Hazel Johnson Christensen
Edited by Joy Stubbs 1982
My Brothers and Sisters
I was born in Preston, Oneida (now Franklin) County, Idaho November 5, 1899. My parents were James Johnson and Harriet Emaline Lamb. I was the youngest daughter and next to the baby in the family. There were eleven children. One boy was stillborn and one died at six weeks, making six boys and three girls raised to be married.
I had two older brothers, Jim and Laurence. Then came Edna. These three were born in Hyde Park, Utah, before the family moved to Preston, Idaho. Edna was 13 years older than me. After the older boys and Edna, Mother had Lou, her third son, and then twin boys. Before she had the twins, she had a stillborn baby. She went her full time, and the midwife said he died three days before he was born. She was really sick that day, the day he was due, and when he came three days later, he was dead.
When mother had the twins, Gloyd and Floyd, Gloyd died at six weeks. He was the strongest one, but he got a cold or something, I’m not sure just what. They were born the eighth of September, and he died October 16. After the twins came Howard and then Hattie and me and then Rene, another boy. Hattie was just two years older than me. Edna, Hattie and I were the three girls. There were eight boys because Mother counted her stillborn baby boy. She always felt that way. I think a stillbirth is more than a miscarriage.
Floyd was the twin that lived, and he was the first of us children to die later, in 1951. He was a dentist. He went to Logan and graduated from Utah State University there, and then went back to dental school in Chicago. Very few people went to college in those days unless they were going to be a professional person.
Edna’s husband, Harrison Merrill, also got his degree from Logan. He was my teacher in high school. He was my Book of Mormon teacher and also my New Testament teacher. When I was younger, Edna and Harrison lived next door to us. Then after I got married and moved to Salt Lake, they lived in Provo. He taught at Brigham Young University. He was head of the journalism department and professor of the extension service. He was editor of the Improvement Era one year too. He was a fine teacher.
Edna and Harrison moved to Provo in September of 1921 and I was married in November of that year so we came down about the same time. It was nice to have Edna close. She would come up to Salt Lake and advise me about the kids, and I used to go down to Provo to see her. She was more like a mother than a sister to me then.