thegenealogygirl


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Photograph Showcase: Ronald & Melba

ronald and melba - smaller for FT

This darling photo was labeled simply, “Ronald & Melba”.  Ronald is my Grandpa.  His mother is Naomi Skeen.  Melba is Naomi’s sister, the sister just younger than her.  My Grandpa was the first grandchild in the Skeen family.  It would be 10 more years before Melba would marry and 22 more years before Melba would adopt her only child.  But in this moment shared between Melba, Ronald, and at least two others – the photographer and whomever Melba is smiling at – I just see a lot of joy and contentment.  I hope those feelings continued.  Waiting for children is difficult.  Especially when your sister has six of them before you are able to adopt one.


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Photograph Showcase: Naomi as a Young Mother

PETERSON, Naomi Skeen, Marilyn, and Ronald, spring 1929

Naomi Skeen Peterson with her oldest two children, Janice in her arms, and Ronald.  Handwriting of Mary Margaret Ellis Peterson.  Spring 1929

This photo comes from my Grandmother’s boxes.  Naomi was her mother-in-law and my great grandmother.  Ronald is my Grandpa.  Janice is his younger sister who was born in December of 1928.  Based on her age I think this photo was taken in the late Spring, but I’m confused by the leaves on the ground.  Maybe they had a short fall.  The kind where you haven’t gotten all of the leaves raked up before the snow falls.  This has happened to us here in Utah – and this photo was taken in Utah as well.

What do you think?  Spring?

 

PS – I had a surprise trip come up to hang out with my Dad.  I have so much to say about Rosey Hyde and the gang but I’m a bit out of commission for now.  We’ll see if I get some blogging time while I’m here.  And if not, well, I will happily enjoy my family time amongst the living.  🙂

 


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Photograph Showcase: Grandpa at 18

PETERSON, Ronald Skeen, 18 years old - smaller for FT

Ronald Skeen Peterson, age 18

I found this lovely photo of my Grandpa in my Grandma’s boxes.  I wonder if this was his graduation picture?  The year was 1944, his senior year of High School.  It would only be a few more months before he would enlist in the Marine Corps.  I wonder if he was already thinking about that when this picture was taken?


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Photograph Showcase: Grandpa at 16

PETERSON, Ronald Skeen, 16 years - smaller for FT

Ronald Skeen Peterson, 16 years old

Wasn’t my Grandpa a handsome young man?  He looks so young and yet I know his face.  I know how it will change and age.  I also see my dad and his brothers in his face.

He was such a good man.  I can see that too, even in his young 16 year old eyes.  What a treasure to find this picture recently.

 


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Photograph Showcase: Peterson Home

PETERSON, Rulon & Naomi's home

Rulon & Naomi Peterson family home

PETERSON, Rulon & Naomi's home with color edits

Rulon & Naomi Peterson family home with a few edits

This is the home the Rulon & Naomi Peterson family were living in at the time of Darrell’s death.  It is located in Roy, Weber, Utah.

In the history of Naomi that was compiled by her oldest daughter Janice, Janice captioned photos of this home with this statement, “A lot of good memories were made in this home.”

It looks like a happy, well cared for place.

I tried to bring the colors back to a truer version but this was a close as I could get.

When I come across photos of ancestral homes – even in the recent past – it makes me realize I don’t take photos of my home nearly often enough.

 

Have you photographed your home lately?


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Uncle Darrell – Part XI, Family Reflections

Rulon Peterson History

This is the cover page of my great grandfather’s personal history.

Over the years, various members of the Rulon and Naomi Peterson family have recorded histories of themselves or other family members.  Many of those histories mention Darrell and his accident.  I also recently reached out to the three remaining family members and asked for some insight and memories.  Below are a collection of those thoughts.

  • Rulon Powell Peterson is Darrell’s father.
  • Janice Peterson Child is Darrell’s oldest sister, 2nd child in the family.
  • Marilyn Peterson Ellis is Darrell’s older sister, 3rd child in the family.
  • Lowell Skeen Peterson is Darrell’s younger brother, 5th child in the family.
  • Wayne Skeen Peterson is Darrell’s youngest brother, 6th child in the family.

 

From “Personal History: Rulon Powell Peterson” (pg 52-53):

“Then in 1947 tragedy came to our home and family.  Darrell had been working with me as I was trying to put a hair brand on some old bulls I had just brought in from Stone, Idaho.  Marilyn came running and asked him to take her to the Bamberger so she could ride to Ogden and get her music lesson.  It seems the Bamberger was late so he took her to catch the street car at 35th and Washington Avenue.  On his return home there was a Bamberger freight train on the track.  It passed by on the west track going south just as Darrell approached the crossing.  Not seeing the late Bamberger passenger train coming from the south, Darrell attempted to cross and was on the track when the train crashed into him.  I have often been thankful that he didn’t suffer for I believe his death was instant.  I blame the driver of the train for he said, “I could see he wasn’t going to stop,” and I asked “Why, then, didn’t you stop?”  Passengers in the train said he slowed the train for an instant and then darted forward.  What extreme sorrow was ours.  It was the first break in our family or even my father’s family.  Naomi was away at the hairdressers.  I gathered my children together and we kneeled down and asked the Lord to help us as we broke the news to Naomi.  Her sorrow was almost more than I could stand.  Mine was intensified by seeing her great grief.  I felt like I just wanted to get out from under the burden of grief.

“President Beus came and suggested the General Authorities should be notified.  It was shortly after I had become President of the Stake and President Beus suggested that inasmuch as Elder Spencer W. Kimball was the visitor who had been in our Stake and set us apart that he should call him and ask him to speak.  When we had assembled in the Riverdale Chapel and Elder Kimball and others were on the stand, in walked President David O. McKay.  With President McKay were Sister McKay and two of his sisters, Sister Morrell and Sister Ricks.  Elder Kimball, recognizing that we would want to hear from President McKay, had cut his remarks short but it still was a long service.  With a chapel full and a score of Darrell’s schoolmates standing in the aisles, President McKay reminisced about his boyhood associations in my grandparents home and referred to them as Aunt Ann and Uncle Peter.  His remarks, as well as those of others were very comforting.  Darrell was a very good student.  His school principal spoke and said, “Darrell was a straight A student except for one subject, music.”  When he approached Darrell about upgrading his music he said, “Oh, I enjoy hearing the others sing.”

“The grief seemed more than we could bear.  Naomi blamed herself for allowing Darrell to drive.  Darrell was a very good driver.  He had driven trucks around the feed yards driving for the men when they were feeding cattle.  This he had done since he was nine or ten years old.  In those days they were not so demanding of driver’s license for youthful drivers.  Continued worry and grief were in large measure responsible for Naomi’s premature heart affliction.  When Dr. Brown gave her digitalis to regulate her heart he didn’t tell her it was to be for the rest of her life.  She improved and was quite good as long as her medication lasted but a while after she ceased taking it she became ill once more.  This time it was much more severe and Dr. Brown warned me of her condition and said, “It may be ten days, two years, or ten years,” and ten years it was.  During this time it was a constant worry and many a night when I couldn’t hear her breathing I would reach over and touch her and she would respond, “Don’t worry, I’m all right.”  She had never been told what Dr. Brown had told me but I’m sure she knew and realized her condition.  How choice she was and what a blessing she had been to me!  When President Clark spoke at her service he said Naomi was an angel and truly she was.”

 

From “Naomi Skeen Peterson” by Janice Peterson Child (pg 2, last two paragraphs):

“In 1947 our brother, Darrell, was killed in a car-Bamberger train accident.  It was not far from our home.  She was getting her hair done at the time.  Darrell had taken Marilyn to a piano lesson in Ogden.  Marilyn had thought she had missed the Bamberger and so Darrell had taken her so she would not be late.  He was just returning when apparently he saw a freight train go by and assumed the lights which were still on were for the freight train.  The sun was shining in his eyes enough that we guessed, he did not see the train coming on the other track.  He was hit by the Bamberger that Marilyn was to catch.  Darrell was only 14 years old.  He had a bad heart also and couldn’t do physical work.  Therefore, he was taught to drive the trucks to help the ranch men.  Mother blamed herself for breaking the law.  She always thought it was her fault that Darrell drove that day.

“From this period of time Mother’s rheumatic heart condition started giving her problems.  Dr. Brown, her physician, had told her she had a heart murmur when she was younger from rheumatic fever.  That did not stop her from doing the hard work she did.  The stress of Darrell’s death was too much for her heart.  She had small strokes and ill health.  The heart specialist told Dad with her type of heart condition she could drop over sometime and that is exactly what happened.”

Janice goes on in her account to tell the story of Naomi’s death.  It’s wonderfully detailed and deserves its own post.

 

From “Memories of Naomi Skeen Peterson” by Marilyn Peterson Ellis (pg 3, last paragraph):

“Mother suffered terribly after Darrell was killed by a train at the age of fourteen.  Those were dark days in our home.  Then, I believe, as a result of the stress of Darrell’s death her heart fribulated and her health deteriorated from that time on.  She died 10 years later at the age of 52.  What a loss!!  Our family was never quite the same again.”

 

From a Family History Interview of Marilyn Peterson Ellis (conducted in about 2005):

“Darrell and I chased each other some times but he had a sweet nature and used to sit and visit with me while I cleaned the kitchen floor on my hands and knees.  He told me about movies he had seen.  It left a terrible void in my life when he was killed.  He was 14 – I was 16.”

 

From an email from Lowell Skeen Peterson, 22 March 2016:

Darrell was very popular in school, as he was elected student body secretary and many of the students came to the funeral.  He had a bad heart so he was not able to play on the school team.  He would watch practice, and as I recall, he commented that he was content to do that.  He had reddish hair and freckles.

 

From an email from Wayne Skeen Peterson, 22 March 2016:

Here are a few insights about Darrell and the accident.

Darrell was athletically inclined though his heart condition kept him from full participation.  However, he could shoot the basketball, in a shot from the corner, with great accuracy as his friends would feed him the ball.

The accident with the train happened at the crossing just below our property about two blocks from our home.  Alan Zaugg, the foreman on the ranch, was the first to hear and know of the accident and immediately contacted Dad who may also have heard the crash.  I was sweeping the driveway of our home when Dad pulled up in his pickup truck and told me that Darrell had been in an accident.  He then proceeded in the house to tell mother.  Not knowing that he had died in the accident, I went upstairs to my room and prayed that he would be alright.  I now know that indeed he was alright as his spirit lived on and remained close by and was felt in our home where we had the casket for a time.  I was nine years old when the accident happened but remember that day and experiences as if it was yesterday.

Darrell had a very kind, loving, and gentle disposition.  He did all that he could do in the way of work on the ranch.  He milked our cow slowly as he was able.  I always accompanied him with that chore and carried the bucket of full milk home as we walked together.

I loved Darrell and felt closer to him in my formative years than to any of my brothers or sisters.

Thanks for remembering him.

 

to be continued…(one more post)

 


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Uncle Darrell -Part X, A Mother’s Grief

One week after the joint letter was written to my Grandpa by his parents, his mother wrote her first letter.  It is heartbreaking, very real, full of details, and so tender.  Grab a tissue.

 

page 1 –

Dec. 4, 1947.

Dear Son Ronald,

Everyone has been so wonderful to us that it is impossible to express how we appreciate such kindness.  If you could only have been here too.  Mrs. Fox suggested we could call you and then we realized we couldn’t talk to you if we did our sorrow was so great.  Since we received a letter from President George Albert Smith stating just how the cablegram had been worded – a train collision – I have worried because I knew you’d be puzzled.  Your Dad called Murdock Saturday night.  We tho’t he’d know best how to send it.

This week, now the family are back in school and your Dad is about his work I feel like my heart will break or my mind crack.  I can think of every cross word I spoke to him.  [Ronald, do you remember when you were home if I picked on him any more than the others?]

I was just as nagging and mean with you but you have lived and I hope I am forgiven.  I worry so if in his quiet way he was unhappy.  I shouldn’t burden you with my regrets.  Forgive me.

page 2 –

Your Dad is taking it very hard and it don’t get any better.

Maybe I shouldn’t bother with details but I remember what I read of your Dad’s letter didn’t tell where Darrell had been.

He has been driving more since you left and for a while took the back streets.  One time when I was to Mother’s Janice had him go in town to get her at night.  I told her not do it again.  Conditions have come up several times when he has been asked to drive in town.  One night your Dad had him take the girls in to practice at the Tabernacle.  Each time I’d worry till he got back.  I was so afraid he’d have Marilyn Wiberg, Berrett girl and others with him and have an accident.  He drove the truck over to the church-farm several times to help clean-up.  The tractor to haul corn from Marriott.  He was a little annoyed when I insisted I go with him twice when we had to take Janice up to Weber towards evening.  He could drive better than I but I felt safer going along.  He took the car with other boys, Robert Steck seemed to be one of his

page 3 –

best pals, to the Halloween dance and they took girls.  We could get him to blush when mentioned Ann Donaldson from Burch Creek.  She is Vice-President of the school; a nice little girl and she really liked Darrell.  I worried every time he took the car went and cautioned him to be careful as he went out the door.  It seemed so unneces. to him.  He took the Pontiac over to the Coliseum where they had their steers there and it wasn’t working right either.  The low and high hear weren’t work most of the time.

He came after us down to Roy Friday night.  Marilyn, Wayne, Lowell and I went to the Bazaar and your Dad was coming later and we were going to the Judkins home.  But he was busy getting ready to leave for Idaho in the morning so he sent Darrell down.  The Chrysler had be taken to the garage earlier that night and the Pontiac failed when we stopped at Lyle’s confectionary ice cream after we came from Judkins so came home in the truck.  I had to have a car Saturday to go get my hair done and they were to bring one of the cars to me Saturday morning.  I fussed when it hadn’t come at 12:30 and called Anderson.  He had expected us to come after it I suppose.  He said they were both ready and he’d bring the Chrysler at 12:45 so I told Darrell he could bring go up back with us and bring the Pontiac back as we would need it Sunday.  It was our Ward Conference.  They got out to cross the high way so I wouldn’t get in that noon traffic.  I was upset because Anderson was late and which made me late so I just drove off without saying a word, be careful or even looking back.

Marilyn Wiberg and Marilyn most always

page 4 –

catch the 2:30 Bamberger to town on Saturday to take their piano lessons but Marilyn Wiberg wasn’t taking hers Saturday so Marilyn persuaded Lowell to go with her.  I have told she and Janice both when they can take the Bamberger not to ask Darrell to take them in.  Darrell had weighed the truck your Dad brought back and was helping there at the yards when your Dad realized it was cold told him to take the car to the house.  Marilyn and Lowell met him outside and Marilyn coaxed him to take them in.  He said no he would only take them to the Bamberger but Darrell liked to drive so he took them on in town.  He was coming back alone when it happened.  The motorman on the Bamberger said he saw Darrell wasn’t going to stop and he slowed down a little.  We shouldn’t condemn but they usually have to stop there any way so he could have stopped when he saw Darrell didn’t see the Bamberger.

He and Marilyn had had so much fun that morning.  They found some hard-tack candy Janice had hid for Xmas and were fooling around.  They were so happy and joking on the way in.  Marilyn said it was the first time she had told him goodbye when she left.

We were in my bedroom, Marilyn, Darrell and I that morning and he said “I didn’t think I’d ever have to stoop to look in this mirror.”  He had to sit down for me to part his hair.

Your Dad’s prayer with Janice and Wayne gave me strength to bear the shock I know.  I had the oddest feeling on the way home as I came in the door.  Everything was so quiet.  I felt rather numb.

page 5 –

I passed Parley in the truck up about by Naylor’s but didn’t see your Dad with him or that they followed me home.  I learned after your Dad dashed in the front door and came in the kitchen just as I came in.  He said there had been a serious accident but I didn’t think of Darrell.  Then I wanted to know if he was in the hospital.  “They have taken him away”.  I was stunned and couldn’t believe it was true but one of the first things I tho’t of “I knew it would happen he shouldn’t have been driving” and I felt so condemned I couldn’t throw it off.  I am so thankful no one else was with him or the friends that usually ride with him.  Allen and Vera went and brought Marilyn home.  She had just reached Miss Whittier’s for her lesson.  When your Dad called and said Allen would pick her up but didn’t tell told Miss Whittier not to tell her.  Allen had that hard task of course she blamed herself for asking him to take her in.

Avon and David drove in the yards and told your Dad.  He rode back with them and hadn’t sensed it was too late to do anything so he jumped out and run towards the car.  He fell on the track and has had a bad knee.  It is still bothering him.  He should have had hot packs on but wouldn’t let me.

That Bamberger blows it’s whistle so long it pierce’s through me every time.  Even the men and especially the Mexicans notice it.  They felt so badly they just cried when they came to the house.  They were to the services too.  They liked Darrell so much.  Darrell was a careful driver, more so than your Dad.

We picked a beautiful brown metal casket with a beige tan velvet lining.  He and your Dad had bought him a new suit about two months (ago) we buried him in that.

page 6 –

Near the same color as his other suit but a prettier tweed.  Clyde Lindquist was so kind he bought his shirt and house slippers etc.  We were grateful he looked as good as he did or that he could be viewed.  He was hit on the left side of his head and it didn’t look like him.  I tried to fix his hair after they had combed it, it did help some but Lindquist said don’t touch below the hair-line and don’t touch his face till I was so unnerved I didn’t do much with it.  He was so particular about his hair too.  (Up the left column of this paragraph are the words “was fixed nice”.)

I intended to take Darrell to Dr. Olsen for a complete check on his heart and would report to you then but I don’t think his heart condition was any better because he has grown so much.  Your Dad reported I believe that Dr. Brown said he would never have been well and would possibly have been an invalid later in life.  That is some consolation because he did like sports.  He was showing us the other night how he could throw the ball in the basket with one hand from way back.

He hadn’t received his check for his half on the steers because it had been missent to Route 4 and he had been to the mail box that day, Janice said he was so excited about getting a big check.  One 32¢, 33¢, 29¢.  $928.76.

I have intended to tell you in each letter.  Darrell bought your baseball cap for you.  I knew he’d know more about them and he was thrilled to do it.

Janice takes a fine attitude toward Darrell’s passing.  She says it was to be and if I’d just look at it that way I’d feel better.  She went to Earl’s for Thanksgiving.  Did I tell you he don’t leave ’till the first of May and goes to the Eastern States?

page 7 –

Your Dad said this morning that Marilyn is old for her age.  She lectures to me and it does help a lot.

Wayne and Lowell don’t sense it very much but one of the first things Wayne asked, “Do thy have Christmas in heaven.”  Lowell says Darrell wasn’t mean to him and they do feel badly.

Clyde Lindquist was wonderful and when we were there on Sunday he said told how much told yo Bro. Peterson there isn’t a man living that I think more of than I do you.

So many have spoken of their love for your Dad.  Lynne Johnston wrote from Las Animas Colo. mentioning what a wonderful influence your Dad had on his life and other boys as well.  He said, “I sincerely hope and know that Ronald is enjoying his work and doing a good job.  He really has ability that is exceptional.  He sent a copy of a wonderful poem.  I’ll try and send a copy.

Bishop LeGrande Richards praised him very highly for his work with boys before quite a group after an important meeting at the Fourth Ward last night where President David O. McKay spoke.

We have had so many wonderful letters.  One from President George Albert Smith, Bishop LeGrande Richards, telegram from President McKay, phone call from Bishop Wirthlin.  Letter from Dilworth Young.

This morning your Dad mentioned cutting down his business, the show at Los Angeles wasn’t so good, (Louis Allen and Parley went down.) and devoting more time to church work.  Something I hoped and prayed he’d do for a long time.

It was touching to know those students of the ninth grade and others stood during that long service and barely moved the entire time.

Darrell was loved by every one.  They dedicated an assembly to him and their school paper.  The teacher sent flowers besides a spray from the school and one from his friends, Jim Lloyd, Robert Steck, Ernest De Bore.

page 8 –

Received your wonderful letter today and you’d never know how much it was appreciated tho’ it brought sobs and tears from those of us that have read it.  I am truly grateful to Our Father in Heaven for the attitude you have taken and I know he has and will bless you.  I do pray that my letter won’t upset you and I realize I have taken too much space and not condensed happenings enough and some were unnecessary.

Your Dad didn’t want me to send a picture of the car but I know I would want all the story and when you know he wasn’t injured too badly just that blow on his head that we are thankful for because he didn’t know what happened.

We feel badly that we didn’t have a good picture.  He had had one taken at school we hope is good and then that one in the Tribune we will have enlarged and can send you one.

I asked you Dad today and he said Darrell was still sitting at the wheel when he saw him.

God bless you and Comfort You

My Prayers and Love are with you.

Mother

 

to be continued…