Saturday, May 28, 2011
My grandfather was born April 6, 1906, the fifth of six children to enter the family of Alonzo and Udora Hunt Leavitt . When he was a young teenager his parents left Virgin Valley and moved to Overton, NV. The family, who had always been poor, lived in a tent-like structure for about a decade until they were able to transport a home from St. Thomas when the city was evacuated after the completion of Hoover Dam.
My grandfather excelled at academics and anxiously awaited the day when he could attend college. After completing his High School education, he snuck on a train and traveled to Salt Lake City to study engineering at The University of Utah. He had a wonderful first semester and looked forward to continuing his educational studies. However, upon coming home for Christmas break, he discovered that his family was barely surviving. His dad was arthritic and could no longer provide for the family as a farmer. With a heavy heart, my grandfather chose to abandon his formal education to stay home and help support his parents. For the rest of his life, he mourned his lack of education. Nevertheless, he did not regret his decision, for he said it allowed him to know his parents as few children were given the opportunity. He spent many years working as a custodian at the local school and was always a little embarrassed about it. However, I admire him for the self-less decision he made.
My grandmother grew up in Ursine, NV, the daughter of Samuel and Laura Blair Hollinger. She had two older brothers and one younger sister. Her father, like most men in the area, was not a member of the church. I imagine that must have been difficult for the family. The family was dealt a heavy blow when he died from a tooth infection at a fairly young age. My grandmother eventually served a mission in the Northwestern states back in the days when few women served mission. (Incidentally, my other grandmother served a mission as well.) Back in those days, Overton and Ursine were part of the same stake and she briefly met my grandfather when she came to Moapa Valley to report her mission. Shortly afterwards a well-meaning relative sent a note to my grandfather and signed my grandmother's name. My grandfather realized it wasn't really from her, but they ended up getting together nonetheless. They were both in their thirties when they married.
They settled down in his home in Overton, raised two sons, and enjoyed a quiet life in the country. They raised their sons to value education and made great economic sacrifices to send them both to college. After their boys were grown they served a mission to Kentucky.
I grew up next door to my grandparents and they were an important part of my life. I remember bringing my kindergarten class on a field trip to see my grandfather's immense garden. I remember my grandmother calling on the phone to tell us that she was making pull candy or tuffies (scones). I remember my grandmother holding me on her lap as she rocked me in a rocking chair. I remember running down the hill to their house many, many times. I remember them working in the temple and telling me stories about their mission. They were both very kind and very dear to me. I feel blessed to have had such wonderful grandparents!
It's been many years since they passed away, but I still think of them often. My grandmother died when I was a sophomore in High School. One weekend she, along with my grandfather, my dad, and my brothers, went up to Eagle Valley to stay in the house where she grew up. She died that night, probably in the very bed where she was born. My grandfather greatly mourned her death until the time of his own passing when I was in college. I often think about them and wonder if they are watching over me. I hope they are. I can't think of better guardian angels.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
For the past year I have been serving as the second counselor in the primary of my ward and I totally love it! I get to spend time with loveable children, work with wonderful leaders and teachers, and share my testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. What's not to love?!!
I am currently reading this one-
And look forward to reading this one-