History of Hazel Johnson Christensen


Keeping the Books

I would have had to go back to college to be able to teach another year.  I decided teaching wasn’t my beat, although I may have enjoyed it if it had been a normal year.  But then I became engaged, and I got a job as cashier at the Penney’s store while Joy was on his mission.

I worked at Penney’s for about a year and a half.  I liked it.  They sent the money up to me in a cup with some string.  They had them about every eight feet by the counter.  They would put the money in the cup and shoot it up.  I was in little booth up there and I would make the change and send it back.  I didn’t ever wait on trade.  I wouldn’t be a good salesperson.  I haven’t ever been in the store.  I’ve always kept the books in our store when I’ve worked because I’m not a salesman.  I used to be a good bookkeeper.  I liked it.  I guess that’s where my son Don gets it from.

I was secretary of the Mutual and of the Sunday School before I was married.  When I was secretary of the Mutual, my brother Howard was secretary of the young men’s Mutual, and I did his work too.  I used to take the roll of the boys and he would copy my minutes.


The first time Joy and I met we were about five years old.  Of course he is nine months older, but we were both around five.  His father brought him up to see us.  There were two women, his father’s cousins that Father had helped baptize over in Denmark, Laura and Ingeborg.  Joy’s mother had died a short while after he had come home.  His father and his cousin, Ingeborg, came up to see us and then his father went on up in Idaho to visit another companion, leaving Ingeborg and Joy at our place for a few days.

We didn’t hear anything more about them until just before my senior year in high school when we went to Brigham City for Peach Days.  We usually went down to get a load of peaches to take back for the whole family to can.  This was in September.  They had a celebration, a ball game and a dance.

We were sitting there parked in the street, debating whether or not we should go now that we had our peaches.  A woman crossed the street in front of us and Father said, “That’s Laura.”

Laura was Ingeborg’s sister.  She had moved to Brigham City, too.  He got out and talked to her for awhile. She said, “Chris lives just around the corner here.”  We went over to his house and visited.  In talking we found that her son, Harold, was born the same day that I was.

Brother Christensen said, “Harold and Joy are to a ball game.  I’ll go get them.”  He went and got them out of the ball game they were watching, and I don’t think they were too happy at being brought home.  Then Joy invited me to stay to the dance that night.

My dad agreed, “You can stay if you want to and then come up on the inter-urban.”  There was an electric train that ran from Ogden to Preston.  But I couldn’t.  I had a taffeta skirt on and it was too worn out.  In sitting all that time going down, I’d pulled a hole in it some way.  We couldn’t buy a dress because there weren’t any stores open, so I didn’t stay to the dance.

Joy’s birthday was in February.  On his birthday I sent him a card.  Harold had sent me one on my birthday and I had sent him one too.  After Joy got his card, he wrote to me and we started a correspondence.  Then my girlfriend and I went to Brigham City two or three times my senior year.

Joy said to Harold, “I’ll take them to the dance the first night  and you can take them the next.”  For some reason there was a dance two nights in a row.

After I graduated I went up to Albion to school and Ingeborg was living there in Albion.  She and her husband had bought a farm up there.  Harold had gone up to work for the summer on their farm.  I wasn’t interested in Harold, and I really didn’t care for him.  I was interested in Joy.  We had corresponded all year.  But Harold used to come and get me and we’d go to a show.  On Sunday we would go to Church and walk around.  Young people used to go on long walks for entertainment.

One day he let me read a letter that Joy had written to him.  Joy told him, “You’re making a big mistake, because Hazel doesn’t care one bit for you.  She has told me so.  I’m afraid you’re getting in pretty deep, the way your feelings are.”

Joy thought he was a fool to let me read that.  But it was true that I didn’t care for him.  His mother never liked the Christensens after that.  She said that Joy took me away from Harold.

It was in the summer that Joy and I were engaged.  We went out to Saltaire.  There was a train that went to Saltaire every hour or so.  They had a dance pavilion, roller skating, swimming, and a place to eat.  We went out in the late afternoon and came home about eleven o’clock.  He took me to my sister’s sister-in-law where I was staying.  We decided to get engaged to be married that night.

Joy went to get his recommend to get married.  The bishop asked, “You’ve never been on a mission, have you?  Wouldn’t you like to go?”

“Why didn’t you ask me before?” Joy answered.

“Well, would you go now?” the bishop persisted.

“It’s up to Hazel,” he said.

“What do you think she’ll say?” asked the bishop.

“What can she say?  Her father’s in the stake presidency,” Joy responded.

So we didn’t get married for awhile.  I was a ­little unhappy.  I ­sort of wanted to get married anyway.  I did and I didn’t.  My folks were glad we waited.  Joy went to Illinois on his mission, and I waited for him.

We were married the seventh time we were ever together.  Our courtship was all letter writing.  He did come up to Preston once or twice.  He didn’t have any money or a car.  We walked a lot. We were engaged for at least six months before he went on his mission.

He told me, “Don’t just sit home, go to the dances.”  There was a Saturday night dance at the opera house every week.  Preston was a little Mormon town.  I used to go to those dances either with my brother or with Ruth and her brother.  We would never go alone although some of the girls did.  Floyd, my older brother, used to take me a lot.

It was fun to go to those regular dances.  We usually danced with the same fellows.  I had two or three cousins who always danced with me.  My brothers did too.  Orlando, the fellow I went with in high school for awhile, always danced with me.  He was an excellent dancer.

I worked at Penney’s while Joy was on his mission.  He came up to Preston as soon as he got home.  We decided to get married in two months.  He didn’t have any money and was five hundred dollars in debt from his mission.  I didn’t have much either.

I only earned about fifty or sixty dollars a month and I had spent most of my wages on clothes and towels and pillow cases and such.  We didn’t have to buy a thing, not even stockings for me, for two years after we were married.  It was a good thing because we didn’t have any money.

While Joy was gone on his mission, his father fixed up a place for us to live.  He had a small room under his house, a cellar.  He dug it out and further on and built an apartment.  It had a living room, a bedroom and a small kitchen.  The kitchen wasn’t any bigger than most people’s bathrooms.  It had a sink, stove and the cabinet, and then there was a little bathroom.

After putting off our marriage for two years, we were married on the 30th of November in 1921 in the Salt Lake Temple.  We were married by George F. Richards, the father of LeGrand Richards.  He was president of the temple and an apostle then.

Before my wedding day, my dad and mother took me to Salt Lake.  We stayed with the Christensen’s.  We had a bed and furniture bought so Mother and Dad stayed in the apartment downstairs and I stayed upstairs with the girls.  We went into the temple at seven o’clock in the morning, and got out at three o’clock that afternoon.  I got my endowments first and as I remember thirty-seven couples got married that day.  I felt a little scared.  It seemed like a big place and with that many couples, it was frightening.  They didn’t give special attention to brides like they do now.

When we kissed, I got kissed on my nose.  We both laughed.  There weren’t a lot of people there.  Just my mother was with me.  They didn’t used to all go like they do now.  My father had business to attend to and his father came afterwards.  The witnesses were just two men that were there in the temple.  The next Sunday when I went to church, I recognized Brother Beesinger from the First Ward.  He had been one of the witnesses.

We went to Provo for two days after we were married.  My sister and brother-in-law lived there.  He was a professor at BYU.  There wasn’t much to do, the weather was too cold.  We went back to Salt Lake and the day the folks went to Preston there was a big snowstorm.


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