This biography was printed in July 1984 by the William Halls Family Organization in its family periodical,
Through the Halls of History, Kristine Halls Smith, editor.
© 1984 William Halls Family Organization
Susanna Selstone (known as Charlotte Susanna or Lottie) Halls was the only child of William Halls (1834-1920) by his wife Eleanor Howard (1852-1884)
LOTTIE HALLS KUNZ ESPLIN
by Lucile Kunz Yerger (daughter) with assistance from Miles Jensen (grandson)
The lady was typified by her own statements. Most of her life history was written in her own hand or on her own typewriter at the age of 84, just a few months prior to her death. Despite considerable health difficulties in her later years and difficulty in sleeping being a constant aggravation, her spirit remained remarkably bright and sparkling, and she still looked forward to continued life, both before and after death. The lady's name is Lottie Kunz Esplin. She wrote, "I do not expect to die when I am sick. I want to live even in pain as old as Methuselah. I think that death is a great adventure. I will be 85 on April 29, 1966." And it was with that statement that one can see a life worth remembering and from which much can be learned, for Lottie passed away just 14 months later on June 3, 1967.
Charlotte Susanna Halls (christened Susanna Selstone Halls) was born April 29, 1881 in Salt Lake City, Utah, a daughter to William Halls and Eleanor Howard Halls. William Halls was a polygamist, his first wife being Louisa Carriott Enderby and his second wife Johannah Maria Frandsen. When Lottie was three years old, Eleanor Howard, the third wife, died as a result of the birth of her second child, a boy, who was stillborn in January 1884. Lottie, as Charlotte became known, was then raised by her father's first wife, Louisa, in Huntsville, Utah. After a period of schooling in Huntsville, she moved to Logan for additional schooling, where she met her first husband, Christian Wilford (C.W.) Kunz. They lived in Logan, Ogden, and Huntsville and spent summers in Idaho on a ranch operated by the Halls family. As a result of their marriage, three children were born, Lucile, Thelma, and Howard.
A few months prior to the birth of Howard, C.W. was called on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‑day Saints to Germany. Approximately one month after his departure, he died in Germany of typhoid fever. After spending about one year with her children in Huntsville, Lottie obtained employment at Weber Academy and moved to Ogden. After spending about five years in Ogden, Lottie moved to Logan to attend Utah State Agricultural College (now known as Utah State University), where she obtained a bachelor's degree in Home Economics. Immediately after graduation she was hired to teach at the Brigham Young College in Logan.
After four years of teaching in Logan, an opportunity for her and the family came as she was offered employment in Cedar City, Utah at the Branch Agricultural College of Utah State, to head the Department of English. She accepted this employment and moved to Cedar City. After a few years in Cedar City, she met Alma Esplin, and they were married in the St. George Temple on October 20, 1920. Eight years after Lottie moved to Cedar City, Alma obtained employment at Utah State and the family moved to Logan where they remained for the balance of their lives.
While in Cedar, Lottie had obtained a masters degree in English from the University of Utah and after moving to Logan she did additional post‑graduate work at Columbia University in New York City. She lost her employment with Utah State University because of the depression and subsequently founded a bookstore known as The Book Table, which she operated and managed until her retirement a few years prior to her death.
Lottie wrote, "My family, especially Thelma Jensen, has insisted that I write my life experiences. There is nothing to convince me that my life has been unusual or worth the time to write it, but I go along, day by day, as people everywhere do, nothing out of the common run of living; however, I am pleased my family flatter me into making the effort. No doubt they are anxious that my mind, such as it is, is kept occupied to help me to adapt to a complete change in my daily living. I refuse to retire because it seems to make people so discontented and unhappy. It seems to hasten death.
"I wish I had kept a journal. It would help me to be more accurate in my dates and events and (would make) me able to remember any important history that should be recorded. Every life has incidents that no others have and they may be worth writing."
My Early Days
"My mother's name was Eleanor Howard. Her family came from England. Both parents died on the plains [in actual fact both had died in England], leaving eight boys and girls. Hannah was the [oldest girl who emigrated] and took care of the children. They lived in a home near Salt Lake. Eleanor was [8 years younger than Hannah] and filled any job available. She found work in Eden, a town northwest of Huntsville. She worked hard to help the family, but she was mistreated. My father met her there and tried to comfort the twelve-year-old girl. She became fond of him.
“When she was old enough she went back to Salt Lake and helped run a restaurant. My father met her again in the restaurant when he went to conference in Salt Lake City on one occasion. He became interested in her and she loved him. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple January 8, 1880. (They spent the first year of marriage in Salt Lake City.) I was born April 29, 1881. Soon after (my birth) we moved to Huntsville where my childhood was passed. (Lottie was given the name Susanna Selstone, though she never seemed to use it.)
"I was born in Salt Lake City where my mother's, my real mother's people, lived. Eleanor moved to Huntsville soon after I was born. I was told that during her short remaining life she gave so much service to social life of the town. She had run a food service shop in Salt Lake and she was able to put on numerous ward banquets with style and efficiency. She also made wedding dresses for the brides. She lived on the same block as Louisa. Father wrote me later in life, when both his other wives were gone, that my mother was a great comfort when life was tough. She never nagged or complained but gave him encouragement and love, a heavenly peace in a life of over‑burdens. She was not young (when she married), towards thirty [not quite 28]. If it seemed once in a long time that I did not have my own family, it was a great build‑up to feel the love of an adopted one.
"I have my first memory when I was about two years (of age). My sister, Lizzie, my father's first wife's daughter, one day carried me to see my sick mother, who had lost her second child and was not recovering. In going into the room I was intrigued by the latch on the door and wanted to push it up and down. I remember no more about her and it was sometime later before I remembered anything more.
"When my mother's funeral was over father took me to the southeastern dairy farm where he lived most of the time, thinking I would be more content with children my own age, but I wanted Lizzie and her mother -- I knew them. I was determined to have my way; neither petting nor spanking could change my stubborn little mind. After three days of hopeless trying to please me, my father took me back to Lizzie and asked Louisa if she would take me. She did not care for my mother and she was not anxious about me, but how could she resist when I reached my arms to her? Louisa then became my mother.
"My mother's sister, Hannah, thought the Howards should rear me, but father did not want me adopted out of his family. I was thankful. I chose a good home. I had happiness and comfort.
My Childhood In Huntsville
"I rebelled at faulty education methods at 3 years old, Louisa always tried to teach me my letters and a sentence or two. I stubbornly refused to cooperate. The result -- I lay under the table the morning and through dinner and late in the afternoon when the pangs of hunger brought me out, and I read the lesson which I had mastered some days before. I learned the luxury of praise.
"My father and Louisa valued so much a clean, well-ordered home. I worked hard and really was happy helping. For instance, in the summer when it was hot we could not keep fresh meat. Every day I walked a mile and a half and brought meat home for dinner. My mother knew men could not work without fresh meat, but then she was English! Meat eaters they are called. I helped my brother George all I could. He was so good to me all his life. One day he shouted from over the wood pile to bring him a shovel. I rushed with it. He was heading off a large rattle snake. He killed it, and I beat it for home. I had an intense interest in this farm. One morning a pig was to be killed for pork souffle'. G.H., as we called him, asked me if I would get in the pen with him while he stuck it. I feared yet tried to hold the leg. The pig squealed and I jumped the fence.
"My cousin on my mother's side came to see me when I was 8 or less years. She asked to have me go with her to Salt Lake to see my mother's people. She would bring me back soon. I was dressed in my best and allowed the trip. She left the farm with me, and I was so happy. However, I was barely out of sight when a messenger drove to the farm and told the folks that this woman had planned to take me with her to make a home for me way off in Colorado. She was caught at the mouth of Ogden Canyon and I was taken home, disappointed, but soon raised to heaven with the remarks of my brother, George, who said, "The nerve of that cousin, who tried to steal our little lady. We would have had every policeman in Utah after her. We couldn't get along without her and life would be so dreadful. She does a lot to run this farm. She runs her legs off for all of us to every corner of this big place." They all seemed to love me such a lot. I tried to prove part of the time that I was worth what he said.
"We had two houses and barns on our large farm; the second one was built about one mile west for a man with his family who took care of the farm while the brothers were at school and on missions. It was summer but vacant at the time. I was on one of my tours to escape from errands and nagging and everything. I decided to hunt eggs in hidden places, for from the sale of these eggs I received a commission. I was saving for a saddle for my beautiful pony. I was not permitted to use the side saddle which women used at the time; my brothers said they were likely to slide and throw a mount off the side. I had to have a boy's saddle with stirrups which fit me. My pony could outrun any wind. Well I came to the vacant house and thought there might be eggs under the foundation. I crawled under about three feet. I found no eggs but got lodged between the logs of the floor sleepers. No matter how I struggled, I could not get free. I struggled to complete exhaustion and tragic fear. I knew the family would hunt high and low and drag the river and go into the hills, but would they ever think to look under that foundation in a place a great distance from the activity on the farm at that time? The men were in the hay and taking it in the barns. I finally fell asleep for I suppose an hour or more. I woke rested and calm and was able to edge myself backward to freedom. To this day I cannot be in dark closets, some elevators, and any small enclosure.
"I lost my Santa Claus on that farm by pure accident and the need of two young lovers for an unaccustomed privacy. Lizzie and her dashing beau Chris sneaked into the room in which I was supposed to be sleeping and they brought the toys and gifts, not many like we have today, but much appreciated. The lovers, who were soon married, remained in the room to court a bit. Despite the disillusionment as to the origin of the gifts, I was glad to get gifts from any source. I got the story book which I must have read a thousand times. It helped many a rainy day. When things went wrong, sickness and disappointments, a teacher giving the prize to my opponent in a debate when I beat her hands down, when I had to go to school with dresses too short and gathered pant legs inches below the skirt, and the worry for fear the lie I told my mother would be found out, then I would wonder about the Eleanor who had died before I could remember her.
"During this childhood period I had a serious emotional setback. I was playing with a neighbor girl, both of us about 8 years old. We quarreled over our play house, and she hit me. I said to her, ‘I'll tell my mother on you.’ She flew back at me, ‘Oh, you haven't got a mother -- she is not your mother -- you haven't got one, so see.’ I was stunned and rushed into the house and said, ‘Laura says you are not my mother, and I have no real family, and that our father is not around either.’ I have never seen any person become so white and faint. Louisa replied, ‘My darling child, did you not know? We have talked of your real mother, Eleanor, often. I had no idea you did not know.’ I was proud of my home and family; it was too heavy for a child to pass through. From that time on I did not ask for attention or pennies or sweets. I received only what was given to me. The emotional experience has affected my whole life. I have never been able to overcome an independent attitude. I must pay my way at any cost, which makes a sort of hard person and one who is inclined to escape a problem rather than defend normal rights. I cannot bear conflict, I walk away.
My Education -- School Life in the Grades Primary to Eighth Grade
"The teaching was excellent -- dedicated and trained teachers -- not so far behind as is believed by 1963 progressive instructors. I was fortunate in having Matilda Petersen, Mosiah Hall and David O. McKay and others.
"I was very fond of Tilly Peterson, my primary teacher, and being much deprived at home of the give and take of brothers and sisters nearer my own age, I found solace in that schoolroom with the other pupils. It was grand to be among them. I was proud if I could recite my lessons and hoped that they would like me. One day I was miserably deflated: instead of running home for my dinner, which was less than a block away and always prepared and waiting, I dawdled out in the alley. I took off my stockings and shoes and spent some time wading up and down in the muddy water, fascinated with the freedom to go against conventions, the things nice children do not do. I looked up and terrible! My mother was approaching with a stern look; she grabbed me and pushed me back into the schoolroom where my teacher and little friends were present. I was turned over and immodestly spanked before the whole room. It took me a long time to look any of them in the face, days and days. Tillie gave me more attention than she gave the others and tried to build back my pride and confidence. Miss Petersen had all kinds of teaching aids and pictures and she really loved children.
"Mosiah Hall, the oldest member of the Halls family, taught me in the fourth grade. I had a block in arithmetic. I knew I could never understand it. This good brother, by charts and multiplication diagrams and no‑fail determination, several days after school erased the block and from then I figured a way through with exultation at success.
"Just think of having such a spiritual giant as President McKay. He had chemistry experiments in the eighth grade, debating, poetry writing, and a full day of interest in learning. There was a teacher brought to our school from an eastern university. There was a wretch of a boy behind my desk who, about every day, pulled my hair until each time I, in fury, wracked his head. A number of times I was kept after school as punishment. The teacher had never seen the real cause of my delinquency and I never told on the boy. I just took my medicine. I didn't have to write one hundred times, "I have been naughty." I was made to learn stanzas of poetry, the best in literature and from the Bible. To this day, and I have used the verses all my life, I can quote them yet. Wonderful teachers!
"During these years I missed two years of school. First, my mother (Louisa) broke her knee‑cap, and she had no one else to help her most of the siege. I was just a young kid, but I tried to cook, wash, bath, and help her to exercise the knee, and more than that, I wept because she was in severe pain for months, with one visit from a doctor who left her without a sedative or encouragement that she would walk again. We had very little medical service. We suffered toothaches, earaches, and stomach aches and got by with pioneer herbs. We had too much pain but in the main we were fairly healthy, and our mother walked again.
"The next missed year, I was in Ogden during the summer when I was 13 years old. I was sent there to help Rose, my brother Mosiah's wife, who was getting her sixth child. During this summer I came down with typhoid fever, a hard case. With limited feeding and infrequent care, I suffered delirium for days. Wild beasts were at the foot of the bed, phantoms of all sorts. I lost all my hair, which came out in bunches from the roots, and I was so weak that I could not go to school.
Life Without the Father
"The U.S. government made a change in my life [when I was four]. My father, having two wives left, was sought for trial and punishment, as so many husbands suffered during those raids. It was necessary for him to leave Huntsville. Louisa, the first wife, had never been robust or adapted to pioneering; Hannah with a large family needed help with the children, but also was strong to help him with his new dairy and cattle set‑up. As a result, he left the east Huntsville farm, with his second family [and settled in] Colorado. Father also took two of Louisa's sons, Will and Tom. He had to take strong teams, good machinery and many other supplies to make a long journey in a new land. He left Louisa with two sons: George and John, 17 and  years old and Lizzie .
"The divided equipment and cattle left us limited in what we could raise and market on the farm, and the boys were young. We moved to the farm south of Huntsville over the mile bottoms of the river to the higher bench. There the English Lady, afflicted with asthma which had weakened her even before she left England, Louisa Enderby Halls, left us an example of what a mother can do for a family. Three delicious well balanced meals a day, rolls and sandwiches -- apples sent into the fields in the afternoon. Clothes washed on the board, baths in the old tin tub. There never was a cleaner woman. Her milk was kept cool in a thick walled cellar in pans scalded and left in the sun with the buckets shining. The milk and cream for market were kept in the waters of an ice-cold spring, the milk, the buttermilk without a trace of the cow.
"She raised rhubarb and kept cabbage in crocks all winter until the garden grew lettuce. She preserved fruit, bottles of it; apples were always on hand. We could not keep meat, only cured pork. I walked a mile and a half nearly every day to get fresh beef and mutton from the butcher shop during the summer. In the winter we killed our own beef. There was always a couch in the kitchen for a son to rest after dinner -- so comfortable she made us, and a home never forgotten.
"I helped clear the sagebrush from the hills above the farm. We had acres of range land where our cattle grazed in the summer, and I ran for drinks and sometimes a weapon to kill a rattle snake. Many of the women of the time worked in the fields, but my brothers would not allow it. Lizzie helped milk the cows and my mother gathered the garden vegetables. I trudged all over that farm with the boys and ran errands from morning until afternoon; then I took on leisure, but I did not hurt myself with labor. I stacked one load of hay which tipped over in the wash and I was graduated from that, and most often at potato picking I managed to get sick. When I really wanted privacy and rest, I had a tree house way up in a thick leaved tree over our house. I climbed that often and read stories or slept. If mother called I did not answer. I was a stinker! I was never caught.
"At the time Mosiah, who taught school in Huntsville, came to help on the farm. He brought his oldest boy, Ernest, with whom I made castles in the sand of the wash and played every game we could think of. He was four years younger but a real companion. We coasted down the hills in large bread pans. One day when mother was away we found a bottle of chokecherry wine. We drank all of it with the result that I became rambunctious and teasingly I ran down the hill towards town, leaving him, who could not keep up, scared to death he would be left alone. Yes, I had a little meanness.
"One rainy day I repeated my water‑mud wading prank and was spanked again, but there was no audience, the only time in my life I was disappointed that way. She (Louisa) did not go for whipping children; it worried her when the neighbors were brutal to their children. My father once came in the house with a rope to lay it on her two sons for some devilment they had committed. She grabbed the rope and threw it in the fireplace. ‘Those boys are not mules to be beaten -- they are your sons for you to patiently show them the error of their ways, not to beat them,’ she said. She was never enslaved or intimidated by a man's authority. The blood of England showed in every step of her walk.
"Lizzie and Chris Wangsgard (my half‑sister and her husband) lived across the town. I often made my home with them. Edith, their first child, had sent signals of her arrival. Chris lay in the kitchen with a broken leg from falling on a slick road from a horse. He was in great pain. At 12 midnight it was my necessity to get the midwife, who lived about 8 "Mormon blocks" up town. It was pitch dark -- no stars, no moon. There was no street lighting in those villages. I felt my way close to sidewalk fences and had to pass a "haunted house." A distracted woman had hung herself from a rope from the ceiling to a trap door in the floor; she stayed around every night, regretting, we supposed, leaving her four children. Oh, yes, people had seen her, a pale white figure. I did not care to meet her so I scurried past. Why don't the dead go where they belong? They are no good to us, for they can't do anything for us. The midwife came back with me, and Edith was born in a few hours. She was cute. I stayed around, fascinated, for the time Lizzie needed me. Edith was followed at suitable periods with Estella, Edgar, Irving and Harold. I did babysitting when the parents wanted to dance. It was a great blessing for me to help with little children. We watched all their antics ‑- Edith could cake walk to beat a vaudeville. This happy life was all before I went away to school, and while I lived with my mother in a cottage my brother had built for her in the town. This family was a mainstay through my whole life.
Cows -- More or Less
"Coming from Sunday School one rainy day I happened to look over to our ranch farm about a mile and a half from town. To my dismay our herd of cows -- 20 of them -- had broken into the alfalfa field and were in imminent danger of bloating and death. (They were our only source of cash.) I hesitated not a moment but dashed with all the speed I could exert to reach that field, ran through the bottoms and waded the river. When I got over the river to the hill leading to our home, a cloud burst had caused a frightening flood. It did not occur to me that I might not be strong enough to battle it. I clung to fences, waded waist deep up the hill; twice I lost my footing and was carried down with water over my head. I caught the wire fence, tearing a hand in the barbed wire but finally arrived at the field. One cow, Old Lil, our best milker, was very much bloated, and one cow had to be stabbed to save her, but I finally was able to get the herd with her into the corral. My brother George had been pulling out head gates along a four mile canal from our ranch in East Huntsville. The digging of this canal with flumes on a hillside was a colossal undertaking for boys. It was often washed and filled with falling earth. When he saw the herd safe and had doctored Bess, our favorite cow, he turned to the exhausted me and said, ‘There is not a kid in America who would have made such a run. You have saved our only monthly checks.’ That brother was always given to exaggeration. Any kid would have tried; however, praise -- why must one have to have it like a stick of candy? I was a ten year old girl then.
"Once again those cows put on an act; they must have been too well‑fed. One late afternoon with tails and heads up they charged across the farm from the hills and kept running until they slid down into the bottom land towards the river. Some wild animal must have frightened them. No matter what ailed them, it was getting towards milking time, and I knew I better get them before dark. It was a scary undertaking from the beginning, the silly beasts placidly scattered along on both sides of the river which was bordered with deep brush and thick trees. In distraction I waded up and down that river, trying to get those critters together and out of there to the road. It became dark, and with it I became hysterical with fright. All the stories of ghosts and spirits and demons rushed to my fright. How long would it be before help would come? All at once those charming creatures, induced by need of milking, casually and quietly went to their corral. Not a word was said. No one seemed to realize that anything had happened. I was relieved for I needed to close that chapter right then.
"One day I rebelled against so many rules. I wanted freedom to find adventure to see higher sights. I climbed to the top of our highest barn. I fell off the side, quite a space to earth. I was lucky only to have sprained my wrist. It pained all night, but I did not dare complain. The next morning I was called to pull buckets of water from a ninety-foot well on our porch. It was wash day and it took loads of water. My wrist did not improve from the strain. Of course it got better after a time. Mother nature punishes severely for disobedience. Parents could lay off sometimes and leave it to her. The well had more than one value. Our butter was kept ice cold in a bucket hung from the top.
"On another occasion, helping with dinner I went down the cellar for potatoes. In semi‑darkness there seemed to be a big potato left on the outside of the sack. I picked it up. To my screaming fright it was a mountain rat. It must have been stunned or dead asleep for mountain rats are not easy to catch. The boys came down and shot it. Our whole farm was covered in ground squirrels, which damaged our crops considerably until we got rid of them. We set out poison and when the men took the cows to the hills, they shot them all along the trail. There was a bounty on the tails and one hired man got one hundred tails in one morning. The rat experience got into the tissue of my body. I could pick up snakes, the non‑poison kind, without the least fear. Later when I attended high school, the class went out to catch snakes for our biology class. A student let a bottle full out on the ground; the girls screamed and ran. I was able to put them in the bottle. But if a rat appears, I am neurotic. These frights which fasten themselves in the mind -- it seems almost impossible to overcome them.
High School in Logan
"I went to Logan together with 3 students from Huntsville, two of whom were Hyrum Peterson and Louise Wangsgard. We had rented a little house on South Main, Logan, and were to "batch" it. Hyrum's father drove us across the mountains to Logan from Eden. We were loaded with bedding and other supplies towards housekeeping. It was a hard ride. I remember the roads from the canyon to Logan through South Main. It was hub deep in water and mud, the result of recent rains. That road and those in Cache Valley were roads of this type. Logan City had cement sidewalks and some street lighting, which was an improvement from what we had left. I often wonder how our parents came to consider putting two teenage girls to batch with two the same-age boys. They must have had implicit faith in our moral standards. Indeed they had instructed us not at all in social conduct. My mother told me to avoid old men or unconventional advances or a word that suggested it.
"The food problem was the main problem -- one was too stingy, another was too extravagant, and none of us were satisfied with the set up. By Christmas we were completely against going back together. My brother, Mosiah, was teaching at the Brigham Young College, the school we were attending. It was decided that I live with his family. I had a room to myself, but Rose was overworked with a big family and I tried to help her to the result that my lessons suffered. My grades were lower than I had ever had before, and I failed in bookkeeping; I had never had low grades or failed before. My brothers who were helping to support me put me in a boarding place where I had plenty of time for study. I had been dreadfully lonesome before Christmas. I did not know many students and I missed the dating I had had in Huntsville. My homemade clothing made me shy, although I know now I was dressed as well or better than many other girls.
"Towards spring, social dancing was started in our gymnasium. A march would play and we would dance with the partner who faced us when it stopped playing. I drew Charles Skidmore along with others. It was really my coming-out party, and from then on I was in the social swim. One introduction has been cherished through all the years. Connie Thatcher, a beautiful girl, slipped over to my seat and made herself known ‑‑ the only one in that well‑filled chapel who had up to that time spoken to me. She belonged to one of the important families in Logan. I needed such an uplift. Along with social dancing we had a girls’ basketball game in which I was center, forward and defense, placed in most positions. It is a wonderful game to build the muscles as well as teach give-and-take and also how to lose. I was fortunate in our field sports to outrun the other girls. In fact I was not beat at all while at school.
"For over a year I dated Charles Skidmore while Chris (C.W.) Kunz dated my roommate Louise Wangsgard. Chris was Swiss with a slight accent. He and I were in a class in English under Rena Maycock, a young teacher whom I admired so much for her immaculate cleanliness in body and clothing. Nearly every afternoon Chris came to the library to get me to help him with his English. He was surely needing tutoring ‑‑ diagramming especially, as well as pronunciation. I had fallen for him from the first time I saw him, but he was not interested in me at all outside of an extra dance partner. I could not get him with all the feminine charm I could muster, kindness and improved dressing. As we met at the door of the classroom I answered grammar questions, to enable him to keep his hand up the whole class. I did not get a chance often to recite, and the teacher favored boys. I got a C‑; he got an A. The foursome dating went on over the summer ‑‑ an eternity of tortures. There were about 10 or 12 couples who were, in our own opinion, the upper class men. We carried the student affairs; at one time we petitioned the board to not dismiss Willard Doone for what they thought was too liberal interpretation of the Book of Mormon. Boys of this group: W. W. Henderson, Roy Bullen Hendricks, Bernhisel, the Bowen Brothers, Charles Skidmore, C.W. Kunz, E. J. Norton.
"Debating was very popular ‑- the whole town turned out to hear the debates, such as the importance of science and philosophy to get at the important studies. Louise and I debated Skidmore and Kunz, studying our heads off (and the subject was that "men should propose to women" and the ladies had the negative side of the issue). Skidmore lost points by saying that our arguments were like shaving a sow, and all you've got is a little hair and a lot of squeal. The audience did not like his ungallant attack on girls, and they lost. The turn of the argument was why the "Lord of creation" should be on his knees to propose to a weaker and inferior being. After the debate, C.W. stepped up to me and said ‘We better take our worthy opponents home.’ Just the one short walk with him and none again during that year ‑‑ a slight hope dashed.
"My brother compelled me to take Latin for three years. It was an interesting course in Caesar history, but it took too long in preparation. Most of the time there were only three in the class. We arranged each to memorize only one third of the translation and sit as the teacher never varied from the way he called on us. E. J. Norton covered all our omissions and lack of preparation. How right my brother was. In all my future school studies I did much less dictionary work than any of my roommates. I had the foundation languages and knew many root definitions on sight.
"To continue about the dating, which was uppermost in my mind and caused poorer grades one year and being put on the carpet (the president's office for being out too late with the boys), it was a hectic time which probably happens to every girl one way or another. On Arbor day there came a glorious change. Louise and I each made a new dress for the dancing party, but to our dismay, we got no dates. The whole week went by and neither Chris nor Charley dated us. We were going to miss the most important dance of the spring! Towards the very last afternoon before the party Charley came to me in the library and explained: "Chris and I have talked it over and we would like to change partners if you both agree." Agree, it was the answer to day and night dreams! Our courtship began in earnest. The men may have been a trifle uncertain -- at least Skidmore was.
"That next summer he Charles came to Huntsville to our ranch to see me. He had been on a mission, and my brother had been on a mission, and they had a great visit while he was there talking of London and Australia. I came in for a short stroll only. When he had gone, my brother said, ‘Now, that is the man for you; you are lucky to have such a chance.’ ‘Yes,’ I replied, ‘but I love another more, and I will not marry Charley.’ ‘Who is it?’ he asked. ‘Chris Kunz, Bern Idaho.’ George retorted: ‘That Dutchman! You are a damn fool.’ The following Christmas, C.W. (Chris) accompanied me to Huntsville. He wanted to talk to my mother about our engagement and to get her consent. Our diamond was put on my finger October 18 -- Columbus day -- to be kept on my finger if Mother approved. There was a big family Christmas dinner. My brothers were stinkers and I knew they would goad C.W. to the end of embarrassment for him. Celia, George's wife, had warned him to hold his own.’ Lucile wrote of the experience this way:
"If they can tease anyone, they'll do it to high heaven, and he C.W. was just this Dutchman that was from Germany ‑‑ kind of sweet, and he was just game for these people. They thought they could just overrun him. So at the dinner table when all the family were there and all the kids and everyone, my Uncle George got up and said in the absence of Father, ‘We notice that our sister Lottie Halls has a young man here and that he is courting her and we feel that it's no more than right that we ask him his intentions.’ And C.W. very calmly got up and said that he had been very, very much attracted by their sister, Lottie, and she was a very charming woman, and he had planned on marrying her, but since meeting the family he didn't know! They enjoyed him. In fact, every summer that they could Lottie and C.W. went to the farm in Raymond to work there.”
Lottie continues: “In the morning Celia had drawn me aside and said, ‘Now sometimes in the dating around with a number of boys as popular girls do, there can be one, who is the one. If you don't take this boy, I think you will lose what a marriage should be.’ I was proud of him, the way he joked back to my brothers' thrusts. I saw then he had won their respect. From then on they -- all of them -- liked him a lot. I asked George if I had been a fool. He replied, ‘I should say not; he is a fine person.’
"The next school year I lived in a room in West Center. C.W. lived down the street with his Aunt, Rosa Morrell. It was our senior year. Neither one of us had money to spare and we felt we could not afford to fool around as in the year previously. We laid out a schedule. He could drop in as he went home after school for about 15 minutes. Friday night we went to a dance until 12. He must leave no later than 1:00, Sunday about 11. Sometimes I had to get his coat and wave him out. One night he dropped on a couch and went to sleep. I lay on my bed across the room and slept also. At 4:00 a.m. when it was getting light he wondered what he could tell Aunt Rosa, and if anyone would see him. He was so angry at me he did not call in that whole week. Both our families had sent us about the only money they could scrape up and we, neither of us, would have brought them disgrace for the world. At the graduation there were married six couples at the Salt Lake Temple. W.W. Henderson was one, the closest to C.W. The friend we cherished. We used the banquet for our wedding supper. I contrived to get made a beautiful sheer dress which trailed the floor. It had six ruffles of lace and a lace jacket. I wore deep red roses at my waist and also in my black hair. We evaded all our friends by leaving Aunt Rosa's house and staying with my brother, Mosiah. My sister‑in‑law gave me one bit of advice: ‘Be sure you don't nag or boss him around. That kills many marriages.’
"C.W. taught in Logan in fourth grade (and this was his and Lottie's first home.). He was too kind; the kids took advantage and they were difficult to control. He went through what young teachers experience today. I was down with morning sickness and all day for that matter, but I tried to help Aunt Rosa and cook nourishing meals for them. I was sicker than many women. I went to the school room once or twice and tried to help him with the training I had had under Matilda Peterson at the teachers' training classes. I advised him to use force to shake a few of the leading kids and sit them down. It was better the rest of the year. We had a peaceful time of home life. Aunt Rosa was good to us.
"One day I sent out to C.W., who was working the garden, for I lacked ten cents to buy a steak. He called to ask me what I wanted money for. If I wasn't mad and I said, "If you think for one minute I am going to get on my knees and beg and account for every cent I need to buy you a steak for dinner, you'd change your idea right now." It set up the freedom I had in spending what little budget we had.
"School was out and C.W. needed work for the summer. My brother at Huntsville called him to hurry to Huntsville to help with the haying. That month our baby was due. Nearly all women used midwives. W.W. Henderson urgently advised C.W. to trust no one but Dr. D.C. Budge. It would be awful if he had not. When he got the call for work, he rushed to pack his clothes and get a train ticket. I cried, "You can't leave me now. If you do I'll never, never forgive you." We contended all night in between hectic sleep.
"He kept repeating, ‘You have a doctor, a nurse and Aunt Rosa, and heaven knows what more you want, and we are building such expense as we did not imagine.’ Such a fuss. Just before he was leaving labor began. It was a long torturous pain, the doctor stayed all night. C.W. about fainted when the doctor told him to leave a while, we would both survive. Lucile was born (in the first family home -- a small place on Center Street near the depot, after some thirty-six hours of labor) and three weeks later I met him and a buggy at the depot (in Ogden) to take me to Huntsville. I looked out the train and saw a funny looking C.W. He had a moustache, a tribute to his becoming a father. My brother at breakfast before he left for Ogden exclaimed to him, ‘C.W., when Charlotte sees that stubble I bet you ten dollars it will have to come off.’ He bet and said, ‘No woman will tell me what to do.’ ‘Oh, no?’ George replied, ‘we will see.’ I stepped down from the train -- I wouldn't kiss him or let him see the baby. I motioned to a barber shop. He remonstrated, ‘The horses are scared, they are apt to run away, the trains drive them. We cannot wait.’ I sat on a seat and said no more but would not budge. What a mean wife I was, which I paid for later. The next morning a ten dollar bill was placed under George's plate. I had been too smart. If I had realized we were losing ten dollars, I would have put up with a beard as well!
"March-April, 1902 C.W. taught school in Wilson Lane west of Ogden ‑- the family lived here for one year. In the early spring a fatal epidemic of whooping cough took many bodies. With small coffins going out daily, it was terrifying. Lucile was in her first year. One morning she was seized with a spasm ‑‑ choking to death. I had no time to get her father who was across the street. I became desperate. I finally took her by the feet and swung her small body way back against my shoulder and swung her forward two times. She caught her breath. My good neighbors drove us up Ogden Canyon in the afternoon to get the pure air from the river. It eased the constant coughing while we walked by the river. Towards the end of school I came down with whooping cough and coughed until we got ready to go to Idaho for the summer.
"We started out with a wagon loaded with supplies for Raymond, Idaho, where we had been in the summer to help with the haying. I had had whooping cough along with the baby, and we were both under par in health. We had scarcely got up the long pull from Huntsville when C.W. came down seriously sick, had to lie down in the back, and I dared not put the baby with him for fear he would give her some disease or infection. We had not reached the summit. We had a heavy load with a block brake pulled tight by a rope. We had two span of horses and one saddle horse tied behind the wagon. I proceeded to drive up on that high seat with the baby wedged between my legs. We pulled along until we were approaching a downhill when the block brake fell on the ground.
What to do? I dropped the baby to the bottom of (the) wagon and made a quick abrupt turn up the hill again and on level ground. It was a perilous moment. I fixed the brake and wedged it in. Those horses were wonderful. They seemed to know the peril we were in and stood calm and steady, obeying every slight pull of the reins. We gradually and slowly reached Blacksmith Fork Canyon, the place we had stayed overnight always. It was dark. C.W. had become worse, and I debated whether to turn back, go down Blacksmith Fork Canyon on rugged roads to Logan, or proceed on to Idaho. We had a medicine kit which I used as well as I and he knew. He had had aspirin all the way there. I increased the dosage and gave him hot toddies of brandy, which reduced the fever somewhat. The baby, not yet a year old, was a gem; she put up with cold and hunger without protest until I got her tucked away in a bed under the seat.
"The next morning after getting all the horses harnessed and hitched, we drove on through the impossible gullies, slides, and washed out roads of Danish Dugway when we camped again for the night. The next day we reached our comfortable ranch house in Raymond."
Before Lucile was two years of age, the family moved to Huntsville, where C.W. became principal of the school and taught the 7th and 8th grades.
Life in Huntsville -- Once Again
"We first lived over a store, then down on the first floor of the store. During that time I went through a long winter vomiting night and day, scarcely any food retained until I lost weight to 80 pounds. Towards spring another hemorrhage. Dr. Rich called to take the baby to save my life. The townspeople used doctors sparingly, and it was thought I made an outrageous fuss over a normal every‑woman's destiny. C.W. milked a cow in George's town barn; at that time Celia lived in town. She was a smart woman and generally a fair one. One morning she talked to C.W., ‘Do not be too worried about your wife; she is only a little sick as we all are. You do not need a doctor.’ My husband replied, ‘If she only has a stomach ache and I can relieve it, I want to do it.’ His mother wrote to him and told him not to fuss with me so much; all women had some suffering. He wrote back to explain that his mother was not a doctor, and she was too far away to judge the severity of my sickness. Loyalty is rare in these cases, but he had it. Yes, I lost a baby boy and I would have died as did my mother and her sister in childbirth if it had not been for doctors. (Lottie had five pregnancies -- two miscarriages -- in six years of marriage.) I had lost my mother, my father was scarcely known, and I had been alone in my worries. C.W. fulfilled the place of all my childhood and teenage losses. Our marriage was delightful. We continued to love each other.
“We moved from the store apartment to a cottage down the hill on the north side of town. We moved the furniture from room to room before we could decide where the kitchen should be. The walls were dirty and faded, and we decided we could paper the living room. We left Lucile with Nellie, C.W.'s sister, and we went with scissors and paste to work. We struggled all night in the cold. When we got the paper on, the pattern ran down to the floor, all zigzag around the room. Well, it was on and we went home to bed. In the morning when we returned the paper had split apart on every wall -- it was the cold. It was hopeless. On top of this Nellie had climbed into the attic, and the first thing we saw her two feet broken through the lath and plaster on the ceiling, making a big hole! Right then I made a resolve -- I would do what I could do but hire paper hangers and painters to do what I could afford.
"That year I taught school in the fourth grade. C.W. and I exchanged classes. He taught my arithmetic and I taught his grammar and literature in seventh and eighth grades. Before school was out, I came down with the morning sickness again -- in bed for months. Nothing the doctor could do would lessen the distress. My sister Lizzie brought every kind of food to help me, but it would not stay down. Lucile lived with Lizzie's family a good deal of the time. (In fact, Lucile remembers more of Lizzie's home than of her own home during her early years.) There was a period when I became quite well; it was a happy period. Lucile and her father rode on his bike all over town with Spotty the dog trotting along. When we both taught, Lucile would break away from Nellie and creep into the school past my room always up to her father's ,where she would sit like a little stone until school closed at noon. We often sent her up the hill to the butcher shop to get meat for dinner; she always got a bit of meat for Spotty. One day Spotty got the steak and we had the dog's meat.
"We had a period of two years of happy home life with two children. I went with C.W. to the ranch again that summer, when the baby was under a year old. He put a swing in the ceiling and Lucile went up and down the floor for a good part of the time. One morning I missed her. The men had gone to work and the gate that enclosed the house was open. I dared not look for her -- I rushed to the big canal and with a rake dragged the stream under the bridges for about two blocks, and exhausted I lay down and looked way up the valley and saw her with her pink bonnet riding along on horseback with her father. I wanted to beat him. He said, ‘I thought you saw me when I left. I waved.’
"One summer we preceded the hay crew and went to the ranch to put up the rye. We were alone with Lucile, so I went into the fields to help load. We got tired one afternoon for we had gone to work at seven. He challenged, ‘I bet I can quote more verses of poetry than you can. I took his bet. Up to the house we went, and after lunch we sat down for our contest. At three in the morning we were still going. He would quote, ‘Life is earnest, life is real,’ instead of, ‘Life is real, life is earnest,’ and often mixed the words on a number of Bible quotations, but I let them go. I am sure I had a slight edge at the time we had to stop, but I called it a tie. The next night we tied in arithmetic problems.
"That summer C.W. went back to Raymond (a town near Montpelier, Idaho) to help with the haying. Thelma, as we called her later, was due in early August. C.W. got worried and rode on his bicycle all the way over the hills to Huntsville and arrived two weeks before the birth. One night I made bread without salt and had to give it to the neighbor, cleaned my house in every corner, and did the washing. I was reading a novel which he thought he would like to read. He tried to get it from me, raced around the house twice until he caught me, and took it away. At seven o'clock the next morning Thelma was born. The house was in a swampy pasture and the potato hole filled to the floor with water. It was so damp that I had to be moved to a hot west window. From then to this day I have not cared for basements for the reason that sooner or later they have been full of water everywhere we have lived.
"We returned to Huntsville 2 months after Thelma was born. (Thelma, the second daughter was born early and followed another very difficult pregnancy. Ezra Rich was the doctor.)
"There was only one piano in the schoolroom at Huntsville. Often it had to be downstairs in the hall. I knew C.W. was often moving it without enough help. I had warned him many times. Well, one afternoon my brother John telephoned: "C.W. has met with an accident; he was moving the piano." I thought he was dead. Then John continued: "He has broken his leg." I replied "Oh, I am so glad." I was glad he was not dead, but how must that have sounded to John?=
"Dr. Ezra Rich set the leg; he did not leave sedatives. The leg was unbearably painful. He had me hold it straight up whenever I could, all night in fact for three nights. The last night the baby was fretful; she had broken out with eczema all over her little body. We had to get our drinking water about two blocks down the hill at a spring, and the wash water was dipped from the irrigation ditches and put on ashes in barrels. C.W. had done this and helped me with the washing. Circumstances were difficult for me. I called Dr. Edward Rich in the night and asked him about the baby. He answered, ‘Keep her from water and put zinc ointment on the sores, and you settle your nerves.’ I made little silk shirts and tried to compose myself. All night I was holding the leg up until I sank down exhausted. C.W. said, ‘You have been sick nearly all the time we have been married, and you can't help me one night, while I waited on you hand and foot and paid the bills besides.’ I sat on the step between the two rooms and cried for an hour. He had gone to sleep. It settled my nerves, and I was able to carry on.
"In such a short time, too soon, he insisted on going back to school. I pulled him up the hill the two blocks on a hand sleigh, morning after morning. I was worried every minute for fear he would fall as I saw him many days coming over hunks of ice. He and I became entirely well; our lives were perfect for a period, a space of satisfactory life in which he had gained the respect of the school board and the ward in general. We both worked in the church, one tending the children while the other worked in the organizations.
"We enjoyed our two little girls and earned enough money to go on in the fall. In December one day, I opened the oven door where a mutton roast was cooking, and lo, I knew then I was sick again, desperately so. I had to go to Ogden for treatment. I was put into maternity homes. Dr. Edward Rich had to raise the baby every day from lodging in the back; he tried braces and gave medicine but could not stop my vomiting. I was changed to another home, where I had a trained nurse, to no avail. Dr. Rich continued with every skill he knew. One evening he came to me and said, ‘Mrs. Kunz, we must take your baby; I am waiting for my brother and we must get your husband and brothers to give their consent.’ In the meantime he came to the bed with a large glass of concentrated malts and poured the whole glass down my throat. He stood over me and repeated again and again, ‘You must not vomit, you must not vomit.’ No one likes to vomit before people so I held with all my might for about 2 hour. In the morning when the doctors came to take me to the hospital, I was very much better; the operation was delayed, and from then on I improved enough to go home. By a hair I did not lose the only son we had.
"My brother, who was President of the Seventies' Quorum, had C.W. called on a mission to Germany. He spoke fluent German. Well the days went by and it passed from my mind. When I learned he had been called on a mission to Germany I was not pleased. I realized if he spent 30 months in Germany and used our savings, it was schooling down the drain -- impossible. (They had been saving for C.W. to attend medical school.) He was nervous and couldn't sleep at night. He was deeply religious and said, ‘If I refuse to go, saying the baby will not be born until August, what might happen to my wife and children?’ I knew the church would release or postpone the call until the baby was born. The baby was due in August; he wanted to be going as soon as school was out. The church does not favor a man leaving his wife until a baby is born, but he was restless and could not settle for the delay; there was a group leaving the first of May. He arranged with the school board to leave at that time. I was frail, could not go to the parties the school gave him and the farewells generally given. He had paced up and down the room making his decision, and I finally consented, ‘Yes, my dear, you get off; I have a good doctor, and I will get along just fine. If you go soon you will be back in time to get a school to teach in the fall. Otherwise you would be out of work one year.’ He was so relieved. One evening while the singing went on outside our window and nights when I was alone, it is impossible to express how much I felt deserted, how much his religion meant to him.
"He was gone at the drop of a hat in a few days, and I went to Bern, Idaho to be with his mother until the baby was born. I waved him goodbye and tried to be cheerful, but I was heart‑broken that he would leave me frail and alone with a baby not born. I did not have a faith or religion such as he had, and I did not believe that anything tragic would happen to me or my children if he had not gone. (He left on April 29th, Lottie's birthday. Lucile says of the departure, ‘I was rotten spoiled because I adored him so. And I had to go out three times and kiss him, then I had to come back and wave -- all these, that he was leaving.’)
"He wrote a letter every day and sometimes a card until he reached Zurich. After that the letters stopped; however, he had gone to Berlin and it was a closed mission and missionaries had to go in without the government knowing about it. I realized it was hard to post letters and ships were delayed and letters were sometimes late in reaching families in the United States. I thought of all sorts of excuses. His mother and I were walking home from church one Sunday, and she said she was very much worried about her son. I tried to comfort her, but I was worried also. The night he died of typhoid fever, on the 7th of June, 1907, I could not sleep at all. I read a novel, for I tried not to worry needlessly and cross the bridge before I arrived at it. I have a habit not to worry before I have cause to worry.
"I could not content myself to remain in Bern. I feared Dr. Hayward of Montpelier would not be able to get to Bern, for the mud holes in the road were nearly unpassable. Grandma assured me that she had confined dozens of women, but I needed a doctor because of a physical deformity that is to be avoided when the baby enters for birth to be lodged unless there is a quick turn in the proper passage. It might be fatal with anyone who could not make the adjustment. I was about the only one in Huntsville who had a doctor. The people called me highbrow. Well, I went to Grandpa Kunz and told him I wanted to go home. He said, ‘All right, I'll take you to the train this afternoon.’
"I arrived home, relieved to be with my people and able to get a doctor if necessary. I tidied up the house and made clothes for the children. There were still no letters from Germany. My brothers cut off my telephone and kept my letters from the post office, fearing that I might hear from others what they feared had happened. He had died on the 7th of June and it was now June 30th. One morning my sister Lizzie and brother John were coming up the path. I knew then my husband was dead. The telegram had come to the church in Salt Lake, but it was not sent to me. Thomas E. McKay went to Salt Lake to find it. It had been there weeks, mislaid. (C.W. was buried in what is now East Berlin. Because he died of typhoid fever, his body could not be shipped to the United States for some time, and Lottie determined that he should not be moved once buried.)
"When my husband died in Berlin, my neighbors came as soon as I heard. My closest neighbor, Mrs. Forsgren, came in and asked me to come into her house and have a cup of tea. I went over with her. In grief, it is a comfort to have such sympathy. It is really a help. It helps us to forget for a time our grief. My sister Lizzie and brother John came at once. Members of the church wrote from Berlin that they had been at his bedside when he died, and they put flowers on his grave. They wrote to me until the wars between our countries.
"Howard was born at 9:00 p.m. on the 16th of August, 1907. It was afternoon; I was ironing when the first labor pain came. I felt desperately alone, not brave, as I did not have my husband to hold my hand and encourage me.
"After he had been dead for several months, I was overcome with grief. Once I forgot to milk or feed my cow for two days. I dreamed he was permitted to return to his family for a full day to see the children and comfort us. I was unbelievably happy, but it was a dream.”
For the next year Lottie stayed home in Huntsville. She milked the cow every day. C.W. had chopped and stacked enough wood to last for over a year before he left for the mission field. In the fall of 1908, Lottie got a job in Weber County, bought a home there, and the family moved to Ogden. The home had indoor plumbing, hot water, and a range. new features for this family. Lottie kept a cow in the back and had a garden.
For the next five years Lottie taught in Ogden at the Weber Academy, and while in Ogden served as Mutual president and Primary president. During this period of time, the Hancock family, next door neighbors, were a great help and strength to her and her family.
With the year 1913, after teaching there for five years, came the loss of Lottie's job. Lucile, the oldest, was 11 years of age and said, ‘I shall never forget how upset she was. She cried for two days. She was heartsick. She had just barely got her home paid for and she had just barely got to the place where things would be a little easier.
During the years that she worked at Ogden, in the summers, she had taken in washing. I can remember going down to the hotel and getting men's shirts and bringing them home. One day I got stuck on the railroad track with my little wagon. I wouldn't go by the road as I should have done, and here came a great big train along. I pulled and tugged and couldn't get it off to save my life, and I decided I'd better walk away and let the wagon get run over, but here came a man who picked it up and carried it over and put it on the other side, and my life was saved. Lottie worked hard there."
Weber terminated Lottie's teaching job but said she could stay on and be the clerk in the office and the disciplinarian. But she would not accept the change, so the family moved to Logan, and she went to college for 2 years. Lottie mortgaged her home in Ogden to help support her schooling. While in school in Logan she always came home to feed her family during lunchtime. Those were heavy years for her. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in home economics and as the valedictorian in her class. Then she immediately got a job at Brigham Young College. The family remained in Logan for a number of years. Lottie was a good teacher -- an excellent teacher -- but she wasn't head of the department, and an the opportunity to become the Department Head in English at the Branch Agricultural College at Cedar City came. Lottie accepted the offer and the new job doubled her salary.
"I was young when my husband died, and naturally, after a certain time, I was interested in men. However, I did not intend to neglect my children to go into courtship. The man who contracted to build my house in Ogden was an attractive fellow who met my eye. I spent more time with the business than I needed to do and sometimes called at his office just to see him. Then I learned he had a wife and several children. I gave that up immediately. I pledged myself never to break up a family or to try to come between man and wife. All my life I kept that pledge.
"One evening a friend came to Logan and called at my house. We talked until late, forgetful of time. It became too late. I made him a bed on the couch and went upstairs to my own bed. At six o'clock he slipped out of the house and went back to Salt Lake. In the meantime my next door renters thought there was goings on and telephoned the president of B.Y. He came over to see me. There was no man there. I offered the president some rye muffins I had for breakfast, and he sat down and enjoyed his breakfast. He and his wife thereafter often came to breakfast for rye muffins.
"I did one very silly prank. I answered an ad for a husband and then forgot all about the silly thing. A man about my age answered and came to Logan to see me. I met the fellow, whom I never could have married. I claimed I knew nothing about it but a woman who had been with me had left. It must have been her, I told him. What made me do that? Heaven knows.
"That fall I went on to college and had no desire to break into my studies with courting. A young man by the name of A. L. Cook used to work biology in the laboratory. He washed all the bottles and took notes, while I worked the text. We often studied at my home, sometimes all night. Advanced chemistry was hard for both of us, and we benefited by comparing notes. One night just before an important chemistry examination we studied until 4 in the morning, when the lights went out. We had to stop, and we had left un-reviewed one-third of the text. The next morning we had a test of three questions involving the part we had not studied. I saw Cook's face fall in despair. I tackled the two questions I could answer and then gave my whole time to work the third question. I remembered class work and worked formulas from what I knew and just as the bell rang I struck the right formula. I received a score of 100% while Cook lost heart and made 66%. It pays never to give up in this world."
The Move to Cedar City and Marriage to Alma Cox Esplin
Alma Esplin's first wife was the first victim of influenza in Cedar City and died in November during World War I. "I was teaching at the Branch College which we turned into a hospital and nursed the stricken. I was careful the first year. I needed to guard my own children, for I was the only one to care for them. Lucile was helping a family. The rest of us came down with the influenza. I refused to go to the hospital. Alma Esplin, who had been helping families laying out the dead, came to help me. He went into my drawers and closets and prepared our clothes and helped us dress and drove us to the hospital when I was seriously ill and the two children also. Our schools were closed. Lamar, Alma's son, came down with pneumonia, and I went to help Alma nurse him. The boy was seriously sick. The children liked me. After the influenza outbreak was over, they used to slip over to my house and stay an hour. Alma and I had gotten more acquainted during the epidemic. He would come for the children and come back in the evening after his children were in bed.
"I did not wish at that time to marry. I liked teaching. I had a good job at the College and was out of debt for my education. I did not wish to take over four more children (Oleen, Luella, Lamar and Wendell) for I knew the second marriage was not often happy. Then it is hard to bring two families together, and we could not afford it. One evening when Alma did not come to my home as expected, I missed his visit and found myself jealous and worried. I realized I was in love. He came to see me late that night, and there was no doubt that he cared for me. His mother Esplin wanted me. He told me how much the children wanted me.
"We slipped away October l9th, 1920 to St. George to be married in the temple, but our car kept stalling, and we did not get there until evening. He came into my room to say good night and sat down on the bed, it squeaked to high heaven. He jumped up startled. He was a virtuous man. Coming home I felt a security, a protector and provider for us. I loved the rides with my husband always and miss them now. Our marriage was successful without much friction. His family was easier to raise than my own. Alma could not bear me to correct a child. They were good children generally and got along well with my family. Alma's children have been good to me all their lives. Alma and I have been able to educate all our children.
"My second marriage had some ups and downs because we had different ideas, but we always were able to solve our differences, for we loved each other. Alma died August 4, 1959 of cancer.
"My brother asked me one day how I managed to marry such superior men. I answered, ‘I would not live with any other kind.’ I lived with Alma 39 years."
While at Cedar, Lottie added to her B.A. degree in home economics from Utah State, with a master's degree in English from the University of Utah. She also had two more miscarriages with the new marriage. Alma was County Agent in Cedar City and got a chance to go to Utah State University as the sheep and wool specialist. He accepted the offer and the family moved to Logan. Lottie worked as an extension agent in Cache County teaching literature and home economics in farm communities.
Soon after the move to Logan, in October, 1928, the Herald Journal under the heading, Junior High President, ran this article:
"Mrs. Alma Esplin has been appointed president of the Junior High Parent‑Teacher Association to succeed Mrs. Vincent Cardon, who has been forced because of other duties and poor health to resign. While deeply regretting Mrs. Cardon's resignation, the association feels that it is extremely fortunate in securing so capable a president as Mrs. Esplin to take her place. In addition to her home experience, she has long teaching experience and is keenly interested in social problems. She was head of the English department of the Branch Agricultural College at Cedar City for a number of years and the last year returned from a year's advanced study in New York City."
With the depression came a ruling that husbands and wives could not be employed at the same place. Having previously spent one year in New York City at Columbia University in further advanced-degree work (she abandoned the idea of seeking a doctorate because she ‘so enjoyed going to see the plays’), Lottie gave up her work at the University, and her business, The Book Table Lending Library, began in about 1933. With time the lending library became a retail book store emphasizing children's books, with an additional department for educational toys. The Book Table is a store that still flourishes today under different ownership and a larger location, but retaining the same name originally suggested by Alma in 1933. From 1933 until her passing, the bookstore provided not only a vocation, but a hobby for Lottie through the remainder of her life.
Lottie's relationship through the years with in‑laws could be very special. Lucile married Paul Miles and wrote about his relationship with his mother‑in‑law:
"Well, anything about in‑laws -- she used to say that she just couldn't understand how they could get along with her children. She thought it was marvelous that they would even try. She pitied them terribly." Paul adored her. In fact, it was Paul that insisted on going home twice a year as long as she was alive. When Paul and I would have a fight, he would just tell me that he was going to go home to Mother, and it was my mother he was going to. I wonder where they thought I'd go.
Lottie wrote on February 8, 1966, "I have not worked in the store for over two years because of sickness and persuasion of my doctor, who feared I might fall on the ice. Also, I must avoid nervous tension. Thelma has managed the business all this time without too much dictation from me or interference. I have required considerable nursing, but the last weeks I have been as well as I can expect at the age of 84 years. I have not needed a doctor for weeks. I think I am blessed exceedingly by my good fortune. My whole family has been able to relax.
"The business has done well. Sales have remained gratifying and losses light. Our school orders fell off for a while, but now they are swamping us again. We are in an envious financial condition. We have no debt, few unpaid bills. How fortunate to have such an efficient manager as Thelma. My life is being prolonged beyond expectations. It is such a marvelous age. It is a privilege to live. Our space record is beyond prophecy.
"I have let my hair grow long. It is fashionable now for oldsters. Did I write oldsters? I never class myself there, nor do I go to an old folks’ dinner or my graduation class reunions. The members are old, too old for my association, but if I meet one I declare, ‘How young you look.’ That is much needed hypocrisy. Decrepit people need a lift. It makes them walk more proudly."
Lottie passed away on June 3, 1967 at the age of 86. She and her daughter, Thelma, were killed instantly in an automobile head‑on collision in Sardine Canyon between Logan and Brigham City, Utah. True to form, Lottie had just been to Weber State College to witness the graduation of a grandson, Douglas Kunz, her first grandchild to graduate from College. Her interest in school, education and family remained to the very end. She enjoyed life to its fullest.
Lottie had written on February 15, 1966, "Life is an efficient school, and death is the greatest venture in life. I am reminded of what James M. Barrie wrote in Peter Pan. Maude Adams played the part. When the water in the lagoon rose to Peter's and Wendy's necks, Peter Pan encouraged Wendy and said, "To die is the greatest venture in life," and when Charles Froman was sinking in the Lusitania, he expressed the immortal words of Peter Pan to his dying shipmates. ‘So why fear death -- it is a homecoming!’"