1941, and leaving in February 1942 to accept a position as typist at Remington Arms Plant, which position I left the end of May, 1942, to come home and help. I immediately secured a position in Logan with the Utah Mortgage and Loan Company on June 1, 1942, working as a stenographer and assistant bookkeeper. I stayed until September 5, 1942, and left to accept a better position as stenographer with the United States Employment Service and the War Manpower Commission in the Logan Office (Sep. 7, 1942). I was required to take a three-hour difficult Merit System examination which I was able to pass because I was fresh out of some difficult classes at Henegar Business College, especially the Math one. Mr. Blaine Pitts was the manager. I worked her until June 15, 1943.

Dad had been commuting back and forth to work at Ogden, Utah. He met Emma Layne, a clerk in one of the stores, and she and Dad were married on October 30th, 1942. They lived in an apartmeny in Ogden, and I took over up home while they were there. Three girls from Salt Lake City, namely, June Altop, Rosie Henthorne, and Alice Eggleston, shared our home while they worked at the AAA Governmeny Office at the College. We had so much fun together, meeting each other’s boy friends, and keeping house together. They stayed until 1943.

While at Henegar Business College, Floyd Simmons invited me to a party at Black Rock, on the shore of the Great Salt Lake. We were swimming around out in water over our heads when I heard a woman calling for help. She couldn’t swim and had floated out too far in the deep salty water, and was fighting it. I put into practice what I had learned in my Red Cross Life Saving Swimming course at Utah State Agricultural College, and swam with her safely to shore. She was a woman about fifty years old and probably weighed about 165 pounds. She thanked me sincerely and I said, “Oh! you’re welcome,” and went back to our party.

In the fall of 1942, I started to go out with Elmer Wesley Anderson, who just lived a block away from our home. We went to Sunday School, for walks, to shows and dances, Dick’s Cafe, dinners at home with myself and the girls, and had a very enjoyable winter. We were engaged in January, and set the date for June. Elmer was inducted into the United States Army on April 1, 1943, as World War II was going on. He was stationed at Fort Francis E. Warren, Cheyenne, Wyoming, as a member of the Quartermaster Corps. He had 14 weeks of basic training.

Elmer and I were married on a sunny Saturday afternoon at 6:30 p.m. on June 19, 1943, at Champayne Chapel on the grounds of Fort Francis E. Warren, Laramie City, Cheyenne, Wyoming, by Louis B. Alder, a Chaplain of the United States Army. We attended the LDS Services held there regularly and had an outstanding teacher there. Due to crowded living conditions because of the Army stationed there, it was impossible to find a suitable room, so I took a position doing housework for Mrs. Buchanon, wife of the City Commissioner, and lived at their home. Elmer came in from the Post nearly every night. We spent two very happy months together, going walking, to shows, and visiting the Fort. We attended the big “Frontier Days” celebration, which influded the famouse “Rodeo”. He was held over there until October 1, 1943, before being sent to Camp Stoneman, Pittsburg, California.

During the furlough between the two stations, we returned to Logan and went through the Logan Temple on Wednesday, October 6, 1943. We were sealed by President ElRay L. Christiansen, and it was truly the happiest day of our lives. My cousin, Elvina Pehrson and Aunt Ione Larsen went through the Temple with us, and we were so grateful to them. Afterward, we went to Elmer’s folks’ home and had a big dinner prepared by his mother, Jennie Anderson. We were glad that it worked out so that we could go on Oct. 6, as this is the date that Ruby and Willard were married in the Logan Temple. We then had two more months together at Pittsburg, California, before he left for overseas duty on December 2, 1943. He served for twenty-one months and returned on October 16, 1945, after the war had ended. He was with the 6th Army under General Krugger in New Guinea, and participated in the invasions of Laytee and Luzon.

On April 16th, 1944, (Sunday, 12:30 p.m.) while Elmer was serving in New Guinea, a nine pound, ten ounce son was born to us in the Cache Valley Hospital at Logan, Utah. He was blessed and named Elmer Wesley Anderson, Jr. on June 4, 1944 by 7th Ward Bishop George A. Raymond. God indeed blessed us in sending us such a nice son.

After leaving the hospital after Wesley’s birth, we went to live in an apartment located at 465 North 1st East, Logan, Utah. Shortly after, my brother Calvin came to live with us as Dad and Emma had returned from Ogden and were living in our home at 495 East First North, Logan. I cared for Wesley and kept house for all of us and Calvin helped with the furnace and grounds. I spent much time writiing to Elmer, using V-Mail stationery, and waiting for Elmer’s letters to us, and we were always so glad when they arrived as we then knew he was safe. We received much news about their activities over the radio, and always knew when their big drives were on. I also taugh music students during this time. We then moved to apartments at 154 North 1st East, then to 483 East Center Street, and were at this apartment when Elmer returned and went home to stay with Dad and Emma. We all rejoiced in Elmer’s safe return to us, and that we we could be united as a family. Elmer was happy to get to be able to get acquainted with his eighteenth month old son. We at once commenced to make plans for our future lives and home.


– by Robert Louis Stevenson

“Father, we thak Thee for this place in which we dwell; for the love which unites us; for the hope with which we expect tomorrow, for the wealth, the work, the food and the bright skies that make our lives delightful, for our friends in all parts of the earth, and our earthly helpers in this land. Help us to repay in service one to another, the debt of Thine unmerited benefits and mercies. Grant that we may be set free from fear of vicissitudes and death, and may finish our course without dishonor to ourselves, or hurt others, and give us at last rest to the weary.”


– by Elmer W. Anderson

Our Father, we thank Thee for sending Thy Son,
To make the great Sacrifice that He has done
So we can return again unto Thee.
Oh! how such a marvelous thing can be.

In Thy great wisdom, Oh Father above,
Thou hast made known how great is Thy love.
If we overcome in this worldly strife,
The joy we can know in eternal life.

We pray Thee, Oh God, to guide us aright,
With Thy Holy Spirit help us to fight,
As evils, ever near us, we may overcome,
That we may be worthy to follow Thy Son.

We thank Thee, dear God, for repentance' sake,
That we need not suffer for each mistake.
If we cleave unto Thee with our whole heart and soul,
That we may be brought back every whit whole.