History of Hazel Johnson Christensen

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Hazel’s Thoughts – July 8, 1985

I am 85 years old and want to write a few things about me.  I was born in Preston, Idaho at 47 N. 1st West.  My brother Howard still lives in the old home. 

My parents are James and Harriet Lamb Johnson.  I have a set of Danish grandparents and a German grandmother and an English grandfather.  I never knew the Danish ones.  I spent a couple of weeks each summer with my mother’s parents.  I loved my grandmother Lamb very much. 

My parents with mother’s three sisters and husbands went to Preston as pioneers.  We lived close together so I grew up with a lot of cousins.  My mother had eleven children.  Two died in infancy.  I was next to the baby. 

We had a farm nine miles out of town.  During harvesting we would go out to cook for them but always go back to town for Sunday.  Father went on a mission to Denmark.  While he was gone mother took us kids and lived on some land they were homesteading.  Her sister and husband were with us.  We each had a shanty to live in.  The older boys cleared the land.  Also one winter she went to the saw mill up the canyon and cooked for the men.  Father and his brother owned the mill. 

My mother taught me to quilt, knit, crochet, and  embroider.  Aunt Susie taught me to net.  I have knit or crocheted about a hundred afghans and yards and yards of lace.  I can’t do any of that anymore as my eyes are about gone. 

I have gone to church all my life and I have a strong belief in it.  I was secretary of the Sunday School and M.I.A. in the ward and Stake Secretary of Primary before I was married.  Not all at the same time.  Since marriage I was ward clerk for five years in Milford.  In Las Vegas I was a counselor in Relief Society on the Stake Sunday School board and I taught the youngest class in Senior Sunday School for six years.  I have been a visiting teacher on and off all my married life until I broke my leg in 1981. 

I went to a church High School so was taught religion there.  I graduated in 1918 and went six weeks to normal school at Albion, Id.  I got a certificate to teach one year.  I got a school at the Roscoe district in Winder and lived with my brother Lou and family.  I, with a neighborhood girl, took a horse and buggy to school.  The flu came along, so I didn’t get to teach a full year.  I didn’t want to make it my life work so I worked in Penny’s store as a cashier until I was married.  During the flu epidemic in Nov. 1918 I was operated on in our kitchen for appendicitis.  It cost me about $225.00.  I was in bed when the town went crazy when the war ended. 

Joy’s Dad C.N. was on a mission in Denmark and was my father’s companion.  After Joy’s mother died C.N. brought Joy to Preston to see my father.  He doesn’t remember that, but I do.  He got real mad at me because C.N.’s cousin (who was with him) gave me the biggest piece of candy. 

We next met when we went to Brigham City for peaches on peach day.  We met then and we started writing after that.  Our courtship was by mail.  He came to Preston a few times and I went to Salt Lake once and we became engaged after spending the day at Salt Air.  When he went to his bishop for a recommend to be married he sent him on a mission.  I waited for him.  We were married Nov. 30, 1921 in the Salt Lake Temple. 

We had a struggle the first 20 years, but I think it brought us closer together.  C.N. Christensen built an apartment in his basement and we lived in it the first four years.  Don was born there Sept 3, 1922.  Vern was born there July 16, 1924.  We then moved into a duplex on Cottage Ave.  Anne was born there Oct. 24, 1926.  When she was six weeks old we moved to a house at 242 E 6th So.  We remodeled it.  When we were finished only two walls of the dining room were left. 

Joy got a job as a time inspector for the Union Pacific Railroad so he was gone from Mon. morning till Fri. evening each week.  Carl was born Oct. 11, 1929.  I had a bad time and was rushed to the LDS hospital.  They thought sure I would die and sent for my folks.  I had blood poisoning and was in the hospital three weeks.  While I was there Joy lost his job. He did odd jobs about three months then he was offered a job as time inspector again and we moved to Milford, Utah. 

Paul and Adele were both born there.  Paul Aug. 26, 1932 and Dell Aug. 7, 1936.  We lived there nine years.  We went thru the depression there but made a lot of good friends.  Joy was bishop there and I was ward clerk for Bp. Bird.  Then I was a coun. in the Y.W.M.I.A. 

We went in business for ourselves in Mar. 1932.  He still had the watch inspection and was gone on the road a few days of each week.  I took the two youngest and ran the store while he was gone. 

In 1939 we were offered the job out of Las Vegas and Joy started in business there in April.  I moved with the children the 10th of June 1939.  We had a real struggle the first six months.  The war in Europe broke out and we had the opportunity to buy a store.  Before we had been in the corner of a drug store.  Business was real good after Pearl Harbor and we got out of debt. 

Don and Vern were drafted a couple months apart.  Don to the Army and Vern to the Navy.  I felt like it was the end.  Don went to Germany and fought the last six months at the front and was with the Army who met the Russians.  Vern spent time in the Philippines repairing the bombers as they returned from their missions.  It was a very trying experience for us. 

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