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INTERVIEW - DR. J. HARRIS WALKER - oldest child of James H. Walker and Fannye Harris Walker

by William R. Walker

Tape Number Six. 6 November, 1977 (JHW #6)

Bill: I can remember you telling me a funny story about Reed and his girlfriend.

JHW: When Reed started school he used to stop by Wingís house all the time. He would take Margaret Wing home. Reed was in Grade One. Margaret became Harlan Taylorís wife. He was really taken up by Margaret. This was in Grade One and Two. One day somebody said something to him about Margaret, and he said: "Oh, I stopped her." (laughter)

I was surprised Reed had interest in girls at that age, but he did for a while.

When Reed was about six or seven, these kids, four or five of them were running around by the front porch. Glen was there. They were talking about the birds and the bees, or something. Glen said to Reed: "You dummy, you donít know anything about it. You donít know where babies come from." He was telling Reed, you see, and he was the little brother. (laughter)

(Billís note: Reed was the 10th child, born 29 Dec 1925; and Glen was the 11th child, born 4 Nov 1927.)

Bill: Iíll bet Glen was a cute little kid.

JHW: He was kind of a spoiled one. Grandma used to just cater to Glen all the time.

Richard was two years younger than Glen, and after Richard died, Glen got smothered with affection.

Bill: What happened to Richard?

JHW: We donít know. He had some convulsions and died.

Bill: What do you think happened?

JHW: I donít know. He had a tetanus shot just a couple of days before. Maybe it was that. I donít know. I wasnít home when he died. I was teaching school up at Kimball and I had been gone a week when he died.

(Billís note: Richard was the 12th child, born 28 Aug 1929. He died 6 Sept 1931.)

Bill: That must have been pretty tough on your Mom after losing two others already.

JHW: Yes. They were just peewees.

Bill: Do you remember Floyd and Lloyd?

JHW: Oh yes. I was about as big as Greg.

(Billís note: Floyd and Lloyd were the 4th and 5th children, born 23 Dec 1916. Floyd died on 17 Feb 1917; Lloyd died 18 Feb 1917. Harris was born 28 Nov 1912, so he would have been four years old when his twin brothers died. Since Greg was six when we did the interview, I assume that Dad remembered it well and thought he was older than four.)

Bill: Can you tell me any stories about Bob?

JHW: I can tell you one. I can still see Bob and Jane going to school when they were about Grade One or Two, or something. Jane would mope along and look in every window and she didnít know whether school had started or not. Bob would be running and howling because he was going to be late for school. (laughter) Jane would just be moping along just like she was off visiting. Nothing worried her. Not a thing in the world. Just like she is now.

(Billís note: Jane was the 7th child, born 19 Nov 1920; and Robert was the 8th child, born 15 Sept 1922.)

JHW: Did I ever tell you about the time that Bob knocked the plate off the table? He was about five or six. Grandma was really mad at him. She said: "What did you do that for?" He said: "What?" She said: "Knocked that plate off and broke it." He said: "I didnít do it." She said: "Well, you did too! I stood right there and watched you!" Bob said: "I didnít do it." (laughter) She was just about going to beat the daylights out of him and he said: "Gravity did it." (loud laughter) Oh, Judast.

I remember once when Bob would have been about three. He fell out of the kitchen window. He was up on the bench, and fell out of the window. He fell outside and the sidewalk was back about two feet from the wall of the house. He fell out and landed on his head, but he missed the sidewalk. He did a lot of bawling, but it didnít hurt him. If he had been over a little bit, it would have killed him.

Bill: Bob must have been a smart kid. Didnít he graduate from BYU when he was 20?

JHW: He skipped a grade. Jane skipped a grade also. Jane was real smart too, but she got less smart the more she had to study, because she didnít ever study. Jane used to be so busy playing that she didnít ever do any work.

Jane used to be a pretty good runner. She used to go to the track meets with us when she was a kid. Jane would go off somewhere, where she had never been before, and within about 15 minutes she would have about 10 kids hanging around her neck just like they had been bosom buddies all of their lives. You would just arrive and here would be Jane with a whole bunch of kids that she had never seen before.

Bill: What about Fay

JHW: He wouldnít wear any sweaters or coats. You know how cold it was in Raymond. He wouldnít wear sweaters or coats. I can still see him when he was about six. Grandma would button him up and he would go tearing out of the back door and as heíd go out of the door heíd throw his sweater back in. (laughter) Away he would go in his shirt sleeves in the middle of winter. (Laughter) Heíd never wear anything. He was always humped over shivering and running.

Fay and I always slept together. When we first moved down to the house they didnít have any good heating system in it at first and we used to get pretty dang cold. Fay would always curl up like a bug and crawl down to the bottom of the bed. (laughter)

Fay used to first milk cows. He really knew how to milk them too! He was just a little shaver, about five, and he was so small he would just stand straight up and milk like this. He didnít have to sit down. (laughter)

Bill: I bet you donít see very many five-year-olds doing that kind of work now.

JHW: I can still see Fay when he was about three. He was on a horse, riding the horse around the yard at the old barn that we had up at the south end. You maybe donít remember it. The old barn door was just like this and a big tall horse could just barely walk under it. I can still see Fay on this big old sorrel saddle horse that Dad had. He was running the horse up and down the corral and the horse just ran into the barn and Fay just went off the tail end. He just got scraped off the top. It just scooted him right off.

Fay used to drive the derrick horse at the farm all the time, when he was about three or four. He used to pull up hay with a stacking machine. Somebody had to drive the horse, and that was Fayís job Ė driving the stacking horse. Heíd get on there and drive the stacking horse. Long before he went to school he learned how to take off the harness and everything. He used to do that all the time.

The horse would go straight back and forth and pull a great big heavy cable that would pull the stacker. You would go in with a big bull rake and put the load of hay on the big pronged fork thing that stuck out about six feet wide. You would run the bull rake in and put the hay on there and then you would back off and the hay would stay on the big fork thing. Then the stacking horse had a big long cable Ė kind of a block and tackle arrangement Ė and the horse would go off and pull the cable up about 25 yards. Then it would pull the thing up the rollers. It would pull it up to the top of the sliding ramp and tip the hay back over. Then the horse would back down, and the stacker fork would come back down empty. That was Fayís job. He did that for a year or so.

Bill: Is Fay two years younger than you?

JHW: Nearly three. Beth is between us. I was born the 28th of November (1912), and Fay was born the 15th of September (1915), so we are almost three years apart. Beth was born the 31st of May (1914).

(Billís note: Harris is the oldest child, Beth is the 2nd child, and Fay is the third child.)

JHW: One time we were weeding the garden when we were little shavers. Fay said he wasnít going to weed any more, so we got throwing rocks at each other. I threw a rock and hit him in the head and I thought I had killed him. It was just a little tiny rock. (laughter) I donít think it knocked him out, but I was afraid I had done more than that.

Bill: Afraid your Dad was going to get you, huh?

JHW: Yes.

Bill: Iíll bet your Dad would get mad once in a while.

JHW: You should have seen him when Fay Ė instead of going to Sacrament Meeting Ė he got on the little buckskin pony that we had. We called her Dolly. He took Dolly down to the Fairgrounds and he was racing all the kids in town.

Bill: When he should have been in Sacrament Meeting?

JHW: Yes. Heíd been running that horse all afternoon. Just as hard as she could run. Heíd just about killed her. He was about 8 years old. Somebody beat it up to the church and told Dad that Fay was just about killing the horse, he had been running her all afternoon. So Dad went straight down to the Fairgrounds. He got the biggest willow. (laughter) He got down there and here was Fay still racing the horse. And she was just wringing wet with sweat. And she didnít sweat very easily either. He had really been running her.

Dad got him and hit him on the seat every step he took home. (laughter) Oh judast.

Go ask Fay if he ever got a licking for racing horses.

Bill: Do you think heíd remember?

JHW: Dang rights heíd remember! Donít you worry, heíd remember! (laughter) He didnít forget that.

Fay used to ride horses in the stampede races all the time. He was so dang tiny. He was just a little tiny mite. He was always the littlest kid in his class. I had to laugh. They had a picture of the kids in the ninth grade and they had all the kids lined up, and this was about as much of Fay as they could get in the picture.

Bill: Well, he is almost as tall as you are, now.

JHW: I know. He grew quite a lot after he was sixteen, but before that he was little. He could really ride those racehorses. He could have gone along with Johnny Longden. Johnny Longden used to ride in Raymond all the time when we were kids.

(Billís note: Johnny Longden was one of the most famous horse racing jockeys in history. Born in England in1907, his family moved to Taber, Alberta. Mom (Beth R. Walker) knew him when her family lived across the street from the Londgens in Taber in 1923. He and his family were L.D.S. He was the winningest jockey of the first half of the 20th century, and the first jockey to win 6000 races. He was the money-leading jockey in 1943 and 1945 and road Count Fleet to the Triple Crown in 1943. He was the winningest jockey in the modern history of racing until Willie Shoemaker broke his record.)

(Billís note: I said to Mom: "So you knew Johnny Longden when he grew up?" She said: "Well, as much as he grew up.")

Bill: What about Ralph? (Note: Ralph was the 9th child, born 5 Aug 1924.)

JHW: When we were kids, Ralph didnít like onions. We were weeding the garden. Ralph was about seven. I gave him these two rows to hoe, and I was over hoeing on the other side. I came back and there wasnít an onion left. He hoed every onion up. I guess he did it intentionally, I donít know for sure. He must have done it intentionally though, because you could see the rows. He hoed every one up.

Bill: What about Mary? (Note: Mary was the 6th child, born 24 June 1918.)

JHW: Mary used to be a little brat. When Beth first started teaching school she bought lots of clothes and stuff. She taught school out at Welling. She used to get lots of fancy clothes and everything. As soon as she would get any fancy clothes, the first thing you would know she would come in to get the clothes and there would be no fancy clothes. Mary would have them. She would have Bethís clothes on. She would be at the dance in Bethís new dress or something like that. That used to go on all the time.

Bill: Did that make Beth mad?

JHW: Oh yes. She would get furious. Then it came along that Mary started to work and buy things of her own, and as soon as she did, Mary got a padlock and locked all of her clothes up. (loud laughter) So Jane couldnít get at them. (laughter) Oh, judast.

Bill: Didnít Mary play basketball?

JHW: I think she did, but I missed out on that because I wasnít home then. I think Mary played against Mom.

JHW: My sister Beth had two different boyfriends. I donít even remember who they were. Anyway, she was writing letters to both of them, and she put the letters in the wrong envelopes and sent them. (laughter)

Bill: Did that end the relationships?

JHW: Oh I donít know. You ought to ask her. Iím sure she remembers. How could she forget? (laughter)

JHW: How do you turn this thing off?

(Billís note: I think the above quote is a fitting way to end Dadís interviews.)

 

End of Tape #6

Side two is blank.

This is the last taped interview in the series of six J. Harris Walker interviews done in 1977.

Transcribed by William R. Walker (801)942-8888 prezwalker@aol.com

June 22, 2001

 

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