PHYLLIS WATSON HALE
Written by herself
as well as material
written by her daughter Renee
It was a busy time when I was born, as my parents wanted me to be the first born in a beautiful home they were building. It happened on October 5th 1910 at Thomas, Bingham County, Idaho. My parents are John Isaac Hart Watson and Elvaretta Annie Wilson Watson. I feel I am lucky to have two sisters who mean a lot to me as well as five brothers - Lester John, Arthur Theodore, Fern Elvaretta, Harold Clyde, Waiter Lowell, (Me), Ottella, Wendell, and Barbara who died as a child of almost three years.
I lived all my childhood at Thomas. When I was about six I was watching the men put up hay. They used a derrick and horse then to pull the hay up off the wagon. I thought I would help the horse so I started pulling on the cable but was to slow and my hand went thru the pulley taking all the flesh off most of my hand.- The doctor said my hand would always be stiff but through the faith and prayers of my parents and working with it, it is as good as ever with very little scar.
We all felt proud of our home and took great pride in fixing it up and making the grounds beautiful. I remember many times walking home from school and as I walked up to the house. If a curtain were out of place in the upstairs window, I wouldn't stop until I went right on upstairs and straightened the curtains. We always kept beautiful flowers in the windows. When the home burned when I was a freshman in high school, the neighbors all brought Mother some pretty plants to replace those that burned because they knew she loved them so. The neighbor boys ail mood arotiond and cried while it burned; they said it was always home to them.
I began the first grade at seven years of age. Mrs David Broadhead was one of my first teachers. I started going and spending most of my summer vacations with my Grandmother Wilson where I learned to sweep floors. I remember people coming in and watching me sweep and remarking about my sweeping because I was such a little girl. I would swing, on the front gate waiting to see my parents come around the corner because I was so home sick.
My teacher in the third grade was Alice Snyder (now Mrs. DeMarden) who I thought a great deal of. In the fourth grade it was Miss Ladore Grimmett of Moreland. I loved math and Walter loved to read so I would do the math and he would read me stories. I remember well this year when the school bell rang early in the morning in 1918 when the First World
War ended. This was a very happy day for us because my oldest brother was leaving that morning for the war. I spent a big, part of this year out with rheumatism
The next year I had Miss Alice Snyder again for my teacher in the fifth grade. Two of my best and dearest girl friends were Katie Merrill and Mertyle Lindquist. I went to school at Thomas all but the 6th and 8th grades.
I was baptized in the canal by Ernest Grover. This was a happy day for me, 6 July 1919, as I was also confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
I went to school at Thomas all but the 6th and 8th grades. I went to school at Riverside when I stayed with my grandmother Wilson, old pioneers of Riverside. This was a great privilege to me. She was a very good English and spelling teacher and very neat. She taught me many wonderful ways that I will never forget. I was never allowed to talk about anybody as long as I lived with her. I had headaches and would go out behind the wood pile to cry so my grand mother would not hear me. I was given her treadle sewing machine when she died, for taking care of her. After the Second World War I traded it in on a new electric one and found it was just like the old one only it had a motor. I went part of my High School years at Thomas, Moreland and graduated in Pocatello.
Phyllis about the time she graduated from High School
I met Nathan Hale and after he filled his mission, we were married in the Logan Temple. It was the year of 1931 February 18 that our life together began In a little house, built for two in Groveland. In December 21 1931, a baby made three, Leon W., 11 pounds. We lived in this blue haven for two years. We decided then that we needed to gain some more knowledge so off to college we went - just two young kids out for adventure and a new life. Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah was our stopping point. Determining to go through four years of college on our own we set out the struggle of carving out a living and going to school with it's joys and hardships. I did laundry, and baked homemade bread for the other students, to help with the family income. Nathan graduated there. During the five years we spent in that town we had many wonderful times and gained many friends. During this time we also gained a wonderful little girl, Marlene born December 20, 1934. On August 7, 1937 we gained another dear little son, Elden Blain, who only stayed with us three Months before God decided he needed him home with him. In The fall of 1938 we left this wonderful little town and friends for another adventure in life. We left for our first school teaching Job away off in Hillard, Wyoming with hillbillies, a little log house up in the mountains, no electricity, and oiled roads, only the mountain breeze and snow from the skies.
In 1939 we came back to Groveland and this is where David Jay was born, January 6, 1940. Then we settled on a farm in Goshen, Idaho where we lived another adventure for two years. During this time Nathan helped build the Idaho Falls Temple, taught in the Sunday School and I taught In the Primary and was secretary in the MIA.
In 1942 we left Goshen and bought a home in Groveland where we have lived ever since. The second year Nathan taught school at Firth, Idaho driving back and forth. In 1944 on December 9 a little daughter was born, Renee, and three years later, September 11, 1947, another little girl was added to our family, Annette.
I have worked the past 10 years, while here in the Primary. The first three, I taught the same group of boys (including Leon) as Blazers, Trekkers, and graduated them from the Guide class. Then I was put in the Presidency of the Primary as second counselor to Vivian Denny, Then first counselor. I have enjoyed this work in the Primary very much and going to Primary with all my children. I love little children and have enjoyed working with them. My testimony during these years in the Primary has been made stronger listening to the faith and prayers of these little children. I taught one year in the MIA , teaching the Junior girls and have been a visiting teacher in the Relief Society all this time. I was put in as Captain of the Groveland Camp of Daughters of the Utah Pioneers in 1951.
Nathan has taught in the Sunday School, was President of the Eider's Quorum, and has taught the Elders Class in Priesthood Meeting, and was genealogy supervisor in Groveland. He also taught the Veterans Agriculture School for two years and substituted at the Blackfoot High School while farming his farm here in Groveland. He is now helping to build up the Atomic structure at Arco, Idaho.
On March the 28, 1952, our happy home was broken up. It was on this day that we journeyed to Salt Lake City where we took Leon to Fort Douglas where he was sworn into the army in the Officers Cadet Schooling course. It was a sad day for us all to have to part with him and have him go into this great battle of life in fighting for his country.
Some remenisings of Phyllis:
I remember when I went into Grandma and Grandpa Hale's home, the warm welcome I would get. Pearl would climb on my lap and love me, such a loving little gal. One of the first times Grandmother took me to the front door and showed me the quilt on the frames and wondered, "Will she like red?" She was worried but I sure loved that Quilt that was put together with red. It was so bright and all those lovely stitches she put into it.
Some wonderful memories that big front room holds for us. All those lovely quilts we quilted and especially the ones we all quilted together for Olive to help her make a few dollars to go to college. All that laughter, jokes and gossip that was rolled up in them and all those many afternoons we spent sitting in there just laughing and joking.
Olive, don't you remember that 8th grade graduation and the pretty red dress Father and Mother bought you? I can see it now - Olive pulling it out of the box and holding it up and asking me how I liked it. She was so proud of that dress. I can just hear Father now trying to get Olive to go up those, stairs to bed and quit her jokes and laughter. It lasted all the way up the stairs with dear old Dad shaking his head and saying I never saw such a gal.
Grace and Ezra, how could we ever forget that little old open-air car. We piled in it. Ezra and Nathan were in the seat and Grace and I sat in the back and headed for Raft River. We stopped in Pocatello and piled on again and sang all the way out of there. Wasn't it fun those flippers we shot at the mail boxes and everything along the way. What a good time we had at Sarah and Curtis's after we arrived.
I can see Grandpa and Grandma and the girls sitting on that porch laughing at me chasing that woodpecker around the house. It had finally worn out my patience pecking on the eves of the house so I shot him, down with the flipper. I don't know which was the more surprised, me or the woodpecker.
I can see so plainly those three little boys sitting on my kitchen floor while Marie and Dellta were taking care of their duties on the Primary Stake Board - Glen in the basket, Gerald sitting on the chair and Leon playing on the floor. Can't you remember, Delta, Mary and Lavell all those baby quilts we quilted together in my little house, the many afternoons visiting together and having fun sewing? Remember all those dinners we had together at Delta's? Don't you remember that Christmas we all had together at your house, Horace and Delta, when dear old Santa came to visit us right into that front room? I can see yet Marlene running up and into Santa's arms and loving him so thrilled to see him. Don't you remember, Horace?
I remember all those good times with Clara and Herbert with their songs and laughter and their train they brought to Groveland. We went all around Groveland going up to May's picking up the kids along the way and taking them for a ride. I can remember yet. Blanch, going up to your place with Horace and Delta and Nathan for dinner more than once and having such a good visit together.
Phyllis writes of her parents in poetry:
By Phyllis W. Hale
My mother was so loving and kind
Though we children sometimes reluctant to mind.
She taught us to be prayerful and to live right
Which would be pleasing in their sight.
She taught us the dusting and housework, to be neat,
And how to make good things to eat.
She loved to make us dainty clothes
And our hair to be neat.
To others to always look sweet.
No other mother can be more beautiful
Than this mother of mine so kind and wonderful.
By Phyllis W. Hale
He was a kind and loving father to
all those he knew.
And always a kind word to cheer you when blue.
He would give you the last thing he had
Just to make someone glad, And to chase away the sad.
He had eyes of a lovely blue
And a strong body of a beautiful hue.
His hair was a soft silver gray.
Which we all learned to love and admire every day.
Phyllis' story is concluded here by a daughter, Renee Dirkmaat.
After special training at Camp Roberts, California, Leon was home for a short visit. The family drove him to Salt Lake where he was to catch a plane to Heidelberg, Germany. It was a terrible drive. The fog was so thick from Ogden to Salt Lake that they could only inch along. Leon was driving since it was his car they were in. When they finally got to the airport, they had to hurry to get him on the plane. After he left, they went to the car only to realize that Leon had left with the keys in his pocket. It was the middle of the night and very cold. Nathan was never a mechanic and had to find someone who could help. Finally they had help to hot-wire the car and drove to Ogden in the terrible fog arriving about 5 o'clock in the morning.
It would be almost six years before Leon was again living in the United States. While in Germany, he married lrmgard Emmi Busch of Heidleberg on 25 October 1955. It was hard for Phyllis not to be able to spoil her first grandchild, David Leon who was born in Germany.
Marlene married Brice Orley Yancey 21 October 1955 in the Idaho Falls Temple. They made their home on a farm in Aberdeen.
In 1956 Phyllis was put in as attendance secretary in the M.I.A. She served in this position for 11 years. She loved being able to attend with Renee and Annette. She had a lot of fun at girl's camp except for the year at Darby, Wyoming, when she contracted a serious case of hives. She was deathly ill and had to be carried down to transportation to a hospital.
Phyllis always loved the Relief Society. She served as visiting teacher all her adult life. She spent many cherished hours with a group quilting quilts at one another's homes. These ladies included, among others, Vivian Denney, Lavell Bingham, Arvene Hammond, Nona Keele, Marie Hale, Opal Mckie, Virginia Smith, Delta Hale, Elda Yancey and Pauline Wixom.
In 1955 Phyllis started cooking at the lunchroom at Groveland Elementary. Among others she worked for many years with Bertha Jensen, Opal McKie and Orva Park. She enjoyed getting to know the children. It was a challenge to plan well-balanced, nutritious meals with the groceries supplied, most through the Agricultural Surplus program. There was a surplus of peanut butter and very little meat.
One time while at school she found her car had a flat tire. When she could not find the janitor to help her, she decided to change it herself. The next day David was driving down the Groveland road with her when the wheel came off of the car and rolled out into a field. All the nuts were lose in the hubcap.
In December of 1957 the family, enjoyed a trip to El Paso Texas to see Leon and his family. They went to Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, New Mexico, Mesa, Arizona and Boulder Dam.
Phyllis was introduced as a child to the Daughter of the Utah Pioneers because her mother and grandmother were members. She was active all her life and served as Captain for a time. She was always active and involved in the activities.
Phyllis was quite industrious. She wallpapered, painted the house and upholstered the furniture, making things over and making do with what they had. She made all the children's clothing on her sewing machine and taught her girls to cook and sew as well. She always did a lot of canning, which was a family project. Everyone had to help peel the peaches, husk the corn or skin the chickens she raised every year.
David married Rita Rae Williams of Thomas on 12 October 1962. They lived in the, area for about three years and then spent the next ten in Illinois before returning to Idaho.
Annette went to Washington, D. C. to stay with Renee for the summer of 1965 and met Ualifii Tusieseina Taualii. When they returned to B.Y.U. in the fall, she could not forget him and they were married 8 July 1966 in the Idaho Falls Temple. They started their life in Illinois. Phyllis really missed her.
Phyllis became ill with breast cancer in 1962. She had a massive mastectomy and intensive radiation therapy which kept the cancer at bay for almost five years but it returned. During this time she also took very good care of her parents who passed away within a week of each other in 1967. After being very ill for over a year she passed away March 14, 1968 at home in Groveland.
At the time of her death, her friend and neighbor wrote the following poem about her.
To My Neighbor Phyllis
I'd like to be the sort of
that you have been to me.
I'd like to be the sort of help
that you were always glad to be.
I'd like to mean as much to you each minute of the day
As you have meant, good neighbor of mine, to me along the way.
I'm wishing 'ere my time is done, that I could but repay
A portion of the gladness that you've strewn along the way.
If I could have but just one wish this only it would be.
I'd like to be the sort of neighbor that you have been to me.
Virginia Bee Smith
Renee and Peter Dirkmaat were married, 14 Feb. 1975, combining two families.