History of Hazel Johnson Christensen

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Milford

While I was in the hospital they took the territory away from Mr. Miller so Joy lost his job.  It was a blow.  We had lived about eight years in Salt Lake City.  Then the man that got the territory had a store in Cedar City.  He asked Joy if he wanted to come to work for him and run the store in Milford, Utah.  His name was Bill Gordon.  He sent a watchmaker over because Joy was on the road about half the time.  We moved to Milford and worked for him.

Mr. Gordon went broke then.  They offered Joy his job.  He had the territory for the watch inspection job, and they told him that if he would start the store, he could have about $500 credit in jewelry.  We started a little store of our own.  We mostly sold watch chains and watches.  It didn’t make very much, but enough to get by.

We lived in Milford nine years.  Paul was born on North Main and Adele was born in the house on the hill, both at home.  We had a hard time making ends meet, but we had a good life.  We had a lot of good friends.  Joy was in the bishopric and then bishop.  Our children were all very good-looking, and I was very proud they were mine.

I was the ward clerk there for five years and then I was in the mutual presidency.  It was unusual for me to be the clerk.  I guess the reason why they did it was to get the records caught up.  Milford was an odd town.  It had very few active LDS men in it.  There were a lot of women who were married to railroad men that weren’t Mormons.  There were good people, just not too many Mormons.  The books were in an awful mess when I got them.  There was an old man who had had them.  He still had records there of people who had been gone for five and six years.  He hadn’t sent them out.

I’d go to priesthood meeting for the opening exercises and take the minutes and the roll and then go home.  Paul was born while I was ward clerk.  We didn’t have a car.  We had to walk everyplace.

Winter of 1937

The winter of 1937, I’ll always remember.  It got 37° below zero one or two nights and all through the month of January, it never raised above zero.  We had a chimney in one of the bedrooms that could be used, so we got a little heater and put it in there.  At night or towards evening, we’d build a fire. The boys slept upstairs and the girls   there where the heater was.

It wasn’t really a bedroom where the girls  were.  I think it was sort of an entrance hall to begin with.  The house had been remodeled.  It had an outside door in it and then the steps to the upstairs.  We would shut the door so we could shut the upstairs off.  Anne slept  in there on a small bed.  We would build a fire and warm that bedroom and ours next to hers, and then we’d let the heat go upstairs.

For that whole month I did nothing much but stoke the range and the heater in the living room to keep us warm.  That house wasn’t too warm anyway.  Our kids had about the furthest to walk to go to school.  If we’d lived one block further out, the school bus would have picked them up.  They had to face that cold north wind going to school.

Vera Bond taught second grade at the school.  She used to get Anne and warm her up when she got to school.  We had as much clothing on them as they could possibly wear.  They would come home from school at noon for lunch.  I guess it was about five or six blocks.

Don came in one day carrying diapers, frozen solid.  We used to make the diapers out of outing flannel and hem them.  He said they were about two blocks up on the sidewalk.  He knew they were ours because there were no other babies along there.  The rest were on the line, but these had blown off.  It was pretty cold to have them still frozen at noon.

We had a Monarch range there, a good range.  It was a coal range.  In Salt Lake we had a gas range.  They had electricity in Milford and some electric stoves, but it was high so only one place we rented had an electric stove.  The others had a range.

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