History of Hazel Johnson Christensen


A Young Woman

Teaching School

After I went to the state normal school for six weeks and got a certificate to teach school, I got a job teaching out by the farm.  I lived with Lou and Dorothy, my brother and sister-in-law.  They had built a home about the same place where we had homesteaded the farm.

I had to go about two miles to school every day. Two little neighbor girls went with me. We had a horse and buggy.  I drove the buggy because it was muddy a lot of the time. Lou would hitch them up for me, and then I would just tie them up to the fence. A man came along and got them unhitched for me.

I taught school  for eleven or thirteen weeks.  I was contracted for seven months.  They only had school for that long, but that year was the year of the flu epidemic.  Every time I went into town, they stopped school for a week for fear I’d come down with it.  Finally it got so bad they closed school.

I taught five grades. I was only supposed to teach up to fourth grade, but they had one fifth grade student, and they asked me if I would take her. Of course none of them passed because they missed so much school.  It wasn’t fair to the kids or to me either. I didn’t know how to grade them in that situation.

They asked me if I would take less pay because I only taught part of the term.  I said, “Yes, I don’t want more than I earned.”  But the man who paid me gave me the whole amount.  He said I was there ready to teach and it wasn’t my fault that I wasn’t teaching.  It was $65 a month.


My first $150 that I earned, I spent for an appendicitis operation.  The doctor cost $100 and his assistant was $50.  I had to have it at home so I didn’t have to pay for the hospital.  They didn’t dare take me to Salt Lake because that was full of flu, and that was the closest hospital.  We didn’t have one in Preston.

They brought an operating table down, and the night before, Clara, my sister-in-law, and I washed the ceiling and walls of the kitchen down with antiseptic water.  I remember Mother coming in and Clara said, “This is like digging your own grave, isn’t it?”

Mother was very worried.  Afterwards they moved me from the table into a bed.  I was in bed nine days.  Then the doctor came and took the stitches out.  I just had to be careful after that.  I had both an ovarian cyst and appendicitis.  The doctor said he didn’t think my appendix would have flared up if it hadn’t been for the cyst.  He preserved them in alcohol or something and I kept them until I got married.  The cyst was about the size of a good-sized  egg.  That was what had been making me sick all the summer I was in normal school.

End of World War I

It was while I was in bed that the Armistice was signed. It was supposed to be the end of the First World War. My brother had gotten married about two months before he went to war. On the seventh they had a big celebration because the war ended. They said that’s when everybody in Preston got the flu.  The night they celebrated, they took all the old outhouses and built a city on the town square and burned it.  They had a thing across the top with “City of Berlin.” Only they didn’t write “City.” You can imagine what they did write. Then they burned it.

But the war wasn’t quite over.  Selma, my sister-in-law, was so disappointed.  The morning that it did end, I was in bed down in the parlor.  Mother had moved my bed in there because all the bedrooms were upstairs.  I saw Selma out the window.  “Here comes Selma,” I called.  She was almost running; she was so tickled.  That was the real end of the war.

That was in November and Howard was on the ocean for Christmas.  He came right to Logan and was mustered out at the college there in Logan.  We went down to see him.  They marched them through the town of Logan and back up on the hill.  We drove up by the side of them, and Father said to Howard, “Would you like a ride?”

The boy beside him said, “I sure would.”  They had taken them off the train at every town of any size from New York to Preston and had them march.  They were tired.  Howard wasn’t in any battles.  He said if the war had lasted another week he would have been because he was moving up to the front.


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