WALKER FAMILY HISTORY
JANE WALKER MCMULLIN INTERVIEW
BILL: Please tell me about your Mother and Father.
JANE: Well, Dad was not a man who was easily discouraged. When they built the Second Ward Building (which turned out to be the Second and Third Ward Building), wheat was worth 17 or 18 cents a bushel, he said. Most of the people in that area were farmers, but they were a very dedicated group, and Dad was a great motivator. They just got everybody in the ward working so hard.
Every year they would have a big carnival. Every block in the ward would make a big quilt. That was back in the days when they used to auction off things, or sell them.
Dad had sheep out on the ridge, and they would get the wool, and Mom would wash all the wool, and then Sister Watson would take the wool and card the wool. That was done for all the quilts that were made in the ward. In every block, all the women got together and made a very lovely quilt for the carnival (to raise money for the building fund.)
They had home-made chocolates, popcorn balls, root beer, you name it. They sold tickets all over for the carnival. The carnival was held once a year while they were raising the funds for the building. It took them quite a while to raise the funds. They would sell tickets in Lethbridge. All the ward would go to Lethbridge and sell tickets on the street. The tickets were 25 cents a whack, to come to the carnival. They always had a dance every night at the carnival. I think the carnival would last for two or three days.
They were wonderful carnivals, and everyone looked forward to them, but everyone in the ward worked so hard for those carnivals.
Each year they gave away a car as the door prize. One year, I wasn’t at the carnival, I was baby-sitting. I was thirteen years old. I was bay-sitting Tom and Nadine and Pete Witbeck and I was at their house and I was going to sleep there for the night. Dot , who was one of the hard workers at the carnival, came home and said: ‘Hey, Jane, guess what - you won the car.’
We couldn’t believe it. Dad was Bishop at the time and he was a little upset that I won the car. He didn’t want anyone to think that was planned, because it certainly wasn’t. Somebody else drew the ticket. They had the tickets in a great big churn. Somebody would turn the tickets in the churn and then somebody else would draw out the tickets for the prizes.
Dad said: ‘Well, maybe this is the way the Lord wants it - because we can give the car to the architect for part of his wages.’ So they did, but Dad gave me $25 out of his own pocket. I didn’t really feel too bad, because I was too young. But Mary is the one who really felt bad, because she was old enough to drive. She thought it would be great to have that car to drive.
We didn’t ever regret giving back the car. It was a blessing.
Dad wasn’t discouraged with the building, even though it was very hard to raise the funds. At that time the wards paid about 95% of the cost of new buildings and the church paid about 5%. Not like today.
When Dad proposed to build the Stake Cultural Hall, his counselors in the Stake Presidency were Les Palmer and John Allen. They agreed with him that it would be a wonderful thing to have that big stake cultural hall.
When Dad went to Salt Lake and proposed building that big building, the Church Building Committee said: ‘You can’t build an immense building like that just for one stake. That would have to be for a region.’ He said: ‘Well, if you want to help us that’s fine, if you don’t want to - we’ll just do it alone.’
BILL: President J. Golden Snow told me about the challenges of building the cultural hall, when I interviewed him.
JANE: Well, Dad was really criticized when he wanted to build it. When he went to the big Stake Priesthood Meeting, and proposed this building, and took a vote on it, there weren’t very many that voted. They thought they had enough halls in Raymond, to take care of everything. Then Dad talked to them for about an hour, and after he talked to them, then they took a vote, and I guess most of them voted for it.
I was living at home when that happened. It was after Nolan had died.
Dad said: ‘You know when the Lord wants you to do something, you don’t worry about what people think. You just go ahead and do it. And I know the Lord wants us to build that building.’
Today, when I see what they do with that building, what a great blessing that has been to the wards and the community. They even have the big basketball games there. They can have Stake Conference there and everyone in the Stake can sit in the hall. Where most Stake Conferences they can’t do that. It has been such a blessing. He was certainly inspired when they built that building.
When we were young kids, we always had Family Home Evening. Family Home Evening was proposed about 1916, or sometime around then, I’m not sure. Mom and Dad were convinced that Home Evening was really a wonderful thing. We always had Home Evening on Monday night. It was years later that the church proposed that Family Home Evening be held on Monday night, and not to have any other church activities on Monday night. Well, we had been having it on Monday night because that was Dad’s most free night of the week. Our Home Evenings were really fun. They were a highlight of my young days, I can assure you.
BILL: What did you do?
JANE: We always got around the piano and sang songs. Then we always had a short lesson, where Dad would read from the Book of Mormon, or something. Then we always played lots of games. And ate treats.
We used to play this game. We had enough kids, you know, to make it fun. In the winter time we would play games inside. We would play a game where we would sit in a circle, and someone would be IT. They would get up and start telling a story, anything they wanted to make up; and then, in the middle of it, they would say: ‘The apple cart tipped over.’ When they said that, then everyone changed places and the one in the middle had to try and get a seat. The one who didn’t get a seat was IT. Oh, we really liked that game. When I was in the mission home in Calgary, we used to play that game.
We used to play a game at the table with a quarter or a nickel. We would choose up sides and half would get on one side of the table and half on the other. Someone on one side would have money in their hand and then we would pass it back and forth amongst our team. The other side captain would say ‘Down’, and everybody would slap their hands flat down on the table. The other side would listen to see who had the coin. If they guessed it right then the other side had their turn.
So, we had lots of games that we played, and we sang lots of songs, and told stories and all those things.
In the summer, we would go outside and play games on the lawn for Family Home Evening. There was a game that Dad taught us called ‘Wolf Over The River.’ Someone would get at the end of the lawn, and they were the wolf. The rest of us would get at the other end of the lawn, and yell ‘Wolf Over The River.’ Away everybody would fly to try to get to the other end of the lawn, and the wolf would try to catch others and then they would become wolves with him. I can remember one night we were playing Wolf Over The River and Mom had all these flower beds and she had these tiny little ditches just a few inches deep to water her flowers. One of the kids had thrown a little metal wheel in the flowers. My Dad was chasing me. He always played the games with us. We always had a ball. I fell on the wheel and cut my knee open. He grabbed me, put me in the car and took me to the doctor and got me stitched up. That was the only time I ever had to go to the doctor, until I had Brad.
We used to have a lot of fun playing games out on the lawn. Kids now seem to be always playing videos, but we had a lot of activities. Dad always used to like to play with us. We had a big old black dog named ‘Billy’. We loved that dog. They said they got that dog when Mary was a baby. We had it for years and years. Eventually the dog died, and we all felt so bad, so Dad went out in the orchard area, by the big apple tree. He dug a grave, and Mom gave him a sheet to put in the grave. They put Billy in the grave and covered him up with the sheet. So he had a nice burial. We put some flowers on the grave and Dad gave the funeral sermon, but I don’t remember anything he said.
The dog was outside most of the time, but he came in the house once in a while, probably just when it was really cold.
BILL: Betty Evans told me that she stayed over night with you once when you were girls and she was impressed that you had family prayer.
JANE: We not only had family prayer every day, we had family prayer in the morning and at night. Every Day. In the morning they would call everybody together who was available. Not everybody was there every time. And at bedtime we would have family prayer again. And then we would all kiss Mom and Dad goodnight. Even the boys would kiss Dad goodnight. Of course, we were an affectionate family.
Delia Woolf who lived across the road for years and years said: ‘I think that kissing was invented by the Walkers.’ She used to come over and some of our kids would give Delia a kiss. She liked that. She only had that one little boy, and then she lost him. In fact, her little boy Dennis, was the same age as Glen. They were really buddies. Dennis died when he was in second grade.
Mom was awfully good to little Dennis, because he was an only child. So he was over to our house an awful lot. In our back hall, each one of our kids had their own coat hanger, for their coats, and Mom put one there for Dennis.
Dad was really known well for his honesty. In the family, he was known well for his honesty, too. It was drilled into us from day one. He would always say to us: ‘Never steal; not even a pin.’ I’ve told that to my kids and grandkids. ‘Never steal, not even a pin.’ I can remember Dad saying: ‘If the time ever comes that you want something badly enough to steal, you come and tell me and I’ll take off the very shirt I’ve got on and sell it so that you can have what you want.’
Dad always said: ‘Always be fair in you dealings.’
BILL: When I interviewed Reed Ellison, Mrs. Ellison said she was impressed with how many non-Mormons came to Grandpa Walker’s funeral. She commented how surprised she was to see that the non-Mormons also held him in such high esteem.
JANE: Oh yes, people outside of the church really did. They were very fond of Dad and Mom. When Dad was in the Alberta Legislature, when anyone asked him what his profession was he would say: ‘I’m a farmer.’ Well, he was. He had a lot of land and cattle and everything; but he was also a businessman and also an accountant. But he always said he was a farmer. And in the Legislature, they called him ‘The Honest Farmer.’ That was printed in the paper. Probably one reason was, no matter what any of his party thought or wanted, or the Opposition, or whoever, he always said what he thought was right and true and good for the people. He wasn’t too concerned about what his colleagues thought about a situation.
When you said that she commented about the people from outside of the church being at his funeral, they certainly were. Hutterites, the Japanese people, the Hungarians, the Czechoslovakians, etc. A lot of foreign people were there. One of the reasons was that he was so good to them. A lot of them were very new to this country, and he just went out of his way to be good to them. They would try and get their papers so they could be citizens of Canada, and he was not a lawyer, but he did a lot of work that was in the field of law. There wasn’t a lawyer in Raymond at the time.
He would help them work on their papers and do a lot of things like that for them. He didn’t ever take money for it. But at Christmas time, I know that we always had lots of boxes of Japanese oranges from the Japanese people that he had been good to. He loved that.
Steve Horvath was a fellow that worked for Dad on the farm. Dad had some of these people work for him on the farms. Steve Horvath worked on Section Ten. He had worked for someone else, prior to this. When he started working there, Dad said to him: ‘Now Steve, you don’t work this land on Sunday. We don’t do anything with this land on Sunday.’ Steve said: ‘ You mean to say, I have all of Sunday off? I don’t have to do anything on the farm on Sunday?’ There were no cattle on the farm then. He said to Dad: ‘Well, I’ve always worked the land everyday.’ Dad said: ‘Well, not my land. It doesn’t get worked on Sundays.’ He liked that.
Dad worked with the Knight Sugar Company, and took care of their land and their books, too. There were Czechs and Hungarians that worked for Dad. The Ravusiks worked a beet farm. There were quite a few worked the farms for Dad. He was very good to those people. Whenever they came to the house, Dad and Mom treated them just as good as they would royalty. They always treated them very very nicely. Those people really appreciated it, I’ll tell you.
After Dad died, I met a few people on the street who talked to me. I remember talking to Bro. Perks. He had a green house, Mom used to buy her geraniums from him. He told me: ‘A few years ago, I was really having such a tough time financially, and I saw your Dad one day, and he put his hand in his pocket and said - "Brother Perks, I know you’re having a rough time..." and he gave me some money and said he didn’t want it back.’ He told me: ‘I really appreciated that. That meant a lot to me at that time.’
They were always good to people. Whenever there was a funeral or a wedding, or any event like that, Mom was always very generous with her flowers. She had all these beautiful flower beds, and she did bouquets a lot for the church. People would come to her and say they were having a wedding and ask if she could do some flowers. She had some baskets, and she would fix them baskets of flowers, and not charge them. Every time there was a funeral, when the flowers were on in the summer, she would send me up town to get this big floral ribbon, and cardboard, and wire to make great big flower sprays.
She enjoyed it, but it was also a very time-consuming thing. Flowers were so expensive to buy then. She would do some beautiful things with her flowers.
Also, at weddings and funerals, she would always make food. You know, to send to the family, or to feed the family afterwards. It seemed to me that whenever she was making cakes, or things like that, she was always making them for someone else, for some event. I think that has kind of come down through the family. I know in Raymond, whenever there is a funeral, Mary and Beth and I nearly always make something to help feed the family after.
BILL: Well, you do the things you saw your Mother do, I’m sure.
JANE: I think so.
BILL: What were your Mother’s favorite flowers?
JANE: She loved her geraniums, I know that. She loved a lot of different flowers. We had the flower boxes, the two in the front, and the big one on the side. She would always fill them up with geraniums and put in petunias and things like that.
She had a big row of tulips every spring. In fact, Marilyn and Eleanor went out on the lawn one day. We were there for Sunday dinner. Mary and Beth and I were out on the sun porch, and here were little Marilyn and Eleanor putting their fingers under the tulip blossoms and they had almost popped them all off.
We had the lilac bushes. They were early. They were on the south. She used to give away a lot for her lilacs. The tulips were early, too. And she had a big row of petunias along the whole big lawn, in the front of the flower bed. She had a lot of different flowers: she had delphiniums, and asters, and zinnias, and nasturtiums, and hollyhocks, and you name it. Oriental poppies, and iris.
BILL: Dad said Grandma loved sweet rockets.
JANE: She had lots of kinds of flowers. She always had sweet peas. They had this place in the back with wire on it that was good for sweet peas. Beautiful sweet peas made nice bouquets to take to the hospital and other places.
BILL: Who were Grandma’s best friends?
JANE: Aunt Lizzie King was actually Mom’s very best friend. She had lots of friends, but she was her best friend. They used to sing together. They sang duets at funerals and at church and other meetings. Both of them worked in the Mutual for years and years together. They were just such good friends. Aunt Lizzie King was my Mother’s best friend, and I called her Aunt Lizzie, when I was young. Then I married Nolan, and Aunt Lizzie was Nolan’s mother’s sister, so she really was my Aunt Lizzie. Aunt Lizzie and Mom both did really great things. Both of them had been President of the Mutual. Mom was the Stake President of the Young Women’s Mutual, and to this very day, I see people all the time who comment on what a magnificent President she was.
She knew every girl in the Stake. She sent every girl in the Stake a birthday card. She kept busy writing things like that.
BILL: I have a letter from Elder LeGrande Richards, or the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, where he writes that Grandma was the best Young Women’s President in the church.
JANE: I remember him making some kind of a comment like that. He really thought she was top notch. He came and stayed in our home.
Did you know about the twins Floyd and Lloyd? Mom told me this, and I thought it was at home, but Beth told me it was when Dad was in the hospital. Anyway, the twins died when they were about two months old. One died one day and one died the next. They were identical twins. Mom was the only one that could tell them apart. (They were born 23 Dec. 1916, Lloyd died 17 Feb. and Floyd died 18 Feb. 1917). Many years after they had died, Dad was very ill. One night, they came and stood at the foot of the bed and said to Mom: ‘We have come to give our father a blessing.’
BILL: I’ve been told that happened at the hospital in Lethbridge when Grandpa had his ruptured appendix, and they weren’t sure he was going to live.
JANE: You know, a lot of people don’t fully realize that those on the other side can come back for certain purposes. The evening that Nolan died, he died at about 5 o’clock in the evening. Just before he died, a half-an-hour before he died, I was sitting on the bed with him, at home in Roy, Utah. Nolan said: ‘Jane, those people are here for me.’ Then he said: ‘Can you see all the people in this room?’ I said: ‘Nolan, I can’t see them.’ He said: ‘Can’t you see them?’ He couldn’t believe that I couldn’t see them. Then he looked over towards the door that went out of the bedroom, and he said: ‘Can you see those two tall dark young men standing in the doorway there?’ And I said: ‘No’. And he said: ‘I just can’t believe that you can’t see them.’ And then he said: ‘Their name is Blackburn.’
I have really kicked myself a million times since then. Why didn’t I ask him who all the people were in the room? But you know, you don’t think of those things until after.
As soon as Nolan died, we called his cousin Bill Eames, and Bill’s wife, who lived in Roy, and they came over. I was telling them about this, and I said: ‘Who are the Blackburns?’ Then Bill said: ‘Do you know Aunt Opal?’ I had heard of her and met her once. She was Grandma McMullin and Aunt Lizzie King’s youngest sister, in California. Bill said: ‘Her married name is Blackburn, and she lost two little boys.’ So I wrote and told Aunt Opal about that and she was really thrilled. She has written me ever since, about that, and she just died a couple of months ago.
You know, a lot of interesting things occur, don’t they?
You knew about when Dad’s father died, and his Dad appeared to him? That was when he was on his mission. His mother had died when Dad was about 15 years old, then his father died while he was on his mission.
So when he returned from his mission, he came to Canada. Uncle John and Aunt Maggie Salmon were in Raymond. Here he was an orphan, so he came to Raymond where they were. He said when he arrived in Raymond, he had left in his pocket 5 cents.
Dad was a great idea man. He always had ideas for everything. He had an exceptionally keen mind. He was a very brilliant man. And Mom was just as smart. She studied like mad. She mostly studied church things. She really knew the Gospel, and she was a fabulous teacher. People talk about her teaching all the time. I was in her Sunday School class, and I didn’t ever have a teacher like her again. She instilled in me a desire to do what’s right. People always have made lots of comments about her teaching.
BILL: I remember when I was a boy, Grandma would go all around Southern Alberta giving fireside talks all the time, to all the stakes.
JANE: Yes she did. She would even go up to Calgary, and all over. She was always giving talks. One time when she went to Cardston to give a talk to the young women on chastity (she gave a lot of talks on that subject), she slipped on the ice on the cement stairs going into the church, and fell and broke her nose. She was just getting there, she hadn’t given her talk. Well, she went in and gave her talk (and went to see the doctor after).
She was a great influence on the youth in Southern Alberta. She was really a miracle worker, when you think of the big family that she had and all of the contributions that she made to the town and to the church. She did an awful lot. And when you think that she didn’t have automatic washers and dryers and all those things. Dad was a great believer in providing modern equipment, but they didn’t have a lot of that then. Anything that came into being that was good for the home, Dad would try to get it for Mom.
BILL: With all she did, I wonder if she ever had time to sleep.
JANE: Well, I guess sometimes she didn’t get much sleep, but they used to get pretty good sleep. Mom and Dad weren’t people that got up at 4 o’clock in the morning. They usually slept until 7:30, or so.
BILL: Well then she must not have wasted much time during the day.
JANE: Could she ever move. Boy, she could work faster than anybody you ever saw. Not only was there that big house to keep up (of course the kids helped), but there was a lot to do in the home and she always had good meals.
BILL: Did you have supper at a certain time every night?
BILL: Was Grandpa usually there for supper?
JANE: Generally, he would be there for supper. Sometimes he would leave in the middle of supper for something, church wise. He nearly always came home in time for supper. We usually had supper around six o’clock. At noon we had our big meals. His office was only a little over a block away, so we always had time (about an hour-and-a-half at noon) to come home (from school) and eat dinner at noon. It was the big meal.
BILL: What were your Mom and Dad’s favorite foods?
JANE: Well, I’ll tell you my Dad’s favorite desert - rice pudding with lots of raisins, and plenty of whipped cream. He loved that. He wasn’t very crazy over angel food cake. He would say: ‘This angel food business is maybe better for the angels.’ (laughter)
Mom and Dad and our whole family were great fruit eaters. In the summer they would purchase a lot of fruit that came from British Columbia. We also had a big strawberry bed and we had a big raspberry patch, and we always had lots of cream. So we would have cream and sugar and berries in the summer a great deal. We had lots of home-made ice cream. Mom made lots of home-made ice cream. Sometimes we would have strawberry ice cream, and raspberry ice cream made from our own fruit. It was absolutely terrific.
We had the ice house. People wonder what and ice house is. It was this little house that we had out in the barn yard. Every winter the Ralph Brothers had a dray company and they would go to the lakes and rivers and cut these big blocks of ice and they would go to the sugar factory and get these little fine black cinders and they would put layers of cinder and layers of blocks of ice and then another layer of cinders and so forth, until the little house was filled with ice. There was a door that had slats in it. It wasn’t a door that you opened. They would remove the slats down to where the ice level was, then we would get these big ice pinchers and get out a block of ice, throw it on the ground, turn the hose on it and wash off the cinders. When we were little we didn’t have electric refrigerators. They didn’t exist. We had ice boxes, and you would put a block of ice in the ice box. There were ice men that used to go around and sell the ice but we were fortunate and had our own ice house. It seemed like we always had ice, even in the summer. It lasted very well. Isn’t that amazing?
BILL: Your Mom bottled lots of fruit.
JANE: Fruit and vegetables. We had one whole acre in just garden, and then the house and the orchard was another acre, so we had two acres here. The garden was a whole acre. In the spring they used to plow the garden, and then Dad would get all the seeds and then he would get the whole family, every one of us. No one was left out, even the little teeny shavers. And Mom and Dad and all the kids would go and plant this whole acre of garden. When you get that many kids working you can do a lot.
I always used to think it was fun to plant the peas, and drop the corn in the holes. In the garden area we had the raspberry patch. We had some rhubarb and some currant bushes. The strawberries were down in the orchard area.
BILL: What was your Dad’s favorite vegetable?
JANE: Probably potatoes. We ate a lot of potatoes. You know they are a versatile food and they go well with about everything else. Everyone thought it was great when the new peas came on. We would go out in the garden and eat the new peas raw.
And we bottled, bottled, bottled. You know Mom used to bottle between twelve and fifteen hundred quarts of fruit and vegetables every year. That took a lot of work in the summer. I always used to pick vegetables. I was my Mother’s favorite picker. I didn’t think anything of picking a whole tub of peas. I became a day-dreamer out in the garden, picking. (laughter) I decided that’s where it happened to me. I would just day-dream out there and pick all day long. I used to pick a four quart kettle of raspberries, I remember, and I would get a dime for it. That was quite a little sum back then, you know.
When we bottled all the fruit and vegetables, we didn’t have deep freezers. Later on, when freezers were invented, we would freeze a lot of stuff.
We spent a lot of our summers bottling. But, we could just about live out of our garden. The boys would eat a lot of corn-on-the-cob, and of course we loved that. We had our own butter, that we churned. We had three or four cows in town, so we had lots of milk and cream. We used to give away a lot of milk. I used to churn for a penny, so we had lots of butter. We had tons of home-made bread. We’d make about fourteen loaves of bread three times a week. I used to bring friends home from school all the time, and we just thought nothing of eating a couple of loaves of fresh bread and a whole bottle of jam and a gallon of milk. (laughter) A lot of the kids did that. We had a pretty good time.
We had a lot of food, all the time. In the summer, we could have corn, creamed beans, potatoes, you know all of these different things out of the garden. And raspberries with cream and sugar. Boy, we had bounty!
BILL: It sounds like you ate well.
JANE: There is no doubt about it. I guess you know about Mom’s typing experiences? She could type at world-record speed. Those old old tinny typewriters. What a difference it is now compared to the electric typewriters and the computers. She had one those little old typewriters and she could type 135 words a minute. She was fast.
When Mary went to LDS Business College, she was a very good typist. She could type about 90 words per minute and she said: ‘I have never seen anybody that can type as fast as Mom.’ And that was when Mom was older, but she could still type well. She typed all the time. She typed notes to people and she would type things for people. She didn’t ever get paid for it when she did. She just did a lot of typing. That’s how she happened to come to Canada - to work as a secretary for Ellisons.
BILL: Tell me what she thought about Missions, how did she encourage her boys to go on missions?
JANE: Well, Mom and Dad didn’t ever say: ‘Now, if you go on missions...’, they always said: ‘Now when you go on a mission...’ In our family prayers, if Mom or Dad were doing the praying, (and we always took turns), they never missed praying for their children that they would be able to go on missions and be married in the temple. That was a regular thing that was included in the prayers twice a day. That was really instilled in us. Every time it was Mom or Dad’s turn to pray, that was prayed for.
JANE: Mom and Dad always just expected us to get an education. They just expected us to go to university or college. From the time we were little kids they would ask us: ‘What would you like to be when you grow up?’ They encouraged us a great deal on church service and missions. All six of the boys went on missions. Of course, I’ve had a lot of mission experience too, and Mary went. Beth and Earl probably would have gone. Earl was called to be a sealer in the temple for years and years, and he was Stake Patriarch, so I think that was their mission, which was great.
BILL: I know Grandma and Grandpa loved each other very much. I have copies of a couple of letters that they sent to each other and they contain tender expressions of love that are really neat. It must have been very hard for Grandma after Grandpa died. How did she get along?
JANE: Oh, I’ll say it was hard. I saw what a difficult situation it was, because I was there with her, and it was never the same again. You know Dad was very attentive to Mom. Although he was a very busy man, he never went out of the house but he first found Mom in the house and kissed her good-bye. And when he came home, he would always go find her again and give her a kiss. He always wanted her to be with him. Like he would say: ‘I’m going to ride out to the farm, why don’t you come and go with me?’ (Of course, I observed much of this when I was older. You don’t always notice these things when you’re kids.) Generally, she would go with him.
When he was Stake President, she nearly always went with him when he went to his ward meetings, when he would go visit the wards. They were together a great deal, especially in their later years when they didn’t have to tend the kids. Although, I came home with kids, but she would nearly always go with Dad on these occasions, and they were together a great deal.
When Dad died, she was pretty well lost. It was a very difficult situation. She used to say: ‘I’m so glad you’re here, because I don’t think I could stand living alone.’
I guess you know after Nolan died, I came back home to live. We came back in 1951. Nolan died October 4, 1951.
They said to me: ‘You’re not going to stay down there with all those little kids, you’re coming home.’ Dad and Mom thought that was the best thing to do, and it was, I am sure. You see, Nolan had just been going to school all that time and had just graduated. Money wise, you don’t have any money when you just get finished school, you don’t have all this insurance, and that stuff. We did have a house in Raymond. Nolan built that before we were married. But we sold it to Grandma and Grandpa McMullin and they moved out of their bigger house. That’s what he started the drug store on, was the money from the house, but it wasn’t much money.
BILL: Do you remember Grandma Harris? She died when I was 1 1/2 years old.
JANE: Oh, I remember her very well. I think she died November 19, 1945; that was my birthday. Bob and I were talking about Grandma Harris the last time I was in Calgary. Bob said: ‘I just thought Grandma Harris was the most wonderful person in the world, when I was a little kid.’ I said: ‘If I remember Bob, you were her favorite, so that’s probably why.’ Grandma Harris was a great lady. She had a very hardy laugh, and things used to really tickle her. She would laugh and people loved hearing her laugh. Her son Ez had this same laugh, sort of. When Nolan and I were in Roy, once in a while Nolan would say: ‘Hey, let’s go down to Layton and hear Uncle Ez laugh.’
JANE: Grandma Harris was a great cook and a great bread maker. Well, my Mom was a really good bread maker too. And I make bread just like they did, because I started making bread when I was just a little girl. Grandma Harris used to win the State Fair prizes in Utah with her bread. She could make wonderful pies. Oh, she was a good cook.
She would do cooking for the threshing crews and things like that.
BILL: So was your Mom a lot like her Mother?
JANE: Well, when you’re a kid you don’t recognize it as much as when you are older. I am sure there are qualities where they are the same, but I think Mom was more of an out-going person. Now Grandma was not a shy, or reticent person, but I think Mom was more out-going than Grandma. Maybe it had to do with situations and the times, those sort of things. Dad’s position probably had a lot to do with the way Mom really reached out to people in the ward and in the stake.
Grandma Harris was a very meticulous person. When she came to Raymond, she would come and stay with us for six months or a year. She always had the big east room upstairs, which is the nicest bedroom, outside of Mom and Dad’s. She just kept that room spic and span, I’ll tell you. And she was a great studier of the Gospel. If you woke up in the morning and ran into Grandma Harris’ room, she always had the scriptures open, early in the morning, studying. I think Mom got that from her Mother, a lot.
We loved Grandma Harris. I remember when she came when I was just a tiny little girl, it was a long time before I started school, so maybe I was three. I remember we were so excited when she came from Layton. The train used to come right to Raymond. They would go get her off the train, and it was so exciting when Grandma came to stay with us.
She always had peppermints, which we would beg off her. And she would always bring a pillow slip full of dried apricots that she had dried herself. She would bring dried apricot nuts, the stones. There are a certain kind of apricot stones that are kind of a sweet nut. You would crack them and they were a little like an almond. We loved to have those. She would bring those with her.
She always wore these starched aprons. She had these big combs. The older ladies used to do their hair up in big buns in the back and they’d have these big fancy combs that they would stick in the back of their hair. We thought they were pretty neat.
BILL: I remember Grandma Walker was a pretty sharp dresser, when I was young. It seems she used to wear suits quite often.
JANE: Well, she did have some suits. She had a navy suit, and she had a fine checkered suit. Oh, I’ll have to tell you a funny story about her fancy checkered suit. The check was very fine, you could hardly see it.
She had this little white ruffled blouse on. Mom was a great hat person back in the days when people used to wear hats. She would always get a new spring hat when she came down to conference in Salt Lake, and then she would get a new hat in the fall. She had some pretty fancy hats.
One day, she had on the suit and the white ruffled blouse. I don’t know where she got the gardenia, whether they had given it to her at the party, or what. So she was wearing this live gardenia on her suit. She was wearing a hat with a tiny little veil, with a little feather in it. Oh, it was a fancy little hat. She was all dolled up, fit to kill. She had been to some party that day, and it was evening.
JANE: Mom came in, and my friend Jan Heninger and I were in the kitchen. You know in the fall, when sometimes if it’s been dry weather, moths will come to your house and fly in when you open the door. And they will circle around the lights. Jan and I had this pan of water and we were holding it up to the light to catch this moth. If you can get the moth in the pan of water then you have it. So Mom came in and she was in a very optimistic mood. She’d had a wonderful time.
She sat down on the chair and Jan and I were there with the pan of water trying to catch the moth. Well, Jan thought I had a hold of the pan, and I thought she had a hold of the pan, and down came the pan and the water; and where did the water go? All over Mom. (laughter) It just struck us so funny, and we just laughed and laughed and laughed. We couldn’t shut up. It was so funny that even my Mom sat there and laughed. It wouldn’t have been half as funny, but she was so dolled up. If she’d just had on a house dress or something it wouldn’t have been half as funny. That was after I was home living with them with my children.
Mom and Dad were exceptionally good to me after Nolan died. After raising their great big family, to say, Well, you’re coming home to live with us. At that point in their lives, they had time for themselves, the house was nice, they had nice things in the house. They had the means to do a few things. Although Dad was very busy as Stake President, they weren’t trotting off doing other things. They could have had things pretty easy, and then I came home with five little kids. Ronnie was just one, and Nola was three, Faris was five and Spence was six and Brad was eight. They were just little tots.
They were the ones that suggested that I come home. I think it turned out to be a good thing, especially raising my kids in Raymond - Capital City of the Universe!
BILL: Who were your Dad’s best friends?
JANE: Well, when Dad was Bishop, Wilford Heninger and Les Palmer were his counselors. They were his counselors the whole time he was Bishop, I think for 17 years. That’s a long time for a Bishopric to be in, but I think Grandpa Harris was Bishop (in Layton) for 22 years.
When Dad was Stake President, Les was his counselor and Wilford was the Patriarch. John Allen was his other counselor in the Stake Presidency.
You’ve never seen three guys that were such good friends as Wilford and Les and Dad. And everyone of them were story-tellers. When they would get together, they would be in the Living Room, and they would start telling these tales. And they would laugh and laugh and laugh, oh they would have a good time together. They just had a wonderful time together all those years.
One time, Les Palmer had a heart attack, and he was in the hospital for quite a long time in Raymond. Dad and Wilford Heninger never missed a day that they didn’t go and see him. Isn’t that something? That’s what’s called true friendship.
Dad and Wilford both died before Les.
Dad and Wilford were like two little silk stockings on the clothes line; they were right together. Wilford and Dad were surely close, and Les was too. It is hard to split them up because they were such good buddies.
BILL: Do you remember anything that your Dad would say about sustaining the leaders of the church, or things like that?
JANE: Oh yes. Dad said it’s very very important to listen to what the leaders of the church say, and do what they say. He surely would. And Mom used to say things like that too: ‘We must sustain our leaders and never criticize our leaders.’ I learned that early in life.
BILL: What about the temple?
JANE: Well, Mom was a temple worker for many years, probably for 12 years. Oh yes, the temple was important to them. And they would always pray that we would be married in the temple. It was very very important to them, that we would be married in the temple. At one point in our lives, every child in the family had been married in the temple.
BILL: I know that they wanted to be married in the temple enough that they went all the way to Salt Lake to be married in the temple, even though a lot of people didn’t do that back then, when they were so far away from a temple.
JANE: Yes, that was very important to them. Mom said that Dad had come to Canada and planted beets and they froze in the ground that year. He had no money. He had used all his money for the beets. They had no money, and so they discussed it, and he said: ‘I don’t know. We don’t have the money to go to Salt Lake, maybe we’ll have to go a little later.’ Mom said that one night a voice came to her and said: ‘If you are not married in the temple, it will be an influence on your husband that he will not hold the positions that he will hold if you are married in the temple.’ She told that to Dad, and they said: ‘Well, we will be married in the temple.’ He borrowed money to go, probably from Uncle John Salmon.
They went on the train to Salt Lake and were married in the Salt Lake Temple. (on 21 February, 1912) They were always thankful that they were married in the temple. It was very very important to them. And it was very important to them that all of the children be married in the temple. They were a great influence on us. They talked about it in talks, a lot. They were a great influence on the young people in that area. They were a great influence for righteousness wherever they went.
They certainly did a lot of speaking. They really loved people and they were awfully good to people.
Dad always had this big smile. Well, Mom did too, you know. When Dad sat on the stand he didn’t look down in the audience and frown because someone wasn’t there. He always had this big broad grin on his face when he sat up there. I think you got a lot of that. And it is important. When you’re up there and looking at people, if you’re smiling, the people think: ‘Well, he likes me.’ and they’ll feel you’re satisfied with them. But if you’re always frowning, they may not think that. I used to notice that, that Dad would sit up there and smile, and he would smile at the pulpit. Well, he did a lot of smiling, anyway.
Dad and Mom seemed to have a lot of confidence. They didn’t hold back at all. They were able to just get out and move, and motivate people, and accomplish a great many things. They never were arrogant with anyone. They were very friendly to everyone.
JANE: Dad and Mom gave a lot of counsel to people. People would come there for counsel all the time. I remember that Dad would tell these young people that came to have their interviews before they were married. He would tell us what he had said: ‘Never go to bed on a quarrel.’ ‘Love each other.’ ‘If you can’t afford beef steak, eat oatmeal.’ He always had lots of advice to give them. He used to invite them to our home, for interviews in the living room. He would just sit down and visit with them and talk to them.
Of course, people would come to Mom all the time to talk over their troubles. (laughter) They just wanted a good listening ear, I guess. In our home, we had lots of people come there. It was like Grand Central Station some times. When Dad was Stake President, people would visit from the other towns in the Stake, like Coutts and Milk River. Perhaps they had been in Lethbridge shopping or doing something, and they would stop in Raymond on the way home and see if they could get their recommend signed. (The Stake had a 60 mile radius.)
Sometimes they’d have their family with them and Mom would say: ‘Oh, it’s such a long ways home and it’s getting late, you better come in and we’ll give you some dinner.’ (laughter) We used to feed a lot of people at our home.
Our home was used for a lot of events. We had a lot of girls’ showers there before they were married. We had several weddings there in the living room and Dad would marry them. We had all kinds of Mutual firesides.
I know when I was President of the Mutual, or teaching the Laurels, our Laurels used to be called Junior Gleaners. One time when I was teaching the Junior Gleaners, my brother Ralph was teaching the Junior M-Men.
Each of us had ten kids in our class. We had one lesson together each month. Ralph was an awfully good teacher, and he would usually teach the lesson when we met together. Just about every Sunday night we would get together at our house. Several of those kids could play the piano, so they would bring their music and we would sing songs, and we just had a wonderful time whenever we got together.
So our home was used a great deal for activities. so it seems like we were always having to clean up the house for showers, or weddings, or firesides. When we had Stake Conference, it used to be that they had conferences four times a year. They didn’t just have one meeting, they would have three meetings - morning, the afternoon meeting at 2 o’clock, and the Mutual meeting at 7 on Sunday evening. All the people would come from the other towns, and they would announce in conference: ‘Will everyone take people from out-of-town home for dinner, if you can.’ And we used to take people home for dinner.
We used to set the table Saturday night before conference, and we would usually set the table for between 30 and 40 people. And we never missed conference. We would always bake our cake or make our rolls on Saturday. On Sunday morning, we would sometimes cook the potatoes, mash the potatoes and put them over hot water to keep hot. We would take out the roast - we would nearly always have roast beef. We would get the roast cut, make the gravy, get our salads ready, we would have everything ready, and the tables set, our chairs up to the table and everything. And all these people would come home and eat. Everybody would be eating in about 10 minutes after we got home from church. We would feed these big groups of people, hurry up and clean up, and then bring more people home in the evening to feed.
BILL: That’s amazing.
JANE: It didn’t ever seem to bother Mom. I think when I went to all these Mission Homes, it was a great blessing to me because I grew up with this. It didn’t seem to bother me either.
JANE: When you think of Mom and Dad, at the present time, counting spouses, there are now 350 people in their family. Isn’t that something? Isn’t that a great heritage? There may be more than 350 now, because some more babies have been born.
Mom and Dad have been a great influence. When you think of the 350, you can count on one or two hands the people that are not really active in the church. Isn’t that amazing?
Mom was a great hider of things, I guess because there were so many kids. She’d have a roast and if the kids got of the roast, there wouldn’t be any left for sandwiches, so sometimes she would hide things like that.
Nolan always thought it was so funny when he would start coming to our house. Everybody was always around our house. Mom would hide the cheese in the churn.
But Harris could always find everything. He had that talent for finding anything. Isn’t that funny? He was so young when he went away to Normal School. He was teaching in a high school when he was 18, out at Kimball in that little community school. I’ll tell you - he worked hard. Then he went to university for a while and then he stopped for one year and taught high school in Raymond. He taught me Biology in Grade 12. He was a very good teacher. While he was teaching that year, Harris and Beth lived out on the farm. Your Dad would get up early in the morning and milk a great number of cows before he came to school. He was earning money so that he could go to medical school. That was the year that Jimmy was born.
I remember Harris was teaching school when Jim was born. He was determined to be a doctor. He always wanted to be a doctor. He and Bob, particularly. Harris didn’t ever give Mom and Dad any problems. I can’t ever remember him causing any problems. He always worked hard. He was the oldest and he set a good example for the rest of the children.
Dad really made the kids toe the mark. We didn’t get away with much.
BILL: What would make your Dad and Mom upset?
JANE: They didn’t like any of the kids to stay away at night. They didn’t like any of the kids sleeping over at other people’s houses. They said they liked them home - so they knew what they were doing.
They didn’t like us to stay out late at night. They were just protecting us.
Of course, they liked us to do our jobs. There was a lot of work to be done around there. They didn’t like kids doodling around. They encouraged us to do our work.
There was plenty of work to do. You know the boys would go out to the farm and work. They would put up hay, work on the farm and later on they would drive the tractors and the combines and everything like that.
I’ll tell you a little story about Bob. Bob had been to McGill University, and was home for the summer. Dad said: ‘The sheepherder needs a rest, and I need you to go up on the ridge and tend the sheep.’ Well, Bob and I were in the Dining Room and the phone rang. We had the phone right there in the Dining Room. It was a girl that Bob had met back in Montreal. She was a very very wealthy girl from back east. He said she would inherit over $2,000,000 when she turned 21. Her father (who had died) had owned an airplane parts factory. She phoned up Bob and he was talking to her on the phone. They had a big fancy home down in California, next to Ingrid Bergman’s place.
JANE: The girl said to Bob on the phone: ‘Bob, my mother and I have been talking this over and we would like to hire you for the summer to come down to California to be our chauffeur. We will pay you well.’ She really had a crush on Bob, in fact, she had already proposed to him. He told her that he was a member of the church, and the church meant a lot to him and he would never marry outside of the church. She said: ‘Well, I’ll join your church.’ He said: ‘That’s not the way it is. You have to join the church for you, not for me.’
Bob told me: ’ I would never marry her in the first place. She is a beautiful and brilliant girl, but I would never marry a girl with that much money, she would try to wear the pants in the family.’
Well, anyway, she called up and offered him this fancy job to be their chauffeur, and I heard Bob say to her: ‘Oh, I couldn’t possibly come to California and be your chauffeur. I have to go out on the ridge and herd the sheep.’ (laughter)
When he hung up, he said: ‘Couldn’t you just hear me saying to Dad- "These people down in California want me to come down and be their chauffeur for the summer and pay me a lot of money."
Bob said: ‘I can just hear Dad, can you imagine what he would say?’ We just knew what he would say. Something like: ‘That’s a pack of nonsense. You’re going to stay here and put up hay and tend sheep.’
BILL: That’s a good story. I wonder if Aunt Barbara has heard it?
JANE: Another girl, who was the daughter of the Vice President of the Bank of Montreal, really wanted Bob. Bob had met her in Montreal, and she called up once and said she was coming out to spend New Years with us. Her name was Mary. She came out and stayed with us for two or three days. Bob was nice to her, but she wasn’t a member of the church. I don’t know if she had just proposed to Bob, or what, but she told Bob: ‘My Dad said you would never marry me, because you are a Mormon, and he said you wouldn’t marry anyone who wasn’t a Mormon.’
When Fay married Elsie, she wasn’t a member, but she was a wonderful girl. Of course, she joined the church and became a Relief Society President and a Primary President and a great wife for Fay when he was Stake President. Sometimes these things happen, and I’m sure she was supposed to be married to Fay and be a member of the church. She’s been a great helpmate for Fay, all these years.
Grandma and Grandpa really have been a great influence on their posterity. All of the things they taught us - we certainly knew where we were supposed to be and what we were supposed to be doing.
As my Grandson Colin said to me once: ‘ Grandma, you’ve certainly given us a heritage of righteousness.’
That’s what Grandma and Grandpa Walker gave us - A Heritage of Righteousness!
(end of tape)
TRANSCRIBED BY WILLIAM R. WALKER, 25 JANUARY, 1996