Laura D. Carlson May 27, 1963
In my mind I have started to write my Life Story many many times. Several times as a child I even made a feeble attempt to put my story on paper. I think before I die I shall write my story many times, because my story is many stories.
I was born of goodly parents: parents who gave up family and country for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I’ve always been very proud of Mama and Papa. Papa has always been pretty much of an ideal, because I was only 8 years old when he died. I remember being in a play of sorts with Papa. He and I were Russians, and we went to Jesse Fox’s house. The name of this thing, was “Around the World,” and there were others of other nationalities in other homes throughout the Ward. I had just been given a new pair of high top white button shoes, and I remember putting them on to be in the play, and my older sisters told me I couldn’t wear them. I had to put on some old ragged ones, and some old ragged clothes too. Papa and I walked to the Foxes. He took such long steps, and I had to take two or three running steps to his one. On the way we stopped and bought a piece of watermelon at a house that represented Dixie. I don’t know whether that was my first appearance in a production, or whether I was in the dance at the Salt Lake Theatre before that. Yes, I actually danced in that wonderful old theatre. I was a fairy or something like a fairy, and the old theatre was a wonderful place. After our dance was over we were permitted to go up some wooden stairs to nigger heaven to watch the rest of the play. It seemed like we climbed stairs for a long time.
I don’t know how good an actress I was, but I was in several plays. A Mutaul play that won first place in the Stake, a School play, that I didn’t fit the part, and was eliminated, another Mutual Play, “The Harvest Moon” where I discovered Harold, who later became my husband, and the play, either Abe Lincoln, or The Log Cabin, staring Raymond Massey. Harold and I were both in that one. It was shortly after we were married, and we were paid $2.00 a night to sing as part of the crowd. It was fun, and we surely needed the money.
Maybe it is because of these experiences that I have had a dream that has recurred at times. The dream is that I am in a play, and the night of the play has arrived, and I don’t know my lines. I have never even bothered to learn them.
I had a wonderful childhood. Hot summer sun, building a play house out of green twigs from the poplar trees lining the street, building rooms out of bricks and twigs. The sand box was the main structure some times. Other times the apple tree was one side of the house, and the cherry tree the other side, until we played jump rope with the rope tied to the cherry tree so often, that the poor tree died. Hot summer sun, and dust up to our knees, with our bare toes squishing thru the dust, throwing the dust at each other, making dust bombs. I’ve often wondered how my Mother ever got us clean. Hot summer sun, and the old swimming hole in mill creek. We didn’t have swimming suits, but we had to wear something, so we were given an old dress to wear. Once in a while we would get a dress that was still usable as a dress. We ate watercress we gathered from the creek just above the swimming hole. It was clean up there. We wallowed in the warm mud on the creek bank, and got back in again to wash off when we thought our hour was up, then dashed into the willows to dress to return home, only to find we had stayed in 3 hours.
Hot summer sun, and picking cherries. It was fun, and we could eat all we wanted. After the first day we couldn’t stand to eat another cherry. We climbed trees, we climbed ladders, and we worked and we played, and we were paid 1/2¢ a lb. Hot summer sun, and a picnic at the Park. There was always potato salad, canned born and beans, pickled beets, and a bottle of pop. Fried chicken and olives were unknown to us until we were nearly grown.
Hot summer sun, and the trip to the cemetery. We always had to make two trips. One a week before Memorial day, and one on Memorial Day. The one a week before, we walked. It must have been at least 3 miles– but seemed like 10. We carried a hoe and a rake, and weeded the plot. We could always take our time, and play along the way. Memorial day we got up bright and early, and went to all the neighbors and asked them if they had any flowers we could take to the cemetery. We always got big white Snow Balls from Fawsons, and Iris, or Flaggs from Webbers. Mrs. Barrows always had a few large red peonies to give us. Then we would wait till Mr. Fawson got his horse and buggy ready, and then later, his Model T. and he would take all of us. By the time he had the model T. we took the rake and hoe with us for just one trip, and all of us pitched in and cleaned up the weeds, and gathered wild flowers to add to the lovely flowers we had brought. My Father’s head stone was made of the granite taken from the foundation of the Salt Lake Temple, because he was working on the Annex when he died. And last month that annex was torn down, and a new one is being build in its place. In these two pages are many stories. Each must be written with more time and care.
Laura D. Carlson