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Family Reviews of 

Ten Steps then Breathe 

A great read. I laughed. I cried. I relived a lot. Get to know a 
great and good man. 

Colette Green Taylor 

Burning mountains, skunks, natural magnetism for falling 
rocks, Internet five decades early, nine children, and more. 
It’s all here, well documented and fascinating. 

Griffin Sutherland Taylor 

This kind of book only comes along once in a lifetime. It 
contains a look at the life of a man who always had a plan. 
And you will finally learn what HDT Jr. did at HP. Not to be 

David Arthur Taylor 

I smiled with delight reading about early life on the “Hill,” 
learned more about studies in Boston, took a nap from sheer 
exhaustion after reviewing Church jobs and career 
assignments, and chuckled at the stories of the kids. 

Stephen Kroge Taylor 

Mount Timpanogos has been a beacon and a guide as I grew up. It is 
visible from four Utah counties; from the valleys and peaks of more than 
3000 square miles. When I could see this mountain I knew exactly where I 
was. It is symbolic of my relationship to the restored gospel of Jesus 
Christ; when I study it and try to live it I know where I stand and what I 
need to do to get home. 

This is the backside of Timpanogos near the spot where we built our 
little cabin. 

Ten Steps then Breathe 

Henry D. Taylor, Jr. 

January, 2017 

This book is a recalling of a few personal and family stories, incidents, 
activities, thoughts, principles and perspectives spanning a period of 
more than 100 years. 

Ten Steps then Breathe 

Dedicated to my wonderful wife and family, who 
have made life a joy. 

Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 84602 

Forward & Table of Contents 


This is not your traditional personal history or autobiography. This is 
more a collection of personal and family stories. It may not pull you 
from cover to cover like a novel, but it might be enjoyed one or two 
stories at a time. These stories are all true, but dates and ages are 
sometimes approximate. Of course, even though the stories are true, the 
recollections, perspectives, and thoughts reflected in these accounts are 
those of the author. It is just a fraction of the stories that could be told. 

The timeline of major events following this Forward gives accurate 
dates for the milestone events where they are shown. Whenever 
precise dates were not available for the timeline at least the months and 
years shown are accurate. 

The title of this book “Ten Steps , then Breathe” is taken from the 
advice of my father early in life when I thought I had an impossible 
task ahead. He urged me to do as much as I could even if it is only a 
few small steps, then take stock and do some more. Just repeat this until 
one day the whole task is clear enough to push through to the end. I 
have used this approach many times throughout my life, more often 
than not successfully. 

I like the quote attributed to Arthur Ashe, the great black tennis 
player who had to surmount many barriers in his lifetime. His quote is: 

Start where you are 
Use what you have 
Do what you can 

Just get started, and you can accomplish a great deal with this simple 
approach to problems, or opportunities. 

I think that the Lord planned this earthly experience for us with this 
approach in mind. Note that the Saints who left Nauvoo were almost a 
third of the way into their journey and had arrived at Winter Quarters 
before the Lord gave them the 136 section of the D & C explaining 
how they needed to organize their wagon companies. They didn’t know 
their destination until they got there. Just get started and then clarity 
and help will come. 

The alternate name for this book of stories could have been 64 Burning 
Mountain” because I did more than my share of that. My personal 
scripture (not my favorite however) could have been Psalms 83: 13 - 
14 Where David is asking the Lord to clear away wicked men "... as 


Ten Steps then Breathe 

stubble before the wind. As fire burneth a wood , and as the flame 
setteth the mountains on fire." I don’t know that my fires cleared 
away any wicked men, but it certainly cleared the mountainside as 
flames exploded through the stubble, burned through the oak grove 
forests and set the mountain on fire. If you read on you may 

HDT, Jr. 
January 2017 

Henry Dixon Taylor, Jr. - 2012 

Enormous thanks to my wife, Colette, grandson Griffin, and my 
brother David (assisted by Stephen) for their careful review and 
constructive suggestions on this book. 


Forward & Table of Contents 

Table of Contents 


Forward iii 

Table of Contents v 

Timeline of Major Events 2 

Part 1 My Parents 

1. Alta Hansen Taylor 11 

2. Henry Dixon Taylor, Sr. 33 

Part 2 Early Years 

3. Stories & Background - Early Years 57 

4. Gravity 66 

5. Fireworks & Fire 76 

6. Water Turns, Hiccups & Ants 81 

7. Bad Luck with Birthday Parties 87 

8. Scouting 89 

9. Jr. High School 92 

10. High School Years 93 

11. Youthful Employment 104 

Part 3 Western Canadian Mission 

12. Mission 1950-1952 111 

Part 4 BYU, Courtship & Harvard 

13. BYU 1949- 1955 147 

14. Courtship 155 

15. Harvard 168 

Part 5 - HP Years 

16. HP Years 175 

17. Finnigan Instrument 211 

18. Return to HP 213 

Part 6 — Family and Church 

19. Family and Church 256 

20. Travel 266 

21. Our Real Estate Escapades 275 

22. Choices for the Family 282 

23. Family Activities 288 


Ten Steps then Breathe 

24. Bearmont 297 

25. Church Experiences 303 

26. Bears of the Sierras 322 

27. Hiking & Backpacking 326 

28. Other Adventures 335 

Part 7 Children 

29. Children - early observation 351 

Part 8 Tennessee Nashville Mission 

30. Tennessee Nashville Mission 384 

31. A Few Missionary Experiences 390 

32. Family Experiences 402 

33. Teaching the Gospel in the South 409 

Part 9 Mission Governance 

34. Initiatives and Activities 415 

35. Temple in Nashville Area 423 

36. Raising Standards 425 

Part 10 Recent Years 

37. The millennial war 436 

38. The great recession of 2008 439 

39. Random thoughts on language 442 

40. I’m labeled a racist 444 

41. Thoughts on Government 446 

42. The woman in the hardware store 447 

43. Coins 448 

Part 11 Perspective 

44. JR’s experience 455 

45. Brian 457 

46. My view of eternity 462 

47. Thoughts regarding blacks & the priesthood 465 

48. Thoughts on God’s curses 468 


A. Importance of the Temple 471 

B. Marriage Preparation 480 

C. Personal Health Summary 486 

D. Hansen Family Longevity 491 

E. Taylor Family Longevity 492 


Timeline of 

Henry Dixon Taylor, Jr. 

Beginning 1931 

Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Henry D. Taylor, Jr. — Timeline of Major Events 

1931 - Henry D. Taylor, Jr was Bom 27 February 1931 in Provo, 
Utah, first child of Henry D. Taylor & Alta Hansen Taylor 

1935 - Anthony Hansen Taylor, brother, bom in Provo, Utah 

-4 April 1935 

1936 - Started Kindergarten while we lived on 82nd Street in 

Jackson Heights (on Long Island) New York City - 
Fall 1936 

1937 - Resumed schooling in the 1st grade at Brigham Young 

Training School, Provo - Fall 1937 

1939 - Was baptized by father 26 March 1939 in the Provo 
Administration Building font. 

1939 - Confirmed by father - 2 April 1939 

1942 - Stephen Kroge Taylor, brother, bom in Provo, Utah - 6 
January 1942 

1946 - David Arthur Taylor, brother, bom in Provo, Utah - 27 
March 1946 

1949 - Graduated BYU High School - 26 May 1949 

1949 - Enrolled in Brigham Young University classes - 

Summer 1949 

1950 - Ordained an Elder by father on 30 April 1950 

1950 - Entered Mission Home in SLC - starting 5 December 1950 - 
Set apart by Elder Ezra Taft Benson 
1950 - Endowed 7 December 1950 in the Salt Lake City Temple, 
while at the Mission Home - Dec 13 left for Canada 



1950 - Served in the Western Canadian Mission. Glen Fisher was 
President; followed by Scott Zimmerman. — 4 Dec 1950 
through 17 Dec 1952 

1952 - Served as one of six District Presidents over missionaries 

and members on Vancouver Island 20 June 1952 until 17 
December 1952 

1952 - After mission, called to be Sharon Stake Young 
Adult Temple Coordinator 1952-53 

1953 - Returned to BYU. Elected President of Bricker Social Unit, 

Director in Program Bureau, Blue Key, Junior Prom Com¬ 
mittee, and member National Scholastic Fraternity. 

1953 - Served as Senior Aaronic Priesthood Co-Advisor with Kent 
Lloyd in the Pleasant View Ward, Sharon Stake 1953-54 

1955 - Married Colette Green 18 March 1955 in the Salt Lake City 
Temple - performed by Elder Harold B. Lee 
1955 - Graduated from Brigham Young University with Honors in 
June 1955 - BS degree. Majored in: Business Management; 
Minors in: English & Geology 

1955 - Moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts to attend Harvard 

Graduate School of Business - August 1955 

1956 - Henry Dixon Taylor III, son, bom, Boston, MA - 

14 April 1956 

1956 - Served as Deacon's Quorum Advisor in the Cambridge 

Branch 1956-57 

1957 - Graduated from Harvard Graduate School of Business in 

June 1957 with Emphasis in Finance 
1957 - Rented our first home - 749 Moreno Avenue, Palo Alto - 20 
July 1957 

1957 - Started employment at Hewlett-Packard Co. in Palo Alto, 
California, as a cost accountant - 27 July 1957 
1957 - Thomas Green Taylor, son, bom, Palo Alto, CA - 10 
September 1957 

1957 - Advisor to Priests Quorum, Palo Alto 2 Ward 1957 - 1958 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

1959 - Counselor to Earl Kern, Elder's Quorum President, Palo 
Alto 2 Ward - 1959 

1959 - Called to be Elder's Quorum President Palo Alto 2 Ward 
with Lathaire Bodily and Jon Katzenback as counselors & 
Del ton Connell as secretary - 1959-1961 
1959 - Taught early morning Seminary 2 years while serving as 
President of the Elder's Quorum 

1959 - Bought our first home at 3122 David Drive, Palo Alto, CA - 

1959 Price $21,000. 

1960 - Bradford Green Taylor, son, born, Palo Alto, CA - 8 April 


1961 - Called by David B. Haight in January 1961 to be 1st 

Counselor to Bp. Ronald E. Poelman when Stanford Ward 
was organized - sustained in the Palo Alto 1st Ward where 
most of the students attended church. The first meeting of 
the new ward was in MP Stake Center on the first Sunday 
of February 1961 

1961 - Ordained a High Priest by father 21 March 1961 
1961 - Amy Taylor, daughter, bom, Palo Alto, CA - 
22 September 1961 

1963 - Called to be Bishop of the Stanford Ward in the Palo Alto 

Stake by Richard B. Sonne in early 1963 as Bp. Ron 
Poelman was called into the Stake Presidency 

1964 - In 1963 we started construction of our home at 745 

Christine Drive and moved in April 1964. Lot and 
construction cost was $42,000 

1964 - George Green Taylor, son, bom in Palo Alto, CA - 

3 June 1964 

1965 - Requested division of the Stanford Ward. Richard L. Evans, 

Quorum of 12, visited and approved the split Single stud¬ 
ents to the Stanford 1 and married Students to Stanford 2. 

I remained as Bishop of Stanford 1 



1965 - Nicole Taylor, daughter, bom in Palo Alto, CA - 22 
November 1965 

1967 - Brigham Green Taylor, son, bom in Palo Alto, CA - 
8 April 1967 

1967 - Alta Hansen Taylor died - breast cancer - 5 July 1967 SLC, 
UT - Bom 17 Dec 1905 Richfield, UT 
1967 - Was released as Bishop of Stanford Ward and called to be 
Bishop of the Palo Alto 2 Ward. This was a week or so 
after my mother died - July 1967 

1967 - Taught early morning Seminary 2 years while serving as 


1968 - Purchased Bearmont Property & filed the Partnership's 

business name 1 Jan 1968 with State of California. 
Partnership agreement signed 1 April 1969 

1972 - Released as Bishop of Palo Alto 2 Ward - Summer 1972 

1973 - Called by Boyd K. Packer to be 1st Counselor to Pres. W 

Kay Williams with LeRoy Porter as 2nd Counselor in the 
Palo Alto Stake, Feb 1973. Shortly after this stake names 
throughout the church were changed, as far as possible, to 
the city name where the stake center is located. Palo Alto 
Stake became the Menlo Park Stake. 

1975 - The Menlo Park Stake had northern wards added and 

was split. The new southern stake was named the Los Altos 
Stake where the Stake Center was to be constructed. Kay 
Williams, Henry Taylor & LeRoy Porter were called as the 
presidency of the new Los Altos Stake by L. Tom Perry. 24 
Aug 1975. Nolan Daines who had been the stake president 
of the northern wards was called to be the president of the 
newly assembled Menlo Park Stake. 

1980 - Colette & I started Construction of the last 6 Taylor Terrace 
Units November 1980. The project was completed in 
September 1982. It was a struggle. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

1982 - Released from the Los Altos Stake Presidency with 

Williams and Porter - Don Hull became the new Stake 
President - 1982. 

1982 - Called to be Scout Master for Troop 66, Pacific Skyline 
Council - Sponsor: Palo Alto 2 Ward - 1982 

1984 - Called to be Ward YM President serving with Colette who 
was called to be the YW President - 1984 

1986 - Palo Alto 2 Ward was moved back to the Menlo Park Stake 
in a realignment that added wards from the dissolved Santa 
Clara Stake to the south side of Los Altos Stake. - 1986 

1987- Father died - needing blood thinner for heart & strokes 

while suffering a bleeding ulcer. Impossible combination - 
24 Feb 1987 SLC, UT - Bom 22 Nov 1903 Provo, UT 

1989 - Called by Pres Dale E Miller to the High Council to serve 
over the youth and be the Stake YM President. 1989 

1993 - Timothy Scott Schmalbeck joins the family - June 1993 

1993 - Called to be 2nd Counselor to Boyd C. Smith President of 
the Menlo Park Stake - Neil Call carried over as 1st 
Counselor. Sustained and set apart 28 Feb 1993 

1997 - Retired from Hewlett-Packard Co. - summer 1997 

1998 - My brother Anthony H. Taylor died of Cancer - internal 

organs — 29 Dec 1998 

1999 - Called to be a Mission President, English speaking - 

February 1999. First contacted by David B. Haight of the 
12, followed later by a telephone call from President 
Faust, First Counselor in the First Presidency 



1999 - Shortly after the mission call, was released from the Menlo 
Park Stake Presidency to prepare for the mission. 

1999 - Completed the purchase from Deseret Trust Company of 
Uncle Bud's stock share for lot 21 in Brickerhaven 
Corporation - 8 June 1999 

1999 - President Thomas S. Monson set apart both Colette and me 
in his SLC office. Ethelyn P. Taylor attended - 21 June 
1999 - Served as President over the Tennessee Nashville Mission 
from July 1999 to July 2002. 

2002 - Called to be Ward Mission Leader for the Palo Alto 2 Ward 

- August 2002 

2003 - Became property manager for Tom’s Palo Alto (Art) 

Studios as Tom and Katy moved Provo, Utah. 

2004 - With the agreement of partners, sold Bearmont property. 

Contributed part of proceeds to help gift the property to 
adjacent State Park - 6 January 2004 

2004 - Invited to supervise facility set up for the Annual Creche 

Exhibit - summer 2004. Still serving in 2016. 

2005 - Called as an assistant to the High Priests Group Leader in 

the Palo Alto 2 Ward - 2005 

2007 - Brickerhaven cabin on Uncle Bud’s lot was completed in 
July 2007 and was first used with eight young 
grandchildren in a Kids Kamp whose names and handprints 
are in the roadside concrete steps. More names are on the 

2014 - Called to teach the Temple Enrichment class in the Palo 

Alto 2 Ward - Spring 2014 

2015 - Treasurer for Velocity Grill which JR Ricks owns and is 

the Chief Executive Officer. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Sons of Henry and Alta, about 1963 left to right: Anthony Hansen, 
Stephen Kroge, David Arthur, Henry Dixon 

Henry and Alta’s Family L to R: Stephen, Anthony, David, Henry 


Part One 

My Parents , Henry & Alta 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

My Parents Henry and Alta 

I had great parents who gave me a wonderful start in life. My 
father wrote a personal history which gives some interesting details 
about his life. In father's book, there is a chapter on my mother. I 
don't wish to duplicate that information to any great extent but will 
try to add my personal experiences with my mother and then with 
my father during my early years. 

Henry Dixon Taylor and Alta Hansen Taylor 


My Parents 

1. My Mother, Alta Hansen Taylor 

Alta Hansen was Born 17 December 1905 in Richfield, Utah, the 
fifth child of Anders and Amelia Hansen. Her siblings in birth 
order were: Arendell Kelsch (named after Great Lakes touring boat 
"Arendell” that his parents enjoyed on their honeymoon.) Velva 
was second bom, but lived only about a year and a half; died May 
2, 1902. Third was Leland Anders. Lina was their fourth child. 
Alta was fifth. Phil was the sixth child. He was not Phillip and had 
no middle name, or initial. He sometimes thought this name was 
too short and lacked gravitas, but he showed he could succeed 
anyway. Seventh and last was Floy 

Alta’s Father was Anders Kroge Hansen, Jr. The home that he 
built in Richfield, Utah was a stately two story, light tan brick 
home with a sweeping painted wood porch deck that covered half 
the south and east sides of the structure. The porch and home entry 
on the south side were raised about three steps above the sidewalk 
from the street. The large kitchen was in the back northeast comer 
of the house. It was the heart and soul of the home. Here the 
meals were prepared and cooked on a wood or coal burning stove. 
There was a large table in the center of the room where most of the 
meals were served unless the size of the group or formality of the 
occasion demanded a move to the Dining Room. Family members 
would often come early or stay after a meal to visit at the kitchen 
table. There was a large pantry on the east kitchen wall, and a door 
on that wall that went down stairs to the stone walled dirt floor 
basement. Here bottled fruits and vegetables were stored, along 
with many other unusual things that inevitably accumulate. The 
basement had a naked light bulb dangling from its cord and overall 
was a little dark and spooky for me as a young child. The 
basement stairway had a door at the top into the kitchen. When the 
door was closed the stairs became the family detention center for 
minor family infractions. 

Anders, Alta’s father, was a successful sheep rancher who 
provided well for his family until his untimely death in 1920 near 
the age of 50. Alta was just 15 when he died. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Hansen Home in Richfield Utah 

Alta’s Mother and Education : Amelia Louisa Heppler Hansen, 
instilled a great appreciation for the value of education in the Hansen 
family. She was bom 27 October 1871 in Waterloo Ontario 
Canada. As a young girl out of high school Millie (for Amelia) had a 
strong desire to go to University and complete a teaching degree. She 
had no money at all. Her Heppler family who had moved to Utah was 
unable to help. So Millie saved everything that she could earn and still 
fell very far short. She tried local banks to see if they would loan her the 
money needed for tuition and living costs, but, as she had nothing to 
pledge as security they would not help her. 

There was an older man in town, a bachelor, who had shown a keen 
interest in Amelia. She had an extreme lack of interest in him and 
repulsed his advances. He was, however, quite well to do. Finally, after 
every other avenue had been explored Amelia concluded that she should 
try the old bachelor. It was her last resort. She approached him with 
great antipathy. He asked, just like the banks, what security there would 
be for the loan should she not be able to repay. Millie realized she had 
only one thing that would be of value to him and that was her romantic 


My Parents 

Even though she cringed at the thought, she courageously replied, "If I 
do not repay the entire loan within one year after my schooling is 
completed, I will consent to be your wife." He was delighted. He felt 
that his wish had come true because the amount was relatively large and 
even with her prospective earning ability she would never be able to 
repay the full amount by the deadline. With the terms set and agreed to 
he committed the money for her schooling. 

In the fall Amelia entered BYU where she worked very hard at her 
studies. She was extremely frugal with her funds. There was no more 
money to be had if it ran out and if Millie didn't finish her degree she 
couldn't be employed. With no job, she would have no income to repay 
the debt, and she would find herself married to someone she could not 

She finished all the schooling requirements on schedule and found the 
job she hoped for, teaching school. Her pay was good for a young 
woman, but it didn't look like she could save all she needed to repay the 
full loan with interest, in the time available. Millie scrimped even more 
than she had in school and took on many extra jobs and put away almost 
every penny she earned. 

Several days before the loan was due to be paid Millie counted up all 
the money she had saved and was sick; she was still short. The wily old 
bachelor had been right; the amount was too large to pay off in one 
working year. 

She went to the bank that had turned her down before, and a miracle 
happened. Now because she had been employed for a school year and 
had a contract for the next, they were willing to give her a loan for the 
additional amount needed to pay off her schooling debt in full. With all 
her savings and the bank loan she had what she needed to pay the old 

On the day before the loan was due, she went to his home. He was all 
smiles as she came to the door. He was sure she could not repay the full 
amount, and at last, he had the bride of his dreams. When she handed 
him the full repayment, his jaw dropped, his shoulders sagged, and the 
smile disappeared from his face. He was so disappointed you could just 
feel a dark cloud settled on him. But for Millie, a huge burden was 
lifted, and her heart was glad. There was a spring in her step as she 
walked away. She had met her obligation fully and was free. 

How many of us in the following generations place that much value on 
education and have the personal courage, determination, willingness to 
sacrifice to get it the way Amelia did? 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Lina : Alta’s older sister recalled Christmas in Richfield when 
she was a child. She said that oranges were very scarce, but they 
sometimes got one in their Christmas stocking. One December 
someone gave the family a bag of oranges. The children were all 
told that they would each get one on Christmas Eve, but in the 
meantime, they were so beautiful that her mother, Millie, set them 
on the dining room table as a centerpiece, on her best, large round 
tablecloth. One day soon after that Millie came into the house- 
sniffed—and shouted, "I smell orange! Someone has eaten one!" A 
search began. Soon the culprit was discovered. Young Alta, under 
the table, hidden by the oversized tablecloth was clutching the 
incriminating orange peels. She said, "I just couldn't help it." 

Alta spent a lot of time on the back stairs but didn't seem to mind 
as she would sing and sing through her detainment. 

Alta left her home in Richfield after High School to start her 
college education at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. She 
was a popular coed and sorority girl there. Before her senior year, 
Alta and her sister Lina, who had been at Utah State, decided they 
would like to spend their senior years together. After some 
discussion, they decided to transfer to BYU. It was neutral ground 
for them both. 

At BYU Alta joined Octo Sorosis Trovata, the premium 
women’s social unit (basically a sorority with no national 
connection). Her popularity had not cooled with the transfer. She 
met Henry who was the Bricker (social unit) President, the 
Program Bureau Director and Student body VP. He was a hot 
number also. 

Alta Gets Pinned : Before school let out, Henry gave his Bricker 
pin to Alta. They graduated together in June of 1929. Alta was 
hired by Provo High School to teach English in the fall and then 
she went home to Richfield for the summer. Henry went to work 
for Dixon Taylor Russell Company, the family-owned home 
furnishing department store. Henry kept the road hot between 
Provo and Richfield. He said he traveled the route so often that he 
felt like an unofficial state road inspector. 

Henry’s friend Lowry Anderson from Springville was also 
courting a girl from Richfield, and they could sometimes share the 

My Parents 

ride. One night they were coming home late, and Lowry was 
driving too fast. In that vast open desert country, there were 
sometimes sharp right angle turns in the unpaved highway. Lowry 
failed to make one of these turns and the car rolled over as it flew 
off the road. Both young men were able to crawl out of the 
overturned car. It was past midnight, and there was no civilization 
for miles, and miles and there were no other cars on the road. 
They tried, but could not push the vehicle upright. Back down the 
road about half a mile they had seen the last glowing embers of a 
campfire. They walked back to the campfire and found three 
sheepherders asleep in their bags. With some rousing and 
persuasion, they talked the shepherds into getting out of bed and 
coming back to the overturned car where together they were able 
to get the wheels back on the ground. They climbed back in the 
up-righted car; found that it would start and drove it back onto the 
road. They returned the sheepherders to bed and then and made 
their way home to Provo. 

In the fall Alta returned to Provo High School to teach English. 
Courting was not so difficult now with both Henry and Alta in 

Henry and Alta were married on December 26, 1929, in the Salt 
Lake Temple. The Temple was closed for the Christmas Holidays, 
but Melvin J. Ballard a member of the 12 who performed the 
wedding said, “no problem, I have a key.” They had the temple all 
to themselves. 

When Provo High learned that Alta had married during the 
Christmas break, they informed her that her teaching days were 
over; as it wasn’t proper for a married woman to be a teacher. 
Husbands were to support their families. 

Lina also met her husband-to-be in her BYU senior year, Louis 
W. Christensen. Both sisters did well to change schools for their 
last year. 

Grandma Hansen to the Rescue : In her youth, Alta's father, 
Anders, occasionally had to slaughter a lamb from his sheep ranch 
to feed his family and others. Alta often had to help. Her job was 
taking loads of freshly butchered meat into the house where it was 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

kept cool until it was properly prepared for cooking or delivery to 
others. Alta hated this job. As a result of this butchering 
experience, Alta could not eat rare meat of any kind, or deal with 
the handling of raw meat in preparation for cooking. 

In February 1931, Alta had me, her first child. Amelia, my 
grandmother, came to Provo to help out. Soon after I had been 
brought home from the Crane Maternity Home, it came time for 
my first bath. When warm water filled the kitchen sink, Alta 
plopped my chubby little body in. There came an immediate loud 
scream from the kitchen where Alta was frozen with fear and 
shouting, "he feels like raw meat!" Meanwhile, I was going down 
into the warm sink water for the third time. Grandma Millie came 
speeding to the rescue from the other room and scooped me up into 
the fresh air, saved my life, then finished the bath. Grandmas are 
such a good thing. 

Alta’s ability to handle raw meat improved over time, but she 
could never eat a rare steak or roast. 

When I had chickens to take care of it was Alta who showed me 
how you got the chicken to the dinner table. She took me to the 
coop and taught me how to catch and hold a chicken. There was a 
wooden block in the yard and an ax nearby. She laid the chicken's 
neck on the block and cut the head off with the ax. With head cut 
off, the chicken flapped its wings wildly and ran around the yard 
for several seconds until it came to rest, ready for plucking. After 
this training, that became my job when we had a chicken dinner. 

Home in Utah Valley : Henry and Alta lived in three Provo 
Apartments in 1930, 1931 and part of 1932. In 1930 they began 
the challenging task of constructing their first house. The building 
site was on the mountain side near Rock Canyon on the land that 
Henry and Lynn had looked at in early 1929 and began to purchase 
on contract from Ephraim Liechty on July 5, 1929. My father used 
reclaimed lumber from a structure that his father, Arthur, was 
tearing down. Home furnishing items from DTR were bartered for 
construction labor and materials. The house was built with a 
minimum amount of cash. Trading goods and services was the 
only way the proje forct could go forward because during the Great 
Depression no one had any money 


My Parents 

The building lots had a breathtaking view of the valley and 
mountains but had absolutely no utilities or community services. 
To get to the property, you traveled two miles of gravel county 
roads and then had to jump onto a rocky dirt track that went up the 
mountainside. Things we take for granted today were non-existent 
at this site. No improved roads, no water, no electricity, no 
telephone service, no sewer system, no garbage pickup, no mail 
service, no fire protection or Police protection. 

Alta was a trooper , clearly from pioneer stock. She never had 
much say in choosing her home site. Henry had purchased the lot 
half a year before they were married. Nevertheless, she 
enthusiastically supported his venture through the difficult 
development of the site and the house construction. 

She and the family went without a phone for five years. When 
we finally got a copper landline to our home, it was shared with 
eight other families. All conversation were audible to all eight on 
the line. The party line wasn't all bad. The shared phone provided 
an early form of social media and in its way was a news source. 
We learned from eavesdropping that Sister Patten died, that the 
Liechtys had called for the bull to inseminate their milk cow, that 
Celestia was having a party, that the Isaacson’s cherries were ripe, 
that Cousin John was allowed to take the family car on his first 
date, and so on. 

There was no potable water in the home. The cistern ditch water 
was only suitable for filling toilets, taking baths, doing laundry and 
watering plants. Drinking water had to be brought from father's 
work at DTR in gallon jugs. Sometimes our cistern water did not 
last the whole eight days and four hours between water turns. To 
conserve, we all tried to be careful with washing and bathing. Alta 
was a pro. To wash her hands she could wet them down with a 
quick splash of water - water off - lather up - rub briskly - water 
on for a second or two to rinse - tap off. Tub baths for all of us 
were shallow. Two inches of water at the deep end was an 
extravagant bath. Sharing bath water for the kids was usual. 

Most days Alta was trapped on the mountain without a phone or 
a car. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

She made delicious bread, pies and other baked goods from 
scratch and prepared and canned hundreds of jars of fruit, juice, 
jelly, jam and vegetables. She did huge laundry batches once a 
week with no automatic washer and no dryer at all. She hung 
everything out on the clothesline in the backyard, winter or 
summer. She lived with the wild animals (especially skunks) that 
sometimes found their way into our home. 

Alta’s Nature : Even though she was very sharply spoken and 
direct, Alta had many friends who were close and loyal. She was 
frequently sought out for her advice which she gave freely in plain 
terms. For example, her brother was whining about his wife and 
marriage and Alta told him that any problem he had was his own 
fault. She pointed out that he was a spoiled brat and very difficult 
to live with. Furthermore, he might have made a different choice if 
he had been sober when he eloped. 

On another occasion, her niece came to her very distraught 
saying that her husband expected her to wash clothes, clean house 
and fix meals with no let-up and worst of all had no praise for her 
efforts. Alta looked at her calmly and said, "Dear, that's your job." 

Fender Bender : Colette and I were riding with Alta on a shopping 
expedition in Los Angeles. We were pulling out of a Westwood, 
California grocery store parking space. Alta went straight back 
with some force and hit the side of a new shiny BMW just as the 
owner was walking out to his car. He saw the collision and the 
resulting damage to his new car and had some very harsh things to 
say to Alta in her driver’s seat. Appropriate information was 
exchanged and then as Alta pulled away from the lot she said to us, 
“I don’t see why he was so upset. It was just a fender.” 

Jean Char was a young BYU trained elementary teacher when I 
first met her. She was the second-grade teacher at the BYU 
training school. My brother Stephen was in her class. He had not been a 
model student. Miss Char did an amazing job of teaching the class 
while remarkably improving Stephen’s academic discipline. 

Because she was Chinese (from Hawaii) some of the PTA 
members were concerned about having an Asian teacher. Before 


My Parents 

this discussion got very far, Alta tore into the group and said 
something to this effect, “What are you thinking? Jean Char is one 
of the best teachers we have ever had. Be grateful!” 

I have to digress here for a moment to describe my parents. 
They had a large group of friends, possibly two dozen couples who 
enjoyed each other's company. It was composed of a few local 
businessmen but was mostly made up of BYU professors and 
administrators. One of this very literate group wrote a funny, self- 
effacing ode. I never heard the whole piece, but it had a stanza 

which went "Oh you lovely, Oh you lovely, _, _, 

_(forgotten words). From that ode, the group became identified 

as the "Lovely, Lovelies." Sometimes a smaller subset of the group 
got together, and Antone Romney declared them to be “The 
Loveliest of the Lovely Lovelies.” Some of the couples that I can 
recall were: 

Lynn & Celestia Taylor -Merchant/& BYU interior design 
Ariel & Arta Ballif - BYU Professors/sociology 
Ham & Myrtle Calder - Banker 
Weldon & Gail Taylor - BYU Professor/economics 
Karl & Elma Young - BYU Professor/english 
Bryant & Barbara Jacobs - BYU Professor/english 
Antone & Gretta Romney - BYU Professor/education 
Kiefer & Elizabeth Sauls - BYU Treasurer 
Buck & Helen Dixon - BYU Coach 
Wesley & Lily Lloyd - BYU Dean of Men’s Students 
Fred & Maud Markham - Architect 
Mark & Phyllis Allen - BYU Professor/psychology 
Henry & Alta Taylor - Merchant/finance/church leader 
When it was my folks turn to host the group I knew I would have 
a sleepless evening. The group always laughed long and loud when 
they were together. I tried to eves drop to see what the fun might 
be, but was always scooted off to bed. 

Later in University study I learned about socio/economic status. I 
concluded that my parents were OK on the socio scale and this 
may have helped to give my mother's opinions some weight in the 
community. However, on the economic scale, we were in the lower 
echelons. I didn’t understand this until later in life. It seemed 
normal to spend very little money on anything. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

With Alta’s strong support Miss Char stayed on in her very 
effective teaching role at the BYU elementary school. In later life, 
she married Walter Gong who became my counselor in the Palo 
Alto 2 ward bishopric and lifelong friend. 

Cousins : Except for a chapter in my father’s personal history Alta 
had no written history. After I pulled together what I had, I invited 
my Hansen cousins to share any recollections they might have. 

Chris Christensen’s story : “At age 7 or 8, I recall a visit to the 
Taylor home on the mountain below the Y.' They had moved in 
several years earlier and were in the process of getting new carpet 
for the living room and dining room. The furniture had 
temporarily been placed in the rooms on the wooden floor until the 
carpeting could be installed. 

Stephen Taylor was two years older than me and David Taylor 
was a year younger, so when our parents left with instructions 
from Aunt Alta not to use the scooters or pedal cars in the house, 
we naturally decided all the smooth floors made a perfect race 
track for scooters and pedal cars. How would they ever know that 
we were racing the pedal cars in the house? 

I was doing high-speed laps in my car around the indoor track, 
and as I tried to turn into the living room, I went wide and crashed 
into the end table. A porcelain lamp teetered on the end table for a 
moment before it fell to the floor and smashed into a thousand 

Now Aunt Alta was a loving, nurturing, aunt and mother, but she 
was also a Hansen, battle hardened by growing up with three 
brothers and raising four boys and she was known for a quick 
temper, as were all the Hansens. 

I was scared to death. I frantically plead with Stephen or David 
to take the blame because Aunt Alta would be easier on them than 
she would me. I quickly learned that / would be on my own for this 
misdeed and I would have to face the music by myself. I quickly 
chose my next option and ran downstairs and hid in the basement. 
I heard our parents return; I heard Aunt Alta ask who did it, and 


My Parents 

heard Stephen and David fix the blame and tell her where I was 
hiding. By now 1 was sobbing uncontrollably, and then the door to 
the basement opened, and Aunt Alta came down and said, in a very 
calm sweet, comforting voice that it is okay, it was an accident. 

However, she did tell me that this should be a valuable lesson for 
me, which when you are told not to do something there is a very 
good reason for saying it. ” 


Kelly’s story : “At age 11 and 12, I spent two summers at the 
Taylor home staying about a week each time. Little Henry was a 
three-year-old, and my assignment was to play with him. I also 
played with cousins John and Janice down the road to the south. 
One day Alta had some errands to take care of in Provo which was 
down the mountain and several miles away. She had kept the car, 
and Uncle Henry rode to work with his brother Lynn. 

We jumped into the little two door coupe with Alta driving, me in 
the passenger seat and little Henry standing in the middle. There 
were no car seats or safety belts in those days. We drove down past 
the Lynn Taylor's place then made a big right turn, and we were 
then going down the steep rocky mountain track. At the bottom of 
the track there was a little bridge and then with a left turn we were 
headed down the Rock Canyon road. After about 100 yards on 
that road we made a sharp turn to the left, onto a road which 
would have taken us into town, but we were going a bit too fast 
and skidded on the loose gravel. The next thing I knew we were in 
the barrow pit on the west side of the road with the back end deep 
down at the bottom of the incline and the front wheels were much 
higher, almost on the road. After skidding and dropping off the 
road all of us were shaken, but unhurt. 

The major problems were that the back end of the car was in the 
barrow pit and the engine had stalled and would not restart. After 
some thought, Alta's plan was to push the car onto the road where 
she could get the engine going again with a downhill coasting 
start. Alta pulled on the handbrake and let off the foot brake pedal 
and told me, age 12 with no experience, to move to the driver's 
seat and instructed me to let off the handbrake when she gave the 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

signal. She got behind the car which was pointed uphill, intending 
to push it back up onto the road. When she said to release the 
brake, I did, and the car rolled backward and crushed her against 
a fence post. 

She couldn't move and was in obvious pain. She told me to run 
down the road and get help. I ran like hell and found a neighbor 

This is the Fateful Cross Road Where Alta Was Pinned 

(Will Goodman) about 300 yards away. He came quickly and freed 
Alta and then got help from other sources to get her to a doctor 
and move the car. Little Henry was in the car all this time 
watching the whole thing. As a 12-year-old participant, I was 
deeply impressed by the entire experience. ” 

Alta’s leg was broken and the rest of her life she carried a scar on 
her shin where she had been pinned by the car bumper against the 
fence post. 

As I read the experience Kelly describes above, I remember the 
terror I felt as a three-year-old seeing my mother pinned to the 
fence post with the car pressing down on her and me not being able 
to do anything. In later years I question the judgment that put her 
behind the car, but I admire the pluck that she had even to consider 


My Parents 

trying to push the little car out of the barrow pit by herself. She had 
this kind of confidence in almost aspects of her life. 

Alta & Ice on Utah Lake: When I was five or six years old I got a 
pair of ice skates for Christmas. They had double blades on each 
skate about 3" apart which strapped onto my shoes. They gave me 
very solid stability on the ice. In my youth, Utah Lake used to 
freeze quite solidly in the winter. It was firm enough that some 
people drove their cars and built bonfires out on the ice. 

When the lake froze, lots of Utah Valley people would come to 
the lake in the evening to ice skate. My mother brought me to the 
Lake with my double runner skates to learn some skating skills. 
She had regular single blade shoe skates. We were having a great 
time when Alta lost her balance and instinctively reached for 
something solid. Unfortunately, that was me on my little double 
blades. Next thing I knew my head was smashed hard on the ice. 
We went home shortly after the fall, and I got the largest swollen 
black and blue eye you have ever seen. It was a badge of honor. 

In today’s world Alta would have been called before some Child 
Protective, Anti-Abuse Agency and I would have been sent to a 
foster home. In those days the huge black eye was just a well- 
illustrated conversation piece. 

Later, when I was a teenager, I drove a car out on the lake ice 
with High School friends and practiced fish tails, long fast skids 
and 360 degree spins we called donuts. 

Running Away: When I was about six I had a serious dispute with 
my mother. I can’t recall what it was, but I was upset enough to 
declare that I was going to run away from home. She took this 
announcement more calmly than I had expected and suggested that 
I should probably collect a few things to take with me. So I went to 
my room and got my pocket knife and a clean shirt and started to 
leave. Mother stopped me and said that it would be a good idea to 
take a lunch. She was making me a peanut butter and jelly 
sandwich and got an orange to go with it. She then said you will 
need a red bandana to put this food in and then you can tie the 
bandana on a hiking stick. So I got a good stick, and she helped me 
tie the bandana with lunch and my shirt onto the stick. In those 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

days, before backpacks were common, the bandana on a stick was 
the carrying method used by hobos. She suggested a hat would be 
good as well and then when everything was assembled I departed. 

I had no clear idea where to go, so I went into the peach orchard 
and sat in the ditch, almost within view of our home. I spent part of 
the day there and part just wandering around the mountains. When 
it got to be supper time I was pretty hungry and decided I had run 
away for long enough and went home. 

In retrospect, I can see that my mother handled the whole 
situation very wisely. That was the last time I ran away. 

Icy Roads: When I was about 17, I was driving home with my 
mother on Highway 91 (this was the main four-lane, north-south 
highway in Utah). It was very cold in the late winter. We were 
coming from Pay son in the south of Utah Valley. I was going quite 
fast, but the road was well cleared, and it seemed a safe speed. We 
came to a very long bridge over a very wide ravine. We were 
suddenly 30 to 40 feet above the ravine below. Ice does not clear 
so quickly on bridges or elevated roads, and our trusty Buick began 
to fish tail. My mother started to scream, "we’re going to die!! 
WE'RE GOING TO DIE!!!" The car was headed for the right-hand 

Sometimes in very stressful situations time slows down and 
every detail is crystal clear. I remember how quiet the usual car 
noises were. There were almost no engine sounds as I had let off 
the gas completely. I knew it was sure death if I touched the 
brakes, so I did not. I prayed for help. The car skidding at high 
speed across the ice was dead quiet. There was only the sound of 
air rushing by. My knuckles were white and my fingers on the 
steering wheel were dark red. I saw that the oncoming traffic lanes 
on the left were completely empty, and I thought that's nice, but we 
are headed to our doom on the right, so what does it matter. I recall 
looking carefully at the oncoming guardrail and concluded that it 
wouldn't stop a low flying sparrow at this speed. Portions of my 
young life rushed through my mind with a booming question, "Are 
you ready to die?” My firm answer was, “not yet.” During these 
split seconds of racing thought, I noticed again the eerily quiet of 
the car and road. There was still, however, my mother's screaming. 


My Parents 

I initially felt the back end of the car sliding at high speed to the 
right and the whole car began sliding with it. I flashed back to my 
old frozen lake experience and turned my front wheels slightly to 
the right, into the direction that would crash us through the 
guardrail then the long drop to the rocks below. My mother was 
more frantic than ever, still screaming, "WE'RE GOING TO DIE." 
As I worked in what felt like slow motion at the wheel, I said to 
her something like, "I know your feelings are heartfelt, but your 
screaming isn't helping!" Or maybe it was just, “Be Quiet!” 

The slight adjustment of the front wheels caught some traction 
on the ice, and I could gently straighten out our course, but the 
correction at our speed swung the whole car, and we began to slide 
left into the oncoming traffic lanes, heading toward the left-hand 
guardrail. Thankfully it was only split seconds from when I first 
looked left, and there were still no approaching cars. Still not 
braking I made the reverse correction with front wheels now turned 
toward the left-hand guardrail, which was no sturdier than the 
right. Again we caught a little traction and straightened out only to 
start a right-hand skid again. I repeated this process five or six 
times, and like a child dying down on a swing, each skid got 
smaller, and our speed gradually came down. Finally, we were 
tracking forward in a straight line at a much-reduced speed. When 
we were across the bridge, I pulled over and stopped. My hands 
were now trembling, and I could hardly speak. I took several deep 
breaths, hugged my mother and assured her that we were not dead. 
She looked up now and saw that the landscape was no longer 
racing by in a blur. She couldn't decide whether to thank me for 
excellent ice driving or scold me for driving so badly that our lives 
were threatened. I have since reflected that without that young and 
foolish experience earlier on the frozen lake and some divine 
intervention, we would have been a crumpled pile of blood and 
metal at the bottom of the ravine. 

Early gray hair : Some Hansen family ancestor must have had a 
defective gene when it came to retaining hair color and Alta got it. 
Before age 30 her hair began to turn white. At first, she stood by 
the window with a hand mirror and pulled out the white hairs as 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

they appeared. She gave this up in a year or so when it was clear 
that white hairs were winning the battle. 

I was a young boy and mother was in her early-30s when she 
returned from the front door pretty upset. The fellow at the door 
was looking for my father, and he asked her if her son was home. 
He didn't mean me. The fellow had inferred that Alta was my 

It was in her thirties that her hair did become entirely white. It 
was very thick and well groomed. She looked beautiful. Of course, 
I didn't know this because she was my mother, but friends told me. 

Our sons have followed the early graying. Tom went from 
brunette to white early. He was taking his two very young boys, 
Anders, and Griffin, on an outing when a nice woman on the street 
stopped him and said, "It's wonderful to see such a sprightly 

Swimming Instruction : I was a passing fair swimmer, taught by 
my mother. She explained while we were in our living room that 
swimming was simple and asked if I could do a dead man float. I 
asked what that was and she explained that you just took a deep 
breath and laid out face first in the water and floated. Then she 
said, "In the ‘float' you kick your feet and stroke with your arms, 
raise your head now and then to breathe and you're swimming." I 
tried it in the Provo North Park swimming pool, and it worked. 
Thus began my swimming career; grateful for the instruction. 

David’s difficult arrival : When I was almost 15 we had all gone 
to church in the Pleasant View Chapel. Father was on the stand 
presiding over the ward. I was seated on the left side of the chapel 
with the Aaronic Priesthood boys who passed the sacrament and 
were generally unconscious of the talks and reverence 
requirements of the meeting. Mother, Tony, and Steve were in the 
longer center pews. Alta was 5 or 6 months pregnant. The 
sacrament meeting was about halfway through when I noticed a 
commotion in the center of the chapel. When I looked more 
closely, my mother had slumped over, and those around her were 
in a stir. The meeting stopped, and my father came down off the 
stand. A quick thinking Relief Society woman dashed out to a 


My Parents 

closet somewhere and came back in with a quilting project blanket. 
Very soon they wrapped mother in the blanket and my father with 
help hastily carried her, dripping blood, out of the chapel rear 
doors. I had no idea what was going on and didn’t know who to 
ask. The closing prayer requested a heartfelt blessing for her. 

I learned later that she was going to have to stay in the hospital 
for more than a month where they were working to save her and 
the baby. She needed blood transfusions, and I recall that Uncle 
Bud, who matched her O negative blood type, gave her his blood 
for several transfusions. 

Stephen, at the time, was age four and was not in school yet. He 
had to spend a good deal of time with Grandma Maria Taylor in 
Provo and also in a daycare program. My father could visit the 
hospital, but children in those days could not. So father visited, 
Tony and I just kept working and schooling and doing the best we 
could. This went on for five or six weeks when the Doctors 
decided that the third-trimester child and mother stood the best 
chance if they performed a C-section and delivered the tiny baby 
boy who turned out to be my brother David. 

Mother came home before David. He remained at the hospital in 
incubated post-natal intensive care for four weeks or more. Alta 
had to use a breast pump to send his dinner to the hospital. 

All this was too much for father and just after mother got home, 
but was still recuperating; he was hospitalized with a bleeding 
ulcer. His condition became so acute that they moved him from 
Provo to the LDS hospital in Salt Lake City by ambulance. The 
day after they moved him friends stopped by to share their 
condolences on “The death of my father.” My mother who was still 
bedfast asked what they were talking about and began to cry. I 
explained that we knew nothing of his death; he had just been 
moved to a Salt Lake hospital. We had the friends use our phone to 
place a call to the LDS hospital and verify that while he was not 
well, he was not dead. 

I felt like we were really at a low ebb. Father was gravely ill in 
Salt Lake, mother was bedfast, David was in the hospital on life 
support, Stephen had been shipped off to daycare, and it looked 
like Tony at age 11, and I at age 15, were about to become 
orphans. Welcome to March 1946. Fortunately, our family had 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

reached bottom in the pit of despair and within a month everyone 
was home again and the planets were in their proper orbit. 

Keen Olfactory Nerves : My mother had a sense of smell like a 
bloodhound with laser beam focus. One night my Cousin John and 
I found ourselves at the pool hall in Provo. We played a couple of 
rounds. In all the surrounding towns there was really no 
wholesome place for us to play pool. This place was essentially a 
smoke filled bar, but it had pool tables available at a modest price. 
When we came out our clothes reeked of tobacco smoke. We aired 
out as best we could. We drove home with John’s car windows 
wide open to the cold night air. All this made little improvement. I 
walked the quarter mile from John’s house to my house hoping to 
air out a little further. When I came into our home it was late 
enough that my mother was in bed, probably reading because the 
bedroom light was still on. I shouted goodnight down the hall and 
hurried upstairs to my room and stuffed my clothes deep into the 
closet and climbed into bed. 

In less than one minute my mother came storming up the stairs 
sniffing. She had smelled me as the fumes wafted way down the 
hall all the way to the master bedroom. She followed the scent like 
a skilled hunting dog, directly to my closet and then demanded to 
know “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN.” After a thorough 
interrogation she kissed me on the mouth, just to be sure my story 
held water and it did. 

Public Speaking : For many years Alta, as a Stake President’s 
wife, had to be hostess to General Authorities who came quarterly 
to our stake conferences. Because Salt Lake City was close they 
did not generally stay overnight, but did join us for Dinner between 
our morning and afternoon conference sessions. Alta was a 
wonderful cook and always had delicious meals. I especially 
remember one visitor, Thorpe B. Isaacson, an Assistant to the 
Twelve. He commented graciously on the wonderful meal. Part of 
her response was to the effect that because of her work on the 
meal, she did not want to be called on to speak. Elder Isaacson in 
the morning session had been calling a number of people from the 
congregation to speak impromptu, so mother put out her pre¬ 
emptive request to NOT speak in the afternoon session. She had a 

My Parents 

significant fear of speaking before a large group. I’m not sure how 
she had escaped being called on for so many years; probably my 
father helped protect her. 

We got to the afternoon session and all was going well until at 
Elder Isaacson’s direction she was called on to come forward to 
bear her testimony. I was worried that she would pass out before 
she got to the podium. If she could have, she would have. When 
she got there, she took a very firm grip on the pulpit and put her 
head down and there was a long period of breathing into the mic. 
Then the breathing turned to sobbing over the P.A. system and to 
me it felt like that lasted for 5 minutes before a few tortured words 
came out through a barrage of tears. She really did not like to 
speak to a large congregation. 

There were about 1500 people at that Stake Conference and 
almost every one of them came up to her to give her a hug and a 
word of encouragement afterward. It was just a few years after this 
that she was called to serve with father in the California Mission 
Presidency where she had to speak to groups, large and small 
several times a week. She mastered her fears, mostly, and became 
a great influence for good with the missionaries and members 
throughout Southern California, Nevada, and Arizona. 

Recruiting: Alta was a major force in bringing Colette into the 
family. She was willing to charge right in while Colette was on a 
date with another fellow and successfully invite her to our home 
for dinner. More on this in BYU & Courtship chapter. 

Shopping skills : Alta could bargain like an Arab rug merchant. 
She loved to shop at Lewis Ladies clothing store on Center Street 
in Provo, which was operated by a nice Jewish man. She felt it 
was her duty there to get two dresses for the price of one, or two of 
anything for that matter. When Colette first went shopping with 
Alta in Los Angeles it scared Colette to death. She didn’t realize 
anyone could be that forceful with a sales clerk, but later she 
developed some of those skills herself, but not all. 

Needing a girl : Alta loved her four boys, but something was 
missing in her life without a daughter. She had had a special 
closeness to her sisters and her mother, and that was missing in her 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

own little family on the mountainside. When grandchildren came 
along and Alta wrapped her mind around the idea of being a 
grandmother, she was terrific. The first bom was a baby boy, 
Dixon, while we were in Boston. On the phone from Los Angeles, 
she asked us to bring him to the phone so she could hear him. He 
was asleep, and as new parents we were obsessive about his sleep 
time and declined to get him up, even though she assured us that it 
would be OK. I regret now that we didn't get him and let him cry 
into the phone for a while. 

The second grandchild was another boy, Tom, bom in Palo Alto. 
The third was Brad, yet another boy also bom in Palo Alto. Alta 
was getting a little anxious about the dearth of females. 

When it came near the time for her fourth grandchild to be bom, 
she decided enough was enough. (Keep in mind this was well 
before sonograms were used.) She packed her bags and came from 
Salt Lake with a pink infant seat and several other feminine baby 
items and offered to help out in any way that she could. 

Alta’s cousin, Verona Bowen, lived in Atherton, close by and 
wanted her to come to a ladies luncheon while she was in town. 
Colette was invited to come as well. This was no ordinary 
luncheon. A number of distinguished local women guests were 
invited to the Bowen’s lovely multi-million dollar home in this 
most exclusive community. 

Colette was a little nervous about the invitation because she was 
feeling that her delivery time was near, but feared that if she didn’t 
go that Alta would also decline and thus ruin the whole affair. So 
Colette dressed in quite formal clothing; a maternity girdle for 
tummy support and garter snaps for her long nylon stockings and 
because her dress was quite wide at the neck she had to pin her one 
piece undergarments back under the dress neck. Then off they 
went to the grand event. 

It was just before dessert that Colette knew her time had come. 
She got up from the table in this elegant home and began to look 
around for a place she could deliver and not ruin the carpeting. The 
ladies at the luncheon soon became aware of Colette’s imminent 
needs and went into mild hysteria. 

One lady said "I can drive her to the hospital, but I don't know 
the way," another said, "I know the way, but I don't have my car." 


My Parents 

A third said, "I'll show you the fastest way." The transportation 
committee organized itself. Alta took charge of Colette in the back 
seat and kept saying to her “don’t push,” don’t push.” 

At the hospital emergency entry they threw Colette onto a gurney 
and the young orderly who pushed the gurney turned pale. In 
delivery they had no time for normal preparations and they 
couldn’t even get her clothes off with pins, girdle, stockings, one 
piece undergarments and all. So they left her as is, in hose and high 
heels and delivered a beautiful baby girl, Amy. 

Verona Bowen, the hostess, called me at HP from the hospital 
and said in a relatively loud, serious voice, “Dear boy, you had 
better get over here right now! We’ve had quite a time of it.” 

I came in haste to find that mother, daughter and grandmother 
were all doing well. Alta had gotten her girl. She was delighted and 
felt personally responsible. The luncheon was memorable for all. 

Following that episode it seemed that heaven's gates were open 
to the possibility of baby girls for our family. Our next four 
children were boy, girl, boy, girl, clearly equal opportunity 
birthing. The new arrivals were George, Nicole, Brigham, and 
Megan. Megan was born April 5, 1969, after Alta's death from 
cancer, July 5,1967. We often thought that Alta had chosen Megan 
for our family because she liked her spirit and knew with eight 
children we needed a child who would sleep through the night and 
have a sweet, peaceful spirit. Even with this turning of the tide, 
Alta's work seemed to continue. She appears to be directing spirit 
traffic from Heaven. Our grandchild box score is Girls 29, Boys 
16, all of which helps us to be a more civilized family. 

Additional Recollections : Chris: My Mother Lina , Alta and Floy 
were very close. They remained so for their entire life. Floy was 
the youngest sister in the family and of course was adored by Lina 
and Alta. All three sisters provided a strong sense of family for all 
the Hansen offspring but especially the families of the three 
sisters. We were cousins , but because of the Sisters we felt more 
like Brothers and Sisters. To this day the Hansen cousins remain 
close and regularly get together for reconnection. 

My early recollections of Aunt Alta are from the wonderful 
Hansen gatherings we had , usually around the 4 th or 24 th of July 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

and of course around the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. It 
made for a lot of cousins and we thoroughly enjoyed the fun, food 
and camaraderie we had together. 

Aunt Alta and Uncle Henry had come to visit in Morgan I had 
walked into the kitchen and saw Aunt Alta and My Mom crying, I 
excused myself quickly because it was obvious I had intruded on a 
very private moment for the two of them. I learned later that Aunt 
Alta had just told my Mom that she had cancer. 

I was a junior in college when Aunt Alta died, much too early. 
I’m so fortunate that she was a part of my life. 

Kelly: I have great memories of your home on the mountain. It 
was beautiful. And I have such good memories of my visits with 
you as a child. This is a great time for memories, and I try to 
recall lots of them. Your mom was so special and beautiful. She 
was taken from us too soon. 

A Great Wife : To quote from HDT, Sr., “Alta was a talented 
teacher with executive ability as well. She served in ward and stake 
positions in the Primary, Mia, and Relief Society. As a stake 
president’s wife, she was a charming and gracious hostess and 
entertained many of the General Authorities. She served with 
distinction for many years as a member of the BYU Alumni 

As a mission president’s wife she provided strong and loving 
leadership to the missionaries and church members who were in 
the California Mission. 

Alta Was a Great Mother : Her cooking was outstanding. She 
was a marvelous hostess. She kept good track of us kids and did 
the protective things that good mothers do. She encouraged me in 
my studies, homework and activities. She had excellent skills in 
English, but on math problems she would say, “We missed all of 
that because of the flu epidemic.” 

She encouraged me in church activities. She wrote great, newsy 
letters every week I was in the mission field. She encouraged me to 
do the right thing when choices came along, or when I starting 
heading off track. She was interested, loving and helpful. I’ve 
missed her for many years. 


My Parents 

2. My Father Henry Dixon Taylor 

Early on Sunday morning November 22, 1903, the doctor came to 
the Taylor family home on Fifth West, in Provo, Utah at 12:30 AM 
and there delivered little Henry Dixon Taylor, who would become 
my father. Birth at home was common in those days. Prior to his 
birth his mother, Maria Dixon Taylor, had been startled to be 
clearly informed while she was resting in a dreamy state that she 
would have a boy and that she should name him Henry after her 

father, Henry Aldous 
Dixon. Maria and Arthur 
were great parents and 
good examples, and my 
father had a happy 
childhood with seven 
brothers and sisters. His 
siblings in age order 
were Arthur D., Lynn 
D., Elton L., and then 
Henry D. followed by 
Alice, Clarence D., O. 
Kenneth and Ruth. 

My father wrote a 
number of books, one about his parents, and books about Clarence 
and Kenneth, his siblings and a more detailed autobiography, plus 
other histories. I refer you to these books for more detail about him 
and his family. At the end of this chapter you can see a listing of 
all his books and how to access them. As mentioned earlier this 
account will be more about my relationship with and observations 
of my father and his family. 

Learning to Work : Arthur Nicolls Taylor (ANT), Henry's father 
and my grandfather, believed that work was good for his children. 
The family ran a farm in Grandview, milked 15 cows, delivered 
the milk and cream in a horse-drawn wagon, hauled beet pulp and 
manure, built and ran a recreation facility on Utah Lake with a 
dance hall, swimming accommodations and food concessions. The 

Arthur N. Taylor Home on Fifth West 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

children did the bulk of the work and management of all these 
activities. Henry credited all the outdoor work for saving him from 
the flu epidemic. 

Taylor Grandparents : I would have liked to know my redheaded 
grandfather, Arthur Nicholls Taylor better. My first recollections 
of him are when he was quite old, white-headed and not well. I 
recall him sitting in the hard, leather reclining chair in their Fifth 
West home and also a few times when he was bedfast. I know him 
best through his children and through the things he worked on 
during his life. The tangible remnants of his life for me are the 
home he built on Fifth West; Dixon Taylor Russell Co a high- 
quality home furnishings department store; Wildwood with the 
"A.N.T. cabin;" and the various Provo properties he acquired. 

Maria (pronounced: ma RYE’-ah) Dixon, was widowed early, 
but was a very tangible presence in my life. I was often in her 
home after school where the smell of fresh baked bread gave a 
welcome greeting, along with a huge pile of National Geographic 
magazines. She would let me have a warm slice of fresh bread with 
butter, or possibly peanut butter and honey. There was nothing 
better as I thumbed through the magazines. 

We had wonderful Taylor family gatherings at her home for 
Thanksgiving. The cousins enjoyed playing together and were fed 
first. When the kid’s meal was done we were often sent off to a 
movie, so the adults could eat and visit without distractions. 

When I enrolled in Provo High School, I had to make my 
Grandmother's home my official address, because our home on the 
mountain was well outside the city and school boundaries. The 
most memorable times were when Maria invited me to stay with 
her at the Wildwood “ANT” cabin. A highlight there was going to 
the train tracks to place small metal items for the train to smash. 
The best items, once smashed, were nails, pennies and bottle caps. 
It was exciting to hear the train whistle in the Canyon announcing 
its approach. When we heard this, we would run down through the 
Wildwood cabins, cross the highway, then cross the bridge 
spanning the river to get to the tracks. Searching was required to 
find the items placed for smashing. They could fly any which way. 


My Parents 

We loved climbing in those mountains and finding places to 
explore. The creek and a smaller stream gave us a good place to 
get wet. But if you had a nickel or a few pennies, the little store 
and gasoline station operated by the Offert family along the 
highway was hard to resist. Once I bought a box of matches for a 
nickel. Maria confiscated them and gave me a replacement nickel. 
In addition to all the amazing things you could buy at the little 
store, they had an exceptionally good hand crafted playground. 

In the heat of the afternoon grandmother would take us to the 
river to swim. On the near side there was a small shallow area 
where non-swimmers could splash and play. Aside from the 
shallow area in our swimming hole, the water was cold, deep and 
had a very swift current. People have said that Maria couldn’t 
swim, but she could float on her back like a cork and kick and 
stroke. She would put the smaller children on her stomach and 
paddle across and up and down the river with them astride. I call 
that swimming. The Wildwood times with her were a treat for a 
young boy. 

For the Children of Arthur and Maria there was little time for 
play, but I recall father and his brothers talking about toboggan 
riding on the steep hills out toward Utah Lake. The ride was very 
fast and toboggans are not noted for maneuverability. Their friend 
Hugh was with them. He was kind of a tough, rough and ready 
type and when it was his turn he came flying down the hill at high 
speed and hit a large pig. They all rushed over to see if Hugh was 
okay. He had hit the pig with his head. Hugh was a little groggy 
and was rubbing his head, but the pig was dead. After that, Hugh 
was a living legend. 

In addition to the many job assignments given by his father, 
Henry worked road construction with Wasatch Grading Co. and 
then earned an upgraded job at the gravel pit on Provo River. 

After High School and a year at BYU he was offered a part-time 
job with Dixon Real Estate Company as bookkeeper. He loved the 
real-estate business and the rest of his life he saw potential 
development projects everywhere he went, but mostly never had 
the money to fund a project. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

While at Dixon Realty one of my Father’s responsibilities was to 
make monthly interest payments to his Grandfather, George 
Taylor. This was an assignment that most of the realty employees 
dared not take. One month Henry got busy and delivered a check 
to Grandpa George just after 1:00 PM on the due date. George was 
waiting, but not patiently. He gave Henry a blistering tongue- 
lashing, saying that payments were due first thing in the morning 
on the date due. 

Henry was never late again for virtually anything. Some time 
later he got a mission call to the Eastern States mission and told his 
grandfather of the calling and that this was the last interest check 
delivery he would be making. George looked at Henry for a few 
moments then said, "I think that you are a damn fool, but go my 
boy, and do your very best—and may the Lord bless you.” He 
then reached into his wallet and handed him a $5 bill. (In today’s 
dollars this was worth close to $1,000.) Later Arthur (ANT), 
Henry’s father, was amazed and said his father, (George) had not 
offered him one cent of support during his mission. 

Mission : Henry became the secretary of the Eastern States Mission 
under B.H. Roberts. This was the greatest responsibility offered to 
a young missionary in those days—a combination of an AP, plus 
head of the office staff. Henry lived at the mission home and 
traveled extensively with President Roberts, who was both a 
mission President and General Authority, as one of the Seven 
Presidents of 70. The two had a close relationship. One day B.H. 
said to Henry, "I'd like to ordain you a 70" and then did so. On the 
ordination certificate, B.H. penned "Knighted in the field." 

Henry, nearly age 21 and quite new on his mission, wrote: “It 
was on October 13, 1924, that I first visited the Sacred Grove. As 
I stood there and contemplated the sacred and important events that 
had there occurred, a burning came into my bosom, and I received 
an assurance that Joseph Smith’s testimony was true. That same 
testimony and burning have grown stronger over the years.” 

Henry shares his testimony, “The Lord has truly blessed me and 
has afforded me many opportunities to render service to my 
fellowmen. There comes a great satisfaction in doing good unto 
others. I testify that by putting the Lord's work first, one's personal 


My Parents 

affairs will not suffer, but will bring a reward in untold ways. 
There comes a joy from keeping God's commandments. The 
payment of an honest and full tithing results in peace of mind and 
in many temporal blessings as well. No person who pays an 
honest tithing and regularly expresses gratitude to the Lord through 
earnest prayer for his blessings will ever go far astray." 

The Source of Brevity : When Henry was on delivery duty to his 
family's milk and cream customers there were several along the 
route who wanted to visit at length, and he often got home quite 
late. This was a contributing factor in later life to his brief 
conversations, speedy exits, short meetings, short visits and hand- 
offs to Alta and later Ethelyn so he could get away. Even in a 
complex business transaction he would have a cover letter that 
said, “Pick a line and sign.” 

Much later I met numerous men who had served with father in 
Stake Presidencies and High Councils. They invariable 
remembered his short, efficient meetings. They said that he offered 
to have meetings where everyone had their say on every issue and 
spend the night to do it, or they (and he) could come to meetings 
with well-defined solutions or actions needed, and seek group 
guidance and approvals and spend less than an hour in the meeting. 
When given the choice it was always the short meetings that won. 
Sometimes attendees were reminded by Henry to be succinct. If 
someone rambled on, he would cut in to thank them and say, 
“Brother Jones that sounds like an important issue. When you have 
thought it through a little more (or gathered more information) and 
have a clear recommendation for us we’ll give you time in our next 
meeting to present your solution.” 

Father took me with him Detroit, when I was 17 or 18, to pick up 
a couple of new cars for DTR and drive them back to Provo. The 
trip was planned so that we could also attend the big furniture 
market in Chicago and do a little business there. As I recall the 
market was in a large 20 story building full of all kinds of home 
furnishing items. I was impressed that Father took me to the top 
floor and came down through every display on every floor and was 
done in 20 to 30 minutes. It was a no-nonsense tour, and the drive 
home across the country was similar, but enjoyable anyway. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

When I was arranging his funeral services, with his personally 
typed outline of services in hand, I called both President Monson 
and President Hinckley (then counselors in the First Presidency to 
President Benson) to ask if they would speak; they both very 
willingly agreed. Then I timidly added, “He asked if you would 
speak for just 10 minutes.” President Hinckley laughed and said, 
“That sounds like your father.” They both stuck to their allotted 
time. President Benson was a walk-on to the services and gave a 
very nice talk, but it did go on a bit. The duration would have made 
father squirm. 

Persuasive Skills: Being a middle child in his family father 
developed pretty strong persuasive skills. He was effective in his 
business and community responsibilities and this skill helped him 
many times. His Counselor in the Sharon Stake Presidency tells of 
the time they planned the division of the Pleasant View Ward. It 
had grown to be very large and the division was sorely needed. 
The day that the Stake Presidency was scheduled to attend and 
split the ward, President Faulkner, the counselor to father, got a 
phone call from a very unhappy woman who said that she had been 
in the ward all her life and that her friends and family are there and 
she did not want it split. And further that if it were proposed for 
split she and a large number of her friends would be there to vote 

The time came in that meeting for the split proposal to be 
presented to the congregation. Father came to the pulpit and said 
quite simply that this was his home ward. He hated to be separated 
from his long-time friends, but that there were many very capable 
people in this extremely large Ward who could never get 
opportunities to give service or leadership in church callings. 
Because we grow from the service we give, the Lord is eager for 
more people to have the chance. 

The proposition to split the Ward was presented and the 
sustaining vote was unanimous in favor. After the meeting, the 
woman who had called President Faulkner met him and said, "Well 
I voted for it, and I want to tell you that if I ever have to take 
poison, I want Henry Taylor to give it to me.” 


My Parents 

At BYU he was President of the Brickers, a prominent men’s 
fraternity (social unit) on campus, He was active in a returned 
missionary group, was a member of Alpha Kappa Psi business 
fraternity, was head of the Public Service Bureau and was a 
Student Body Vice President. 

Brickerhaven : With fellow Goldbrickers, he bought a share in 
Brickerhaven, property purchased from Ray Stewart in 1927. With 
a later addition, it grew to 30 beautiful acres of alpine property in 
an area that is now called Sundance, (named by Robert Redford as 
he developed the surrounding areas). The property was held as a 
corporation, and each share was entitled to a building site. The 
Brickerhaven ownership structure was remarkably similar to the 
structure of Wildwood, which Arthur Nicholls Taylor and friends 
had used a few decades earlier. 

Henry courts Alta : He met Alta at a Bricker function and invited 
her to go to the Junior Prom. With two of his friends, Henry picked 
up Alta and two of her friends in an old stagecoach with a team of 
horses borrowed from the Armory in Provo. All three men later 
married their stage coach dates from that night. 

Before school let out Henry gave his Bricker pin to Alta. They 
graduated from BYU together in June of 1929. 

Work: Henry went to work for Dixon Taylor Russell Company, 

Dixon Taylor Russell - Home Furnishings 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

the home furnishing store that his father started. Henry had some 
financial skills and was encouraged by his father and brothers to 
help the company in that area. Alta, upon graduating from BYU 
signed a contract to teach English at Provo, HS, starting in the fall 
of 1929. 

Home Property Purchased : Henry with two of his brothers 
bought three home sites on the mountainside on July 5, 1929. He 
and Lynn had fallen in love with this area as they hiked the 
mountains. These 2.7 acres of land were purchased from Ephraim 
Liechty for $225 per lot. 

Married : As mentioned in Alta’s chapter, Henry and Alta were 
married on December 26,1929, in the Salt Lake Temple by Melvin 
J. Ballard of the Quorum of the 12. 

A New Home : After living in apartments for three years Henry 
persuaded Alta that it would be wonderful to build a home on the 
property he had bought with Lynn and Arthur. He was sure that the 
spectacular view of the valley not only made it an inspiring place 
to live, but it would also be a great long-term investment. She was 
convinced, and they began the challenging task of constructing a 
house of their own on the mountainside near Rock Canyon. 

No one lived around this home site except, gophers, snakes, 
coyotes, skunks, pheasants, quail, magpies and one human family 
over half a mile away, further up the mountain. That was the 
original owner of the land, Ephraim Leichty. He and his wife had 
three daughters and two sons. “Eph” was from Switzerland. He 
thought this mountainside looked pretty flat compared to the old 
country, so he had carved a multi-level farm from the rocky soil, 
dry grass, sagebrush, scrub oak and sloping landscape. 

The three lots the Taylor brothers purchased really did have a 
breathtaking view of the valley and mountains, but as already 
mentioned had absolutely no utilities or community services. 
Arthur, Henry and Lynn’s eldest brother, probably because of 
these concerns, sold his lot to his younger brother Clarence. 

The Great Depression : At about this time our country and the 
world had fallen into the full grip of the great depression, there was 


My Parents 

no money; many people had no jobs. For this reason DTR made 
sales that were paid for in produce, commodities, and services. 
Employees had to take a portion of their pay in fruit, vegetables, 
eggs, milk, meat and various services. This became a source of 
help to Lynn and Henry in the development of their mountain 
property. In November of 1930, the brothers started construction. 
They had a concrete bridge built over the small creek that ran out 
of Rock Canyon; paid with store credits. They got Utah County to 
loan them a road grader and the bridge man cut a road up the 
mountainside with a team of horses. The new road had no surface 
material, not even gravel. Boulders protruded, dust got deep and 
with rain or snow melt it turned to mush. Over the years so many 
sightseers got their cars stuck on the dirt track going up the 
mountain that Lynn put a shovel on his front steps with a sign that 
said, ’’help yourself and please return when done.” 

Lynn had artistic skills and design training which were very 
helpful to the customers of DTR Company who wanted home 
beautification help. After his designs were done most of the 
furnishings and services could be purchased from DTR. With these 
abilities, Lynn designed his home and ours on the mountainside. 

Power & Water : Early in 1932 with home plans and a rough 
rocky track up the mountain side, the brothers were ready to start 
construction. They had gotten power to their building sites. It had 
taken some persuasive talks and extra money to get Utah Power 
and Light to construct power lines to the two sites. Secondly they 
needed water where there was none. Their solution was to make 
half of Henry’s basement into a cistern to store water. Henry’s 
home was the higher of the two homes, so Lynn had a gravity 
water feed to his home. Henry's needed an electric pump that 
could store water in a tank under pressure to deliver water to sinks, 
basin, tub, toilet and outside hose bibs, all of which were above the 
cistern level. 

The brothers bought shares in the Rock Canyon Water Company 
which gave them the right, every eight days and four hours, to use 
the entire small stream that came out of the Canyon for a watering 
turn of two or three hours. When it was the brothers turn to take 
the water they followed the ditch in the dirt all the way up to the 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

mouth of Rock Canyon. Gofer holes, leaks, and diversions all had 
to be sealed up so that the stream flowed down to the homes. In the 
winter ice sometimes had to be broken for the flow to travel the 
mile and a half to its destination. When a watering turn came the 
cistern was the first thing filled and then the water could be run 
onto trees, gardens, and grass. 

Materials: Much of the material for Lynn’s and Henry’s home 
construction was taken from their father’s Provona Beach resort, 
by Utah Lake. The Depression forced the family to close the resort. 
This resort had a large dance pavilion with nice flooring as well as 
other useable lumber. So with these used materials and the service 
of people who owed DTR money they built two homes. 

Other Utilities : The water from Rock Canyon was adequate for 
most household purposes, but after it had flowed down the ditch it 
was not suitable for drinking, so Henry and Lynn carried gallon 
jugs of Provo City water from DTR to our homes and we used that 
for drinking. With electricity came lights and power. For garbage 
disposal, it was agreed that we would use a large ravine created by 
erosion on the mountainside. The wash was probably 15 feet wide, 
9 feet deep and it ran down the mountain for 30 feet or so. We took 
all of our garbage there and threw it into this ravine. 

Because there was no mail delivery, our mailing address had to 
be at DTR Co. For sewage processing both homes constructed 
septic systems. Telephones were impossible to get. The homes 
were so far out of the way that the Telephone Company would not 
consider installing them. For heating, both homes used coal 
furnaces and loads of coal had to be trucked in. One of the rooms 
in our basement was made into a coal bin. Coal could be shoveled 
from the truck on the driveway onto a metal slide that went down 
through a small window onto the floor of the basement room near 
the furnace. 

Construction went forward through the summer of 1932 and by 
fall Henry and Alta moved into their new home and had a 
mortgage for $2,500, which was roughly a year’s gross pay. The 
homes on the mountain had only the County fire and sheriffs 
protection which was thin at best and was a long way away from 


My Parents 

Home on the Mountain Side 

NYU in NYC : To better prepare for his work at DTR father took 
his family of four to New York City to study retailing for a year at 
NYU. As part of his coursework, he was required to do an 
internship at one of NYC's large department stores. In their 
clothing departments they carried some very expensive items with 
the latest fashions One night he came home from work quite upset 
and was telling mother about some returns of merchandise; a fur 
coat and an expensive party dress that someone had taken the day 
before on trial and obviously used them for one event then returned 
for a full refund. He found lipstick and a hankie in the coat pocket 
and the dress had been worn. The ethics of this really troubled him. 
It further bothered him that his protests of the dishonesty of these 
returns were unheeded by his manager. 

Timp Hike : When I was old enough to hike without whining too 
much, father took me on the annual Timpanogos hike. This was a 
big community event in those days. On the designated Saturday we 
started early in the morning while it was still dark and were hiking 
well along the trail when the sun came up. As he led me up the 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

mountain I asked how long this trail switchback would be and how 

Mt Timpanogos 12,000 feet - Lower Hike Route 

There were other people on the trail and father seemed to know 
almost all of them. Before we got up to the lakes and the meadows 
we stopped at one of the many little springs along the trail and got 
a drink. The ice cold water was running down the rocks at the pace 
of a slow faucet. Father looked at the little flow longingly and said, 
“I wished we had that running into our cistern day and night.” 

When we got to Emerald Lake I could see the 2000 foot high 
snow bank between the cliffs called “The Glacier.” It was very 
long and very steep. This was to be the next part of our accent. As 
we began to climb “The Glacier” I was surprised at the extreme 
difficulty of moving up this wall of icy snow. Footholds failed and 
I found that I could not catch my breath at that altitude and the 
ridge at the top of the ice wall was so far away I was sure that the 


My Parents 

task of getting there was insurmountable. When I told Father there 
was no way I could make it to the top he told me the way to do this 
long steep climb was to kick solid footholds for 10 steps up and 
then stop for 10 deep breaths and then go for 10 more steps. “Don’t 
worry about the distance to the top. Just think in tens.” This 
worked. I stopped slipping and pausing to breathe really did help. 
All I had to worry about was the next 10 steps. 

I was astonished when we climbed over onto the rocky ridge at 
the top of the icy cliffs. From the ridge the whole valley to the 
south and west suddenly spread before us. From this spot I could 
see the expanse of Utah valley and lake and part of Salt Lake 
Valley that had been hidden until we crested. We could see at least 
30 miles in every direction. It was a spectacular sight, well worth 
the toil to get there. I have enjoyed that hike many times since with 
brothers, cousins, friends, my bride to be, and with our children 
and some grandchildren. 

That experience on the “Glacier” with father was a metaphor for 
life. As I mentioned in the Preface, there have been many times I 
have had challenges that I was not sure I could conquer. Invariably 
if I got a small start, like the first 10 steps and then caught my 
breath, then tackled the next few steps, the task would gradually 
yield to the effort. Then eventually the struggler is rewarded with 
the breathtaking view at the top of the mountain. 

Real Estate Development : Henry had a keen interest in real estate 
projects. He never had the money to do much of what he would 
have loved to do, but he enjoyed looking at possibilities. In his 
early family days, when he had an hour or two on a Sunday 
afternoon he would gather up Alta, Tony and me to take a little 
drive around Utah Valley. These were scenic and fun for the 
family. Henry would occasionally comment on what could be done 
with this property or that. If DTR Company had not drafted him 
into service he could have enjoyed the career he started with Dixon 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

His development instincts brought him, while still in college, to 
be an enthusiastic investor with fellow Brickers, who bought the 
property in the north fork of Provo Canyon that became 
Brickerhaven. He had bought a share in this canyon property 
several years before he bought his home site on the mountain. But 
the challenging development of the home was just the kind of 
project that Henry loved. Later with a group of good friends, he 
helped form the Bonneville Development Company which 
acquired more property all along the mountainside and then 
gradually began to develop it into building lots. Henry and Alta 
kept one of these lots for their new home which was built about 20 
years after their first. Building the second home required much less 

New Home - Looking West Toward the Valley & Lake 

pioneering than the first, but because of the greater size, special 
features, and premium construction, brought with it a huge 
financial burden. Henry and Alta’s mission call forced the sale of 
this lovely home. Financially the sale was probably an indirect 
answer to prayer. 


My Parents 

New Home on the Mountain - Looking East to the Mountain 

The Facts of Life : In their marriage, Alta mostly carried the load 
of communicating with and teaching the boys, but when it came 
time to explain how life begins she told Henry that was going to be 
his job. The boys needed this information from their father. I’m not 
sure if this was procrastinated for a while, but by the time he got to 
Tony and me it was too late to be breaking news, but he didn't 
know that. So one day after work at DTR, on the way home, father 
took me and Tony to the stable area of the Cluff s dairy farm. 
Father invited us to follow him and we walked to the small coral 
where a man was holding the reins of a jumpy mare. On cue 
another man brought in a stallion which in less than a minute bred 
the mare and was then lead away. 

As we walked back to the car, father said, “That mare will now 
have a foal, and that's pretty much how human babies get started.” 

That was the end of the micro-lecture, and there were absolutely 
no questions from the two of us. Father's inclination toward brevity 
was still intact. He could now report back to Alta that the job was 
done and check off that assignment. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

The A. N. Taylor Trust Estate was set up by Arthur N. Taylor for 
all his children well before he died in 1935. The Estate owned 
some property on the comer of Second West and First North, in 
Provo which was underutilized so the family estate built a building 
for rent to O.P. Scaggs, a popular grocery chain at that time. 
Because of the family involvement in the development I landed a 
summer construction job there when I was in high school. This was 
a great experience for me. 

My Boss on the Skaggs building was Rule Davis, a very skilled 
construction man with very high building standards. In addition to 
the Grocery Store construction, father used Davis as the builder of 
our second home on the mountain. Rule used very colorful 
language. So much so that I often didn’t know what he was telling 
me. For him cuss words were about 65% of any sentence, leaving 
very few words to describe the assigned task. He would get upset 
when I went where he pointed, but started the wrong project. It 
gave me an appreciation for the fact actual English words carry 
clear meaning, while swear words carry almost none. Maybe a 
little emotion, but that's from the tone of voice, not the words. 

Taylor Terraces : Another Taylor Estate development was the 
Taylor Terraces just across the street from the Provo Temple. The 
Estate owned the property as a result of a purchase of the "old 
slaughter house" just below the original home sites of Henry and 
Lynn. Arthur N, their father, had said to the boys, in the early 
thirties, that it was a good idea to protect their property by owning 
the land around them. So they bought a small peach orchard to the 
east. A little later the old abandoned slaughter house property 
below them to the west became available. Neither of the boys 
could afford to buy it, so Arthur N. did it for them and offered to 
give it to them. Henry suggested it would be fairer for the property 
to be owned by the Estate so that all 8 Taylor children would 
benefit equally. 

The Estate had held the property for about 40 years when the 
Provo Temple was announced and planned for construction 
directly across the road from the old slaughter house. The ANT 
Estate owned and donated a part of this property for the Temple 


My Parents 

site and decided to develop the remaining land across the street. 
With the help of Fred Markham and his son John they laid out 16 
beautiful homes that were complementary to the temple and in the 
late 1970’s the units were finished. Once again Henry enjoyed the 
development process, but his church calling, home in SLC and 
advancing years prevented his full-time involvement. His younger 
brother, Clarence, or Uncle Bud to me, carried the load for this 

At the urging of father and Uncle Bud, Colette and I acquired an 
adjoining acre of land to the north of the first 16 units and in 1980 
through 1982 we built an additional six units. The harrowing 
account of this development can be found further on in this history. 

Community Service : In addition to his financial work at the 
family store Henry had a wide range and a full plate of community 
leadership responsibilities which included Utah Valley Hospital’s 
VP and Chairman of the Board’s Executive Committee; President 
of the Provo Chamber of Commerce; President of Kiwanis Club. 

Church Callings : Here is an approximate chronological listing of 
his church assignments: 

• Secretary of the Ward Sunday School (at that time 
attendance statistics were kept for every class) 

• Secretary of the Stake Sunday School (stake-wide statistics 
were compiled and sent on to SLC.) 

• On his Mission to Eastern States 1923 - 1925 served as 
Mission Secretary under President B.H. Roberts. At that 
time Secretary was the greatest responsibility given to a 
young full-time missionary. 

• One of seven President of Utah Stake Seventies - Nov 

• High Council in the newly created Sharon Stake - Jan 1933 

• Clerk of Sharon Stake- Jun 1940 

• SCERA - member of original Board 1933 - Handled 
finances and bond issues under Arthur V. Watkins 

• Bishop Pleasant View Ward - Feb 1944 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

• Stake President - Called Jan 1946 Sharon Stake succeeding 
A.V. Watkins. 

• Still Stake President - Sharon split to create Orem Stake - 
Apr 1947 - Remained as President of the split Sharon Stake 

• Purchased a Welfare Farm for Sharon Stake April 1947 - 
Fruit, Berries, Eggs 

• Chairman of Central Utah Welfare Region - Jan 1951 - 
Region was very large, and Henry suggest a split 

• Timpanogos Welfare Region was created from the split - 
Sep 1951 - Henry was asked to chair this new Region, and 
his brother Elton was made chairman of the Central Utah 

• Sharon Stake split again creating the East Sharon Stake - 
Henry called to be the President of the new (200 th ) Stake of 
the Church. - Nov 1952 

• Mission President Calling — by David O. McKay -- Aug 

• Assistant to 12 - Apr 1958 

• 1 st Quorum of 70 - Oct 1976 

Mission President : Henry has written a book on his and Alta’s 
mission experience. Again a digital copy is available at the BYU 
Lee Library. 

The setting apart for the California Mission was on Aug 8, 1955, 
by President McKay, in his office assisted by Presidents Stephen 
L. Richards and J. Reuben Clark. President McKay asked father, 
"When did we first meet?” Father replied, “It was in the Eastern 
States Mission, New Haven Connecticut. I have a picture of you 
speaking on the Green and President Roberts was thumbing 
through his scriptures behind you.” President McKay, with a smile, 
said, “So he wasn’t listening to me, eh?” Father quickly grinned 
back, "I'm sure you had inspired him, and he was checking it out." 
President Clark nudged father with a smile and said, “You landed 
on your feet that time my boy!” Colette and I enjoyed being there 
for the exchange and wonderful blessing. 


My Parents 

David O. McKay Speaking and B.H. Roberts 
Thumbing Through His Scriptures 

Henry and Alta were great mission leaders. They enjoyed the 
chance to work together in a church calling for the first time in 
their marriage. The mission was very successful under their 
leadership and all the missionaries I have met from their mission 
loved them. 

Elder Spencer W. Kimball toured the California mission late in 
their service, and after one grueling day of travel and meetings 
Elder Kimball said to father, "You and Sister Taylor look tired, and 
you two have lots to do here in the home and office. I will take 
your counselor (Elder Packard Condie, a young missionary) and 
hold the last conference today.” In those days one young Elder 
served as second counselor in the mission Presidency. Elder 
Condie told me later that it was a fair distance to the last 
conference of the day and Elder Kimball said, “If you don’t mind 
I’ll take a short nap.” Elder Condie said, “Wait just second. I’ll 
pull over and let you stretch out in back.” Elder Kimball said, “No 
need to stop,” and vaulted himself over the front passenger seat 
and lay down in back. He was asleep in no time and in about 15 
minutes woke up and climbed back into the front passenger seat. 
He turned to Elder Condie and asked, “Would President Taylor 
make a good General Authority?” This took Elder Condie back a 
notch, but he replied, “Yes he would.” 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

It was not too long after this that President Stephen L. Richards 
called mother and then later caught father and asked if while they 
were in SLC during General Conference would they stop in the 
President’s office in the Church Office Building. That April 
Conference 1958 was when Henry was called to be an Assistant to 
the 12. (see his Autobiography for more.) 

Packard Condie, the young missionary who talked to Elder 
Kimball that fateful day, was much later called with his wife to 
serve in the Tennessee Nashville Mission while we served there as 
president. He and his wife were great missionaries in Tennessee. 
He was very direct and quite successful. He would say to an 
investigator, "It's too bad that you don't love your wife." Most 
couples would protest, and Condie would explain that it was all 
over unless they were sealed in a Temple. He got their attention. 

He was the one who told me of his encounter with Elder Kimball 
and observed that he had served two missions in his life and both 
times his mission president was Henry Taylor. 

President Thomas S. Monson set Colette and me apart for our 
Tennessee mission callings 21 June 1999. At that time he told us 
the story of when he was called to be a young mission president in 
Canada. He asked who could help him understand how to run a 
mission. (There was no formal training for mission presidents at 
that time and very little written guidance.) President Monson said 
that everyone told him to go see Henry Taylor because he was the 
best mission president in the Church. 

Henry wrote following books (these and other family history 
books are available digitally online at the Lee Library at BYU. 
Google search: “Arthur Nicolls Taylor and Maria Dixon Taylor 

Family Collection.” 

Henry Dixon Taylor - 1980 (autobiography) 

By and About Henry D. Taylor — 1984 (a compilation of talks and 

The Church Welfare Plan — 1984 

Arthur V. Watkins - My Stake President -1985 

California Mission - The Taylor Years - 1955 - 1958 


Mv Parents 

Arthur Nicholls Taylor & Maria Louise Dixon Taylor - My 
Parents -1986 

Clarence Dixon Taylor - My Younger Brother - 1987 
Orson Kenneth Taylor - My Youngest Brother - 1987 

Lavan Desert . Our whole family was headed for Richfield for a 
short family vacation at my Grandma Hansen’s home. Two-thirds 
of the way there we hit the Levan Desert. It was an open, flat, dry 
valley; and sparsely populated. The two-lane road had long straight 
stretches through this area, and father cranked up the speed a bit. 
Stephen was a rambunctious lad of 4 or so. Seat belts did not exist 
in those days and as Steve bounced around the car he hit the door 
handle. Our 1940, four-door sedan had what are today called 
“suicide” rear doors which hinged at the rear of the car and formed 
an air scoop if opened. Hitting the door handle threw it open and at 
our high-speed Stephen was sucked out immediately. He tumbled 
onto the right shoulder of the road and went head over tea kettle 
into the tumbleweeds and sagebrush. As soon as the huge rush of 
air burst in and we realized that Stephen was gone, father 
immediately stomped on the brakes, but it took near 100 yards for 
the car to stop. I thought Steve was dead for sure, but prayed 
anyway that he might survive. Father ran back down the road and 
out in the desert to find Stephen’s remains. There he was out in the 
weeds, with head bleeding, but still breathing. Father carried him 
back to the car and mother held him on her lap. 

We continued driving for Richfield immediately to get medical 
help. After a few miles, father crunched forward on the steering 
wheel and almost passed out. He stopped the car and said, "I can't 
drive anymore; can you do it Alta?" Mother drove, I held Steve in 
front; Tony scrunched in the back comer and father laid down on 
the back seat. 

Once in Richfield, Doctor McQuarie, Grandma’s next door 
neighbor, examined Steve, did some cleanup and disinfecting and 
said, “He’ll be fine.” But the stress and shock of the accident had 
caused father’s stomach ulcer to bleed profusely resulting in his 
nearly fainting. The doctor gave him some antacid and stomach 
protecting liquid to calm his ulcer. In due time Steve and father 
were back on their feet. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Cousin John Arthur . It was some time later that this same door 
flew open and threw Cousin John out into a snow bank on the 
streets of Provo. The slushy snow made for a soft landing, but as 
John jogged back to the car which had quickly stopped for him, we 
saw that he was completely covered in sticky snow. It was in his 
pockets and down inside his shirt front and was packed around his 
neck. As he got in the car he moaned, 'Tve lost my glasses." We 
brushed him off a little, and there were his glasses still hanging 
from his ears, but under his chin. 

After World War II when automobile production resumed, most 
all the auto manufacturers had discontinued “suicide doors” on all 
their new models. 

Problem Solving by father was often done with strategic planning. 
For example, when he was asked to organize the production of an 
entire welfare region in northern Utah County he did it very simply 
and quickly by spelling out all the projects needed and giving the 
stakes involved a great degree of freedom to choose the project(s) 
they wanted. It was all done in one quick meeting and fully 
implemented a short time later. Similarly, when mother was 
feeling terrible with cancer and the awful treatments, he involved 
her in the planning, construction, and furnishing of a new home in 
SLC. He knew this was something she loved to do and though it 
was a difficult time for her, it did give her something to focus on 
besides her dreadful illness. The facts of life lecture to the boys, 
though late, was a good example of a structural solution. 

Henry was a great father . He was a man of few words, but when 
words came they were always encouraging. I never remember 
seeing him angry although once or twice I had given him just 
cause. In one particular case I remember when he should have been 
really angry at me, I noticed him squirming a little in the driver’s 
seat and pushing on his ulcer, but nothing more than that. He 
taught the gospel to his family by his actions. 

Honor Bound . He was a scrupulous keeper of his word and 
compulsively filled his commitments. If he said he would do 


My Parents 

something it was as good as done. His time was always heavily 
scheduled to meet his responsibilities, but when he had time to be 
with the family it was a treat to be with him. When these rare times 
came it was not used for aimless chatter, but rather was usually 
aimed toward a goal or project of some sort. I loved it when I 
could be involved in the project. 

He was the firm foundation and rock of the family while all the 
rest of us bounced around capriciously. 

At age 83 he died in the LDS hospital in Salt Lake City. He had 
suffered several small strokes and his doctor had him on blood 
thinner to reduce the risks of further strokes. When his stomach 
ulcers began to bleed again, the Doctor was caught between two 
conflicting problems: bleeding to death, or an almost certain 
stroke. He chose wisely to do nothing and father died peacefully. 


Part Two 

Early Years 

The Mountain, New York & Provo 

Early Years 

3. Stories and Background from the Early 


Born in Tough Times : The year was 1931, by which time the 
Great Depression was heading toward its depths. About one in 
five people had no job and couldn’t find work. Those with jobs 
found that their businesses were struggling which depressed their 
earnings and wages. It was a tough time to enter the world, but 
enter I did at the Crane Maternity Home in Provo, on February 27, 
1931. The effects of this Great Depression lingered for more than 
12 years. 

My parents lived in a little apartment in a Provo home on the 
west side. My father worked at Dixon Taylor Russell home 
furnishings store with his father and brothers. Mother had been an 
English teacher at Provo High School but was told she could no 
longer teach if she were married. 

Because of the low employment and bad economic times those 
with little or no money found they could sometimes exchange 
goods and services for items they needed. There was very little 
Federal Government unemployment money, no food stamps, or the 
plethora of other assistance programs available today, so people 
were creative, finding ways to sustain themselves. At DTR several 
employees spent some of their time managing barter accounts 
where, for example, the payment for a new mattress might be made 
with four dozen eggs per month for 60 months. Our family barber 
took DTR credit for haircuts, instead of money, which he could use 
to purchase household goods. It was this barter processes which 
factored into my parent’s and Uncle Lynn and Aunt Cess’s 
decision to build homes on the mountainside north of Provo. 
Details of the property and its development are described in My 
Parents section of this book. 

My Home on the Mountain : When I was a year and half old my 
parents and I moved into the little home they had built on the 
mountain side. There were none of the things there you would 
expect to find if you lived in a town or city. Nevertheless, they 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

happily settled in there and found pioneering solutions to all the 
problems they faced. 

I have fond memories of our new house, built of old parts. It was 
a very happy, comfortable place. My first bedroom window looked 
out to the east and from my bed I could see the blue sky, Squaw 
Peak, the upper part of Rock Canyon and the northern part of the Y 
Mountain. My second bedroom window, when the upstairs was 
added six to eight years later, looked out over Utah Valley and 

It was a magical place for a child to grow up. There were rabbits, 
gophers, squirrels and mother quail leading their young in neat 
rows. We also had invisible pheasants that would not fly until 
almost stepped on and then the thunderous noise of their wings 
when taking off startled even the stout-hearted. High up in the 
branches of mature scrub oak trees, there were magpie nests made 
of sturdy sticks and twigs. There were snakes, lizards and civet 
cats that produced a spray that smelled just like their skunk 
cousins. Industrious red ants in abundance created large sand piles 
at the entry to their tunnels. Not far from our home there were 
porcupines, coyotes, deer, badgers, marmots and a wealth of other 

The flora on the mountain included sagebrush, scrub oak, squaw 
bush with sour berries that were tasty to suck on. Cheatgrass was 
everywhere in open spaces. It was lovely, soft and bright green in 
the early spring, but it soon turned light tan as it dried up and 
produced tons of seeds that were carried in small spear-like 
weapons that made their way into socks, pant legs and sometimes 
into dog's ears; requiring a vet to get them out. The seed carriers 
were a one-way weapon that went in easily, but would not pull out 
without breaking apart. On ditch banks we had a good supply of 
poison ivy. We had lots of sunflowers, sego lilies, a wild sweet 
pea, Indian paintbrush and many other beautiful plants. Lots of 
these had edible parts and I loved them. 

After a rain storm there was a delightful fragrance that came 
from moist earth, damp cheat grass, wet sagebrush, and oak. 

I recall that in one day I had time to do everything I could think of 
and still have spare time. I slept in shorts and in the morning all I 
had to do was slip into my bib overalls, and I was ready for the 


Early Years 

day. No shirt or shoes were required, but a shirt probably should 
have been because I sunburned a lot. 

When I was just over two years old and we were in our little two 
door coupe. I stood between my mother and father while we were 
driving through the Rock Canyon floodplain, headed north toward 
what is now Indian Hills. This area had no roads and no houses in 
these early days, just one small farmhouse at the top of the hill. It 
had an undeveloped road that went straight up the hill to the north. 
(I believe that there is still some remnant of this little road today as 
you drive north on 930 East and this old remnant starts just across 
2780 north.) As a child we never drove up this track; just observed 
it from a distance as we passed by. When I saw it I said, “Little 
tiny road. Where is it? Can’t see it.” 

My mother remembered this and quoted it back to me several 
times over the years when we drove by that spot. 

My young days were spent in exploring the mountains, catching 
small animals, watching ants do their work, trying to dry a 
snakeskin so that I could make a belt, trying to teach young 
magpies to speak and climbing in scrub oak clumps swinging from 
limb to limb, pretending that I was Tarzan of the Apes. There were 
caves and mine shafts to be explored. Sometimes, my Cousin, 
Janice would join me for one of these adventures. 

Hard Times : I remember a few things about those depression 
years which reflected the hard times of the day: 

• Though we lived well out of town and far from schools, our 
family and Lynn’s family had only one car each, which 
meant that if the men had carpooled to work, the women 
and families had to share the remaining car. This often 
meant walking to school or town and certainly required 
careful coordination of all transportation needs. 

• Shoes were seldom worn by the kids. They were saved for 
church, school, best occasions and winter-time. 

• If my shoes developed a hole in the sole, my mother cut a 
cardboard insole from a Wheaties box to keep my foot from 
grinding directly on the ground. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

• If a shoe sole came loose and began to flop, you learned to 
give a special kick before your foot hit the ground so that 
you came down flat on the sole. You never wanted to let it 
fold under. 

• When a bar of soap was used down to a thin sliver it was 
pushed onto the new bar so that every scrap was used. 

• If the toothpaste tube was empty, you learned that you 
could always get enough paste for one more brushing if you 
squeezed the flat tube hard enough. 

• Clothes were washed on a weekly cycle. Early on, this was 
done in a tub, and hand scrubbed on a washboard. Later 
our family got an electrically agitated tub washer with an 
electrically powered wringer. The wringer got much of the 
water out of the clothes by squeezing them between two 
rubber rollers. This was a big stride forward from hand 
wringing. My job, when I helped, was to catch clothes out 
of the wringer and make sure they got into the basket and 
not on the concrete basement floor. You didn’t ever want to 
get your fingers into the wringer rollers as you fed the wet 
clothes through. 

• After wringing, clothes were hung outside to dry in the 
sunshine or freeze dry on cold days. Rain on the outside 
clothesline didn't dry anything, so lines were strung up in 
the basement to hang wet clothes. 

• Less frequent washing in those days helped clothes to last 
longer as washing is a major cause of clothes wearing out. 

• All worn or damaged clothes were mended. Holes in socks 
were darned, with threads woven across the hole. Patches 
of material from old overalls were sewed into or over the 
holes in newer ones. When a shirt collar was worn and 
frayed it was removed from the shirt body and turned over 
and sewn back in place with the good side showing. 

• If jam or jelly developed mold on the top surface, we 
scraped it off and used what was underneath. The same 
thing with cheese. If we burned toast we scraped off a little 
and ate it just as if it had come out perfectly. 


Early Years 

• Leftover food was always worked into the next meals: extra 
mush (cooked cereal) was sliced and fried then served like 
pancakes; stale bread became French toast or bread and 
milk; meat left from a roast became a meat pie or stew; 
leftover peas were creamed and served over toast, leftover 
potatoes became hash browns, or if mashed became fried 
potato patties, and of course stew and homemade soup 
could be a combination of almost anything that was left 

Little was ever wasted. There were popular country-wide 
encouragements, especially during WW II such as, 

“Use it up, 

Wear it out, 

Make it do, 

Or do without.” 

Or if you ever balked at eating all the food you were served, your 
mother would say, “Eat that up! Think of the starving children in 

Many Banks Failed during this difficult time. I had a small 
savings account set up by my parents. The bank with my savings 
failed in the mid-1930s, and my savings went with it. Later as the 
bank struggled back to life I periodically got checks from them for 
small amounts like 3 cents, 5 cents. I never kept track of the total 
repaid, but it was a best effort attempt to make it right to 
depositors. There was no FDIC or bailouts just the integrity of the 

Evils of the Dole : During this time the Church taught about the 
evils of taking Government aid or the "dole." If a man lived off 
the efforts of others it tended to rob him of his uprightness and 
self-respect. It was in this environment that the welfare system of 
the church was established where a family could receive help but 
could contribute back labor to offset the cost of goods provided 
and thus earn their way 

We raised chickens and I observed that chicks labored 
strenuously to the point of exhaustion to crack their way out of the 
eggshell. However, if you helped them by cracking their shell for 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

them, most often the chick would die. They needed the work of 
shell cracking to complete their development process. I believe it 
is so with men as well; when they don’t make their own way 
something in them dies. 

In that difficult environment I learned a great deal about industry 
and that with the cooperation of others it was possible to take care 
of most every need without looking to a city, county, state or 
federal government to help. 

People are Good : Overall I'm very optimistic about people. I find 
they are generally honest, hard working and respectful of and 
helpful to others. Also, almost all are remarkably resourceful. 
While working at Hewlett-Packard Company I supervised large 
groups of both non-skilled and skilled people. The skilled workers 
were remarkably capable of contributing to the advancement of the 
Company processes and products as well as the betterment of the 
community and world. I was frequently surprised and delighted 
with the creativity and ability of the non-skilled people to master 
complex processes and improve on them and contribute to the 
progress of the company, community and their own personal lives. 

My life’s experience, both in church service and the workplace, 
leads me to believe that it is counterproductive to try to solve a 
person’s problems for them. Encouraging them is good, but don’t 
rob them of the struggle that will eventually bring them strength. 

At times I despair of government’s ongoing efforts to solve the 
problems of various segments of our society with some form of 
regulation, litigation, or dole. These seldom produce the results 
intended and most often weaken the overall fabric of our society. 
Voluntary help to those in need is good and can produce good 
results, but compulsory taking from one group to help another with 
the huge overhead expense of the government transfer agents has 
seldom produced good results. 

NY, NY : In 1936, when I was five, my father and mother moved to 
New York City where my father attended NYU to get a master’s 
degree in retailing. My brother Tony had been bom about a year 
earlier, so we were a family of four. In New York City life was 
very different from life in the mountains of Utah. 


Early Years 

We lived in a comer apartment house on a busy street in Jackson 
Heights. At street level, the building had a bar. Our apartment was 
on the second floor directly above the bar. I recall the consistent, 
lively noises coming up from below during the nighttime. On the 
mountain, the only night noise had come from chirping crickets 
and wind in the leaves. 

Chicken Pox : Tony and I both got chicken pox and were restricted 
to the apartment. One mother from the church congregation 
brought her son over to play with us to intentionally expose him. 
That visit was a highlight for us during what seemed like an 
endless quarantine. During this shut-in time it eventually occurred 
to me that I had roller skates with metal wheels which I had only 
used outside. The apartment had smooth hardwood floors that 
would be perfect for skating. I thought “why not” and strapped 
them on. I soon found a good circle pathway around the apartment. 
It was great. Good speed was possible. Tony had a very good 
time clattering after me. We had a glorious solution to the boredom 
in our confinement. 

It wasn’t too many days before we got a loud knock at the 
apartment door. It was the bar owner from below who had come up 
to complain about the noise. Even at this young age, I thought it 
was odd for a bar to be complaining about someone else's noise. 
We never complained about theirs. 

I’m not sure that payback was needed, but I found that the bar 
could be a real asset to a young fellow who loved pretzels. They 
had appetizer dishes set out in several spots along the counter for 
their customers. I found that I could slip in when the bartender 
wasn’t looking and stand unseen below the counter and reach up 
over my head into the pretzel bowl. This made for a delightful 
afternoon snack. 

Hospital : While we were in NY I had my tonsils out. At that time 
and in that place removing tonsils was a hospital procedure. I recall 
counting backward as the ether put me out. When I woke up, much 
later in a hospital bed my throat was pretty sore. It was the only 
time in my life that I have been in a hospital as a patient. I was 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

there at least overnight. I recall the nurses being very nice and 
offering ice cream. Sadly, at the time, the offer was not attractive. 

Apartment : The footprint of our 10 story apartment building made 
a big U. Dirt space for play was scarce. There was a little 
landscaping along the front walkway into the U to get to the front 
door. When you came downstairs to play in this landscape dirt, it 
was unattractive to run back up 2 to 10 flights of stairs to get your 
toy soldiers, trucks, etc. There were no elevators and trip back up 
really cut into your playtime. One day I was playing with Billy in 
the dirt when he realized he needed his second bag of toy soldiers 
to complete the battlefield we had under construction. In those 
days toy soldiers were made of lead, nicely painted. Billy tipped 
his head back and called “MOTHER!” Miraculously the right 
window opened on the 7 th floor, and Billy's mother’s head came 
out of the window. He told her what he needed. She soon came 
back with a medium sized cloth bag that looked heavy. She asked, 
“Do you want me to drop them?” He said, “Yeah.” So she did and 
they fell pretty fast, but the fall was broken partially by branches of 
a bush. Billy picked up the sack and opened it. After a short 
inspection he said, “Not too bad. Only broke two.” 

The amazing thing was that any one of the little kids in the 
building could call up from the sidewalk, "MOM!" and the correct 
window would open and the right head would pop out. 

There was a very wide, high-traffic street, maybe six lanes, on 
one side of the apartment building. From their windows probably a 
third of the apartments could see the traffic light and the long 
crosswalk to get to the other side. The standard crossing procedure 
was for a child to go to the comer curb at the crosswalk; the 
mother from her window above would watch the light and the 
traffic flow and when the time was right she would shout, “Go 
now. Fast” and the young child would scamper across. On a school 
day we all had to cross this street and there were lots of heads in 
the windows above, all pretty much agreeing on the instructions. 

Kindergarten : I attended kindergarten there in Jackson Heights. I 
don’t have very clear memories of this experience. I remember the 
first few days of school, the big main door, polished floors, the 


Early Years 

smell of the hallway, the large clocks on the classroom walls and 
the worry about where to find the bathroom. The street crossing to 
get to the school and back was memorable and that is about it. 
Because my memories of school are so limited, maybe I was a 
kindergarten drop-out. 

Crowds : One thing that really impressed me was the crowds of 
people on Manhattan sidewalks. You couldn't just step out of the 
store onto the sidewalk. You had to wait for a little gap in the foot 
traffic to get into the flow. Years later I was talking to a skillful 
African native who had helped us find our way around his country. 
He had just returned from his first trip to London and was clearly a 
man who was more comfortable on the Serengeti Plains than he 
was on the streets of London. His reaction was, "The people in 
London, they are thicker than wildebeest.” That is just how I felt as 
a young boy in New York City. 

Return to Utah : I was very happy to return to my mountain home. 
I liked the NY experience, but it was not home. When we got back 
I was old enough to start first grade at BYU Training School. For 
sure I didn’t drop out here; I’ve got class pictures to prove that I 
attended each grade. 

Babysitting : On the mountain, we lived well out of any developed 
area, with no close neighbors. In the summer all the surrounding 
mountainside was very dry for miles. We were sitting ducks for 
wild grass and brush fires, with which I had had some experience. 
Adding to my nighttime terrors, there was a State Mental asylum 
about 3 miles south of our home along the same mountain side. 
Many of these detainees were violent and held under high security, 
but now and then one would escape. These escapes were described 
on local radio news broadcasts. The least populated escape route 
for a mental patient was straight north along the mountain. This 
would bring them directly to our little house on the north end of 
the same mountain. 

When I was about nine years old I recall vividly a night when my 
parents had to leave home for the evening and left me in charge of 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

my younger brother, Tony. I recall lying in bed, in cold sweat on a 
hot night, thinking about roaring mountain fires and deranged ax 
murderers escaped from the State Mental Hospital, headed toward 
our house. After what seemed hours of sleepless fear, I concluded 
that I needed help. I earnestly prayed for protection and in 
moments I felt a tangible sense of calm and security come over me, 
and I could finally go to sleep. I knew that night Heavenly Father 
was there and could hear me and protect us. 

4. Gravity 

Gravity as a Playmate : Because our mountainside homes were 
remote from school friends and there was no neighborhood, it was 
hard for a boy to find playmates. Uncle Lynn and Aunt Celestia’s 
children lived in the only other nearby house and were a quarter 
mile, or so, from my house. My cousins John and Janice were 
nearest my age. Janice was three days older than I and John about 
two years older and their siblings, Lynn Ann, Kathryn and Terry 
were Tony’s age and younger. John and Janice were great fun to 
be with, but they were really smart, voracious readers. They spent 
a lot of time in the Provo Public Library finding good books and 
had, over time, convinced the librarian that they could bring home 
a huge stack of books while normal readers were restricted to just 2 
or 3 at a time. They would blitz through the stacks well before 
they were due back. Whatever activity I had in mind, had to be 
pretty impressive for them to consider leaving a really good book. 
Reading for me was more of a chore, done mostly with a figurative 
sword hanging over my head. It took time and real effort for me to 
finally enjoy reading action books like the Tarzan series by Edgar 
Rice Burroughs, the Oz series by L. Frank Baum and Jack London 

My brother Tony was a potential activity partner, but was four 
years younger and it was hard to get him interested in my plans, 
even if he was able. He much preferred to draw and color in his 
spare time. 

The next closest humans were the Leichtys. They were half a 
mile further up the mountain and ran a working family farm. They 

Early Years 

had hogs to be tended and slaughtered, cows to be milked, sheep to 
herd and shear, hay to be mowed and stacked in the barn, nuts to 
be cracked, gardens and crops to tend, butter to be churned, soap to 
be made and so forth. Ivan, Leslie, Melba, Elaine, and Grace were 
all kids who worked hard and if you wanted to spend time with 
them, it had to be while they milked cows, herded sheep, fed the 
pigs, cracked nuts, or tromped hay, etc. These were all fun 
activities to do with them when it was allowable and the season 
was right. 

When my chores were done there was often no one to play with, 
so I looked for ways to make my own adventures. 

Bow and Arrows : One year I bought three arrows and fashioned a 
bow out of scrub oak, but this carried little power or stability, so I 
finally saved enough for a commercial bow. The new bow was 
awesome. After a lot of good shooting about the yard, I went to 
the edge of the mountain overlooking the Rock Canyon flood 
basin. I wondered how far I could shoot an arrow if I shot into the 
valley below. I tried one and it was incredible. The arrow stayed 
in the air for what seemed like minutes, before hitting the ground 
and the distance was amazing. In no time all three arrows were 
gone and the task of retrieval took some of the edge off the 
excitement of shooting so far. 

I climbed down the very steep mountainside to the valley below 
and began to search for my arrows. I had to sift through the weeds, 
sage and oak brush. I could only find two out of three. My 
archery career ended when I splintered my last arrow on a rock. 

Baseball: Sports were a huge interest to me as a young boy. The 
radio carried major league baseball games, and I had dreams of 
being a major league star. I saved my money and sent away for 
my first ball glove. It was made by the Rawlings Company in St 
Louis. The day it came in the mail my heart almost stopped with 
excitement. The glove was autographed by Marty Marion, a right 
handed shortstop for the St Louis Cardinals, nicknamed the 
Octopus. I knew with this glove and its special “Floating Heel” I 
would play just like him. The glove was dark brown leather with a 
very deep pocket and strong webbing between the thumb and first 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

finger. If you could even get close to a ball, the glove would just 
pull it in. 

It wasn’t until I got the glove that I realized that I had a problem. 
I had no one to play catch with, or to hit balls to me. My father 
was really busy. He worked long hours 6 days a week and had 
church meetings in the evening and on Sundays. My mom, 
appropriately enough, threw like a girl. Baseball ranked way 
below reading and other activities for my Taylor cousins and Tony 
couldn’t catch or throw a ball with any authority and the Leichty 
kids worked all the time. What was a boy to do? 

I tried bouncing my hardball off the side of our house. It split the 
shingles, and didn't bounce back to me swiftly enough for fielding 
practice. I switched to a tennis ball and that worked better. After a 
few minutes of good drill my mom came out of the house with her 
broom. This was always a bad sign. She said, "you stop that right 
now before your break our windows and split all of our shingles." 

My career was over almost before it got started. But I held on to 
my dreams. I thought maybe gravity could work for me, so I tried 
throwing my hardball as high as I could and then pretended to be 
catching pop flies. That wasn't too bad. Then for variety, I started 
throwing onto the garage roof so the ball would roll back to me. 
This was almost like having someone throwing back in a soft game 
of catch. This approach had its hazards. If the ball ever went over 
the ridge of the roof it went down the other side and then down 
over the mountain never to be found again. 

After a few lost balls over the ridge I had the idea that the 
solution might be to build a baseball field to play on, so I set to 
work making four rock piles for bases in a lucerne field that had 
been mowed down to the stubble. The field slanted off to the west 
pretty badly, but it was the best option available. After placing 
rocks, I set about to stomp down the stubble along the base paths. 

When it was done I felt like the fellow in the movie “Field of 
Dreams.” Now that it was built surely “people will come.” Well, 
they didn't. This pump was going to have to be primed. I talked to 
my cousins with glowing descriptions of the new field that was just 
waiting for us to play on. No luck, their books were too good. 

I went home and scraped up my available savings, about 9 cents, 
grabbed Tony and went back and paid my cousins to come out and 


Early Years 

play. Now you might think that 9 cents spread among the cousins 
are not a very significant bribe, but a penny would buy a double 
bubble gum wrapped in a small waxy comic strip, or two hard 
candy root beer barrels, or a jaw breaker, or two chicklets, or any 
one of dozens of delightful items. 

We had our first game ever on the lucerne field. It wasn’t the 
world’s best game and unfortunately it also turned out to be our 
last. The closest I ever got to the Major Leagues was playing 
second base on my grade school baseball team. 

Basketball : On a similar note I got a basketball for Christmas and 
then when spring came I realized I had no hoop. I took some of 
my meager savings and bought a metal hoop with a net that could 
be attached. I searched all over our home territory for a place to 
mount the hoop. Nothing looked promising. One day I stumbled 
into a wooden pallet at DTR, the family home furnishing store and 
thought this is it. I covered the pallet slats on one side with 
particle board to make a smooth surface and put two large lag 
screws directly through the pallet and mounted the hoop. This was 
to be my backboard. 

There was an electrical power pole in the north end of the same 
field where I had built the baseball diamond. This was the best and 
maybe the only spot I could mount the backboard and hoop. My 
cousin John helped me push the board up on the pole and held it 
while I twisted the lag screws into the pole. We pushed and tugged 
as hard as we could with our 5-foot ladder, but when it was all 
installed the hoop was a little more than a foot too low. This 
wasn't a big issue because the field sloped so much that shots from 
the west still had to be aimed higher than normal and shots from 
the east were almost a flat-footed slam dunk. Overall it wasn't too 
bad when the stubble got trampled down. This was a good activity 
alone if necessary and when Cousin John would join me now and 
then it was a great event. 

Soapbox Racing : I had seen pictures of a soapbox derby with 
some nice looking cars build by kids about my age. This seemed 
to have real possibilities. On the mountain, we certainly had the 
altitude to launch a two or three mile downhill ride before coming 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

into any civilization. There was all the potential for a really great 

So I went to my local supply place, our mountainside dump. This 
was where the gopher hole had funneled the whole irrigation 
stream over the mountain side and washed out a good sized ravine. 
There was no garbage service where we lived, so this ravine 
became the repository of all our trash and also my Uncle’s family 
garbage as well. Many happy hours were spent here sifting 
through cast off items which might still have value. The dump was 
a young boy’s dream come true. You could spend hours in the 
wash throwing rocks at discarded bottles and enjoy the sound of 
tinkling glass. Tin cans also made great targets for my BB gun 
practice. There was a great variety of discarded stuff. With just a 
little imagination the possibilities were endless. 

In the dump I found a discarded baby buggy and some rusty parts 
of a child’s wagon. Perfect! The buggy had two good wheels on a 
steel axle and the wagon had two rear wheels and an axle intact. I 
searched our garage and chicken coop for some boards and found a 
couple of 1" x 8" pieces that looked long enough, a piece of 2"x 4" 
and an old wooden apple crate. From these materials emerged a 
beautiful race car. The 2x4 pieces supported the axles. The front 
axle on the 2 x 4 was fastened with a bolt that allowed it to pivot 
for steering. The wooden crate made the front hood. There was no 
engine to go under the hood, but there was space for my feet to 
tuck up into the apple box. Tony helped some with the construction 
and when it was all done we were ready for the trial run. 

We went to where our rough mountain road got very steep, and 
both sat down on the board chassis. A rope fastened to each end of 
the pivoting front 2x4, gave the front axle and wheels ability to 
steer. We both gave a push and tucked our legs back in. After we 
had picked up incredible speed it occurred to me that we had made 
no provision for braking. Since the road was cut out of the steep 
mountain side, the right side was a huge wall and the left side was 
a sheer drop off with some scrub oak struggling to grow here and 

Our speed increased. We hurtled faster and faster and bounced 
hard on the big rocks in the road. Tony bounced off the back. I 
began to calculate whether it would be better to hit the wall on the 


Early Years 

right side of the dug way, or sail off the edge to the left. Before I 
came to a clear conclusion the race car hit a series of boulders in 
the road and the next thing I knew I was sailing off the edge of the 
sheer drop. As I was flying through the air, I looked up and my 
race car was above me in the air with the wheels still spinning. I 
took one bounce and ended up in a clump of low-growing oak. 
The car was not as lucky as it shattered against the trunk of a 
sturdier oak. 

Tony came limping down the road rubbing his bleeding legs and 
peered over the edge to survey the damage. It was not a pretty 
sight. Some items were salvageable and some were not. I was 
bleeding here and there, but was in one piece. We gathered up all 
the pieces that we could use for another try and took them home. 
There was some significant discussion at the dinner table that 
evening. My father and mother had pointed questions about tom 
clothing and bloody body parts and serious doubts about the value 
of this activity. 

Several more revised models were constructed and tried. Even 
though we did add brakes to later models, disaster again was the 
usual result. None made the speedy, uninterrupted two-mile run 
we had hoped for. 

Sleigh Riding : As unsuccessful as I was in building racecars that 
could speed down the steep road, my luck was much better on a 
sleigh. The fact that my sled was built in a factory undoubtedly 
helped. I got the sleigh for Christmas when I was about seven or 
eight. It was a Flexible Flyer with beautiful hardwood slats 
making the sled deck. It had steel runners painted red and a 
steering bar that pivoted across the front and could flex the runners 
to the right or the left. This beauty could hold three of us kids 
sitting up or two adults while the driver steered with his or her feet. 
If a person really wanted to sail down the hill at high speeds it was 
best to have just one person lay flat with head first and hands on 
the steering bar. In today’s world I’m sure a crash helmet would 
be required, but in my childhood no one had ever heard of a crash 

I remember one day, a couple of years later, when the conditions 
were just right. New snow had fallen during the night. A few cars 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

had packed the snow, leaving a blisteringly fast track. I took a 
running dive onto the sled with stomach down and hands on the 
steering bar. I didn’t have any clear plan except to GO. Go I did. 
It was the fastest ride I’d ever had. My sled came off the 
mountainside faster by far than you could ever go in a car over that 
same ground. There were three “dead man curves” to negotiate at 
high speed. The first and easiest of these curves was where I 
always lost control in the go-carts and sailed over the edge of the 
road. The last and worst of these turns was the right angle turn 
where my mother had skidded off the dry gravel of the road in the 
car. I had never reached this turn in a go-cart. 

On my fantastic Flexible Flyer I made all these harrowing turns, 
spraying clouds of powder behind me. I rolled to the inside edge of 
the sled to keep control during the lightning fast turns. The last 
turn put me on what is now North Templeview Drive. In those 
days it was just a county gravel road which blended smoothly into 
Ninth East with no major turns. This road ran south all the way 
down to Center Street in Provo about three miles later. 

Faster than you could blink an eye that’s just where I found 
myself with my Flexible Flyer, Center and Ninth East. As I 
swerved to a stop I had the painful realization that in no time at all 
I had put myself three miles from home. It was all up hill on 
snowy roads to get back. I had tied a small rope on the front of my 
sled and like a balky mule I pulled my sled back uphill for more 
than an hour to return home. 

After that I tried to think a little harder about where I was going 
and the balance between fun and recovery time. 

First Skis : When I was still in grade school I was ecstatic to get a 
pair of skies for Christmas. They were red, made of wood, almost 
4 feet long and with one little slot cut through each of them. 
Through each these two slots were little leather belts which went 
over the arch of each foot. Snowfall was good that year and it 
wasn’t hard to talk my brother and cousins into a snow adventure. 
Sleighs and skis were collected and we headed down the mountain 
just west of my cousins’ house to a steep run off that we called the 
“hogs back.” There were some great runs there just waiting to be 


Early Years 

conquered. The powdered snow had not been worked over and the 
surface was just right. 

I was eager to try my new skis so I strapped them over my big 
rubber galoshes, pointed downhill and away I went. I didn’t know 
how to turn, but it didn’t matter because the skis with the simple 
strap binding didn’t turn anyway. Swoosh straight down. Fall to 
stop. Walk back up and do it all again. The sleigh runs were 
equally fun for all. We had many glorious days in the snow. 

I bought my first pair of real skis when I was in high school. 
They were Army surplus, 7’4,” all white, made for paratroopers 
with unforgiving (“bear trap”) cable bindings. The set cost $14 
with bindings and poles. They needed no safety straps because the 
ski could not come off unless your leg was tom from your body. 
Unlike my childhood skis these did turn when your foot turned. 
Though they were 2 feet too long, it was a whole new world. 

The best and closest skiing was at Timp Haven in the North Fork 
of Provo Canyon. Here they had a rope tow for beginners and steel 
cable for the advanced skiers. To use the steel cable, each skier 
was issued a steel hook with a rope attached and at the end of the 
rope was a wooden bar about 15" long. The skier put the hook on 
the moving steel cable, and then swung the bar between his or her 
legs, the cable caught the hook and created kind of a rustic Poma 
lift. To get off, the skier removed the wooden bar from between 
his or her legs, took the tension off the rope and hook and removed 
it from the moving steel cable. Then, standing at the top of the run 
you wrapped the rope, hook and wooden bar around your waist and 
skied down to the bottom for the next run. Years later Timp Haven 
became Sundance when Robert Redford bought the ski lift area 
and the surrounding property from the Stewart Family and 
significantly upgraded the ski resort and the surrounding property. 

Rock Rolling : One of my favorite pastimes, when there was no 
one else to play with, was rolling rocks. The best place to do this 
was to climb one-third to half of the way to the top of our 
mountain (to about 6,000 feet on an 8,000-foot mountain). There 
was a plentiful supply of rocks all over mountain and the steep 60 
% grade was perfect. The ideal size for a rolling rock was 12” to 
15" diameter. This size might weight 25 to 45 pound. These 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

rolled beautifully and picked up tremendous speed as they 
descended, bouncing as they went. When a rock hit sage brush or 
a patch of Gambel Oak it just crashed through and kept rolling. If 
my rock hit a rock outcropping one or both might explode into 
fragments. It was spectacular. 

I was 10 when WWII began, and I dreamt of being a bombardier 
in a B-17 Flying Fortress. I even sent into General Mills to get a 
little bombardier kit. It took a Wheaties box top and 25 cents to 
place the order. It was exciting when it finally arrived. It had a 
see-through sight with crosshairs and a little release button which 
would drop small plastic bombs onto the enemy’s fortifications, or 
into a cluster of insurgents who were trying to invade my lead 
soldiers’ territory. 

These bombardier skills were transferred from my small plastic 
bombs to the rock bombs on the mountain as they rolled and 
crashed down. There were always targets below for a skilled 
WWII bombardier and I worked on trajectories until I became 
expert. Every day all imaginary enemies on the mountain were 

Unfortunately, my fun was not to last through the duration of the 
war. My Aunt Celestia, the mother of John and Janice, et al., heard 
of my exploits and called me on the carpet. Enhanced 
interrogation was used and I was forced to confess to the rock 
rolling, bombing raids. 

I got a long lecture about the dangers of these hurtling missiles 
possibly hitting things below: people, dogs, cats, sheep, etc. Then 
with full collaboration of my parents I was banned from this 
exciting activity. I don't think that the ban stopped me entirely, but 
it did slow me down and significantly increased the caution I used. 
I never heard about the issue again so I must have been adequately 
obedient or stealthy. 

Years later, in 1954, the experiences of my errant youth saved a 
few lives. Colette and I, before we were married, along with 
Cousin John and his date were climbing Mt Timpanogos a nearly 
12,000-foot mountain north of my home. It was an annual hike 
and many people who lived in the area made this trek on the 
designated day in late July. Near the top of the mountain, even in 
July, there was a very steep snow bank called the Glacier with 


Early Years 

about a two thousand foot vertical drop. The huge snow bank had 
sheer cliffs rising two thousand feet on both sides with a saddle at 
the top where you could climb off the snow and proceed along a 
very narrow stony ridge to the summit. 

Colette, John, his date and I had been to the summit and on our 
descent we slid halfway down the steepest upper half of the 
Glacier. We were making our way down the lower portion of the 
icy snow when a sharp crack, like a rifle shot, echoed in this box 
canyon. I looked up to see a huge section of the limestone cliffs 
break off near the top. A score or more boulders the size of 
refrigerators and innumerable smaller ones came crashing down 
onto the steep snow bank, picking up speed as they raced down 
toward us. The normal instinct was run hard, down and away from 
the oncoming stones, but from my rock rolling I knew immediately 
that we could not outrun the massive boulders and that the 
trajectory of the oncoming stones would change. I pulled Colette, 
against her will, across the mountain into what looked like the 
oncoming path of the boulders. As we moved horizontally to our 
right, we saw the huge stones gradually yield to the pull of gravity 
and bend their course onto fall line at our left; toward the spot 
where we had been standing. With just a few more steps it became 
clear that we were no longer in the destructive path of the broken 
cliff. Several who were above and below us followed our lead to 
safety by moving laterally across the bank. 

Unfortunately, one young woman had followed her instincts to 
run straight down in the futile attempt to outrun the massive 
boulders. She was crushed by one of the immense crashing stones. 
It was a sorrowful and somber experience to see that happen right 
before us. For just a moment I paused to offer a silent prayer for 
the stricken girl and give thanks for our narrow escape. Across my 
mind flashed my misspent years rolling rocks on the mountain. 
Perhaps these happy years of close association with the pull of 
gravity were better spent than I knew. 

Gravity was my playmate as I grew up. It is a very reliable 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

5. Fireworks & Fire 

Richfield. Utah : I love the 4 th of July. The rocket’s red glare, the 
bombs bursting in air, parades, band concerts, carnivals, family 
picnics and personal fireworks all go to make the day magical. 

By late May our school was out for the summer, and with 
Memorial Day our family was free to make a vacation trip to 
mother's family home in Richfield, Utah. Not too many folks find 
that their heart beats faster at the prospect of a trip to Richfield. 
Where is Richfield, some might even ask? Well it is just a bit 
southwest of Levan, Utah and Levan spelled backward is navel and 
as you might expect it is right on the belly button of the State. Now 
you're oriented. 

Think what you may, I was excited to go to Richfield. It was the 
home of the Grandma Hansen and where she raised her family. 
Alta and all of her siblings grew up there. Richfield had paved 
streets for 10 blocks in any direction, and it was all flat in contrast 
to the steep, rocky road to my home on the mountain. Biking at 
home was really rough, and roller skating was impossible. But 
Richfield was civilized. Within a block and a half of my 
grandmother's house was an actual gas station that sold a wondrous 
array of penny candies, bubble gum, and suckers. Just another 
block away down Main Street was a drug store that served root 
beer floats for a dime. Then half a block up a side street was a 
bakery that sold the best raisin filled cookies in the world. 

While these trappings of civilization were breathtaking, even 
more important was that my cousin Bob Hansen lived there. He 
was 10, three years older than I and was a sophisticated man of the 
world. He had bright red hair, just like me, was about 12” taller 
and weighed 60 pounds more. When the kids of Richfield saw us 
together, they called us big Bob and little Bob. 

Bob had serious research skills on important matters, such as 
where can we get fireworks? When I got to Richfield, he already 
had a brand new catalog from the Star Spangled Fireworks 
Company in Polk, Ohio. We spent hours poring over this exciting 
publication. We pooled all of our funds and were short of what we 
needed to get the premium assortment, so we went to work doing 
lawns, collecting pop bottles for refunds and other odd jobs. When 

Early Years 

we had enough, we sent our order away to Polk, Ohio and waited 
eagerly for the Star Spangled premium assortment to arrive. 

In due time the big brown box was delivered; excitement ran 
high. We unpacked and carefully inspected every brightly 
packaged item, read each label carefully to see what it would do 
and then compared it back to the catalog description. All the kids 
in town heard that our order had come in. We were forced to take 
the whole box to grandma’s big front porch and let the viewing 
begin. Earlier, I had borrowed Jeanie Fulenbaugh’s bike for a few 
rides around town on the incredibly flat, paved streets. 
Unfortunately, I blew out her front tire. When I saw that she loved 
the fireworks so much, I offered to give her first choice from items 
in the box, for repayment. She chose two powerful Cherry Bombs 
for her payment. My mother didn’t feel that this was a fair trade, 
but Jeanie was thrilled with the deal. She undoubtedly had some 
terrorist activity in mind. 

When Bob and I saw the wide-eyed demand for these firework 
items, we decided to sell a few to the crowd. We carefully selected 
the items we were willing to part with and sold them. In no time 
we had enough money to order a second premium set and still had 
many of the best items reserved from our first order. Then we sold 
some more pieces from the second box when it came and saved up 
enough money for a large order next year. 

On the eve of July 4 th , it was time to light off all the fireworks we 
had kept. All of Grandma Hansen's extended family and some 
neighbors, probably 40 to 50 men, women and children gathered at 
grandma’s home. Seating was on the front porch and steps. Bob 
and I centered our ignition area in the middle of the front lawn. 
Our premium fireworks pieces provided the fiery display of a 
lifetime. It was glorious. 

I even had a few fireworks to take back to our mountain home. 

Burning Mountain : Melba Leichty, Ephraim's second daughter- 
about 14, had been enlisted to babysit Tony, age 3, and me. It was 
just before the Twenty-Fourth of July, Pioneer Day in Utah. The 
evening was hot, and we had run out of daylight and exciting 
things to do. I had a few fireworks stowed away for the holiday, 
and after a lot of negotiation, we convinced Melba that we could at 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

least use the sparklers if we stayed on our front lawn which was 
green and safe. 

Things went extremely well for several sparklers each. We were 
thrilled to run around on the grass and write designs in the air. 
This level of excitement only holds a young boy's interest for so 
long. The obvious next step was to throw the burning, spark¬ 
spitting wire as high into the air as possible to create a personal 
shooting star. The flying sparklers added a whole new dimension 
to our play and were almost as good as launching rockets. 

This delightfully rewarding activity was going quite smoothly 
until I accidentally threw one that went high and wide, over the 
shrubs and out onto the raw mountainside. The native grass was 
tinder dry. And when the hissing, spitting sparkler hit down the 
area virtually exploded into flame. 

I knew immediately I was in big trouble and though I was 
barefoot, as usual, I raced to the burning dry grass and began to 
stomp out the flames. This effort met with some limited success, 
but the diameter of the burning flames increased much faster than I 
could stomp. Melba tried to turn the garden hose onto the flames, 
but the fire was well beyond reach with our limited water pressure. 
Tony was just enjoying the excitement and spectacle of it all. 

I ran back some distance to the garage and grabbed a shovel and 
returned to the huge fire line that had developed and began at the 
upper end to swat at the flames. While I was working down the 
line, the lower grass fire got away and rapidly headed south into 
scrub oak that was green, but as dry as the grass. The flames 
spread and lighted the whole mountainside. The flames could be 
seen well throughout the valley below, and within 15 to 20 minutes 
people began to arrive from the valley. They had brought shovels 
and wet burlap sacks and immediately pitched in. The fire's size 
now provided a huge area to work. It had raced well up and down 
the mountain, engulfing large clumps of scrub oak. 

About an hour later I saw my folk’s car coming up the mountain 
road-fast. I had hoped the fire could be out before they got home, 
but they had seen my handiwork from across the valley and 
returned early. I was forcefully retired from my firefighting efforts 
and my father took over those duties while my mother ran the 
inevitable inquisition. She was always the best at this. I was 


Early Years 

found guilty of gross negligence and given stem warnings to use 
better judgment with fireworks in the future. All of this made a big 
impression, and I would like to say that I learned my lesson well 
because I was really careful with fireworks after that. 

The problem was that a year or two later a friend asked me, 
incredulously, how in the world anyone could set a mountain on 
fire. I was eager to demonstrate that it was really easy and tossed a 
burning match in the dry grass knowing handbills that I could put 
this one out before it went anywhere. But no! It completely got 
away again, and I burned the mountainside a second time. In later 
years those who built homes and moved to these mountain foothills 
were fortunate. I had grown up, found other entertainment and 
ultimately moved away. They were safe. 

Range Fire, Moab, UT: When I was 13 or 14 I went to stay with 
my cousin Bob, the son of Uncle Arch and Aunt Rene Hansen. I’m 
sure that this was a good break for my mother and I really valued 
the company of my cousin. It was a win-win. The Hansen family 
had moved to Moab where Uncle Arch was a Federal Bureau of 
Land Management Ranger. By this time Kelly, their eldest son, 
was away at school. 

I loved the red dirt of Moab and the ditch that ran in front of the 
house with red muddy water. Their home had a yard that sloped 
down from the street and continued downward well past their back 
yard. Bob had to work part of the day, so I spent time damming the 
stream so the red water would flood over the bank and down the 
hill into intricate channels, waterfalls, and reservoirs I had built. It 
was very rewarding work. 

One evening Uncle Arch came home earlier than usual and said 
that there was a huge range fire out to the east, toward Colorado 
and asked if Bob and I were interested in going with him to help 
fight the fire. We were both thrilled to go. We traveled a long time 
on rustic back roads. It was completely dark when we crested a 
large hill and saw the fire. It was huge and stretched before us in 
all directions further than we could see. At that point Arch drove 
down off the sketchy road, we had been using and headed directly 
across the range toward the fire line. He parked the truck, and he 
gave us shovels to use on the fire. A few other trucks arrived 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

shortly after us with men that Arch seemed to know. Arch assigned 
us all a starting point, and we all began chasing the fire in different 
directions. Bob and I worked together as we moved along our fire 
line. We worked as fast as we could sometimes running to catch up 
with the fire and killed it as we went. The fire moved fast, and we 
had to move faster than it did. 

Three or four hours passed as we fought the blaze. We finally got 
ahead of the fire and extinguished all that was left of the fire line 
that we had followed. With the flames gone it was very dark. There 
was no moon. I could see the stars and could tell which way was 
north but had no idea which direction we had been traveling all 
night as we fought the fire. If we had traveled at 2 to 3 miles per 
hour as we worked we could be 6 to 12 miles from the trucks. We 
had both failed to orient ourselves at the start and now had no idea 
how to get back to where we had parked. We walked for a while 
totally unsure of where we were going. The adrenalin was gone, 
and we were drooping. In the 1940s Moab was almost "nowhere," 
and now we were 100 miles east of nowhere, on a desert range, 
almost to the Colorado border. 

We stopped walking and talked together about our plight and 
realized we could be getting further away from our destination, 
rather than closer. Bob said “It’s prayer time” and I agreed. We 
had a heartfelt prayer and then just stood for a while. I had a clear 
impression that I should look up, but I thought, “That’s not a good 
answer. I’m already oriented to the constellations and North Star, 
but I still don’t know which way to go.” 

Bob had the same impression to look up, but had more faith and 
didn’t even consider celestial navigation. He expected a guardian 
angel to put instructions in the sky, but the sky was dark. He took 
out his flashlight and pointed the beam as he looked up. The 
flashlight had been of no use while we fought the fire and it wasn’t 
much use in our first attempts to walk back to the trucks. When he 
looked up Bob sort of randomly flashed the beam around the sky. 
Then we both saw something shiny up there. It was a copper wire 
overhead. I felt strongly impressed to follow it along. I said to Bob, 
“It has to go somewhere.” We asked each other which way to 
follow, and we both felt we should follow the line to the northwest. 


Early Years 

We walked, following the line for a couple of hours and saw no 
sign of the trucks, but we both still felt this was right. Finally, we 
came to the top of one of the larger rolling hills and in the far 
distance the flashlight caught something reflective. We now 
walked briskly for another half hour, toward the reflection. Finally 
when we were about half a mile from the reflections we could 
make out something that might be trucks. In another 800 yards we 
were sure the Lord had answered our prayers as we saw more 
reflections and a small campfire. 

When we walked into camp all the men there were happy to see 
us. They had begun to worry. A breakfast of bacon and eggs and 
hot chocolate was waiting for us. Both of us were starved and 
enjoyed that 4 am meal more than any I can remember. 

Once again I was reinforced in the belief that Heavenly Father is 
there and hears and answers prayers and gives the guidance that’s 
needed. I also learned that you don’t argue with instructions 

6. Water Turns, Hiccups & Ants 

It was going to be a sweltering day in August. I was 8 and a half. 
Though it was still early morning it was hot already. The earth 
would be scorching. I dressed in my usual summer attire as I 
rolled out of bed and stepped into my Oshkosh B’Gosh overalls. 
After the straps were fastened at the shoulders I was set for the 
day. Shoes and shirt were not required and personal hygiene at 
this point in life was not complicated. 

As I came downstairs, my mother said father would like to speak 
to me. He was always “father” and never daddy, or papa, etc. He 
and his brothers managed DTR a chain of home furnishings stores 
in central Utah. He was the financial officer of the business and 
worked six long days a week in a suit and tie. On Sundays, he was 
consistently involved in various Church leadership assignments 
which also required a suit and tie. National holidays were his only 
break when he could put on more casual clothing and work in the 
yard. Casual clothing for him was a frayed white dress shirt and 
worn out suit pants. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

I was concerned. There were numerous topics which I would 
prefer to avoid such as lost tools, insufficient help to my mother, 
teasing my brother, being late for supper, and so on. The topic he 
wanted to talk about was our watering turn. This was a great relief. 

Our watering turn came every eight days and four hours. It was a 
critical event. Folks who live east of the Mississippi can't begin to 
understand this because they get rain every week and sometimes 
floods. But in the west there is little precipitation, and there is no 
water. Youngsters in the west living in managed communities 
don't know this. They only know that you turn on a tap and there's 
the water. This water in the barren west is possible only because 
of the tall mountains which rake a little moisture out of the clouds 
that pass over, especially in the form of winter snow. Through the 
summer this snow melts and small streams run down from the 
mountains. Gun battles and lawsuits were plentiful over water 
rights in the west. Once the battles were resolved, access to these 
streams was generally managed by a water company which could 
sell a limited number of shares. We had such shares in the small 
stream that ran out of Rock Canyon, and this gave us our watering 
turn. Without this we could have no household water; vegetable 
garden, fruit trees, or chickens and landscaping would all die. 

My father rather solemnly asked me if I thought I could manage 
our water turn. He had a meeting that day and was unable to do it 
himself. I was flattered that he felt that I could take this 
assignment. I said yes, I thought I could. He gave me a copy of 
our water turn notice and told me to get my $2 Ingersoll watch. He 
said if anyone questioned me about what I was doing with the 
water to show them the notice and the time. He suggested that 
showing proof of our turn would be better than getting shot by a 
neighbor suspecting water piracy by a young boy. I tucked the 
notice and the watch in the into the chest pockets of my bib 

Our turn for the water stream was to begin at 10 AM. I knew 
from having tagged along with my father that I would have to start 
out for the canyon at least an hour before that, so I had breakfast 
and set out with a shovel. To get to the diversion box in the mouth 
of the canyon, a mile and a half away, I walked up the dry 
irrigation ditch. It had been cut out of the side of the mountain 


Early Years 

following the contours. The ditch ascended steadily from my house 
to the diversion box. This not only served as the most direct route, 
but it also gave me a chance to inspect the earthen ditch. All 
diversions had to be tightly dammed off with dirt shoveled and 
packed in place. Care also had to be taken to close off any gopher 
holes that might have penetrated the ditch. Once, before my time, 
one such hole had not been plugged, and the whole stream ran over 
the mountainside and washed out the huge gully that became our 
garbage dump. 

Because water flowed periodically in the ditch, there was a 
beautifully thick section of poison ivy that grew along the banks. 
This didn't bother me much because I seemed not to have any 
reaction to the plant. It was not so for my brother Steve who in 
later years was severely laid up with huge weeping blisters and 

A little before 10 AM I arrived at the diversion box. It was an 
open concrete rectangle about 8’ by 15’ and was about 4 or 5 feet 
deep. All the water that came from the canyon flowed into the 
box. The water was only about 8” deep because it was flowing out 
through the north gate. Exactly on the hour I closed the north gate 
and the level in the box immediately began to rise. This was a 
strategic mistake because the rising water began to press more 
heavily on our gate at the south end of the box. Our gate didn’t 
come up with my first tug as I stood on the wall pulling as hard as I 
could. Panic struck. I quickly jumped down into the rising water 
with a prayer in my heart and pushed up with the full strength of 
my legs this time. The water was still below my Ingersoll watch 
but was rising fast. Pushing up with all my strength the gate 
overpass a little at first and a trickle of water was released. I 
pushed up again, and the gate yielded. I pulled it all the way up 
and pegged it in place. 

The next job was to walk down with the advancing stream and 
make sure that the water got all the way to the destination. When 
the stream got to our house, the high priority was to fill our cistern. 
Our house had a full basement, and half of that was devoted to 
water storage. This cistern was a large rectangle about 9’ deep. 
The cistern held the only water we had between water turns. It had 
to supply water for internal plumbing fixtures and outside hose 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

bibs, both for our house and my Uncle Lynn’s house a quarter mile 

After the cistern was full, I diverted the stream to our fruit trees 
and then the vegetable garden. Last of all was the landscaping. 
Our lawns were contoured so that water released at the top would 
flow down around the north and west sides of our house, probably 
90-yard sweep. The edges were banked up about 4 inches so that 
water could pool up a little as it flowed down the yard and not go 
down over the mountain. When that part of the yard was done, the 
water was directed to the east and south sides of our house for 
irrigation there. The water in the yard also flowed to the base of 
all our landscape trees and bushes. Our watering turn lasted for 2 
hours and when the last of the water trickled down about 12:30 
everything had requirements. 

When lunch was finished, I decided to check to see if any fruit 
remained on the apricot tree that was partway down the road 
toward Uncle Lynn's house. In the shade of the higher branches of 
the tree, there was a little relief from the extreme heat of the day, 
but the apricots were long gone. From that vantage point, I saw a 
funny thing. Coming up the dirt road was my 
four-year-old brother Tony. He was a thin 
towheaded lad with wavy hair. His hair was as 
tough and wiry as an Airedale and his barber 
suggested that mother should take him to a pet 
groomer. He was barefoot on the sizzling hot 
road and was dancing and jumping from weed to Tony about 4 
weed to avoid the burning hot rocks and dirt. In 
addition to the exotic jumping and dancing he also had a case of 
hiccups so bad that I could hear him coming from way down the 
road. He shook so hard that his hair was going in all directions. 
Between the body-shaking hiccups and the weed to weed dance he 
was an entertaining spectacle. 

I had heard that an excellent cure for the hiccups was severe 
fright. The resulting shock could wipe them out. I thought to 
myself what better chance would I ever get to test this out? 
Stealthily I came down from the apricot tree and went further up 
the road toward our house and hid in a hedge row of sumac bushes. 


Early Years 

In a short while, I could hear Tony coming along ...hie 

Just as he hip-hopped a step or two past me, I leaped out of the 
bushes with a mighty roar and grabbed him from behind. He 
screamed, shook all over and wet his pants. And then he began to 
cry and yell for mother. I had expected that when he saw it was 
me, he could calm down and recognize that I was only trying to 
cure his hiccups, but no. He looked straight at my face with glassy 
eyes and still had terror written all over him. He was in shock, but I 
was pleased to note that his hiccups were gone. His screaming sobs 
continued and he streaked for home on the dead run, yelling for 
mother. I noticed that the road was so hot and dry that the puddle 
was practically gone already and the last vapors were just wafting 

As I was headed toward the house to explain the situation to 
mother, I noticed something strange. A dead grasshopper with its 
legs in the air was moving along the road. How can this happen? 
Looking closer I saw that two ants had the grasshopper, probably 
30 times their combined size and were carrying, pulling and 
pushing it toward a large red ant hill. These large red ants can take 
out a chunk of human flesh when they bite. Red ants were 
plentiful on our mountain. The two ants with the grasshopper had a 
dozen more yards to cover over rough terrain to reach the ant pile. 
The grasshopper was dead weight and the two ants had all they 
could handle, but they wouldn't give up. They changed positions 
frequently but kept forging forward. Even if they can get to the 
pile, I wondered, "How will they ever get it down the hole?" Once 
they got to the outer perimeter of the pile out came dozens more 
workers. Each one, in turn, would bite off a piece and take it down 
the hole. In a relatively short time, the grasshopper was gone. It 
was fascinating. 

I regained focus and was headed for the house when out the back 
door and through the garage came my mother moving fast, with a 
broom in her hand. This was trouble. A broom was her weapon of 
choice, though I never remember her actually hitting me with it. 
She spotted me immediately and let out a war cry...”H E N R Y 
BROTHER!!!” This name is how she kept me straight from 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

my father who was called just plain Henry. She was coming with 
the speed of light. I should have stood my ground and taken a 
licking and at the same time tried to explain that what I had done 
was purely in the interests of medical science. But for some 
reason, that escapes me now, I ran for it. I was prepared to run a 
mile if need be and my mother sensed this, so she stopped and 

Immediately I knew that I had chosen poorly. My mother might 
have given me a few whops with the broom which weren’t really 
too bad and then scolded me soundly at which point it would be 
over. She had a mercurial temperament, but once justice was met 
she was marvelous to regain her composure and dismiss the issue. 
She never held a grudge or unduly prolonged the scolding period. 
Clearly, it would have been the best choice to take her wrath 
straight on. 

Being turned over to my father was the worst of all punishments. 
He never in my memory spanked, or whipped me and his 
demeanor was always calm. What he did was engage me in a 
“thoughtful talk.” There might be a short sermon, but the terrible 
part was his drawing out of me a personal recognition of what I 
had done wrong and what I needed to do to improve in the future. 
This was a painfully wrenching punishment. 

I stayed clear of the home for as long as I could, worrying all the 
while. I could hear the sermon already. “Am I my brother’s 
keeper?” “Do unto others...” “He who calls his brother a fool (or 
treats him as one) is in danger of hell fire.” Toward evening I 
came home awaiting my doom. My father took me for a walk. 
This was a huge break. I took the initiative and toured him through 
the management of our watering turn that morning. I showed him 
how I especially had brought water to his favorite young Bing 
cherry tree and watered the garden. Then I talked him through the 
filling of the cistern and the watering of all the landscape and 
scaring the hiccups out of Tony. 

Finally, he said, "What have you learned today?" I thought for a 
minute and finally said: 

• I can do some hard things if I need to and I believe the Lord 
will help me if I ask. 


Early Years 

• Secondly, I learned that extreme fright does cure hiccups. 

• Thirdly, if there is a problem with Tony, I should get to 
mother before he does and explain what happened. 

On the third point I had been negligent and was sure that mother 
would have appreciated the advancement of medical knowledge 
that had taken place that very day if I had caught her in time. My 
father asked why I hadn’t gotten to my mother sooner to explain. I 
told him about the interesting struggle of the two ants and the huge 
dead grasshopper and how they got it to the pile but couldn’t get it 
down the hole. Then described how the whole colony seemed to 
come out to help dissect and transport pieces down the hole. 

My father thought for a minute and said, “The lessons you 
learned were good ones and those ants taught you another 
important lesson. The two ants did hard things just like you did 
today. But in addition, that whole pile is a family, and when the 
task was too hard for the two ants, the whole family came to help. 
Add that to the things you learned, and I think that you had a very 
good day and I'm proud of you.” 

As we walked back to the house he said, “Your mother was 
pretty worked up about Tony’s trauma. It would be best if you 
didn’t tell her too much about our talk this evening.” 

7. Bad Luck with Birthday Parties 

Grade School: My hosting experience with parties had not been 
good. We lived in an uncivilized area well outside the city of 
Provo. Our home was so far out of the city that friends at school 
would ask me how the weather was at my house as if it were in a 
different country. Really though it was a fair question because if 
Provo City got two inches of snow, we got six to eight inches on 
the mountain. 

Likely because of our remoteness I don't remember having 
typical birthday parties where friends came to our home, played 
games and had cake. By the time I was eight or nine it was clear 
that I was underprivileged and I mounted a full campaign to fix 
this. Yielding to extensive persuasion, my parents made a great 
effort to adjust their lives so that my mother could keep the car for 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

the day. She drove down to Provo, picked up each of my 12 invited 
friends and brought them to our home on the mountain for a 
birthday party. This was the first party in memory where I had my 
actual friends in attendance. All went quite well until the games 
got quite lively. The happy shrieks and floor stomping excited a 
family of civet cats (skunks with spots, not stripes) that lived under 
our house, and caused them to do what they do best. Soon the 
house filled with an odor so strong that my friends started to 
scream. The party ended abruptly. My mother had made cupcakes 
with green frosting. She handed one to each child and said, “Run 
for the car.” The 12 kids with their cupcakes quickly piled into our 
1940 Ford (seat belts were not required in those days) and the 
shuttle back to Provo began in a car overflowing with terrorized 

High School: By the time I was a junior at BY High School my 
experience with social gatherings at our home had not progressed 
at all, so I decided to take my age-17 birthday party into my own 
hands. I talked friends into joining me for an early spring picnic, 
rather than a house party. The response was good. Some serious 
arm twisting freed a few family cars so my friends could drive. 
Some rode with me, and the rest were in a couple of other cars. 
They followed me to the mouth of Rock Canyon, which was 
relatively near my home. This was still a pretty primitive area at 
the time. Ninth East was a gravel roadtwoand the road to the 
mouth of Rock Canyon was a Jeep trail at best. 

We arrived in one piece, with only one reckless driving ticket on 
the way. The group included Jack Zenger, Armond Hawley, 
Marion and Marilyn Norton, Gene Tuttle, Karl Snow, Ken Collard, 
Mary Young, Paul Clark and several others. 

We built a fire on some rocky, ground at the mouth of the canyon, 
and cooked hot dogs. Then as the sun set, we roasted 
marshmallows, sang songs and told stories. Some of the group had 
cut their roasting sticks from a little thicket close by. In February 
there was still some snow on the ground and no leaves on any 
bushes or trees, the thicket looked to me like it could be poison ivy 
and I suggested that it may be better to look elsewhere for roasting 


Early Years 

sticks. Everyone said “Oh no, we know what poison ivy looks 
like” and went ahead with their cutting. 

It was a grand evening. 

A day later Marion and Armond failed to show up at school. 
Marion had gone to the hospital with terrible, painful, itching skin 
eruptions and Armond was confined to bed with big weeping 
blisters all over his body. A few others had somewhat less 
dramatic, but very uncomfortable ailments. The ill effects lasted 
for weeks. The leafless thicket had indeed been poison ivy. 

My social reputation for good parties did not blossom as hoped. 
Attending parties in the wilds at, or near my home, planned by 
Hank were suspect and may be best to avoid. Things improved 
only gradually as new homes began to dot the mountainside and 
this previously untamed area was annexed to the city. 

8. Scouting 

Scout Troop in the Pleasant View Ward of the Sharon Stake was 
a joy. We had twelve to 15 rough and ready boys mostly with rural 
backgrounds. We had some great scoutmasters who were mostly 
interested in camping, fishing, and backpacking in the remote 
Wasatch Mountains and the High Uintah Mountains. Few had 
interest in the paperwork and awards of scouting. The turnover of 
leaders was pretty high. Maybe we were an undesirable group. 

We loved hiking into uncharted territory and making camp. We 
cut pine boughs to make soft, springy beds and told stories late into 
the nights around the campfire. The more remote the spot, the 
more we liked it. Our camps were mostly in the wooded mountain 
areas with a stream or lake nearby. There we practiced throwing 
axes at trees, shooting bows and arrows and some boys brought 
guns so we could shoot at targets. We had water fights in the 
stream or lakes and tied off ropes high in trees to make awesome 
swings. Some boys fished, and some climbed nearby peaks. We 
were probably pretty uncivilized. 

Then one day we got a new Scoutmaster who thought we ought 
to learn something more than wilderness survival and start to 
advance in the ranks of scouting. He interviewed each one of us 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

individually. That was new. When school was out, he scheduled us 
into a scout camp to be run by the Scout Council. The group 
showed up as usual with rag-tag equipment and clothing. Our 
Scoutmaster was disappointed in our appearance, but dropped us 
off and helped us unload and get settled. He had to go back to 
work for the day and said he would return and join us in the 
evening. Well, that was a mistake. 

The professional camp leaders directed us to an area marked off 
with rows of rocks on a flat, dusty, sun-baked spot with no trees 
anywhere close. We had never been assigned a spot to camp 
before. We always chose our own and picked only the best. This 
was not it. Next, we had an assembly and were told the outline of 
the days to come. We were to awake each day with a bugle call at 
6 AM. At 6:30 we were to assemble as a troop, at attention for roll 
call and uniform inspection. We would have one hour to cook 
breakfast and clean up our camp. Then there would be an 
inspection of our campsite and we would be scored on our 
housekeeping and appearance. This would be followed by 
instruction classes in merit badges and scouting skills. 

This was not our idea of a camping trip. We returned to our stony 
spot and had a council meeting in the dust. The full consensus of 
our troop was that we didn't like this. I told the group that I knew a 
fine place over the mountain that I thought they would love. They 
all said, "Let's go." We started the cleanup of our campsite, not for 
inspection, but for a breakaway. We waited for the right moment 
when the leaders were in a meeting, and we headed down the 
mountainside into a stream valley and then up over the next 
mountain. By early afternoon of that first day, we had reached the 
spot I had in mind. It was beautiful with a clear creek running 
through a grove of young aspen trees surrounded by a forest of 
large fir and spruce trees. From here we could see high cliffs with a 
huge waterfall cascading down. All the boys were thrilled with the 
spot. We pitched camp, made soft leafy and pine bough beds and 
then cooked a meal with the food that we were to have used at the 
Scout Camp. We had a delightful afternoon riding younger, limber 
Aspen trees, to the ground. We’d climb 2/3 of the way up (15 to 20 
feet); grab the trunk near the top and jump outward so that the tree 
bent and dropped us quickly, but gently on the ground. It was great 


Early Years 

fun. When the day ended we cooked dinner and stretched out on 
sleeping bags and told stories in the dark. 

I had never once thought about our scout master who had 
promised to join us at the Scout Council Camp that evening. I 
should have, but as a 13-year-old with my own ideas of what a 
camp experience should be like, I just didn't get it. At about 1 or 2 
am we were awakened by truck lights bouncing up and down as it 

Our campfire had burned down to embers by this time. 

The Scout Camp leaders had no idea where we had gone. When 
our Scoutmaster found us all missing he knew we had gone 
somewhere together. By using old logging type roads and having 
lots of patience, he searched through the mountains and finally 
found us. 

He was upset and greatly worried about us! He got us all out of 
our bags, built up the fire, and we had a long talk. He let us finish 
the night there and didn’t make us go back to the camp after he 
heard our long list of complaints. 

Lessons Learned: You might wonder how this thoughtless 
behavior had any positive effect on my later life. Actually there 
were several lessons learned: Colette and I had five sons, plus a 
foster son and I made sure that they all understood that there would 
be Official Scout Camps and book work demanded to assist them 
with their advancement and they could judge the value of the camp 
by how many scouting requirements they completed not by their 
fun and freedom. Further, if they had fun also (which they did), 
that would be a bonus. Our first five became Eagle Scouts. 
Number six son, Tim, who joined us at age 15 didn't have time to 
make Eagle, but he did knuckle down late and made Star. 

Second, as Scoutmaster I always planned fun, freeform outdoor 
camping and backpacking events, but made a distinction between 
these and official scout camps and camporees that we attended. 

And last I learned that you never leave your troop leaderless, 
because a leader will always emerge who may not lead in the 
direction you intended. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

9. Junior High School 

The Short Cut: In the 8 th Grade at Brigham Young University 
Junior High School I was coming back late to my English class 
which was taught by an endless string of student teachers. I ran to 
make it before my name was called. With "T's" coming near the 
end of the alphabet there was a slim chance I could make it. As I 
sped toward the back of the building, I noticed that a back window 
into my classroom was slightly raised. The entry doors we were 
supposed to use were clear around to the front of the building. It 
didn’t take long to realize that getting in through the window could 
save me two minutes. I seized the opportunity. I quickly raised the 
window and crawled through. I was in possibly unnoticed - and 
the roll call was only to the M’s. Just when I was smugly easing 
into my seat, the window I had raised crashed down. It completely 
shattered. The crash put the class in an uproar. My unnoticed entry 
was not to be. I was smartly escorted to the Principal’s office. 

Instead of making it to my class on-time, I had an hour with the 

So it is with many shortcuts in life. 

The Overpass : Brigham Young High School (BYHS) had a 
building just to the north of the University Education building. The 
High School Building is now gone, but the Education Building has 
become the Provo Public Library. In my high school days, these 
two buildings were three stories tall and had a connecting overpass 
between them on the third floor. The overpass had two sliding 
glass windows to provide daytime light and air. 

One of the unauthorized traditions of the school was to escort 
new 7 th grade boys up to the over pass to show them the view. (Our 
school combined junior high school (JHS) and senior high school 
(SHS) in the same building, grades 7 through 12). 

Once the view had been enjoyed, the unsuspecting young man 
would have his pants forcibly removed and dropped out the 
window to the ground three stories below. To retrieve his pants the 
young man had to come down through the high school building or 
down through the University building in his shorts. Very 


Early Years 

embarrassing. I felt fortunate to have missed this experience. But 
most did not. 

10. High School Years 

The Ominous Green Paint : When I was a 9th grader at BYU's 
combined junior and senior HS, the only other school in town was 
Provo High School (PHS). The two schools were quite competitive 
in basketball; (not so much so in football because BYHS was so 
small, only 500 to 600 in their entire combined six grades, while 
PHS had three to four thousand in just three grades of Senior High 

It was the day of the big cross-town basketball game, and the 
rivalry had reached a fevered pitch. When I came to school that 
morning, the exterior brick walls had been painted green and 
white, PHS's colors. Our principal was incensed. He called the 
PHS principal and asked what they were going to do about it. The 
PHS principal met with the student council, which Curt Harrison, 
as the student body president, presided over. (Later, Curt was the 
first bishop of the Palo Alto Second Ward and was our bishop 
when we moved there.) 

The council decided that they would make it right by coming 
across town and scraping paint off all the bricks. No simple task. 

So Curt led his crew to BYHS in work clothes and scraped away 
for the full day. I recall that even though he was scraping up 
someone else's mess and could have been complaining and 
grumpy, Curt was upbeat and happy. His whole crew had a great 
time as a result of their leader's positive attitude. They made many 
new friends among the BYHS students who visited with them as 
they worked away. 

It was discovered weeks later that the green and white painting 
had been done by one of the BYHS basketball players and his 
friends, with the intent of causing problems for PHS. 

I can’t recall who won the game, but I think that Curt and his 
student council won the moral and ethical battle off the court. 

The Green paint vandals were later uncovered when they unwisely 
painted their history teacher’s cow purple. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Chemistry Class : In my Junior year of high school, we had a new 
chemistry teacher, Doctor Brailsford. The rumor was that he 
worked for a large chemical company and had burned down their 
laboratory. This accident led to his abrupt career change from 
industry to teacher. 

As kind of a greeting for Dr. Brailsford, a group of my friends 
made their way early into the temporary building that served as our 
classroom. It was outfitted with about six workbenches with 
several gas jets on each bench to provide gas to Bunsen burners. 
Then there was a space with traditional oak classroom seats with a 
right-hand writing surface. The seats were dished for greater sitting 

The early crew went quickly about their work. They filled the 
dished seat area of each chair with water. When done it was almost 
impossible to see. With that done they turned each gas jet full on 
and lit it. The flame at each jet flared out more than a foot. With 18 
jets burning gas the place looked like an inferno. The crew then 
slipped away about five minutes before class started. Dr. Brailsford 
and about eight students came into the temporary building 
together. There were screams and a major commotion as they saw 
the flames shooting out of all the jets. 

In a few minutes, all the flaming jets were turned off, and the 
class began to calm down. Our teacher invited everyone to be 
seated so that class could begin and a second salvo of screams 
erupted as all who sat got very wet pants and skirts. This was not a 
kindly greeting for a new chemistry teacher. 

I don’t recommend painting buildings, putting water in seats, 
lighting the gas jets, or throwing pants from a 3 rd story overpass 
window, but I mention these activities and a few more just to let 
you know that I had an unusually creative junior high and high 
school student body which created an environment I enjoyed very 

Skunk, School & Sunbeams : Our remote, rural home on the 
mountainside didn’t belong to us alone. One day after school and 
work, as I was coming into our home through the back door into 
the dark hallway that leads to our basement on the left and also up 
one step through a door straight into our house. In that little back 


Early Years 

entry hall, I was met with the overpowering smell of skunk. I 
could taste it, and it made my eyes water. I opened the hall door 
and continued on into the house. When I found my mother, I 
mentioned that the smell of skunk in our home was immensely 
stronger than usual. (It was not unusual to get a moderate smell of 
skunk in our home from time to time as there was a family of civet 
cats that lived under our house.) 

My mother backed away from me and said "I didn't smell 
anything until you just walked in and now it is overpowering. 
Where were you when the smell hit you?" I explained that it four 
in the back hall where the stairs go down to the basement. She 
hurriedly checked the back hall and with her sensitive nose 
confirmed our fears. She said, “You’ve absolutely been sprayed by 
a skunk from our basement. Take off all your clothes and jump in 
the tub.” She put all my clothing out on the front porch and 
brought baking soda, Clorox, vinegar, Borax soap and other 
household chemicals to spice up my bath water. 

After I had been soaked, scrubbed and clothes changed I went up 
the mountain to get our neighbor Les Liechty and his .22 rifle. He 
came down to our home, entered the basement and came out with a 
dead civet cat. 

The death of the civet cat liberated the basement where our 
washing machine was. My mother washed all my clothes.. .twice. 
Things were coming around. The house began to smell better. I 
smelled more like chlorine than skunk and my clothes were clean 
and hanging on our outside clothes line. 

The next day I figured that I was odorless enough to go to 
school. As I walked down the large hallways of Provo High 
School people began to sniff and say to one another, “do you smell 
skunk?” I walked faster, but still left a small wake of sniffers 
wherever I went. 

This was my first year at PHS. I had transferred from BYHS 
mostly to have the experience of a public high school. I was a 
lowly sophomore, the youngest class in the new school which was 
10 times larger than the one I had come from. I was so hoping to 
be accepted into this new social setting, but it was looking bad. To 
be discovered as the skunk kid would brand me socially for my 
remaining years at high school. Through the morning I tried to sit 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

as much away from other students as possible, and I was just 
barely getting by. There were sniffs, but no classroom panics. 

In the afternoon my History class had south facing windows, and 
I had chosen that side of the room to stay out of the main seating 
area. It was a mistake. The sun came powerfully through the 
windows, and the solar rays hit me full force. Sniffing started. As 
the room and I got warmer, the sniffing picked up, and people 
began to whisper about smelling skunk. We were on the verge of a 
classroom chaos. I was frozen with embarrassment and just hoped 
that I could remain undiscovered until the end of class. When the 
bell rang, I was the first one out of the classroom and just kept 
going and cut the rest of my classes for the day. 

Dixon Taylor Russell Co. was directly across the street from 
Provo High School. I worked there after school in the reupholstery 
shop. I had decided that I should just go to work. At my 
workbench my odors began to fill the air in the shop and I had to 
explain my unfortunate encounter to fellow upholsterers. It was 
not long until the wonderful widows of the drapery sewing room 
got the wind (so to speak) of my problem. They took me up to 
their workroom where 15 to 20 women sewed, pleated, ironed and 
readied draperies for installation. When they all smelled me and 
heard my story, they descended on me with their perfumes and 
colognes. When they got through, I the prettier different, but not 
much better. 

When I got home I became analytical about my problem and 
smelled every item of clothing carefully and separately and 
discovered that the odor was coming from my shoes and belt, the 
only things that had not been washed. 

So I scrubbed all the leather with saddle soap and then saturated 
the shoes and belt with smelly shoe dye and changed my shoe 
laces. Then I set these all outside in the direct sunlight and fresh 
air for a day. 

It worked. Finally, I had reached an acceptable odor level and 
could re-enter the world without fear of failing the sniff test. 

The Return to BYHS : After just one year at Provo High School I 
returned to BYHS for my Junior and Senior years. The skunk 
episode was not the primary reason for coming back. I really did 


Early Years 

like BYHS and my friends there. I learned that while I had been 
gone my classmates had marked rolls, taken tests and submitted 
papers for me. I had gotten a full year's credit for schooling with a 
B+ average. This was awfully nice of my friends. But eventually 
the records were corrected, because I never paid tuition. 

I learned many years later that there is a mythical character at 
Stanford University named Warren G. Wonka who was 
perpetuated by similar pranks. He periodically, over a few decades, 
has completed many classes and in some years has appeared on the 
graduation list. 

Health Class : “Jokey” Dixon was an assistant coach at BY High 
School. As with many in his situation, he was pressed into service 
to teach a required health class. I can’t remember too much that 
we learned in the class, but one exchange sticks in my memory. 
Mr. Dixon was explaining that eating candy would rot your teeth 
out. My friend JC Bement raised his hand and said that candy 
would not hurt his teeth because when he ate it, he never let it 
touch his teeth. Many of us were keenly interested to know just 
how he did this, but Mr. Dixon showed no such spirit of inquiry. 
He simply said, "JC, it doesn't matter how you eat it, the sugar 
goes into your bloodstream and rots your teeth out anyway." There 
was some question about this theory. 

This Health class had a large portion of my class of 1949 and 
possibly a few from other grades; it was required and not to be 
escaped. One day, to our surprise, Mr. Dixon did not come to the 
class. A substitute walked in and informed us that he was going to 
give us a pop quiz, which he immediately passed out to the class. 

The test papers were reproduced from purple “ditto” masters and 
had that very distinctive odor when it was still moist and fresh. 
Then the substitute made a serious mistake. Thinking we would be 
busy for more than the full class period with 20 difficult, detailed, 
essay questions, he left the room. 

It took only a couple of moments for the class members to feel 
the injustice of the situation and for a retaliation plan to hatch. I 
divided the class into 20 small, capable teams, each of whom 
answered one question in detail. In about 8 minutes these answers 
were collected, and I took the answers down to the Office. Janice 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Anderson, one of our classmates, worked there as a part-time 
secretary. With a little persuasion, she agreed to type all the 
answers on ditto masters. It took a few masters, and she kindly 
ran them off and stapled them, with one set of answers for each 
student in the class. In mere minutes every student had signed and 
dated a "dittoed" answer sheet. We laid them neatly in a stack on 
the teacher's desk. As the substitute had not yet returned to the 
classroom, we dismissed ourselves half an hour early and went out 
to enjoy the day. 

Needless to say this whole event was not well received by the 
school administration and a few of us once again found ourselves 
in the Principal’s office to receive a stirring lecture on some of the 
vague but important principles of life. 

Provo Herald : It all began with a small article in the local 
newspaper. Buried deep in the paper was a small article reporting 
that the next day at 10:30 AM the entire Provo City Police 
Department would be gathering on the steps of the City and 
County Building to have their picture taken. This news triggered 
the creative juices of about 10 of our enterprising BY High boys 
who thought it was ridiculous for every policeman in the town to 
be out of service at the same time. They developed a plan to show 

Cliff had a license and could drive. He arranged to test drive a 
big black Cadillac from a used car lot. By 10:15 AM on the day of 
the police picture three had the car and picked up seven of his 
classmates. At 10:31 he dropped them off at the front door of the 
First Security Bank and drove off. Danny had brought his empty 
violin case, and all the boys wore hats with brims and long dark 
coats with the collars turned up—hands were in pockets ready to 
point. They stepped briskly into the bank and ordered all the bank 
workers and customers in the waiting area to line up against the 
back wall. Danny held his violin case threateningly, and the hands 
in coat pockets pointed at the victims. Kent and Dallin moved to a 
teller window. Kent put down a dollar bill and said to the teller, 
“Give me two rolls of pennies." He cracked the rolls open and 
scraped all the coins noisily into a gym bag. Then as quickly as 
they had come, they left the bank. Perfectly timed, the black 


Early Years 

Cadillac pulled up to the curb, and the crew piled in. Norm had 
been assigned to bring his big old flash camera. It was broken, but 
the flash would still fire bulbs. From the sidewalk, he pointed his 
camera at the “robbery” crew as they were coming out of the bank 
and fired off his flash bulb. Jimmy came over and faked a solid hit 
on Norm’s jaw, sending him sprawling to the pavement, and then 
Jim stomped on the camera and broke it into pieces. In seconds 
they were all in the car; the light turned green, and they were gone. 

The bank manager was bewildered and thought they had really 
been robbed. The police did not respond for half an hour. The boys 
returned the "test drive" car to the dealer and went back to school 
feeling quite satisfied with their illustrative caper. 

More than a week went by before the boys were called out of 
class and taken to University Dean of Men's Students rather than 
their H.S Principal. They had been uncovered because they were 
all absent from their respective classes at the same time. The Dean 
happened to be the father of one of the boys. Nevertheless, he got 
their confession and dressed them down properly. As they left his 
office, a couple of the boys caught a glimpse of a grin that he had 
been working to suppress all through their meeting. The Provo 
Police were looking for a charge they could bring against the boys, 
but their last hope faded when they found that the assault and 
battery charge they were planning for the “injured” camera man 
was part of the charade. 

Student Body Elections : Toward the end of our junior year 
elections were held for student body officers for the next year. 
Some great people were nominated, and the campaign began. Part 
way through the campaign and long after new nominees could be 
accepted for the ballot, a student group decided that they would 
like to put a write-in candidate into the mix, probably just to see if 
they could do it. They drafted me to run for Student body President 
and started a write-in campaign. I had not considered running and 
was surprised and flattered with their choice. They with other 
volunteers did all the promotion and campaigning for my 
candidacy. Their efforts were a wonder to behold. 

The election was held and handbills in a private room. One of the 
counting committee told me later in confidence that I had gotten a 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

solid winning number of the votes, but the overseer, our civics 
teacher, Herbert Christensen, explained that many of my ballots 
would have to be disqualified because they had not correctly used 
my first and last name. Some ballots just said Hank and some 
Henry without the last name and some were misspelled. The 
election went to one of the regular balloted candidates where the 
voter simply checked the box. I was gratified to learn of the 
support I had and felt just fine with the result and the civics lesson 
that went with it. 

I was elected Senior Class President, possibly as a consolation 
gesture by my class. I mention this experience because of the 
interesting contrast to some of our recent national and state 
elections where forced recounts accepted and tallied misspellings, 
incomplete entries, and even ballot dimples and hanging chad on 
punched cards. I very much prefer what my civics teacher thought 
the U.S. national standards were. 

Fun Transportation : Before I was old enough for a license to 
drive a car I took some savings and bought a $100 horse with a 
little help from father on all the arrangements. Baldy was a white 
horse with small gray flecks lightly scattered everywhere as if he 
had been hit by a light dusting of fine fly ash. He was a quiet and 
gentle animal with no desire to gallop unless it was downhill. I 
picked him up from a farm down by Utah Lake and rode him home 
to the mountains. It took half a day, and I was pretty sore when I 
got home. I could afford a bridle, but a saddle would have cost 
many times more than Baldy, so I never got one. I had no corral or 
bam, and the chickens would not let him in, so I tied him to a 
peach tree in the orchard east of our home. I was out barefoot one 
day to feed him when he stepped on my foot. It was very painful, 
probably didn't break anything much because the ground was soft. 

My most exciting ride was galloping downhill through a huge 
Lucerne field; about a half mile at maximum speed. At the fence¬ 
line, Baldy stopped abruptly and spun to the left. I kept right on 
going over the fence and landed in the weeds and rocks beyond. 
Both the horse and I were okay, but I've always thought that might 
not have been an accident. He wouldn't slow for me before we hit 
the fence line even though I was pulling back wildly on the reins. 


Early Years 

After a year or so the upkeep was more burden than the fun of 
riding and Baldy was sold once again. 

Shortly after my horse experience I got a driver’s license and 
bought a 1929 Model A Ford. It was a two-door sedan like the one 
pictured, but mine was not nearly as well preserved. In 1947 it was 
already 18 years old and had received very little loving care. It 
didn't run always, but when it did, I loved to drive it to school. The 
brakes would slow the car down a little, but stopping was always a 
question. Gasoline was 11 cents a gallon, but quite often I could 
only afford one gallon at a filling. The Model A was a good car to 
drive on the frozen lake where you didn't care much whether you 
could stop or not. I bought it for $100 and a year later sold it for 
the same. Seemed like you could buy almost any big item for $100. 
The horse and the car were the two largest purchases of my early 

1929 Model A Ford 

Armond : When I was in my teens, I backpacked often with my 
good friend Armond Hawley. One day we had set a goal to climb 
a 12,000-foot mountain carrying heavy packs so we could camp 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

near the top. We struggled through the day and at night made our 
camp near the top with a small fire because firewood was scarce. 
It got dark and cold quickly after dinner, so we cleaned up and 
jumped in our sleeping bags. As the sky turned black with no 
moon, more than a billion stars became very clearly visible. It was 
an awe-inspiring sight. As we were talking Armond asked, “Do 
you believe in God?” It was an honest question. Armond’s 
mother was an inactive LDS church member and registered nurse. 
His father was a hard working crane operator with no church 
affiliation. Armond had had very little church exposure in his 

I had never been asked a direct question about my faith before or 
ever given a direct personal statement about my faith up to that 
time. There was no expectation from Armond of what my answer 
should be, or any pressure to give the “acceptable” answer. So I 
answered honestly that I did believe in God, that my personal 
experience had borne that out and that all the beauties of the earth 
that we had hiked through that day and the marvelous order of the 
heavens we were looking at were His handiwork. I don’t 
remember too well what more we talked about, but I do recall the 
very warm, peaceful, confirming feeling that came over me after 
expressing my heartfelt faith. 

I'm not sure our talk had any bearing on this, but shortly after our 
backpack trip Armond stopped smoking and began to attend 
church regularly. He was very pleased to call me to repentance 
whenever possible, and he beat me into the mission field by several 

Neither a Lender Nor a Borrower Be : It was in about 1949 on a 
snowy night after a formal dance at BYHS that my good friend 
Jack Zenger, the Norton twins and I had stopped briefly at my new 
home on the mountain side. We had hot chocolate while we 
enjoyed the beautiful night view of the valley. When we were 
finished we went through the garage to get in the car. Marion 
noticed my trusty Flexible Flyer sled hanging in the garage. It was 
not so new and shiny now, but its performance was almost better 
with its well-traveled runners. Marion asked about a sleigh ride 
before we left. The steep road by our home was covered with 


Early Years 

packed snow and looked challenging, but inviting. The consensus 
was we should try it. 

Jack was with Marilyn Norton, who was generally considered the 
prettier of the two twins, and I was with Marion. Marion was good 
looking also, but not the classic beauty of her fraternal twin. She 
made up for any perceived shortfall in looks with a good sense of 
humor and a lively zest for life. 

I told Marion, who was promoting the adventure, that if she did 
want a sleigh ride I’d take her. She was enthusiastic even though 
she was still wearing a formal, long nylons, high heels, etc. I took 
the sled down from the wall and we walked a short distance to the 
steep road that went down about 300 yards to the Wes Knudsen 
house. Marion sat in front with her feet forward of the steering 
bar. I sat behind and put my feet on the steering bar. I pushed off 
gently, fearing that the double load and the frozen road would give 
us unmanageable speed. We did go way too fast and occasionally 
we hit patches of gravel that sent off a stream of sparks behind us. 
At the bottom we were going fast enough to sail across the front 
lawn right through the Knudsen’s plate glass windows, but just a 
few yards before the disaster, we pulled a side swerve and skidded 
to a safe stop. 

When we had walked back up the steep road Jack was very 
anxious to take a turn. It looked deceptively easy and was over 
quickly. But his date, Marilyn said “no way.” Jack asked Marion 
if she would like to go again, this time with him. She said, “Sure.” 

Jack was a very skillful person and had great reflexes, but had 
limited experience on a strange sled and a steep icy road in the 
moonlight. About halfway down the road they had reached 
gravitational escape velocity. Just at this peak speed they hit some 
gravel and made a slight overcorrection, and they both flew into 
the air. The sleigh and riders tumbled and slid for twenty-five 
yards before they came to a stop. 

The bits of gravel imbedded in the icy snow tore Marion’s formal 
dress, shredded her stockings, slashed her shoes, cut her legs and 
hands. There was blood all over her. Jack was similarly battered. 
We went back into the house and did whatever bandaging and 
repair we could and then I drove everyone home. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

The moral of the story is, if you can control the situation don't let 
friends do something dangerously foolish. Especially don't let your 
date do something that could ruin her. Don’t loan more than you 
can afford to lose. I should have gone with Jack in Marion’s place. 

11. Youthful Employment 

Dixon Taylor Russell Company (DTR) was the mainstay of my 
young employment. My first job working for wages was there, 
where my father and his brothers worked. My uncle Arthur Dixon 
Taylor was the overall manager of DTR as far back as I can 
remember. As the eldest of six sons and two sisters he took over 
from his Father (my grandfather) Arthur Nicholls Taylor when his 
health failed. He was not only a great business man but a stalwart 
church leader all of his life. This was my first job that required a 
social security number, withholding income tax and FICA 
deductions. I was pretty young, eight or nine, and my signature on 
my Social Security card, still to this day, looks like the signature of 
a third grader, because it was. The pay was 12.5 cents per hour. 
The main tasks after school were to empty the office waste baskets 
and carry out all the trash. Later Arthur added sweeping the office, 
sweeping down the back steps from the upholstery shop; also the 
warehouse aisles and the back dock area. These were all jobs 
where I couldn't do much damage. I really felt I had arrived when I 
was asked to wash the exterior of the display windows along the 
front sidewalk on Saturdays. At 6 PM each night the store closed 
and my job was to stand at the locked door and let people out. 
Sometimes it was unpleasant when folks wanted in, and I couldn't 
let them. The best time for this job was the week or two before 
Christmas when there was Christmas music over loudspeakers on 
the street and people all seem gentler and kinder. 

One of the nice benefits of being an employee of the Company, 
or being a family member was the right to come into the Store after 
hours and go up to the Balcony Office Area that overlooked Center 
Street like a premium box seat at a baseball game. From there we 
could watch the Provo Parades on the 4 th of July, BYU 
Homecoming, and Christmas. It was a great spot not only for the 


Early Years 

view, but also kept us out of the heat, cold, rain, or any other 
unpleasant weather conditions. 

I passed out handbills for the Company in Heber, Charleston, and 
Wallsburg which advertised home furnishing sales that were 
coming up at the store. I did this with several of my cousins and 
other Provo boys. We were transported in the back of a pick-up 
truck and taken to these towns to walk the streets, leaving hand 
bills at each home, dogs permitting. The pay was also 12.5 cents 
per hour. If we walked the streets of these towns for 8 hours, we 
were paid a dollar. The best part of the day was at lunchtime when 
we were treated to a hamburger at a local place. This job took most 
of a Saturday. 

When I got into my early teens, the office sweeping, garbage 
emptying and door locking were left behind, and I was promoted to 
a job in the DTR upholstery shop. 

Horace Peay was the kindly, knowledgeable, patient manager. 
He taught those of us who knew nothing about upholstery and 
helped to assure the quality of the work. Customers would choose 
the fabric they wished to use from the fabric department of the 
store, and the upholsterers would strip off the old fabric, rebuild 
the frame as needed, rebuild the spring base, then re-pad, sew the 
cover and then recover the furniture. It was a rewarding 

Tacks were used to hold the fabric in place and the upholsterer 
held the tacks in his mouth and used a magnetic tack hammer to 
take the tacks, one at a time, from his mouth and smack them in 
place. The hazard was that occasionally one of us would slam a 
tack into a thumb or swallow one. The common wisdom was that 
if you swallowed a tack you ate bread which would coat the tack 
and take it through your system without a problem. As far as I 
could tell that solution worked. Or possibly the tack just rusts away 
in stomach acid. 

After school and on Saturdays the work added up to about 20 
hours per week and the upholstery pay started at $0.25 per hour. 
After a few years, Horace worked out, with Uncle Art's approval, a 
piece-work pay alternative where instead of being paid by the hour 
we could choose to be paid by the job. I chose the piece work 
alternative and did just a little better than on the hourly rate. I got 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

one job that was very difficult, and I took a long time to complete 
it. Before I was done Uncle Art stopped by and asked how I was 
doing and spoke of the low pay per hour the job was going to 
yield. Even though I had chosen the piece work alternative he 
insisted that I get at least the $.25 per hour. I was amazed and 
encouraged that he even knew, or cared that I was taking a pretty 
good loss on that chair. 

When a backlog built up in the Repair Shop where furniture was 
repaired and glued I was asked to work there for about a year. 
Skills learned there and in the Upholstery shop have been valuable 
for a lifetime. I remember clearly the last year that I worked at 
DTR, coming to the annual Christmas party and receiving 16 silver 
dollars from Uncle Arthur, one for each year of employment. 

Colette’s Job : After I was married to Colette we were trying 
desperately to save money to go back East to Harvard for graduate 
studies. I was working three jobs; at a concrete pipe company on 
graveyard shift, as an analyst for the VP of finance at BYU and 
also in the Upholstery Shop at DTR. Uncle Art saw our need and 
had Colette come in for a job interview. He told her he knew I was 
going back to school at Harvard and that we were pretty short of 
money. He said that because of that, he was offering to hire her 
and give her a better wage than any of the other Taylor kids got, 75 
cents an hour, rather than the typical 50 cents! He said Uncle Lynn 
told him she was a good student in his Interior Design class, so he 
offered her the job of decorating the eight big display windows that 
faced the street. This was a prestigious job, as the windows were 
meant to attract customers into the store. She enjoyed the work 
very much, except for one thing. Steve, my 12-year-old brother, 
liked to follow her around and tease her. He would say tauntingly, 
"you used to have long hair and you were pretty; now you have 
short hair, and you’re ugly” etc. 

One day Steve was with her in one of the big front display 
windows agitating her in some way. Colette reached the point 
where she could take no more and socked him in the jaw, knocking 
him to the display floor. It wasn't the restrained Taylor way of 
resolving problems, but in this case, it was the immediate solution 


Early Years 

at hand. Stephen said, "I'm going to tell my mother” and Colette 
said, "Please do.” 

Medical Insurance : As a result of my employment at the Store I 
had DTR group medical insurance, which I never thought much 
about. But when we were in Boston, Colette was expecting and we 
had no money for doctors, hospital, etc. I believe it was Uncle Bud 
who pointed out that insurance coverage for pregnancy-related 
medical care didn't start until nine months after you took out the 
group insurance, but that coverage continued for nine months after 
you dropped the insurance. With our first child bom in April in 
Boston Lying Inn we fell just within the coverage period by a day 
or two. Once again Uncle Arthur's careful management style had 
been a great boon to us. 

A Business with a Heart : I look back on the very benevolent way 
that DTR was managed — to bless the lives of others. The essence 
of Uncle Art’s approach was reflected in the wonderful women 
who worked in the DTR Drapery Department. There must have 
been 20 to 30 or more widows from the Provo 3 rd Ward who 
worked there over time, sewing custom draperies, slipcovers and 
sewing for the upholsterers. This caring approach was repeated 
often throughout the organization. I recall the Angus Wall family, 
of 9 or 10, moving to Provo from Mexico with almost no means to 
survive. Lynn and Henry arranged for them to live in the deserted 
Muhlestein house up further on the mountainside. Angus was a 
good carpenter and quickly fixed up the deserted house for his 
family. Arthur put some of the Wall boys to work in the 
Upholstery shop. 

The barter system, embraced by the company during the 
depression was another example of the business helping people. 
There were many examples of this sort of kindness over the years 
of the Store’s operation. 

I have not studied the financial books of the Dixon Taylor 
Russell Company, but I would be surprised if there were many, 
years where the income exceeded expenses, but I know that 
countless lives were blessed by the Store’s operation. I am very 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

grateful for Uncle Arthur and his brothers’ leadership decisions 
that touched and enriched so many lives, especially ours. 

Farm Labor : During early years and on into my early teens, I 
picked fruit for local farmers. This was modestly better pay than 
the furniture store but was seasonal. As the fruit ripened, I moved 
from strawberries to cherries and raspberries. Strawberries and 
raspberries were solitary jobs, except at breaks. Cherries could be 
more sociable when someone shared a tree with you or worked an 
adjacent tree. 

I remember picking cherries with a fellow from southern Utah. 
He had an amazing story of the cannon he owned. He had ample 
gunpowder, but had only three cannonballs so he would try to 
retrieve the ball after each firing. He lost one ball in the 
mountains. Later on, he was on a hill shooting down into the 
valley at an outhouse. Incredibly he hit it on the first shot and it 
splintered in all directions. The cannonball went straight into the 
waste pit and he decided to write it off. I believe his career with 
the cannon came to an abrupt end when he fired the last ball down 
the main street of a small southern Utah town and the local 
authorities seized his cannon and remaining ball. 

Strawberries were my least favorite to pick because you had to 
crawl along the muddy furrows, or bend over all day. Picking 
started very early because later in the day you were in the direct 
hot sun with no shade in sight. Cherries were better than 
strawberries; mostly shady. Most people hated to pick raspberries 
because they are small and the baskets filled up so slowly. 
Additionally, the canes that the berries grew on had small thorns or 
needles. I liked raspberries because you could pick them standing 
on the ground, in at least partial shade. I was probably an above 
average raspberry picker. Not so much so with other fruits and 

I was picking cherries for Moses Kader one summer and Father 
came to pick me up at the end of the day. Moses was Palestinian 
and a good friend and neighbor. He came over and put a hand on 
my shoulder and said to my father: “Hendry is good boy, but he 
will never get rich picking cherries.” He was right. 


Early Years 

Sometimes after a particularly hot summer picking day a few of 
the guys would go over to the river, near the gravel quarry, for a 
skinny dip. This was a great way to cool down and rinse off the 
sticky fruit juice. 

Chickens : My father had a chicken coop built out on the northeast 
part of our property, and we bought about 30 young chicks. I 
became responsible for them with some good coaching from my 
father and mother. The chicks grew well and we ended up with 
about 18 hens and about eight roosters. The roosters gradually 
became Sunday dinner. Some of the roosters were surgically 
neutered by a friend to turn them into capons. That was supposed 
to stop all the early morning crowing, egg fertilization and also 
soften the boys up so they were not as tough for eating. The 
surgery must have been difficult. It didn't entirely work because 
they went on doing what they do. 

I harvested the eggs and sold some of them to family members, 
especially my Grandma Taylor. The financial rewards were small 
compared to labor of regularly feeding, watering, gathering eggs, 
cleaning them off, and worst of all cleaning out the coop. This was 
not a career path, for sure. 

Onions : The worst agricultural job I ever had was weeding onions 
when I was quite young, probably about nine. The work paid 25 
cents a row and I thought this sounded great. I rode my bike 
across the valley to the onion farm. My heart sank when I saw that 
the rows were about a mile long and the onions were in solid 
weeds. Weeding around the onions was like trying to save only 
the four leaf clovers in a mile long strip of very healthy lawn. I 
finished two rows that day and the owner looked at my rows and 
said they were not good enough and he wouldn't pay for my work. 
That night I retired from onion weeding. 

BYU and Harvard opened up new vistas for employment that led 
to a very rewarding career at Hewlett-Packard Company. 


Part Three 

Western Canadian Mission 

December 1950 - December 1952 

Western Canadian Mission 

12. Mission 1950 - 1952 

The Close Call : Without my father’s foresight I would have 
missed the opportunity to serve a mission. Late in 1950 he was 
alert to the escalation of the Korean War and the ramp up of the 
draft which was beginning to take more and more young men into 
military service. He spoke to me one day and suggested that now 
would be a good time to put in mission papers. I had completed my 
freshman year at BYU in the spring of 1950 and had started my 
sophomore year that fall. My thinking was a little bit fuzzy, but I 
thought I could finish my sophomore school year and leave on a 
mission in the summer after two complete years of schooling. I 
would have just turned 20 and would have more than half of my 
B.S. degree completed. 

With father's explanation and urging I put in my mission papers 
and soon received a call to the Western Canadian Mission, 
reporting to the Mission Home in Salt Lake City on December 5, 
1950. This was a problem because the current quarter didn't end 
until two weeks after I reported for my mission. I considered three 
options: to delay my departure, drop the classes I had nearly 
completed, or wrap up all the necessary school work early. I 
decided to complete all my assignments early and take all my tests 
for the quarter prematurely. With long hours, CliffsNotes, and firm 
determination I did complete all my classes for full credit, but not 
with my best grades. This was the only quarter that I ever got a 
grade as low as a B- and a C+; proving once again that shortcuts 
may have consequences. 

My December 5 missionary group was the last full group to leave 
for the mission field. Virtually all the other young men of the 
church were cut off by the draft, even if they had received their 
mission call. Without my father’s alert prodding I would have 
never made it to the mission field until after the war, which was 
several years later. It wasn’t only a mission call; it was a close call. 
I’ll be ever grateful to my father for knowing the moment to urge 
me into action. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Missions in the Old Days : In 1950 when I went into the mission 
field there were some interesting differences from mission 
experiences 50 years later. First, there was no Missionary Training 
Center where several weeks of intensive training is given, and 
language skills are taught. In 1950 missionaries came to Salt Lake 
City and reported into the "Mission Home.” I would estimate my 
mission group was about 200 to 300, mostly young men. At the 
“Home” we checked in and received a schedule of meetings, a 
temple session schedule and were assigned a place to stay. I was 
assigned to share a room with several BYU friends, including Jack 
Whittle, at the Temple Square Hotel, across South Temple Street 
from the Assembly Hall and Tabernacle. The scheduled meetings 
consisted mostly of inspiring lectures plus two scheduled temple 
sessions; most of us received our endowments in the first session 
we attended, and then in the second we went through for the dead. 
I received an interview from Mark E. Peterson of the Quorum of 
12 for a Mission (and possibly got a Temple Recommend, as I 
don’t remember bringing one from home). An appointment was 
reserved to be set apart by an Apostle or assistant. I was set apart 
for my mission by Elder Ezra Taft Benson. 

Travel to the Field : At the Mission Home surface travel 
arrangements were made to get each of us to our mission 
headquarters. As much as possible all cross country travel was by 
train and those going overseas took trains to a port city and were 
there scheduled to travel on ships and trains again at the far end. 
My mission headquarters was in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. On 
December 13 at 8:00 PM our small group, of about eight new 
Western Canadian missionaries, left Salt Lake City on a Union 
Pacific Pullman train to Butte, Montana, arriving the next morning. 
(A Pullman train car had beds along the walls with a lower very 
narrow “double” bed and a narrower single bed just above that. 
Each bed had curtains that closed it off from the aisle of the train 
car for a little privacy.) In Butte we changed trains to the Great 
Northern Line and traveled to Great Falls, Montana where we were 
booked to stay overnight at the Rembrandt Hotel. The next day we 
took another train to Sweetgrass, Montana/Coutts, Alberta (a 
combined border town). We crossed the Canadian border on foot a 


Western Canadian Mission 

little before noon and took a rustic little train to Lethbridge, 
Alberta. The train car was made of wood and had two potbellied 
stoves to take some of the chill off of the icy winter air. The 
windows were frozen over so that it was difficult to see the passing 
countryside. Our train car was lighted with gas lamps. We 
transferred in Lethbridge to a more modem train that took us to 
Calgary. At the train station there we were met by two Western 
Canadian sister missionaries, who came to welcome us. From 
Calgary, that evening, we took another Pullman train to Edmonton. 
We arrived about 6 AM on Saturday morning, December 16,1950, 
our third day of travel. I detail this 1100 mile trip to contrast it 
with what today would have been less than a five-hour journey, 
door to door. This was not the worst trip that I have had to Alberta, 
Canada but it was the longest. Our family’s trip to Lethbridge for 
our wedding reception was the most difficult. 

Mission Home - WCM : We were met at the Edmonton train 
station by the 2 nd Counselor in the Mission Presidency. In those 
days a mission presidency consisted of the President and his wife 
and a local member who served as first counselor and a younger 
full-time missionary who served as second councilor. Elder 
Belnap, the 2 nd Counselor, drove us to the Mission home where we 
met President and 
Sister Fisher. 

Sister Fisher was 
very nice and 
President Fisher 
seemed spiritual 
and serious. He 
interviewed each 
one of us then 
had us sign into 
the mission 
register and 
assigned us to 
memorize the 4 th 
section of the Doctrine and Covenants to be recited back to him 
before breakfast time on Sunday. 

President and Sister Fisher with Daughter 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

On Sunday morning we went to Church at the Edmonton Branch. 
N. Eldon Tanner was the Branch President. He was also the 
Minister of Natural Resources in the Alberta Provincial 
Government. It was a great branch with a regular LDS meeting 
house. The attendance at church was 108%. That afternoon we 
attended a baptismal service where 14 converts came into the 

Sunday evening the new missionaries had a testimony meeting in 
the Mission Home and were given our area assignments. I was 
assigned to Elder Nephi Bushman in the Calgary District. Our 
mission was organized into six geographical districts where a full¬ 
time missionary was appointed District President to supervise both 
members and missionaries in that district. On Monday morning 
four of us traveled together to Calgary where we were met at the 
station by two elders, but not my companion. He was elsewhere. 

Church Structure in Western Canada : The Western Canadian 
Mission was created near the end of 1947. British Columbia, 
including Vancouver Island, was transferred from the NW States 
Mission to this new mission. 

To my knowledge, during my mission, there were no Stakes of 
the Church in all of the Western Canadian Mission. Our mission 
included all of the Yukon Territory, Northwest Territory, and the 
provinces of British Columbia, Saskatchewan and all of Alberta, 
except for a 100-mile strip across its southern border. Within this 
strip were the only stakes in all of Western Canada. These stakes 
were in Southern Alberta because of early LDS settlers, who 
populated the area. Lethbridge, Cardston, Raymond, Taber, 
Barnwell and many other smaller towns in that area had significant 
LDS populations. There were probably two large stakes in 
southern Alberta at that time and a Temple in Cardston. In 1950 
the Church expected Stakes to have their own local missionaries 
and by policy full-time missionaries were not assigned to work in 
the area covered by Stakes. Calgary was a sole exception because 
it had two wards that belonged to the Lethbridge Stake, but full¬ 
time Missionaries were assigned there because of the significant 
city population and the Lethbridge Stake leadership and member 
population was so far away. The Calgary 1 st and 2 nd wards were 


Western Canadian Mission 

the only two wards in our entire mission at that time. The wards 
were a blessing to the missionaries who served in Calgary because 
of the active members and strong church leaders. There were only 
two LDS chapels in the entire mission, one in Calgary for the two 
wards and one in Edmonton for the branch. 

Missionary Housing : I finally met my first companion Elder 
Nephi Bushman, and learned that we had no place to live. It was 
the 19 th of December and the northern lands were frozen over. 
Being so close to Christmas made it a bad time to be looking for a 
place to live. We tried. We went door to door inquiring and placed 
ads in the Newspaper but had no luck. Elder Bushman had an aunt 
and uncle by the name of Jensen who lived in Calgary and we 
stayed there sometimes and stayed with other missionaries 
sometimes. At the end of December Elder Bushman was 
transferred to the Carry-the-Kettle Indian Reservation, east of 
Regina, Saskatchewan, and my new companion was Elder Rex 
Bennion. On the day that Elder Bushman left, December 31, Elder 
Bennion and I found an apartment and the landlady kindly lowered 
our rent from $48 to $30 per month. On January 2, after more than 
three weeks since I had arrived in the mission field, I got my bags 
from the apartment of Elders Mower and Johnson and transported 
them on a city bus to our new apartment. It was the first time in a 
month that I could unpack. 

Elder Bennion introduced me to my first real missionary work. In 
those days the work included a good deal of tracting. The mission 
provided us with a religious survey which many people were 
willing to take. In a good area of the city, I noted that as many as 
50 out of 180 households took the survey with some interest. When 
we called back with the results we could most often do some 
teaching of gospel principles, based on the survey results. The 
survey approach was friendly, but a fairly slow process so we were 
sometimes impressed to take a more direct approach at the door 
and told the Joseph Smith Story and offered that pamphlet and 
when appropriate placed a copy of the Book of Mormon. We 
worked long hours in very cold weather and on rare occasions 
were invited in. Being invited inside in the winter posed a different 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

problem. The home owners hesitated to invite us to take off our 
coats for fear that we would stay too long, so we taught without 
unwrapping very much. As we were so bundled up and the homes 
were so warm, we could feel sweat run down our chests and backs. 

We were outdoors so much of the time that I froze my toes and 
they turned black and then peeled but were otherwise OK. I finally 
bought some wool-lined galoshes which my shoes fit into and that 
solved my problem. We had to watch each other's face, nose, and 
ears in the cold wind. If any skin turned white it was freezing and 
we would stop and rub snow on the spot to warm up the skin and 
stimulate blood flow. 

Being with Elder Bennion in January was a very good experience 
with missionary work in full swing. I look back on that first month 
and realize that I was an arrogant, self-centered, critical person. 
After a door approach, or cottage meeting I would correct Elder 
Bennion’s grammar and make suggestions to improve the logic of 
his presentations. Finally, he said, "We have to talk." The main gist 
of his message was that when you are with a companion and he is 
talking, your job is to pray for him and ask that the spirit might 
bear witness to the truths of the gospel and it was not necessary to 
keep a complete box score of his errors. Fortunately, that talk 
struck me as being very good advice; I somehow knew what he 
said was true and I needed to play a different, more supportive role 
in our work. That was one of the pivotal conversations in my life. 
I’m indebted to Rex Bennion. 

Restoration of the Gospel : It was in our little Calgary basement 
apartment, at 19 years of age, that I received a sure witness of the 
truthfulness of the restoration of the gospel. I saw that I had to 
teach people that God had restored His Church to the earth. While 
I had a very clear faith in the existence of God and the power of 
prayer, I had taken the restoration pretty much for granted and did 
not have a clear personal conviction of its truthfulness. I knew that 
the Church teachings as they had been restored seem good, but I 
needed a clearer conviction, or I would not be able to serve my 
mission honestly. I was working hard with my companion every 
day and we talked to a lot of people, but I didn’t have all I needed. 
Each morning, early, we were studying the scriptures actively for 


Western Canadian Mission 

one to two hours. Teaching investigators along with studies every 
day helped me develop a picture of what the Church of Jesus 
Christ should be like. 

At night when we got in, I made the restoration of the gospel a 
matter of fervent prayer for several weeks. One late afternoon I 
was alone in the bedroom of our basement apartment praying 
earnestly to know the truthfulness of the restoration of the gospel 
when I had a very clear verbal answer as if it had been spoken or 
transferred directly into my head. It said, “You already have the 
answer." Then the things that I had learned in Primary, Sunday 
School, Priesthood, Seminary at Provo HS, Religion classes at 
BYHS (roughly like Seminary) and thus far on my mission, poured 
out directly before me in pieces. They made a tapestry or large 
patch quilt or image with all the pieces fitting nicely together. They 
made a complete picture of the restored gospel. Then over that 
came a scattering of the beliefs of all the many people we had been 
talking to. Each church had a few appropriate elements and these 
could fit somewhere onto the tapestry, but none of the other 
churches had all the pieces to make the whole picture, or even 
come close to it. I was fully satisfied that the Lord had answered 
my prayers. The gospel had been restored in its completeness; I 
could never deny it. It matched the scriptures I had studied and all 
else that I had learned. After this experience I felt absolutely 
supported in my mission and all my church and family experience 

Book of Mormon : Before I came into the mission field I had 
classes at BYHS that covered the story line of the Book of 
Mormon and had read from texts like “Voice from the Dust,” but I 
had never read the scripture itself. I told my training companion, 
Elder Bennion, that I had never read the Book of Mormon. He was 
dumfounded that I could tell him the whole story narrative and 
identify all the main characters but had not even read it once. 
When the two of us read it together, I was amazed at how much 
more there was than a story. The book really taught gospel 
principles clearly that we personally needed, just as the world did. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Distances : Every place in the Mission was a long way from 
Edmonton. We kept in touch with President Fisher with weekly 
letters and reports. These were consolidated and mailed to him by 
the District President. Other than the Saturday and Sunday spent at 
the Mission Home in Edmonton on the way in, I only saw 
President Fisher 3 or 4 times during the first year of my mission. 
We had one District Conference in Calgary in February 1951 that 
he attended. That was the most spiritual meeting I had attended in 
my life. President Fisher spoke and all 22 missionaries in the 
District bore their testimony. Four of us that had come into the 
field together were in this meeting and it was remarkable how 
much maturity and spiritual growth had come to my traveling 
companions in just over two months. 

Companionships : With the Mission President and Headquarters 
so distant, the District President, Elder Junius Bennion, (Cousin of 
Rex, my companion) was the person to go to for questions, 
assistance, assigned tracting areas and supplies. Within a District, 
companionships were quite fluid with many exchanges for 
teaching, tracting and country travel. Later in my mission my 
companion, Preston Hawker, had to go home for a month because 
of the death of his father and for this time I served with no 
companion. I was very happy to have him come back. 

Missing a companion for a while was not an entirely unique 
experience. In our mission, transfer distances often were so great 
your current companion could depart to his new area a week before 
his replacement might arrive. The companionship rules in those 
days had to be somewhat flexible. In the mission field today, the 
rules are much more clearly defined. 

The last six months of my mission when I was a District 
President on Vancouver Island, I was free to make companionship 
adjustments within the district when it seemed necessary. 
Sometimes it was necessary to give up my companion to someone 
who had temporarily lost his through transfer, illness, or departure. 
This was particularly true as mission numbers declined because of 
the Korean War draft. The inflow of new Elders to our mission had 
almost stopped and missionary numbers in our mission dropped to 
about half of what they had been when I arrived. 


Western Canadian Mission 

Hairline and Weight : A good number of the Elders in the mission 
were worried about the loss of hair during their mission and also 
about gaining weight. I thought it would be best to be scientific 
about the whole process and I took some careful measurements. 
This was the hairline measurement from my journal, 7 February 

-T UE6 TO- 

pA-y i e/u° r£to ,p xt vH5 

2&U0L iN or o 

/ALfO 6 0*4 
P Ze;V^. &£ — 

Journal Entry 

Then on February 17 th “Elder Garlick and I had a chance to weigh 
ourselves on good scales. I weighed 138 pounds with clothes and 
shoes on. That is pretty much what I weighed when I came into the 
mission field. Most of the Elders had added as much as 10 to 20 
pounds within a year.” I came home in two years still about 138. 

Now at age 85 I still have a little hair, but it is white and very 
thin and I weigh around 144 pounds. The pounds do add up as life 
becomes less physical. 

New Mission President : In late October 1951, almost halfway 
through my mission, we received official notice that President 
Fisher had been released and that he would tour the mission in 
November with R. Scott Zimmerman, the new President. In the 
mission fields of today, this kind of introduction to the mission for 
a new president never happens. 

The Mission teaching plan for Cottage Meetings (or Discussions 
as we call them today) was a well-prepared set of 31 lessons. The 
Plan gave a complete overview of the Lord's church and member 
responsibilities. Some information was so detailed that it took 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

several sessions to get through one lesson. The Plan had an 
excellent compendium of supporting scriptures. We were 
challenged to memorize as many as possible. During my mission I 
could probably call up from memory and quote more than a 
thousand scriptures if you gave me chapter and verse. Or in reverse 
if you gave me a topic I could give you the relevant chapters and 
verses. Our teaching and conversations had a heavy emphasis on 
the New Testament, tying the LDS Church to the early Church of 
Christ. In the lesson plan, the invitation to be baptized came along 
in about the 18 th discussion. It was a slow, methodical teaching 
approach; slow for investigators, but good for helping missionaries 
and investigators to get a solid, broad-based understanding of the 

In the latter part of my mission, I asked President Zimmerman if 
he would let me develop and use my own teaching plan which 
consisted of 6 lessons with a baptismal invitation possible in the 
first, second and third discussions. (My six discussion areas were: 
Apostasy, Restoration, Baptism & Gift of the Holy Ghost, Plan of 
Salvation, Temple & Work for the Dead and Member 
Responsibilities). He was agreeable and we used my abridged plan 
in our District. This turned out to be quite close to the teaching 
plans that the church later adopted and used for many years. 

Hats : In all the missions of the church, it was required that Elders 
wear a hat. These were to be conservative, business or professional 
style hats. I waited until I was in Canada to purchase two. One was 
a light straw hat for 
summer, very 

conservative, and a 
light gray felt hat for 
fall, winter and 
spring. I recorded in 
my journal that 
“buying a hat was 
the most lugubrious 
day in my life.” 

(Meaning: sad 


My Three Mission Hats 

Western Canadian Mission 

mournful, gloomy, depressing, doleful, melancholy, somber, 
cheerless, miserable, dismal.) That wasn't entirely true, but I really 
did not want to wear a hat. In spite of that, I did, and I should be 
grateful because that mission rule undoubtedly minimized the skin 
cancers that I now fight. I was later given a third hat. It was brown. 

Street Meetings: Almost every Saturday in Calgary and again in 
Victoria, after a district, or city study class, we held a Street 
Meeting. All the available missionaries in the city went to a busy 
comer in the downtown, where we had city approval to hold a 
meeting. The meeting would start with a hymn and a prayer. 
Several talks would follow. The non-speaking missionaries 
circulated through the crowd and answered questions and offered 

Sign for Street Meetings. Text read: 

“The Church of Jesus Christ 



of Latter-day Saints 

Book of with. 


"Qffm toyou? 



printed materials and copies of the Book of Mormon (for sale). 
There were a closing hymn and a prayer. These meetings were not 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

the most effective way to find people to teach, but we found some. 
It was a scary and positive growth experience for the missionaries. 
I painted a banner for these meetings in Victoria which served as a 
visual aid to help hold the crowd. It showed the Book of Mormon 
coming from this continent and the Bible from the Palestine area. 

Finances : My father sent a check to me monthly for about $60 US 
currency, which would convert into $58 to $66 in Canadian 
currency. Exchange rates varied over time. This amount was to 
cover all of our expenses including housing, food, clothing, and 
transportation. We had no telephones, no cars and no bicycles 
which eliminated those expenses. The Church and the Mission had 
no role, at that time, in any of our personal expenses. The Mission 
did provide some printed materials and film strips, but we bought 
the Book of Mormon copies which we resold at our cost of $.50 
each. If we didn't sell the copy, we loaned it and sold it later or 
picked it up. 

Fireside on Temple Marriage : On the first Sunday of February I 
was asked to speak in the evening Sacrament Meeting. In my 
journal I said, "I was terrific; even woke up three old gentlemen on 
the back row." This entry may exaggerate a little, but it must have 
gone OK. It was later that same evening Elder Bennion gave a 
great talk at a fireside chat on Celestial Marriage. He did so well 
that at the conclusion a large number of young women came up to 
visit with him. He reported that he had three proposals and four 
hints and I even got one. I concluded this entry with the note: 
"Girls here don't need to be converted to temple marriage, they just 
need a chance." I didn't enter this in my journal, but I thought to 
myself "Elders, be Very Respectful of Mission Rules." 

First Transfer came at the end of February and I got the jolting 
news that I was to be a senior companion with actually just two 
months experience. Fortunately, my companion was Fred A. 
Nielson who came with me on the train into the mission and he 
knew as much as I did. He didn't much want or need a green senior 
companion. Elder Nielson had an identical twin that came into the 
mission with us, and he was currently serving in Saskatchewan. It 


Western Canadian Mission 

was exciting to have a new assignment with Elder Nielson but sad 
to leave a number of progressing investigators that Elder Bennion 
and I had found. I knew they would be in good hands with Elder 
Bennion and Elder Talbot the brand new missionary he would be 

The whole transfer was simply a move across town on the City 
bus from 1512 - 13 th Ave W to 410 - 23 rd Ave NW all within 

Mary Mason was a good woman who had had a number of 
discussions and was preparing for baptism. She lived east of 
Airdrie, Alberta, about 25 miles north and east of Calgary on a 
farm, way off the highway. In late March 1951 on a nicer than 
average day, Elder Nielson led the way to her place. Because the 
missionaries used no 
cars or bicycles, we 
took the city bus to the 
end of the line and 
then began to walk. 

We were fortunate to 
get several rides from 
good folk who picked 
us up. We walked only 
about 4 miles total. 

When we arrived at 
her farm house, we 
had a very 
discussion. Elder 
Nielson had a 
harmonica, and he 
announced that he 
would play Come, 

Come Ye Saints and I _ 

Sister Mary Mason & I (in Elder 
Borrowed Johnson's Suit) 

would sing and Sister Mason could join in if she wished. It was a 
solo. Not my best skill. But afterward, Elder Nielson said it was 
just great. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

We returned home the same way we came, again with the 
kindness of several drivers who picked us up. Four days later on 
Sunday, we met with Mary Mason after church in Calgary and had 
a good discussion with her. I noted, “She is truly ready for Church 
membership and is brimming over with faith in the Lord.” 

On Wednesday we made our way back to the Mason farm, 
walking and hitching rides. To get to her farm, we passed through 
miles and miles of fields with no houses or buildings in sight. On 
those lonely roads, people are very friendly and if they are driving 
by and going your way they always stop and offer rides. Sister 
Mason greeted us warmly and inspired us with her understanding 
of the gospel and desire for membership. She was a very bright 
woman; a widowed mother with one young son, Edward, about six 
years old. He was not old enough to be baptized with his mother, 

but he planned to be when 
he turned eight. 

One week later on 
Wednesday at noontime 
we had a study session 
with Sister Mason in 
Calgary at the church. She 
was really thrilled about 
her baptism planned for 
Sunday, April 15, 1951, 
and we were too. When that Sunday came, we attended regular 
Church meetings and afterward Mary Mason and two other 
converts were baptized. 

Mary was baptized by Elder Nielson and I confirmed her. After 
Mary Mason’s baptism until as late as November 12, 1951, I 
continued to visit her at home and at church to hold additional 
cottage meetings focused on the responsibilities of members. My 
intent was to complete all 31 lessons of the Western Canadian 
Mission plan. It included very helpful new member fellow¬ 
shipping information. 

In November I was transferred to Vancouver Island and a year 
later released. I exchanged Christmas cards with Mary for a few 
years, but eventually lost touch. Now fast forward 50 years to 2001 
when Colette and I were presiding over the Tennessee Nashville 




Long Road East of Airdrie, Alberta 

Western Canadian Mission 

Mission. I called Elder David Brotherson to be one of my 
assistants as he was one of the finest Elders in our mission. Of 
course, he responded willingly and served with distinction. Not too 
long after David Brotherson’s appointment, I received a letter from 
Mary Mason with a handwritten copy of her baptismal certificate 
showing Elder Nielson's name and mine. She thought maybe I 
would have forgotten her over the years, but I certainly had not. 
Teaching her had been an inspiration. Her letter went on to say that 
her son, Edward, had been baptized, served a mission and later 
married in the temple. He and his wife had had eight children and 
one of those children, Laura, married into the Brotherson family. 
Through Sister Mason’s granddaughter, Laura Brotherson, Mary 
got the mission address where I was serving. I was delighted to 
learn from her letter that Mary had remained strong in the church. 
She reported that her son Edward and his wife and all of his 
children are active in the church and serve in church callings. She 
reported that they were teaching all of their grandchildren and 
great-grandchildren (10 at that time) to have a strong testimony of 
the gospel. 

This was thrilling to know that her faith is still strong and that 
she has transmitted that faith to her family. Further, it was joyful to 
know that through her descendants there was a positive connection 
between my early Canadian mission and our mission in Tennessee. 

At Sister Mason’s baptism, Elder Bennion gave me the 
wonderful news that Mary McDonald, a young woman whom he 
and I had met tracting and taught, had asked to be baptized. 

At about the same time I got the news that my companion, Elder 
Nielson would be transferred to another part of the City with Elder 
Johnson (my best barber and lender of a suit when mine was 
drenched in the rain). My new companion would be Elder Raylo 
Larsen. He was a huge young man with rosy cheeks and a bad 

Members : We were fed wonderful meals often in members’ 
homes. An interesting entry in my journal on Sunday, May 20, 
1951, when I had been in the mission field for just over five 
months reads as follows: "We had dinner with the Terry family this 
evening. The meal was one of the three best I have had since 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

arrival in Canada: roast beef, peas, mashed potatoes, brown gravy, 
salad and to top it off cherry pie with ice cream. I ate ‘til I was 
almost sick.” I guess that I have always been just a meat and 
potatoes country boy. 

Calgary’s member strength was outstanding. The wards there had 
quality leaders and excellent services, with frequent Fireside Chats 
and other great activities. Even more, one of the bishops, was Don 
McKay, the very popular Mayor of the City of Calgary. 

Members there had erected a beautiful, fully equipped chapel 
perched on a bluff that looked out over the Bow River. The Church 
was operating at full strength in this City, even though the number 
of members, as a percent of the population, was quite low. Imagine 
SLC (about the same size as Calgary) with just two wards. 

As I reflect back through the years of my mission in Canada, I'm 
overwhelmed with all that the church members did to support us as 
missionaries. Most often their material means were limited, but we 
were often invited for meals and to teach investigators in their 
home. Between our tracting efforts and the help of members we 
typically had two to four cottage meetings per day. Many of these 
cottage meetings included multiple families. It was marvelous to 
have that many opportunities to teach and bear witness to the 
restoration of the Lord's Church lead by His prophets. 

Tracting in Calgary , we found a very nice black family who was 
receptive to the Joseph Smith Story and the Book of Mormon. The 
husband worked for the Canadian National Railroad. We visited 
and taught them several times with a very good response each 
time. I mentioned this in a letter to President Fisher and he called 
me and suggested that in a nice way we should just back out of 
visits with them. This was very sad, but I understand the problems 
this posed in the 1950s. 

Weather : It snowed all 12 months that I was in Alberta. June had 
15 inches. July and August had only very brief skiffs and of 
course, the snow melts very quickly in the summer months. There 
were a few very nice days. As one old timer said, "it takes 56 days 
to grow wheat and Alberta usually gets 50." Vancouver Island, by 
comparison, was like the tropics of Canada. Beautiful. 


Western Canadian Mission 

Radio : In addition to providing meals, referrals and giving 
encouragement, members did some creative things to help with the 
work. LaRay Collett who worked for the major network radio 
station CFAC in Calgary worked out a 15-minute radio program 
where recorded music by the Tabernacle Choir would be played 
and Elder Wall and I were invited to alternate weeks giving the 
Spoken Word message. I went to a recording studio at the station 
and recorded several weeks of messages. On August 19, 1951, I 
tuned into CFAC and listened to myself on the air. It was not 
professional, but considering how scared I was it wasn't so bad. 
Even though this was scary, it was a great experience that helped 
me later in British Columbia. 

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Broadcast at Radio Station CHUB in 


After a year in Calgary, Alberta, I was transferred to Nanaimo, 
B.C. Elder Bennion my first real companion, was already there. He 
was doing a 30 minute Tabernacle Choir program on Radio Station 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

CHUB on Sunday evening. Elder Bennion said that I had to do the 
program every other week to spell him off and I reluctantly agreed. 

The Church had provided us with a large selection of recorded 
music and the station announcer, Bill Pike, loved the Choir and 
organ music. Sometimes he would cut the news short and have us 
play an extra number. The challenge for me was to choose the 
musical numbers that would be played for each program and work 
out the introductory text with a gospel message for each piece. 
This had to produce an overall theme and message for the full 
program and then come to an end at the right time. When I took 
my first turn doing the program in December 1951, Bill Pike asked 
who wrote the script and said it was pretty good. 

Elder Bennion and I shared this radio show responsibility for 
about three months until he was transferred to Edmonton to be the 
District President there. After he left, I did the program alone from 
that point onward. I also tried to talk the station into adding a 
second broadcast called "The Fullness of Times.” It was an audio 
dramatization of church history. Bill Pike and his boss played 
several programs and liked them, but said they could just allow 30 
minutes for us and suggested, for now, we should stick with the 
music and narration. When I was transferred, Elder Hawker 
reluctantly did several more Mormon Tabernacle programs but 
found them very taxing to prepare and present, so he replaced 
himself with the Fullness of Times records. Some weeks later on a 
Sunday evening when I was visiting in Nanaimo, I was listening to 
our broadcast and was upset when they were playing the program 
segments out of order. Elder Hawker and I went immediately to the 
station and found that the large 18" long-play records provided by 
the Church had been mislabeled. We checked the whole multi-disc 
set and made the necessary label corrections. 

In December 1952 I went to radio station CJVI in Victoria and 
asked them if they would let us do a Choir Broadcast program 
there. They said maybe in the new year. 

Our Work : We studied hard starting at 6:30 in the morning. We 
tracted long hours generally five days a week. This would yield 20 
to 30 quite good gospel conversations a day. On one very good 
day, we called on 14 homes and all but two were interested in the 

Western Canadian Mission 

Book of Mormon and learning more about the church. This 
tracting gave opportunities for return visits and Cottage meetings. 
We normally had 2 to 4 cottage meetings per day, many of these 
were in the evening, but not all. Members helped us with referrals 
to teach also. Going through old records and calling back on some 
promising prospects from prior work was good as well. We kept 
very good records of the responses we got from door to door 
tracting, feeling they might be used on the Day of Judgment. We 
tried to have 70 proselyting hours per week, i.e. teaching and 
talking about the gospel with non-members. 

Saturdays were preparation days with some cottage meetings and 
almost always a group missionary study class. Then we would go 
into town and hold a Street Meeting and then end up the day 
bowling, or going to a movie (which was allowed in those days). 

Nanaimo, British Columbia : The Nanaimo Branch had been 
organized on May 5,1948. It was the first church unit organized on 
Vancouver Island. Before the branch was organized there was a 
Sunday School, held at the home of Sam Dyson in the 1940s. 

When I arrived in Nanaimo to work with Elder Preston Hawker, 
I found a new chapel was in the process of being built by the 
members. The ground had been broken for this chapel on June 2, 
1951, just a few months before I arrived in late November. The 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

structure was already framed and bricked up with a roof on. It was 
a small building with a chapel a few steps up from ground level. It 
had a small classroom behind the pulpit area. There was a stairway 
access to a full unfinished basement with a raw concrete baptismal 
font roughed out in one comer as part of the foundation. 

There were provisions for bathrooms and a kitchen, but had no 
running water yet. The members were poor and at most had just 
50 active or partially active members. It was a tribute to these 
saints that they would undertake this project at a time when local 
members had to pay 70% of the construction cost. The completed 
building was dedicated May 27, 1953, by Elder John Longden, 
Assistant to the Council of the Twelve. It may have been the third 
chapel in our mission. 

In my early months in Nanaimo, there were four elders, me, 
Preston Hawker, Robert Mabey, and Rex Bennion (my first 
companion in Calgary). We were invited to work on the chapel as 
we were able. We nailed in the wooden tongue and groove flooring 
until I could not uncurl the fingers of my hammer hand and did 
other tasks as needed until the chapel was ready for use. In January 
1952, even though the chapel was not entirely finished, the Saints 
in Nanaimo moved from the Forrester’s Hall to the new little 
chapel. There were 57 people for the first Sunday School; a new 
attendance record. 

Mutual and Primary : With the new meeting place it was possible 

to organize a Primary 
and a Mutual. The 
Elders helped to staff 
both organizations. 

Martha Thomas , age 

60 plus, was the 
landlady for the Elders 
Bennion and Mabey. 
She was totally blind, 
but functioned better 
than most sighted 
people. She often fed all four of us missionaries in the town and 


My Little Scout Troop on a Hike 

Western Canadian Mission 

always had a sympathetic ear for the Elders’ troubles. She had 
been taught the gospel by the Elders over many months and was 
solidly converted. Her baptism date was set for January 8, 1952, in 
the new chapel. 

Getting the font ready was a challenge for us with no water in 
our building. A kind neighbor let us run a hose from his yard to fill 
the font with his well water. To warm the water we, with local 
member help, hauled in two nearly boiling barrels of water and 
added that to the font and another member brought an electric 
heating element to put in the font. It all took longer than we 
expected, but we did get done just in time for the service. Elder 
Bennion baptized Sister Thomas and I confirmed her. I marvel at 
Martha’s courage, being blind and a little older; she was willing to 
step into a watery concrete pit that she couldn’t see and trust young 
Elders not to drown her. She had unwavering faith in the Lord. 

In Port Albemi we held baptisms in the Somass River. It was a 
beautiful spot, wooded banks, smooth waters, cold, but more 
scenic than the new Nanaimo basement font. In Victoria we used 
the indoor swimming pool at the YMCA and in Calgary we had a 
civilized font in a real chapel. 

The Well : A few weeks after Sister Thomas’s baptism Elder 
Hawker and I came to priesthood meeting at the chapel. The 
Branch President and a priesthood leader met with us and 
concluded that the chapel had been without water long enough. 

They assigned Elder Hawker and me to dig a well. 

The next day we started digging in the back corner of the chapel 
lot. It was really hard. It was like a concrete layer that we couldn’t 
get through. After the first day with pick and shovel, we had gone 
down only about 6 inches. The branch leaders reviewed the hard 
pan and our slow progress and said, "get a Jack Hammer.” 

With the jackhammer we got through several feet of hardpan and 
then came to more normal digging. By day three we had gotten 
down 26 feet, where we hit sand and gravel, then water started to 
flow into our well. This was a happy moment. One other 
interesting side note: when you are in a hole 26 feet deep and look 
up in broad daylight, the sky is black and you can see stars at 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

We hooked up a pump in the well and behold we had water in 
the chapel. 

Joan Story Zubach : While trading and searching out less active 
members we found Joan Zubach who had moved in from 
Lethbridge, Alberta and had a few discussions and study sessions 
with her. We invited her to church and she came to one of our first 
Mutual Meetings when it was raining pretty hard. She was soaking 
wet but she got there. Over the next few months, she came to 
several more church meetings, but we never met her hockey player 
husband and didn’t connect her to the church as well as we should 

I didn’t know until several years later that Joan was Colette’s 
cousin and one of her early childhood best friends. I should have 
made greater effort to help her. It might be that way with many 
things in life where we wish in retrospect we had tried a little 

Branch Troubles : In 1952 Nanaimo was the only branch in the 
Victoria District on Vancouver Island that had its own chapel and 
it should have been poised for some exciting growth. There were 
however 2 or 3 longtime resident church families who were less 
active. They had been supportive financially, especially in the 
building of the new chapel. At this time they were still unhappy 
about things that had happened historically in the small branch and 
also felt that oversite during the new chapel construction had been 
lax. This group was critical of the young branch president who was 
a local contractor and was also the contractor for the construction 
of the chapel. The disgruntled members felt the branch president 
had not kept careful track of materials and labor that went into the 
building. I spent a lot of time talking to those who were dissident 
and tried to iron out the problems, but I never got it completely 
resolved, primarily because they insisted on the release of the 
Branch President and I didn’t feel this was right. The leader of this 
dissident group had been embarrassed some years before when he 
was in a leadership position and I wondered if his dissent was 


Western Canadian Mission 

Later, as District President, I came back from Victoria and tried 
again to bring 
peace to the 
branch, but made 
no new progress. 

Branch Conference 
was scheduled and 
President and 
Sister Zimmerman 
came for that. 

When the 

congregation was 
asked to sustain the 
branch leaders, all 
the dissidents were in the congregation to vote no. I had warned 
President Zimmerman that this was likely and when a number of 
hands came up in opposition, the President very smoothly invited 
them to a meeting with him and me after the meeting. They took 
this opportunity to vent their feelings again. Within a month or 
two, the branch president was released and was replaced with a 
senior Elder who was assigned to be the Nanaimo Branch 
President. This was near the end of my mission and I couldn’t 
follow the situation further, but I had the impression that this didn’t 
work too well either. 

About 10 years later I brought Colette back to Nanaimo with me. 
We visited her cousin Joan Zubach, who now had a nice home and 
partly grown children. We also attended the branch services. It was 
functioning well and growing. Now, in 2015, there are wards and 
buildings all over the Island. 

Sun and Moon to Blood : There are scriptural references to the 
Sun and Moon turning to blood in the last days. Vancouver Island 
is heavily wooded and in the summer of 1952 a fire broke out up 
the Island. Smoke gradually spread over the city of Victoria 
making it very dark in the daytime. Through that smoke both the 
sun and the moon were a bright bloody red. It was the first time I’d 
ever seen this phenomenon and with the scriptural references it 

President & Sister Zimmerman 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

caught our attention. We didn’t consider it to be a bad omen, but 
did hope that the fire could be quenched soon and the air cleared. 

Focus : At a District meeting in Victoria, the Elders who had 
traveled some distance stayed with Elder Judd the District 
President and his companion. There were 6 of us in the apartment. 
At dinner time the Elders all pitched in and fixed a pretty nice 
meal. While we were eating the conversation about Israel became 
very engrossing. While the talk went on, Elder Wall asked Elder 
Talbot to pass the potatoes. In response Elder Hawker passed the 
salt. Elder Judd asked for the chicken and Elder Draper passed the 
water. Elder Draper asked for the butter and Elder Talbot passed 
the potatoes. I noticed that they were all so intent on the 
conversation that they were completely unaware of what was 
happening with the food passing. When the conversation had a 
break, I pointed out to them what had been going on. They looked 
around the table and broke into hearty laughter at their own 
obliviousness. Good elders do really focus. 

At a later District Conference, six Elders needed to stay in my 

Elders Wall, Taylor, Draper, Talbot, Mabey, & Hawker - Small Beds - 

District Conference 


Western Canadian Mission 

apartment. When it came time for bed the good news was that 
there were two beds. The bad news was that they were both small. 
The floors were hardwood, and the only other furnishings were 
wooden chairs. We decided that 6 Elders in two beds would have 
to do. We pushed them together and hoped for at least a little sleep. 
About 2:00 in the morning I saw Elder Talbot, who was sleeping 
on the crack between the two beds, standing in the comer of the 
room. I whispered, “What are you doing?” He whispered back, 
“I’m resting.” 

Spirit of Elijah : Elder Draper, a big raw-boned lad from Pima, 
AZ, with a charming Southwestern drawl, was teaching in Port 
Alberni on the Plan of Salvation. The investigator hostess for the 
cottage meeting was a very shy little lady and she had invited her 
whole family. Elder Draper was explaining how the Spirit of Elijah 
would come upon a person and give them a desire to do work for 
the dead. Sometimes that spirit could be so strong that the person 
was virtually compelled to see the work through. Just then he saw 
a mouse scooting across the floor. With no word of explanation 
Elder Draper made a leap for it and with successive lunges 
followed it under the couch. The poor family was filled with 
hysterical fear, thinking he had been caught up by the spirit. When 
he finally explained, the whole family convulsed with laughter and 

Feeling Naked : On another occasion, after about six months in 
the mission field, we were talking as a group about getting 
accustomed to wearing garments. Elder Larsen chipped in, “When 
I strip them off to jump into the shower I feel totally naked.” 

“Dust of your Feet:” Elder Hawker and I had a few discussions 
with an Evangelical Minister who had some pretty harsh things to 
say about the church. After the second visit Elder Hawker took the 
scriptural admonition (Matt 10: 14-15) to heart and brushed off the 
dust of his shoes as a witness that the minister had not received us, 
nor heard our words. A week later we came by his place and 
learned that he and his whole family had come down with a bad 
case of Chicken Pox. Elder Hawker had a satisfied smile. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

The Six Geographical Districts that made up the Western 
Canadian Mission were, from east to west: Saskatoon District, 
Peace River District, Edmonton District, Calgary District, 
Vancouver District and Victoria District. The first two listed were 
smaller with 10 to 14 missionaries at their peak and the others had 
about 24 at their peak. In June 1952 I was called to be the District 
President in Victoria. I was stunned to receive this calling. All 
those District Presidents before me had been giants in the mission 
and I didn’t feel that way at all. 

Here is a partial listing of a District President’s responsibilities: 

• supervised the elders and sisters in the District. 

• worked with companionships for training and improved 

• lead weekly and quarterly district meetings for study, training 
and testimony 

• kept track of the all the areas that had been worked and 
filed the missionaries tracting records with notations of 
door by door reactions and teaching completed to date 

• based on geographical work history, new working areas 
were assigned to each companionship 

• sought apartment building permission to proselyte 

• did baptismal interviews, issued recommends for baptism 
and then made certificates after the ordinances were 

• took missionary weekly reports and compiled them and 
sent them on to Edmonton, along with missionary letters 

• kept important supplies on hand, e.g. tracts, forms, BofMs, 

• collected Tithing and Fast Offerings from members, issued 

• kept Church financial records and balanced books against 


Western Canadian Mission 

• kept membership records for the district and tried to assure 
visits as often as possible to remote members who lived 
beyond the branches reach 

• in these rural areas looked for member families who could 
come together to form a Sunday School group which could 
grow into a branch. 

• visited each branch regularly as well as outlying members 
who were in the country 

• participated in reorganizing and installing new leadership 
in branches 

• looked for potential chapel sites and collected city zoning 
information. (Found several potential sites in Victoria.) 

• made district historical reports 

• wrote weekly letters of encouragement to all the 
missionaries in the District 

• found apartments for Sister and advised Elders on housing 

• worked with the city governments to get permission for 
tracting and Street Meetings 

• lead street meetings 

• scheduled mission and branch conferences, reserved and 
prepared building space for District meetings, such as the 
YMCA, Boiler Maker’s Union Hall, etc. 

• once a year arranged for transportation to take all 
missionaries to Cardston for mission conference and 
shared a bus with the Vancouver District. 

• negotiated with Victoria and Nanaimo radio stations about 
church programing they would broadcast for us 

• carried a very nearly a full personal missionary work load 

It was a lot of paperwork and accounting, interviewing and 
arranging. Once a month I rented an adding machine so that I 
could make the contribution receipts balance. For letters and 
notices, I didn’t have time to hand-copy everything over for each 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

missionary, or for church leaders so I made a simple copy tray for 
typed purple ditto masters. The typed master was pressed onto the 
Knox gelatin surface which I had poured into a cookie pan. Clean 
typing paper was laid on the inked gelatin, and the purple ink 
transferred to the white paper to make a decent copy. The purple 
ink could be carefully wiped off the gelatin for a new master to be 
impressed. When it got too fuzzy new gelatin was added. 

When a letter came from Edmonton It seemed strange to be 
addressed as President Taylor. Note the stamp. George was the 
King; Canada was still a Dominion of the United Kingdom and 
you could send a first class letter for just 4 cents. 

Pres. Il^nry I/* Taj/inr 
12 $4 Harnnshlra 
V±ct<i”ia, B, m* 

Maybe a third to half of the time as District President I did not 
have a companion. I sometimes needed to loan my companion to 
work with another Elder. This was good when I had to do a lot of 
paperwork, but lonely for tracting and cottage meetings. I started 
getting up at 5:30 AM to get the work done. 

Chorus Program : In Victoria, we had some Elders and Sisters 
who sang quite well and Elder Call, my companion urged me to 
form a missionary chorus. After a P-day study meeting, we tried a 
few hymns in 4 part harmony and I could see the potential. Eleven 
missionaries continued working on hymns and I put together a 
program with four strong missionary talks interspersed among six 
stirring hymns by the chorus. We offered the program to the three 
branches in our District and did some investigator recruiting for 
each of the planned programs. The group traveled to Port Albemi 

Western Canadian Mission 

and then to Nanaimo and presented our program in their Sacrament 
Meetings. Victoria was our home base and we later presented the 
program there. The attendance set new records in the branches; the 
messages and music were powerful and the missionaries had a 
wonderful experience. 

Country Trips : With the membership records for everyone in the 
District, except those assigned to branches, the District President 
assigned Elders in his District to periodically visit those families 
that were remote and not in branches. The purpose of the visits 
was to verify that the members were still there and do our best to 
bring the gospel into their lives. Mostly these people lived far into 
the country, or deep into forest areas or in small towns. In some of 
these places one, two or three families could be formed into a 
home Sunday school group. In others, a small branch could be 
established and missionaries were assigned to visit these small 
branches monthly if they could. 

Out of Calgary, we visited small branches in High River, 40 
miles; Vulcan 75 miles; and a few others. We contacted members 
in Drumheller, 80 miles, Milo, 82 miles, and other remote areas. 
Out of Victoria, there were no very small branches but we visited 

remote members in Duncan, 40 
miles; Ladysmith, 50 miles; 
Campbell River, 160 miles; and 
Salt Spring Island, 32 miles by 
boat. On Vancouver Island 
Home Sunday Schools were 
started in Campbell River and 
Duncan and others had potential. 

In these remote areas with no 
branches we held cottage 
meetings, administered the 
sacrament, collected tithes and 
offerings, sold Improvement 
Eras (today would be Ensign) 
and Children’s Friends 
magazines, blessed children and 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

baptized those who had turned eight; sold copies of The Book of 
Mormon , and tried to connect LDS families or individual members 
with each other. 

All the transportation to these remote areas was on foot and with 
the kindness of motorists on the road we seldom walked more than 
10% of the way and often less. Occasionally we had to pay for a 
bus, or train, or ferry. 

We didn't take a lot of time off for sightseeing, yet in our regular 
work, we saw a lot of Western Canada. There were two occasions 
when we took a preparation day or holiday and saw some things 
we would otherwise have missed. 

Banff: The first and most spectacular trip out of Calgary was in 
early July 1951 when we took a Monday, Dominion Day and went 
to Banff. On the Banff highway it wasn’t as easy to get rides, as 
on country roads. Most of the cars were full of families and had no 
room to spare. After 45 minutes I was getting very discouraged and 
told Elder Larsen that we could give it another 20 minutes and if 
we didn’t have a ride by then we may as well go home. Two 
minutes later a couple of cowboys came along and gave us a ride 
to Cochrane, only about 20 miles west of Calgary. There another 
cowboy and his family gave us a ride to Morely, about 52 miles 
from Calgary - 42 miles to go. The family’s young boy kept me 
entertained as we traveled. 

When we got out at Morely the road had no shoulder and cars on 
the highway had no place to stop without blocking traffic. We 
walked through the beautiful foothills of the Rocky Mountains, 
with the Bow River on our left. We went quite a distance looking 
for a wider spot on the road or a shoulder of some sort, but found 
none. A courageous fellow and his girlfriend stopped in the road 
and picked us up. They took us to Canmore which is only 16 miles 
from the town of Banff and is right in the mountains. The much 
photographed 3 Sisters mountains are right there. 

The Olson family had moved from Calgary to Canmore and said 
to be sure and look them up if we ever got out that way. We 
stopped at a cafe and asked about them and were told that the only 
Olsons around had moved a few days ago. My heart sank. We 
walked about a mile into the center of town and inquired at the 


Western Canadian Mission 

hotel. We were elated to learn the Olsons were working at that 
hotel coffee shop. We were happy to see them and they us. Their 
daughter Barbara had the day off and the parents let her take the 
car. While she got ready, I peeled a 50 lb. sack of potatoes for the 

In the family Meteor (an upscale Canadian Ford), Barbara drove 
and two more family members joined us. We drove to downtown 
Banff. The town was small and unimpressive, but the mountains 
were magnificent. The town was supported by tourists, lots of 
cabins and eating places. We saw more U.S. license plates than I 
had seen since I crossed the border. 

We drove to the natural hot springs, saw three bears asleep in 
pine trees and then came to the Banff Springs Lodge, with its 
tennis courts, swimming pools and golf course along the beautiful 
Bow River Falls. The huge Lodge was made of stone and looked 
as if it could last through the millennium. The gardens were 
elegant with fountains and colorful plantings. 

The lodge has a spectacular view of the mountains and river 
valley. Mt. Rundle is a rocky, rugged beauty and Mt.Norquay is 
where the ski lifts are located. Years later the winter Olympics 
were held on this mountain. We did not see Lake Louise which is 
40 miles further up the road, but we did wonderfully well on our 
tour, considering that we didn’t arrive at Banff until 4:15 pm. But 
this northland can stay quite light until about 10 pm in the summer. 

When we got back to the Hotel we went to work to help the 
Olsons and washed dishes for over 3 hours. The Olsons gave us 
dinner and a place to sleep. Fortunately for us they had to go into 
Calgary the next day and took us all the way home. As we left we 
paused a few times to take pictures of the beautiful Rockies. 

Victoria Area Tour : On one preparation day, six of us in the 
District chipped in, and I rented a car. We used the car to get to 
some places that were otherwise hard to get to. Most memorable 
were Buchart Gardens and a beautiful old Scottish castle which 
had been moved stone by stone from the British Isles. 

I can’t imagine how I got a car with no credit card. It had a 
mileage charge and we considered driving backward to hold down 
the cost. We did this a little in parking lots, but it was not a good 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

idea. We had a very nice day, even though it was gray and 

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip visited Calgary as newly¬ 
weds. On October 18, 1951, there was a parade in Calgary for the 

'as driving light 
snow through 
the streets, but 
the crowds of 
120,000 people 
were happy, 
excited, bump¬ 
ing, pushing 
and craning 
their necks to 
get a view. The 
stores were all 
closed and the 
streets were 

My picture of Princess Elizabeth thronged with 

people. I 

climbed up on a building ledge to get a picture and lost Elder 
Larsen in the crowd. I went down to Eighth Avenue on which the 
royal couple would return. When they came by this time they 
seemed to have warmed up to the crowd. It sounds corny, but the 
princess was beautiful, even more than her pictures and the prince 
was very natural and dashing. 

The radios were doing play-by-play descriptions of the parade as 
if it were the World Series. The royal couple received a mini 
presentation of the Stampede and then was treated to a western 
meal of baked beans, pork sides, duck, partridge, stew, etc. They 
visited a few hospitals and then got back on the Canadian Pacific 
Railroad to continue their tour westward. A little more than a year 
later, in June 1953, Elizabeth II became the Queen of the United 
Kingdom. Fortunately before that I did find Elder Larsen. 

Calgary Stampede : We didn't exactly take time off missionary 
work to go to the famous Stampede, but we did volunteer to help in 


Western Canadian Mission 

the two wards in their Stampede food booths. Each year they sold 
hamburgers, com dogs, com on the cob, homemade pie and other 
delicious items. This helped raise funds for their ward budgets. It 
was a significant boost. We worked many hours in the booths and 
also found time to look in on some of the events. I especially loved 
the chuck wagon races. These races took incredible coordination 
between the team members, the four horses and the Wagoneer. The 
Stampede is really a world class rodeo which stands above all 

Converts: With all of our incredible teaching opportunities, I 
expected that we should have seen more people come into the 
waters of baptism. Perhaps our processes were just too slow, or we 
lacked the faith that we needed, or the people just needed more 
time. After I got home I had several letters and notes on Christmas 
cards from investigators that we taught that let me know they had 
been baptized and were doing well. They were feeling the blessing 
that comes with that commitment to the Lord. I hope that many 
more that we taught eventually found the joy of church 

Release : My release was a little different than today's typical 
process. On December 16 of 1952, I got a phone call from the 
Mission President R. Scott Zimmerman. He thanked me for my 
service and said that my honorable release was now effective and I 
could go home. Elder Blau, who was serving in Victoria, was also 
released. He and I went downtown and bought bus ticket for home. 
The next day we bid goodbye to the Elders and our landlady, then 
loaded our bags into a cab. The taxi driver grumbled about the 
baggage, but did get us to the boat headed for Seattle. It was a 
beautiful clear day as we sailed away. At about 10:30 am from the 
water we caught our last view of Victoria in the distance. 

In Seattle we took a cab from the dock to the Bus Station. We 
looked briefly around and found Seattle showed much more hustle 
and bustle than Victoria. The crease in the men’s’ pants was sharp 
and shoes were shiny. It was different enough from Victoria to 
catch our attention. From Seattle we took the bus to Portland and 
changed there to a bus for Salt Lake. Elder Blau left me at our first 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

stop in Idaho where he was picked up by his girlfriend. In Salt 
Lake City I bought a ticket on a third bus to take me to Provo. 

When my bus arrived in Provo at the Station on University 
Avenue, it was about 9 AM and no one was expecting me, so I 
took my two large suitcases and walked to DTR, four blocks away. 
None of my family members were there at the time, except Uncle 
Bud. He loaned me his car to take my stuff to our mountainside 
home. David, who was about 8, was the only one at home and he 
barely knew who I was. Later that same day I did see and was 
warmly greeted by mother, father, Tony and Stephen. Nothing 
fancy about that release. I found that I didn’t really need an 
elaborate reception to know that serving the Lord on my mission 
had been one of the most important experiences of my life. 

After my return home, I was asked to come to the office of Elder 
Oscar A. Kirkham one of the seven presidents of 70 for a release 
interview. He asked me to tell him what I had learned on a 
mission. I had a long list of things important to me, but never felt 
like I gave him and the answer that he was looking for. Maybe it 
was just his way of drawing me out. 

Anders and Dan Called to My Old Mission: It is interesting that 
my two eldest grandsons Anders, Tom’s son and Dan, Brad’s son 
were both called to serve in my old mission territories 50 plus 
years later. Anders was called to serve in Calgary, Alberta which is 
where I first served for a year. Then Dan was called, just a little 
later to serve In Nanaimo on Vancouver Island where I started the 
second half of my mission. 

I was delighted that these two grandsons could return to the 
fields where I labored. It seems like more than chance that they 
went there to clean up what I had left undone. 

In 64 years’ time the church in my original mission area has 
grown remarkably. It has gone from 1 Temple in Cardson, Alberta 
to 5, with the additions of Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, and 
Vancouver. Where there was one mission there are now at least 4. 
Where there were no stakes, there are now 25. 


Part Four 

BYU, Courtship & Harvard 

University, Rhino Pool & East Again 

Ten Steps Then Breathe 

13. BYU 

I graduated from BY High School in the spring of 1949 and 
decided that I would take Freshman English at Brigham Young 
University during the summer. The classes were a couple of hours 
each morning and then the rest of the day I worked at the Dixon 
Taylor Russell home furnishing store in the upholstery shop. Those 
classes were my entry to BYU. I don’t recall ever making out an 
application for enrollment, or getting an acceptance from the 
University, I just started. 

Because I lived at home with my folks through college and 
continued to work about 20 to 30 hours a week through University 
years, I never experienced the major transition that most people 
feel going away to college. For me, it was like a greatly expanded 
continuation of High School. 

Student Enrollment: BYU has changed a great deal from the 
days when Colette and I roved the campus. In 1949 when I started 
BYU there were about 3,000 students and just a few more than that 
when Colette began her freshman year in 1951. Earnest L. 
Wilkinson became University President the same year. He strongly 
felt "This University must assume the educational leadership 
which those who established and continued it envisioned ' " He 
embarked on an enormous construction program, completing 77 
permanent buildings on Campus in just a few years. As these 
buildings progressed during his tenure, student enrollment 
increased to more than 25,000. 

Student Church Structure: In the early 1950’s the University 
had just two campus branches, one for single students and one for 
married. With a student population of about 3,000 the branches 
were enormous. I still recall the image of coeds in high heels and 
Sunday dresses racing across the campus to the rooms where the 
best teachers held Sunday School classes. There were probably 
more than 30 Gospel Doctrine classes to choose from, all going 
concurrently. To the students being in the Branch Presidency was 
as prestigious as being a General Authority; the same was true for 
a Gospel Doctrine teacher. President Wilkinson saw that this two- 

BYU, Courtship & Harvard 

branch structure was not serving the overall student needs well and 
would be a disaster with a much larger student population. So with 
strong church leader support, he encouraged the creation of 10 
Stakes with 104 Branches, which later became wards. 

Social Units : When I was at BYU, Social Units (fraternities and 
sororities without national affiliation) were the heart and soul of 
the school. They provided intramural sports, dances, socials, floats 
for homecoming parades and welcoming activities for alumni, 
service projects for the University, student body assemblies 
featuring talent and humor. They were key participants in 
competitive song festivals, provided input and leadership to the 
student inter-organization council and enriched campus life. With 
just one big campus branch for single students, social units 
provided an opportunity for the clustering of smaller friendship 
groups that supported the university and built up its esprit de corps. 
With the advent of student wards and the vastly increasing size of 
the school, social units were eventually disbanded. Their demise 
was probably welcomed by the school administration because not 
all students were equally benefited by their presence on campus. 
Wards and dorms were almost universally experienced by all 
students regardless how large the school became, and thus they 
became a primary facilitator in social contact and the heart and 
soul of the student’s experience. 

Goldbrickers : As a freshman, I was invited to some "rush" 
functions of the Goldbricker social unit and a couple of other 
Social Units. Goldbrickers had been started 1917 by my uncle 
Lynn and about a dozen of his good friends who had just returned 
from military service. They called themselves "goldbrickers” in 
self-effacing jest because in military lingo the term means a slacker 
and they were anything but. The Goldbrickers had the reputation of 
being the premium group on campus. The rush process consisted 
of attending a few social gatherings where invitees could meet 
members and vice versa. 

After going to a number of "rush" events, the Brickers invited me 
to become a member, as did one or two other units. It was a big 
deal to be chosen because that happened only after careful internal 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

approval of the group. The Brickers were clearly my first choice, 
and I accepted their invitation. Rushing was completed during Fall 
Quarter, and it was Winter Quarter when the initiation into the 
group began. This period was affectionately called "goat week." 
Inductees were required to muster each morning at 6:00 am or 
earlier when they were given nonsense assignments, like counting 
the tiles in the all the Eyring Building bathrooms or making a 
large, 5:00 am bonfire in the snow on the Y mountain. Each goat 
had a hardwood paddle with his name in large letters and also 
carried a gold-painted brick with his name on. The paddle was to 
be signed by every member of the social unit and to get that 
signature you had to visit with him personally and do a chore for 
him. The paddle was used to inspire humility and encourage 
behavioral correction. Carrying and protecting the brick was 
symbolic of your individual responsibility to the Unit. 

Both the brick and the paddle were to be guarded at all cost, but 
my brick got stolen by a rival social unit which meant there would 
be serious consequences for me. With the help of a few other goats 
I had made all the original bricks for my pledge group and still had 
access to the gold paint, the logo, and the stencils and I just made 
another. The rival unit made claims about having my brick. The 
Goat Master demanded to see my brick. When I handed my 
carefully wrapped brick to the Goat Master, all goats held their 
breath as he unwrapped. After a careful examination he decided 
the rivals were just boasting. I was filled with both relief and guilt. 

There were a few other requirements for each goat. Each had to 
wear, next to the skin, a burlap undershirt cut out of a burlap sack. 
Itchy, scratchy. Then around the neck, you were required to wear a 
small bottle or vial containing the dung of an obscure animal, and 
you had to collect that sample. I can't remember what animal was 
assigned to me, but a few years later I do remember my brother 
Tony’s assigned sample was to be from a Grus Canadensis Tabida, 
which is a Wild Flying Greater Sandhill Crane. I told him he could 
put anything in the bottle and they would never know. What they 
really wanted was a good story about how you got your sample. 
Tony’s story for the goat master was so good that Tony had to 
repeat it for the whole unit and then again many more times at 
Bricker parties, socials and exchanges. 


BYU, Courtship & Harvard 

One way ride : At the end of the “goat” week the climactic event 
was to take two blindfolded initiates for a 50 to 100-mile ride to a 
desolate spot they could not recognize and let them out. If they 
could find their way back, possibly on foot, they became official 
members of the Unit. It was meant to be very difficult, even 
though, over the years, all the recruits were clever enough to find 
their way back. 

So in the dead of winter, my partner and I were told to wear 
warm clothes and be ready. At about 10 pm we were both 
blindfolded and put in the back of a car and taken for a one to two- 
hour ride. When we were let out, we found ourselves in a wide 
open desert area with about 3" of snow on the ground. Mountains 
in the distance looked small. There was no sign of civilization. My 
instinct said we were somewhere well west of Utah Lake, beyond 
the West Mountains, but neither of us knew for sure. We picked a 
direction and started walking. After a while, in the far distance, we 
saw a light and decided we would head for that. When we got 
closer, we could see it was on top of a bam gable lighting a 
farmhouse yard. Eventually, we made out the house. Even though 
it was past midnight, there was a light on in the front of the house. 
We knocked. A young girl answered the door, and we could see 
directly into the living room where the family of 6 was gathered. 
They invited us in, out of the freezing night and we explained our 

They were up late shelling sunflower seeds. Not the large 
commercial sunflower seed you buy in a store. These were small 
little seeds from wild sunflowers. We helped them, and after a 
while they rearranged the kids sleeping places and offered us a bed 
for the night. 

Next morning (Saturday) they fed us a tasty hotcake breakfast, 
and the mother said, "This afternoon my husband has to go to 
Spanish Fork and goes through Provo on the way. Would you like 
a ride?" That was perfect. Then their teenaged boy piped up and 
said, “I’m going hunting jack rabbits this morning, you can come 
along if you’d like.” 

He had guns, and we hopped in the truck and off we went. I 
don’t recall that anyone got a rabbit, but we had a great open air 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

ride through the desert. In the afternoon the dad took us in through 
Cedar Fort, Lehi, American Fork and dropped us in Provo as he 
went on to Spanish Fork. 

We walked to DTR, and I borrowed a car and 16 hours after we 
had left we were back in our homes, well rested, well fed, 
entertained and happy. We were the luckiest of all goats. 

Cost Accounting at BYU was one of the required courses for my 
major. It was a challenging class and working out all the processes 
to get a good answer was nearly impossible. When it came time for 
a mid-term exam, I was working away and became confused about 
a specific accounting treatment. My textbook was on the floor 
under my chair, and I thought I could quickly open my book with 
my foot and get to the right page and clarify my questions and then 
go on. It was not an open book test, so this was a violation of the 
honor code. At any rate, I could barely open the book with shoes 
on, let alone turn to the right page. It was just too awkward with 
shoes on to even try, so I gave it up. Nevertheless, my intent was 

A few days later my professor called me in and said that it was 
reported to him that I had been cheating on the test. I admitted that 
I had been guilty of trying, but had failed to get anything, so 
everything on the test taken was my work, for better or worse. 

He said that if an accountant was not totally honest he was not 
much use. An accountant needed to be the standard keeper for 
honesty in any organization and that I should keep that in mind 
going forward. I got a B or B+ in the course and felt fortunate to 
get that. 

The way my professor handled my bad intent was a positive 
experience, and from that time forward I have remembered his 
words and tried to honor that standard, successfully I hope. 

Bricker President : Back at BYU after my mission, I reunited with 
many of my Bricker friends who were also coming back from 
missions. In the following year, I was elected president of the unit. 

I felt this was a great honor to be selected by these outstanding 
men who actually knew me and I hoped that I could fulfill the trust 
they had shown. 


BYU, Courtship & Harvard 

First Temple Session : It was early December 1950 when I entered 
the Mission Home in Salt Lake City. Our group was not huge, but 
something more than 200. Many of those attending were my 
friends from BYU. The one-week experience there was quite 
simple, several talks from good men who gave us good instruction. 
Part of the Mission Home experience was a couple of trips through 
the Salt Lake Temple. One speaker gave a talk on the Temple in 
the evening and the next day almost all of us had our first 
Endowment experience. Since we were in Salt Lake we used that 
Temple. To say I was confused and a little put-off would be an 
understatement. Those missionaries I was with all pretty much felt 
the same. While we were there we had one more trip through an 
endowment session, this time as a proxy for someone who had 
died. It was a little better but still a murky experience. 

I was fortunate that the Western Canadian Mission had the 
Cardston Temple. Once a year our mission had a three or four day 
Mission Conference in Cardston, Alberta and while we were there 
we had about four more temple experiences. I recall after one 
session while some of us were still in the temple, President Card 
came to the Celestial Room and had a long conversation with us. I 
can’t recall anything specific that he said, but after that talk and 
two Mission Conferences and about eight temple sessions I came 
away from my mission with a better feeling about and 
understanding of the ceremony, but still a lot of questions. 

Young Adult Temple Coordination : When I got home I was 
called to be the East Sharon Stake Young Adult Temple 
Coordinator. I got a good response from the Stake young adults, 
and we had monthly trips for a couple of years with the 
participation of 25 to 40 for each of our trips to the Salt Lake 
Temple. During this time and following, I slowly began to piece 
together a little more of what the Lord wanted us to understand 
from the ceremony. 

Later when I was the Bishop of the Stanford Ward we had about 
30 temple marriages a year and most often one or both would be 
going to the Temple for the first time. I wanted them to have a 
better first experience that I had, so I talked to them in some detail 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

about the Endowment before and sometimes again after they had 
been through, to share how the endowment dovetails into the 
gospel plan. It seemed to be helpful. The Stake President caught 
me one day and said, “I don’t know what you are doing in the way 
of temple preparation, but my daughter and some of her friends 
said your instruction was very helpful.” 

Over a period of years, the Temple ceremony has shifted for me 
from being a confusing problem to the point where it is a bulwark 
of my faith in God and the incredible eternal opportunity He has 
offered to us. 

An outline of some of this temple preparation information is 
included in the Appendix. 

Other School Activities : In addition to the Brickers, I joined the 
Blue Key service organization and enjoyed the projects and 
friendship of the good men in that group. I was also inducted into 
the National Scholastic Honor Fraternity, whose Greek letters I 
forget. I joined the University Service Bureau and had the 
responsibility of arranging programs using BYU talent for 
community organizations and events. One unforgettable program 
was a sacrament meeting for a Provo Ward. The speakers were 
excellent, but I had not properly vetted the vocal soloist, and he 
sang "Some Enchanted Evening." I cringed through his number. 

Adult Aaronic Priesthood : In my Provo home ward I was called 
by Bishop Arch Madsen to work with a group of about 12 adult 
men who held the Aaronic Priesthood. My friend Kent Lloyd and I 
were both just returned from our missions and were co-advisors. 
Dr. Webster was the instructor for the group and was absolutely 
outstanding. The problem was that almost none of the 12 men 
attended this meeting or any other. 

Kent and I thought prayerfully about this and concluded that if 
the men didn’t come to the lessons we should take the lessons to 
them. So we went to each of their homes each Sunday and shared 
the great lessons Dr. Webster had given. Gradually some started to 
attend and those that didn’t we continued to teach in their homes. 
Within 18 months more than half of the group was attending and 
living the gospel standards and ordained Elders. At about this 


BYU, Courtship & Harvard 

point, I was married and moved to a different ward. Checking back 
2 to 3 years after we had started with the group, I learned that all 
the men we worked with had become active in the church and had 
received the Melchizedek Priesthood. 

The Zan Knudsen Memorial Outhouse : As mentioned President 
Ernest L. Wilkinson did an impressive job of expanding both the 
physical facilities and enrollment at BYU. At the culmination of 
the first wave of expansion, the University had 22 new building 
facilities ready for dedication and use. A day was scheduled, and a 
large contingent of General Authorities was assigned to come to 
the campus and dedicate each of the new facilities individually. 

In talking to a number of friends, the idea of having 22 separate 
dedications all on the same morning struck us as overkill. As 
sometimes happens when youthful minds think too much they 
come up with goofy ideas and this was one of those times. It 
seemed to us a parody was in order. Before 5 AM on the morning 
of the dedications, a good friend with a truck went with me to a 
rural home in Utah Valley which had one of the last remaining 
outhouses. We drove alongside and lifted it carefully onto the 
truck bed and set off for the campus. 

The multi-dedication day was scheduled to start in the newly 
constructed George Albert Smith Fieldhouse, just down over the 
hill from McKay and Eyring buildings. All of the assigned 
General Authorities, faculty and the full student body were invited 
to assemble there for the first and largest dedication. In the early 
dawn, before this first event, the outhouse was strategically placed, 
with the help of my brother Tony. The prime spot was beside the 
walkway between the McKay and Eyring building. All the 
attendees would have to pass by this memorial as they went to the 
fieldhouse and then pass again to get to the other dedications 
around the campus. My cousin John Taylor did a couple of very 
professional signboards which we placed on the most visible East 
and West sides of the outhouse which said: 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

To be dedicated March 12 (or whatever the date was) 
If the wind is favorable 

Zan was one of the more notoriously colorful people on campus 
and she more than certainly deserved this honor. 

Alas, sometime in the mid-morning, before full viewership was 
achieved, the structure and signs were removed by the Building 
and Grounds crew. Nevertheless, the viewing was enjoyed by 
many before the removal. 

It was always our intent to return the outhouse after the events of 
the day. When I went to track the privy down for the return, I 
found that Campus Security had locked it up tightly in the 
corporate yard with their other equipment and we couldn’t get to it. 
I guess BYU never could be sure when they might need that 
outhouse. The inability to return the outhouse has been the cause 
of some significant remorse. As we were taking the privy away 
from the owner’s yard in the very early dark of morning, there was 
a four or five-year-old boy with his face pressed against the inside 
of his window looking at us with large, saucer eyes. Sometimes 
those eyes still haunt me, and I realize that we were not the 
sharpest pencils in the box. 

14. Courtship of Colette Green at BYU 

The Girls from Lethbridge : Colette came to BYU from 
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada in the fall of 1951 and roomed with 
her very close Lethbridge friend Geraldine Asplund in Knight- 
Mangum Hall. Being one year ahead, Gerry had completed 
freshman year at the University of Alberta and based on her 
experience there she recommended that the best way to find the 
most interesting things and people at the University was to sign up 
and volunteer for everything then drop the least attractive. That 
was the plan, and that's just what they did. 

Colette became a reporter for the Daily Universe, joined the 
debate team, wrote for the Wye literary journal, helped with 
student government, volunteered for dance and Homecoming 
committees, became a charter member of the newly formed Cami 


BYU, Courtship & Harvard 

Los Social Unit, was a Cougarette, got on the University Honor 
Council, worked for the BYU Student Program Bureau, took up oil 
painting, skiing, and golf. If this didn’t keep her busy enough she 
also modeled clothing for Clarks, the most prestigious collegiate 
clothing store in Utah (owned and managed by Dalian Clark, father 
of Katy’s, our son Tom’s wife). Colette and Gerry had a 
wonderfully busy time, and they got to know virtually everyone 
and everything on Campus. 

Milk Shakes: Rarely did things slow down for her, but one day in 
her second year the whole apartment found themselves with 
nothing exciting to do. So Colette said, "that old wooden barracks 
that you can see across the way has 50 to 60 boys in it who, like us, 
probably have nothing to do. Let’s call them and have some of 
them take us out for a milkshake." The roommates were skeptical 
but finally agreed, provided they didn't have to make the call or use 
their real names. Colette made the call. 

Those barracks were old WW2 surplus military buildings that 
BYU moved on campus for temporary use, but they stayed in 
heavy use for 40 years. Those dorms had just one phone for each 
floor. With a very long ringing cycle finally, someone picked up 
and Colette said, "This is your lucky day. You have just won the 
opportunity to take six lovely coeds out to buy a milkshake. Can 
you pick us up on the comer in 15 minutes?" The boy was 
panicked, but he said, “Hang on for just a minute, " and she could 
hear him mn down the hall shouting, “who wants to take six girls 
for a milkshake and who has a car?" (12 in a car was no problem.) 

The boys came. Introductions were made with false names until 
Gail Dorsey said, “My name is Colette Green, " and then Colette 
said, "If we are going to use real names, I'm Gail Dorsey." 
Milkshakes were purchased, and boredom was ended. 

Candles: Colette was assigned to co-chair the formal Homecoming 
dinner for visiting dignitaries. She was a reporter covering 
homecoming planning, but because she had been in a couple of 
their meetings they gave her the assignment. 

One of the first dinner challenges was trying to figure out whom 
to put at a head table. It was just impossible to decide who should 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

receive that honor. Invited attendees included: General Authorities, 
major political leaders, university leaders and honored guests. 
Being resourceful Colette decided that all the tables could make 
one very large rectangle around the perimeter of the (old) Joseph 
Smith Ballroom and all could assume they were at the head table. 

That solved one problem but created another. There was a big 
empty space in the middle of the square. The solution was to put a 
center table in the open space with a beautiful flower display. One 
of Colette’s committee said this arrangement would look so much 
better if we added candles and I will take care of it. She borrowed 
a fancy candelabrum. Then in preparing the candles, she felt they 
would look classier if she rolled them in glue, then glitter. 

Well the dinner time came, and the dignitaries and honored 
guests were seated, and the candles were lit. Everything went fine 
for the first few minute until the candle flames began to hit the 

glue and glitter. Each little piece of 
glitter exploded and sent out a fiery 
explosion. Soon it was like a 
fireworks display in the center of the 
ballroom. The square of dignitary 
tables completely blocked all access to 
the center of the room where candles 
were exploding. Finally, one of the 
committee pushed two honored guests 
out of the way and dived under the 
tables in her dress and all, scooted to 
the middle and extinguished the 
flames. After the guests calmed down 
the dinner continued. However, it was 
shortly after this event that the church 
sent out a world-wide directive that no 
candles with an open flame could be 
used in any church building. You 
might have wondered why and where 
that ruling came from. 

Colette Green 

WYE: In one of her English classes 
her professor was extolling the virtues 


BYU, Courtship & Harvard 

and sophistication of the Wye Magazine , for original literature. He 
explained how exclusive and selective they were. They accepted 
only the "highest caliber essays, stories, and poems, which 
reflecting only the finest literary standards," he said. Colette 
disagreed saying, "Oh poof, anyone can get something in that 
magazine." The professor said, "Impossible.” So later that day 
Colette took a couple of minutes to dash off this poem and submit 

Oh what a joy 
To be a boy 
And cut off your hair 
An inch from your head 
And jump into bed 
Without curling it. 

Her poem was published in the very next issue of the Magazine. 

Henry Meets the Queen : When I first met Colette she had just 
been elected Snow Queen of the University. She was making the 
royal rounds of the snow sculptures that were being created around 
the campus for the Snow Festival. She was accompanied by my 
good friend Jack Whittle, who was acting as the Royal Escort. I 
was on the snow-covered lawn near the Eyring building working 
on a large Bricker sculpture of a locomotive steam engine with 
cars. The snow sculpture was for the Festival competition with the 
sculptures of other social units and other campus organization. 
Jack brought Colette by and introduced us. I was recently back 
from a mission in Western Canada and had been through her 
hometown several times, mostly just traveling through, but it was a 
common link for us. Following the introduction, I talked with her 
once or twice on campus and then called her and asked if she 
would consider a date with me. She accepted. I was honored 
because she was a hot number and it was my first date with a 
student-body queen. 

The First Date : I picked her up at the Heritage Hall’s, Family 
Living Unit Number Two where she was living. For short this was 
called FLU-2. Each FLU had about 12 apartments and six women 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

in each apartment. Every apartment had a kitchen for independent 
meal preparation, if anyone bothered to cook. Colette's apartment 
agreed to a rotating schedule for meal preparation. When Colette's 
turn came, she was too busy to cook so she told her roommates that 
they were all putting on too much weight and it was high time that 
they went on a strict diet of boiled eggs and grapefruit. That week 
they had nothing else in the apartment to eat, and Colette was 
spared almost all cooking burdens. At week’s end all concerned 
were tired of the diet especially Colette so she and Gerry, her 
cooking partner, decided it would be easy to stop the diet if they 
just baked a cake and set it out on the table. Sure enough, the cake 
was quietly eaten, the diet was broken and ended abruptly, but it 
had served its work-reducing purpose for a week. 

All the apartments in FLU 2 shared a large, classy, lounge, entry 
area where women could meet their dates or visit with friends. 
When I arrived in the lounge of FLU 2 Colette emerged relatively 
quickly. She stepped onto the highly waxed lobby floor her new 
shoes slipped. Her feet flew out from under her, and in one 
graceful swoop, she landed flat on her back. From the floor she 
looked up, smiled and gave a little wave and said, "Hi." Our first 
date was off to a smashing start. I helped her up. She was 
uninjured, so we were soon off on our first date. I can't remember 
what we did that evening, but I will not soon forget the grand entry 
and the completely unruffled way she dealt with it. 

Shortly after our first date, Colette moved back to the Knight- 
Mangum Hall, having had quite enough of cooking and 
housekeeping. When I called at the dorm for her, it was necessary 
to sign a register indicating my name and who you were picking 
up. As we left, Colette looked at the register I had filled out and 
said, “AHA.” I had spelled her name Collette, and she said, "No, 
no, no, one L two Ts and an E.” The way it rolled off her tongue I 
could immediately see that she had spent her life trying to correct 
the world, one person at a time. I was happy to be on board. 

Junior Prom: Colette was a member of the Junior Prom 
Committee with the assignment to organize the intermission 
program. This was a big job and made her a key person in the 
overall Committee. At the same time my friend Bill Demos, who 


BYU, Courtship & Harvard 

was in charge of all the decorations for the dance in the Smith 
Fieldhouse, decided that he could not take the time from his studies 
and other commitments for this very large assignment. I was 
recruited to take over all the decorations from him, and this put me 
on the Committee as well. The Prom Committee frequently met to 
make sure everything was moving along on schedule. Colette 
always came from the Lower Campus where she had an art class. 
It was a long walk up the hill, and she had to hurry to be even close 
to on-time. Her fingers always had purple, yellow, orange or green 
oil paints that she didn’t have time to remove properly. As she 
talked energetically with her hands, it provided a colorful display 
for the Committee. 

When it came time for the Prom itself I had asked Colette to go 
with me, but she was dating Lloyd “Duko” George about half of 
the time. Duko was a great guy: Student Body President, a fellow 
Bricker, a very able student and a good friend. Gerry Asplund 
asked Colette who she would go with and then added, “It is Hank’s 
turn, you know.” I appreciated Gerry’s helpful nudge. 

Alligators : After the Prom Colette and I dated more regularly and 
became great friends. One day, as we were visiting on campus, 
Colette said, "Come with me. I’ll show you something." We went 
to the Brimhall Building, up to the third-floor biology lab where 
she showed me her two alligators. Each was a little over a foot 
long, and they were kept company by rattlesnakes, mice, and rats 
in the Lab. She came every few days to feed them raw meat which 
she gently crammed down their throats. How did she get them? 
She had a boyfriend whose parents were in Florida on a mission. 
They sent the alligators to their son at BYU, and when he left on 
his mission to Germany, he asked Colette to take care of them for 

Initially, she kept them in her apartment bathtub at FLU-2. The 
price for any man to date her or any roommate was to bring a live 
goldfish, which they plopped into the bathtub water where the 
alligators lived. The hungry reptiles would catch the fish for 
dinner. After a while, the men got tired of bringing goldfish, and 
the roommates were tired of not being able to have a bath. This 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

forced their move to the biology lab where these cold-blooded 
specimens were warmly welcomed. 

Eventually, Colette sent a "Dear John" to Elder Peterson who had 
left her with the alligators. Many years later, as a bishop, I was 
interviewing a man in the study of our Palo Alto home. Colette 
had mounted our BYU diplomas there in hopes that we could 
inspire our children toward higher education. My guest looked 
carefully at the diplomas and said, “Is your wife Colette Green?” 
When I said yes, he said “I attended her funeral on the shores of 
the North Sea when I was on my mission in Germany. Elder 
Peterson took her letters and pictures, and we helped him ‘bury 
her’ there.” 

Matchmaking: Except for Gerry and Colette all four of the other 
roommates in FLU-2 were from Arizona. One day Terry Kent, 
whose father was a prominent doctor in Mesa, took Colette and 
Gerry aside and said "I was happy at Arizona State, but I need to 
get a husband, so I transferred to BYU. I've tried many things to 
find the right man but with no luck. I've taken all male classes like 
engineering and animal husbandry, but zero prospects have 
emerged. You two know everyone and everything on campus. I 
want you to find me some good prospects." Colette and Gerry 
took the challenge seriously, and in a short while they came back 
to Terry and said "There is a play going into production and they 
need help. Go sign up to do anything they need and see what 

Terry followed the recommendation and the drama folks put her 
to work. It turned out that Charlie Clawson (Matt’s Uncle) was the 
business and finance manager for the play and it took no time at all 
for Terry to decide that he was the man for her. She mounted an 
all front’s campaign. Cookies filled the kitchen in FLU-2 on their 
way to Charlie. His socks, freshly laundered, hung out to dry 
throughout the entire bathroom. Charlie really had no chance after 
that. He and Terry were soon engaged and then married. 

Geraldine’s Match : On a similar note Gerry had not been so 
active in dating as Colette, so she also was in the hunt. She and 
Colette were partners on the debate team, and they traveled to 


BYU, Courtship & Harvard 

Malibu to debate at Pepperdine, then Denver to debate at Denver 
University and so on throughout the West. Gerry was famous for 
pulling out very useful quotes from the “Alberta Wheat Journal” to 
clinch a point. There really was no Alberta Wheat Journal, but if 
there had been, the quotes would surely have been there. 

Weston Edwards was also on the debate team, along with Hal 
Visick and others. Gerry was an elected leader in student 
government as was Weston, so they already had a beginning 
relationship. Coming home from a debate in Denver, Hal, who 
might be the world’s scariest driver, was at the wheel, speeding on 
mountain roads that were periodically covered with black ice. 

I had known Hal for several years before I met Colette and had 
made a mental note not to ride with him after spending one night 
with him in SLC. He drove me and Karl Snow, a common friend, 
down the "alphabet streets" above South Temple at high speed. As 
the car crossed the avenues, it would become airborne for about 25 
feet and then crash down so hard that the frame bottomed out, 
scraping and screeching on the street, spraying a huge plume of 
sparks behind as we sped down. Hal quickly resumed high speed 
in time to hit the next avenue crossing and go airborne again. We 
ended the run with a huge deposit of burning rubber on the street 
as Hal braked hard to avoid slamming into the heavy traffic on 
South Temple. 

Now back on the highway in Colorado; Hal hit an icy patch at 
high speed on a curve and began to skid. Colette closed her eyes 
and prepared to die as they hurtled toward a drop over the cliff on 
the left side of the road. A suddenly loud crash at high speed 
abruptly stopped their skid toward the cliff. A car coming the 
opposite direction drove into their skid path just as they were about 
to careen over the edge. 

After the crash everyone in Hal’s smashed-up Cadillac checked 
their body parts and found that they were a bit battered and 
bleeding, but still alive. In the other car, the pregnant woman in 
the front passenger seat was hurt badly. Police arrived in due time 
and took Hal and all his passengers to the jail. Hal was held in a 
cell on potential manslaughter charges if the woman died. Hal's 
passengers spent the night in the jail waiting area. They had 
nowhere to go and no transportation. So they all just waited to see 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

what would happen to Hal. It was not entirely bad that Gerry and 
Weston had some extended waiting time together. It was soon 
after that they were engaged. 

The woman recovered, the unborn child was okay, and Hal was 
released to the custody of his father, who had come overnight. Hal 
was charged with a massive traffic violation. The debaters in the 
jailhouse waiting room dug through their pockets and purses, 
pooled their meager funds and bought bus tickets back to Provo. 

Honor Council : Colette sat on the Honor Council when BYU’s 
most productive basketball player, was brought up on violations. 
He had been stealing apples from local orchards and selling them 
around the campus on the honor system from unattended boxes. 
The Council expelled him, and BYU lost its best player, but 
probably it's least honorable. He was not a church member, but the 
expulsion decision on these acts would have been the same, 
member or not. 

Alta & Millie on the Job : It was during this time period that my 
mother picked up a copy of the Daily Universe and found on a 
middle page a picture of Colette posting notices for the Honor 
Council. My mother brought the paper to me and asked if this was 
the girl I had dated. She had not met Colette yet but was very 
interested in such things. I said yes it was. She didn’t say much 
more at the time, but I could see she was making a mental note. 

It was several weeks later that our Pleasant View Ward bishop 
had arranged with the BYU Program Bureau to bring an Easter 
program for our family ward sacrament service. The program 
came with a University choir, speakers, and all. My mother 
recognized Colette in the choir from her picture and asked, “Is that 
the Honor Council girl you have taken out?” I said it was, but 
mentioned that she had come on a date with Jerry Zenger. 
Nevertheless, after the service my mother made a quick move to 
find Colette outside and invited her to Sunday dinner at our home. 
Colette weighed her options: an afternoon with Jerry, or a home 
cooked meal. If you live in the dorms a home cooked meal usually 
wins; she came home with us. 


BYU, Courtship & Harvard 

Alta was at her charming best and my grandmother, Millie 
Hansen, was visiting us. When we got home, Millie took Colette to 
the living room and sat her down for a good visit. Millie was a 
piece of work. She could charm the teeth from a tiger. Millie was 
Canadian by birth, so she took Colette under her wing and warmed 
her heart with stories of growing up in Canada and deftly cemented 
a common bond. My mother had homemade rolls, roast beef, 
mashed potatoes and gravy and she compelled no visitor to eat the 
green vegetables. It was Colette’s kind of meal. 

After dinner, I took Colette to the Springville Art Museum. It 
was a wonderful day, and I learned that parents and family were a 
more positive force than I ever dreamed. 

Carry a Tune? : On another occasion, I was bringing Colette 
home to the dorms, and we were talking for a while when out of 
nowhere she said: "Sing the Star Spangled Banner for me.” She 
said, “I just want to see how it goes.” It was a test. I think she 
didn’t want to have all tone deaf kids. I gave it my best shot; it 
was just good enough to scrape through with a passing grade. 

Pinned : In the spring of 1954, I asked Colette to accept my 
Bricker pin. This was toward the end of our junior year at BYU. 
Being pinned was like being engaged to be engaged. When a girl 
wore a pin, it was a visible, public symbol of intent. She accepted, 
and I was thrilled. 

We did many fun things together that spring: Attended Bricker 
and Cami Los activities, attended school dances, campus film 
classics, talks on the grass and walks along the campus stream, 
dinners at my house, movies in Provo, window shopping 
downtown, water skied on Utah Lake, attended church and 
firesides together and joined in many family activities. 

That summer Colette stayed in Provo for a quarter of classwork. 
She took classes in Philosophy of Science and Logic as well as golf 
and tennis. In spite of the load, she made time for fun. We had a 
good time launching the Provo Tubing Society with the help of 
cousin John Taylor. My brother Tony was the Commodore, and 
Colette was the only woman to be a charter member. She earned 
her elevated status when she fought off a near drowning. She was 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

swept away by the swift river currents and pressed under water by 
overhanging bushes. She barely managed a heart-stopping escape 
to safety. 

We went to weddings of many friends, took a trip to Zion’s 
Canyon with Cousin John Taylor and his date to meet other friends 
who worked there and in general had a delightful summer. 

Timp Hike : Colette and I went on the annual Timpanogos Hike 
together, which was a community affair in those days. My cousin 
John and his date were our hiking buddies on this adventure. 

Though it was against her better judgment to come, Colette was a 
stalwart soul and hiked all the way to the top. She enjoyed the 
breathtaking view from the top, looking into the Heber, Salt Lake, 
and Utah Valleys. In the descent, we slid down the "glacier" on 
the seat of our pants for about a third of a mile until the ice became 
a little less steep and we could begin to hike down over the 
remaining snow and ice. As we made our way down we heard a 
very loud, sharp cracking sound high above us. I looked up and 
saw that a huge piece of the cliffs had broken off and an avalanche 
of massive boulders was crashing down the glacier toward us. 

Rolling a lot of boulders down steep mountains in my misspent 
youth had given me a feeling for the trajectory of rocks crashing 
down. As mentioned in the story on page 73 this youthful 
experience helped save our lives. Not all were so fortunate. 

Choosing a Mate : A good friend asked how Colette and I met and 
after hearing my short recap she asked, “How did you know 
Colette was the right one?” Here is my recollection. 

When I was dating Colette, I prayed very hard to know if she 
was the right one for my eternal mate. The answer was quite clear: 
"She is a very good person, but the choice of a mate is yours and 
hers to make." So it was up to her and me to figure out. I didn't 
make a long laundry list of characteristics as I had seen some 
friends do. It seemed to me there were four simple tests. 

• First, do we have common goals? 

• Second, does she have a sense of humor? 

• Third, does she have good friends of the same sex? 

• Four, do we align with each other’s families in a good way? 

BYU, Courtship & Harvard 

On the first test, I knew that Colette was committed to Church 
activity and participation. She knew and lived the gospel teachings. 
She had high standards. She wanted children. She had an 
incredibly wide range of interest: Art, drama, dance, interior 
design, reading, sports and more. She was a fountain of ideas for 
things to do. She loved almost any activity, and she liked to win. I 
felt all of these were great qualities on which we could build 
common goals. 

Her sense of humor was quick and fun. She had a ready laugh 
and an endless supply of great stories from her life’s experiences. I 
felt her sense of humor would help get her through the rough spots 
of life. 

Colette already had a remarkable collection of girlfriends who 
liked and respected her. I felt this was important because women 
seem to have a sixth sense about other women and are quick to 
detect problems and shun those with issues. 

Colette’s mother and father were easy to love. They were 
attentive and warm, but never overbearing. They extended 
themselves to be supportive. They were steadfast in the faith. I felt 
they were a great family. 

My family loved Colette. My father took particular note of the 
way she sliced our homemade bread very evenly and straight. My 
mother, who needed a daughter, found Colette to be fun to visit 
with and liked her style. Mother was impressed with her broad 
acceptance and recognition on campus. Tony loved the way she 
patiently waited for his wonderfully majestic stories to develop and 
her genuine interest in his art. Stephen loved to tease her. At age 
13 that was a probable sign of acceptance. David as an eight-year- 
old loved her for reading A.A. Milne to him and taking him on 
little art trips. 

Colette met the four tests, all with high marks: 1) common goals, 
2) sense of humor, 3) friends of the same sex and 4) two-way 
family acceptance. No question she was the one, if she would have 
me. A lifetime later I still believe those are pretty good tests. 

The Talk : Toward the end of the summer Colette started a serious 
discussion with the following questions: “What does it mean to be 
pinned? How long does it last? Where do we stand? What are the 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

plans for the future?” She had started "THE TALK,” and the M 
word came up. 

It was senior year coming up for both of us, and in less than a 
year we would be out of the best LDS Rhino Pool* on earth. It 
was time to focus on where we were going. It was a good talk and 
we made plans to be married. Soon after “The Talk” I wrote a 
letter to Thomas N. and Cora Jane J. Green asking for permission 
to marry their daughter and they gave their consent. My folk also 
had willingly consented. 

We wanted to be married in December of 1954, but after talking 
further with our families, it was clear that wasn't going to work 
out, so our plans moved to March 1955. March was the end of 
winter quarter when Colette would be finished with all her class 
work and 

I would have just one quarter left to finish. The break between 
quarters would give us 3 or 4 open days. Not a perfect time, but 
our families reluctantly agreed that they would not put us off 

That fall Colette had her picture taken in her wedding gown, and 
it was so attractive, Biddulph, the area's premier photographer, 
kept a large poster sized picture of her in his shop window for 
several years. 

At Christmas time I made a trip to Lethbridge and presented her 
with an engagement ring, right there in the kitchen by the ironing 

And so on the 18 th of March 1955, in the Salt Lake Temple, 
Harold B. Lee married me to Colette Green and married her to a 
furniture store. That’s a story she will have to tell. 

Graduation : When I was a junior I had determined that I would 
major in Business Management. I loved the sciences and especially 
Geology, but concluded that many of the careers based on that 
major were likely to require extensive travel in remote places. This 

*A small group of Rhinoceros never prosper. They need a large pool to choose 
from to find a mate. BYU is an excellent Rhino Pool for young LDS men and 

had drawbacks when it came to raising a family. Business 
management seemed to offer more family-friendly options. 


BYU, Courtship & Harvard 

With this in mind, I determined that I should seek an MBA 
degree. To make preparations for this career path, I talked to my 
Department chairman, Richard L. Smith who was a great teacher 
and had recently received a doctorate at Harvard Business School. 
Dr. Smith said (based on his experience with me in several of his 
classes) he was sure I would be accepted at any of the universities I 
might apply to. Further, he said that the BYU Management courses 
were patterned after Harvard’s MBA program and that continuing 
with the required BYU courses at a bachelor's level would be 
redundant with a graduate business degree. 

Based on that duplication he waived the balance of my business 
courses and suggested that I choose alternative courses that were 
interesting to me. This he thought would be the best preparation for 
graduate school. So I chose courses in Geology, Botany, English, 
Statistics and Advanced Grammar and a few others. 

The coursework variety as a senior made for an interesting year. 
In the spring of 1955 Colette and I both walked in the BYU 
graduation ceremonies, she with a BA degree and me with a BS. 

15. Harvard 

Earning Money for Graduate School : During my senior year I 
worked 2 part time jobs one at BYU’s Finance Department and 
one at DTR Upholstery Shop, then in the summer of 1955 I took 
another job making concrete pipes and Colette worked days 
decorating display windows at DTR. 

United Concrete Pipe Company gave me the second worst job of 
my life. It was on the graveyard shift, midnight until 8:00 am. The 
job was to make the steel reinforcing skeletons that go into huge 
molds so that concrete can be poured around the steel. The steel 
skeleton gave needed strength to finished concrete pipe. The steel 
skeletons were made on a great drum which turned like a slow 
giant lathe. As the steel was wrapped around the drum, I scooted 
back and forth along a greasy I-beam and arc welded the key joints 
where steel rebar on the drum crossed the coiled rebar around the 
drum. My co-worker ran an automated spot welder on the far side 
and controlled the rotation of the drum. My arc welded joints had 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

to be completed before the drum turned. Arc welding was the 
stronger weld and was needed on critical joints. Automated spot 
welding was faster, but weaker. I had to hustle to beat the giant 
drum rotation. 

I burned holes in all my welding clothes, and at night the bright 
light from the arc welding attracted all the bugs in the county, and 
they would fly around my head, into my welding mask, and down 
my neck. 

The highlight every night was the half hour lunch break at 3 am. 
I had a metal lunch pail and Colette packed a beautiful sandwich, a 
thermos of milk, a piece of fruit, a slice of homemade pie or cake 
often wrapped up with a ribbon. My co-workers laughed and 
teased me about the wondrous spread, but actually they were 

In my senior year at BYU Bill Edwards, Vice President of 
Finance, caught me one day and said, "I know you want to go to 
Harvard and I'd like to write a letter of recommendation for you, 
but I've got to know more about your work before I do that." I 
became his assistant for a year before we left for Boston. He had 
me do a wide variety of analyses and tabulations. It gave him a 
good chance to see my work. I guess he was satisfied because he 
wrote a very nice letter of recommendation. I continued this job 
through the summer of 1955. 

The job at the pipe company started at midnight. I did the 
financial work for BYU in the mornings and worked in the DTR 
upholstery shop in the afternoon and on Saturday. There were only 
three or four hours in the evenings for sleep. Colette worked days 
as a window display designer for the Dixon Taylor Russell home 
furnishings store. Together we were desperately trying to set aside 
money for schooling and living expenses at graduate school. 

Graduate School Choice : As I set my course for graduate school 
and an MBA degree I tried to evaluate the schooling options. At 
that time the general feeling, or at least my feeling, was that 
Harvard was number one, Stanford was number two and 
Northwestern was number three, so I applied to these three 


BYU, Courtship & Harvard 

Sometime later I received letters of acceptance from each of 
them, so now a choice had to be made. I dropped Northwestern and 
looked most carefully at numbers one and two. I would have 
preferred to attend Stanford because it was closer to family in the 
west, but our savings were well short of the money needed for the 
cost of graduate school. Our summer jobs gave us only a humble 
contribution toward the expenses that were to come. Harvard was 
very helpful financially with loans, student grants and 
consequently, it became our first choice. 

So off we went to Harvard in Boston and Cambridge, MA with 
the help of Colette’s parents, Tom and Cora Green, who very 
kindly drove us all the way there. School started with a bang. In 
my registration packet was a significant set of homework 
assignments for each class starting the next morning. That was a 
precursor to the pace that didn’t let up. 

Nervous stomach at Harvard : The graduate school work was 
demanding and stressful. We were given complex case problems to 
study and then in the classroom some unlucky soul was asked to 
present his analysis and proposed a course of action to the class. 
The class members could take exception to both your analysis and 
action plan. 

Similarly stressful was the preparation of a written analysis of a 
complex case, with a maximum 4 page limit with prescribed page 
margins. The analysis had a deadline of 9:00 pm exactly on the 
due date. Before the deadline arrived, the completed written 
analysis had to be placed in a large envelope and dropped into a 
mail-like chute in the side of Baker Library. At 9:00 pm sharp the 
mail cart below the chute was pulled away, and anything that fell 
on the floor was discarded. A few minutes before 9:00 you could 
see students running across the campus stuffing papers into their 
envelopes, trying to get to the chute before the deadline. 

During the first year of my MBA schooling, my stomach started 
to cramp and hurt. I clearly remembered my father's struggles and 
near death episodes with ulcers. I became concerned and stopped 
in at the Student Health Center and saw a doctor there. He was a 
nice fellow and questioned me for a while, then did a careful 
examination. I asked if I had an ulcer and he smiled and said, u No, 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

you’re fine. At Harvard, we call your condition, a ‘nervous 
stomach.’ It is nothing to worry about.” With that sage advice, I 
have never worried again about ulcers. 

By some miracle, I made it through and in 1957 graduated in the 
upper half of the middle third of the MBA class of about 900. Not 
great, but not too bad considering the competition and the jobs I 
had to work to help support us. 

Timothy Joseph O’Sullivan was a fellow student who was asked 
to leave Harvard Business School (HBS) for academic reasons 
after his first year, along with several others. When we were 
chatting, he said philosophically, "If you are a disgusting jerk and 
get a Harvard MBA, you’re still a disgusting jerk." Good point. 

When we could scrimp enough out of our food money to afford a 
$0.25 show ticket, we would walk to Harvard Square and see a 
movie. It was an exciting place to see either a good or bad movie. 
The student audience was so animated with whistles, boos, hisses, 
cheers and applause that either way it was fun to be there. 

Church in Cambridge : Church services for our Cambridge 
Branch were held in the Harvard Divinity School chapel when we 
first arrived. While we met on campus, the Church had a new 
chapel under construction which faced onto Longfellow Park close 
to Harvard University. The construction was completed before our 
second year began. We were there when President David O. 
McKay dedicated the new building in 1956. This chapel burned 
down in 2009 and was rebuilt and then rededicated in 2011. 
President Eyring offered the re-dedicatory prayer in the chapel 
where he attended church as a student shortly after we did. 

Part-Time Employment : While we were in Cambridge at school, 
we lived very frugally, but were still extremely short of funds. 
Colette worked at Miss Cannon’s Children’s Store in Harvard 
Square for most of the first school year to help out. She had 
intended to teach school to support us, but nature directed 
otherwise. Dixon was bom in April 1956 at the Boston Lying-In. 
It was kind of a medieval clinic where people with no funds could 
get “low cost” obstetric care. 

I had had several part-time jobs: 


BYU, Courtship & Harvard 

• J.C. Penney's hired me as a sales clerk after school and on 
some weekends, especially between Thanksgiving and 
Christmas. People would ask me where I got my funny 
accent. I'd tell them Utah, and they would say they'd never 
met anyone from Utah before. In all fairness, I thought it 
was the Boston accent that was funny. 

• HBS publication distribution was the shipping 
department for the books and publications that were 
generated by faculty and research teams. I worked there 
after school with friends, Steve Covey and Bob Murray, 
packaging and shipping these materials. 

• Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Labs 
was a research facility where I performed measurements on 
classified radar scans. 

• General Electric hired me as a summer intern in their 
executive training program in Crotonville, NY, to write 

Cambridge and Boston : To curtail expenses we chose marginal 
housing, had no phone or transportation except the MTA and shoe 
leather, but loved the Boston area and our experiences there. The 
trees were beautiful; we were surrounded by history on all sides 
and had wonderful friends. When it was time to choose a place to 
live after graduation we felt that we had been two years far from 
our families. Our folks were eager to see more of their new 
grandchild, and they knew a second child was expected a few 
months after graduation. For this reason, we decided that I would 
search for a job somewhere west of Denver to be closer to our 

The Company Choice : I had numerous interviews at the HBS 
placement office. Hal Edmonson and Tom Christensen came from 
Hewlett-Packard (HP) and seemed like really good guys. They 
were the only interviewers who took my picture. Today that might 
have been considered racist, but in those days it was a smart way to 
remember who they interviewed. The interviews at HBS resulted 
in a number of factory visits to a variety of western companies. 
From these visits the offers of greatest interest boiled down to 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Ramo-Wooldridge in greater Los Angeles, before it became TRW, 
Hewlett-Packard in Palo Alto, Del Monte in San Francisco and 
Longview Fiber in Longview, Washington. 1956-7 was a much 
better time to look for work than 2010 thru 2016. 

Having received offers of employment from all four of these 
companies I prepared an analytical spreadsheet with these job 
options listed on one axis and all the factors of importance to us; 
on the other axis. The two that came to the top from this analysis 
were TRW and HP. 

In Palo Alto I found HP to be a small company with no frills, but 
with really able people. 

When I visited Ramo-Wooldridge, they had a classy building 
near LAX and showed me what would be my spacious office and 
the glamorous title that I would have, plus a very impressive 
salary. They were a large company and destined to become even 
larger in a merger with Thompson, an eastern company. With the 
committed merger, they would become TRW. 

When I returned to Cambridge from these two visits, I asked Don 
Parker, a friend in Graduate Engineering at MIT, what he knew 
about HP. He said he knew nothing about the company, but that 
when engineers queued up to check out test equipment for their lab 
work the HP equipment was always gone first. This was a 
heartwarming recommendation. 

Palo Alto beat L.A. for location and HP was still a small 
company, under a thousand employees and sales in the last 
complete year, 1956, were just $20 million. All the HP facilities 
were in Palo Alto so there would be no capricious bouncing around 
the country with training assignments. These plusses offset the 
higher wages and plush offices of Ramo-Wooldridge. In addition, 
HP exuded a no-nonsense, no-frills work ethic that was appealing 
to me. So we accepted the HP offer, and we set our plans to move 
to Palo Alto, CA. 


Part Five 

HP Years 

40 Years with a Great Company 

Ten Steps Then Breathe 

16. HP Years 

HP’s Foundation of Trust : Looking back on a wonderfully 
satisfying life and an interesting but challenging HP career, I still 
can’t imagine my good fortune. At HP, Bill Hewlett and Dave 
Packard established many attributes deep in the DNA of the 
company that were uncommon. Generally these traits fell under the 
umbrella of what we called the HP Way. These traits were 
somewhat elusive and were seen in different ways by different 
people within the company. For me, since most of my career at HP 
involved changing the way people did their work or encouraging 
them to cooperate—when on the face of the request it did not 
appear in their own best interest—the following characteristics 
stand out. 

In all the other companies that I worked with closely, I never saw 
the level of common trust in the organization's integrity, fairness, 
and humanity. Further, was the sense that our personal 
responsibility was to help the company succeed and be the best it 
could be. There was a strong feeling that each of us had a common 
goal to help the company progress and that trumped personal 
preferences. This created a spirit of cooperation and common sense 
that I have never seen elsewhere. If a person could make a solid 
case that their proposal, even though it involved substantial change 
or investment, yet resulted in the least expense to the company, the 
best product, the most productivity, the best quality or the best 
service, that proposal was virtually always approved. More 
importantly that proposal was accepted by people throughout the 

In trying to figure out where this uncommon ethic came from, it 
seemed to me that it grew out of the personal integrity and clear, 
logical, people-oriented judgment of Dave and Bill. The original 
profit sharing scheme was a striking example of this, as it not only 
shared the success of the Company but also trained people at all 
levels to ask, “How will this action (large or small; mine or others) 
affect the Company?” This instilled in HP people, at a gut level, a 
keen awareness of the overall impact of an action on the company 


HP Years 

and that as the company succeeded overall they did also. It seemed 
to suppress ego-driven decision making. 

Through all my time at HP, I was involved with very able HP 
people in numerous projects, some of which resulted in major 
administrative, operating and job-dislocating changes for people in 
the Company. Some of these will be described below. All of these 
companywide projects would have been virtually impossible 
without the framework of trust that Dave and Bill established. 

Early Years at HP : I was a student at Harvard when I first heard 
of Hewlett-Packard Company. I saw a notice on the placement 
bulletin board that the company would be interviewing and were 
interested in students who had training in finance. Also they were 
located in Palo Alto, California which fit our geographical 
preference, being west of Denver. I signed up to talk to them, with 
very little idea of what kind of company they were. 

What I did know was that Gay Peters Driggs, wife of good friend 
Bob, had grown up in Palo Alto and said that it was the best place 
on earth. I also had the recommendation of Don Parker my MIT 
friend about product quality. 

I liked the two interviewers from HP. So I accepted the offer of a 
factory visit in California to see the company. On the factory visit, 
Tom Christensen met me at the San Francisco Airport and drove 
me down highway 101 to HP's headquarters building. Once in Palo 
Alto, he selected the best possible route, up University Avenue 
past scores of stately mansions. We arrived at 275 Page Mill Road, 
the company Headquarters, and virtually the only building at the 
time. It was just across the Southern Pacific railroad tracks, facing 
a street lined with rusty tin warehouses and a large building 
materials supply yard with gravel piles, concrete mixers, and 
stacks of cement blocks. 

I was escorted through a small lobby which also housed the 
company switchboard and some personnel functions. When I 
stepped through the door beyond the lobby, I was in the main 
office with a sea of gray desks, completely in the open, all bathed 
with brilliant indirect sunlight from the north facing clerestory 
(factory like) windows overhead. There I met Frank Cavier, HP’s 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Financial VP, Ed van Bronkhorst, Keith Elledge and other top 
financial leaders. Dave and Bill's offices were along the western 
wall of the big open space, and these were the only two offices in 
sight. The base salary offered was just adequate, and with it, there 
was a confusing explanation of a production bonus in each 
paycheck, which was a bit variable and not guaranteed but could 
equal as much as 30% of your total pay. Frank Cavier said the 
starting job offered would be to work as a trainee in cost 
accounting and that this would help me to become familiar with 
the company products. 

I was excited by the fact that HP was a smaller company, just a 
little beyond the startup phase. I accepted the HP offer even though 
other offers paid more and had more glamourous facilities. 

The New Job : Several months later we moved from Cambridge 
and traveled to Palo Alto where we checked into the Comet Motel. 
I reported into Frank Cavier and told him that we were looking for 
a place to live and then would like to take a week to visit my 
parents and brothers who were temporarily living in Southern CA. 
I would report to work on July 27 th if that was okay. He said that 
would be fine and asked me to talk with Ann Laudel, who served 
as the telephone operator supervisor, receptionist and the personnel 
department of the company. She was an attractive blond with a 
southern accent and a very low voice that sounded nice over the 
public address paging system. Her mellow paging was frequently 
heard throughout the entire plant, and her telephone operators had 
equally nice voices. Ann got me through all the necessary 
personnel paperwork. I had a fairly high security clearance with 
MIT Lincoln Labs and we set about to extend that, though it was 
not urgently needed at HP. 

After the paperwork was done, Frank suggested that I talk with 
Eileen Dugan in the HP Lab library. She was the housing expert. 
She had maps and a lot of good advice. One warning I still 
remember was that we should stay well away from the sloughs (or 
creeks) as they smelled awful when the tide was out, and the wind 
was unfavorable.* 


HP Years 

* The creeks which created the sloughs have been largely concrete lined to the 
Bay and lost their not so charming stench. 

First Public Stock Offering : Keith Elledge 
was in charge of Cost Accounting for the 
company and became my first supervisor. It 
turns out that a full inventory count had been 
taken just before I reported to work. The huge 
stacks of paper where the counts were recorded 
had to be valued. This was an immense, painful 
process, done under the direction of public 
accountants so that an audited profit and loss 
statement and a balance sheet could be 
published for HP’s first public stock offering. 

Up until this time the Company ownership had been held by Dave 
and Bill. Some key employees held equity interest in a small 
systems integration subsidiary called Dynac, and then later 
changed to Dymec, but only Dave and Bill had ownership interest 
in the HP parent corporation. The symbol (hp) turned upside down 
made a (dy) for Dymec and this dy symbol was on the floor as you 
walked into their little factory in the Redwood building at the back 
of the HP factory. As you came out of Dymec back into HP, the 
same symbol made an hp. 

The hardest thing to give an accounting value to was the work- 
in-progress inventory. All the partially completed elements of 
instruments in progress had been logged on paper worksheets 
when production lines shut down on the valuation closing day. The 
worksheets listed partially assembled instruments, subassemblies 
and components. Cavier, the financial vice president, was right; the 
cost accounting process did put you very close to the products and 
component parts. Finished products and raw component parts were 
easier to value. Partially assembled components took careful 
estimation of their percentage of completion. When all this 
inventory valuation work was completed along with the other 
accounting work, a prospectus for the stock offering was prepared 
and distributed to potential investors. 

Some of the people who started around the same time that I did 
and who helped during this intense accounting exercise were: A1 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Dossola, Joe Barr, John Prendergast, Betty Badenhop (later Sox), 
Del Filmore, Wayne Briggson, and Bob Grimes. 

The HP initial public offering (IPO) shares were valued at $16 
each. Dave and Bill set aside shares to gift to employees who had 
been with the company for over six months. The number of shares 
gifted to an individual was determined by length of service and 
wage level. Those of us who had not been with the company long 
enough to qualify for any gifted shares were offered the chance to 
buy 10 shares at the offering price. This was a gift also because no 
IPO shares were available to the common man through brokerage 

To exercise my 10 share option was impossible because we had 
tons of debt and no money. I talked my father into buying five of 
my shares and Colette's father Tom Green, against his better 
judgment, bought five. Tom grumbled that he had never in his life 
seen a stock that was worth 20 times earnings, which was the HP 
IPO asking multiple. 

When the 10 shares were delivered to me, I transferred five to 
my father and five to my father-in-law. The share price advanced 
rapidly, and the shares split 2 for 1. Then over the years the stock 
split several more times. This made Tom really anxious, so each 
time the stock split he would sell the new shares to keep his share 
balance at five. "Risky business," he would say, but finally he gave 
up selling the new shares and just let them pile up. He eventually 
passed the shares along to Colette and my father who sold none of 
his split shares eventually passed on his shares to me. 

The Organization : It was a little hard at first to know who to talk 
to about a work related issue. I asked Frank Cavier if he had an 
organization chart that I could look at. He had a very interesting 
reply. He explained that Packard didn’t care much for organization 
charts. Dave felt they could be quite limiting and when new issues 
arose it was too easy for the ball to fall between the boxes, or to 
decide the problem was outside of your box. He was also 
somewhat leery of hierarchical levels and strict reporting lines. 
Fortunately I sat next to Betty Badenhop Sox and shared the 
telephone between our desks. Her solution to this ambiguity was to 


HP Years 

memorize the names of every person in HP and when she had a 
name, face and work area linked up she checked them off on the 
internal telephone list, a one-page sheet. So when I needed to know 
who to talk to, I asked her. 

I often walked out to the production line and machine shop with 
questions about new assemblies or prototype machined parts. 
Labor and material cost had to be estimated so that new products 
could be priced profitably. On one trip I talked to Swede Wild, the 
supervisor of HP’s machine shop. He was a big broad-shouldered, 
rough and ready type of guy and was very knowledgeable about 
machining processes. He answered all my questions, and when 
done I found myself in the middle of the machine shop coffee 

Swede told an attentive group of a little problem he had had the 
night before. It seems that on Highway 101 some kids in their car 
were taunting him in his truck. They tailgated, flashed their 
headlights up and down in his rearview mirror and pulled 
alongside to feign a side swipe and then laughed uproariously at 
their own cleverness. After suffering this for several minutes, 
Swede came to his off-ramp, and the kids tailgated him off the 
freeway. Down the off-ramp a ways Swede hit his brakes hard and 
the kids crashed into his reinforced steel tailgate which was 
equipped with vices and other heavy tools. 

The kids couldn’t stop quickly enough and crashed into the back 
of his truck. Swede and the kids got out at the same time. Big old 
Swede towered over them as they all inspected the damage. The 
damage result of the crash was kid's car 90% and Swede's truck 
0%. The kids were moaning and groaning about what their parents 
were going to do to them and were whining about Swede's quick 
stop. He said simply, "Didn't you see that dog run across the road?" 
To me, he was a prototypical HP kind of manager who had simple, 
quick solutions to difficult problems. 

When the accounting close was complete, the prospectus issued, 
and the shares sold, we immediately started all over on another full 
accounting close, this time for HP’s October fiscal year-end so that 
the first public annual report of the company could be issued. It 
was like Groundhog Day. It seemed like we kept doing the same 
thing over and over. I kept trying to convince Cavier that we 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

should make this whole process simpler and gave him specific 
suggestions, but he felt that the simplifications might not be as 
accurate. He also knew that I would never make a great cost 
accountant so he came to me one day and asked if I would like to 
start up a Systems and Procedures Department for the Company. 
This sounded great to me. The Company had grown rapidly and 
many of the internal processes had not kept pace with the growth 
and transaction volumes. As a result there were opportunities to 
streamline processes everywhere. 

The first Christmas Party I attended at HP included all the 
employees of the company on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. The 
of Building 
2, the first 
HP building 
in the new 
Stanford In¬ 
dustrial Park 
complex was 
just complet¬ 
ed, and noth¬ 
ing had been 
moved into 
the 50,000 
square foot 
upper floor 
yet, so its 
wide open 
spaces were 

prepared for the party. There were music and refreshments then 
Dave and Bill gave short talks thanking everyone for a great year. 
Then they announced the percent of Christmas bonuses to all 
assembled, and handed out the bonus checks to each of us 
personally, shook our hand and wished us a very Merry Christmas. 
These Christmas bonuses were over-and-above the production 
bonus which was an integral, but variable part of each paycheck. 


HP Years 

Systems and Procedures : As I started to put together this new 
activity for HP, David Bates became my new boss and mentor. The 
initial tasks were fun and relatively manageable. The HP campus 
was expanding with a large complex of new buildings being 
completed about one mile up Page Mill Road in the Stanford 
Industrial Park. The internal mail was not flowing well and I was 
asked to fix this problem and then I was asked to take on the 
supervision of the mail delivery people. The manual delivery 
system got sorted out quite quickly. 

As the new six-building complex was being developed, I 
suggested the possibility of building in pneumatic tubes for mail 
delivery. Bates suggested I talk to Cavier. So I did and laid it all 
out with a design, investment expenses and projected return on 
investment. Cavier said I should talk to Packard. I asked, “How in 
the world would I do that.” Frank said simply, “Just catch him at 
coffee break.” 

Coffee breaks were announced with a chime over the speaker 
system used for paging. Everyone broke at the same time and 
coffee, and donuts were served. Packard and Hewlett almost 
always came out of their offices at coffee break, so I stepped up to 
Dave like a gnat to an elephant and laid out my proposal. He 
listened respectfully and then said, “No. We don’t want to do that.” 
He explained that there is too much value in having people walk 
through the plant to see each other face to face. I appreciated the 
clear and instructive response. 

Periodic meetings at morning coffee break were highlights of 
Hewlett and Packard's management style. Everyone would gather 
somewhere in the wide open spaces of the office, factory, or lab to 
hear Packard and/or Hewlett give a report on the progress of the 
company, the results of marketing shows where HP showed their 
new products, the review of a new product coming from the labs, 
new large sales contracts, a special employee achievement of some 
kind, or whatever was most pertinent at the time. These were not 
long meetings, and they happened once or twice a month as I 
recall. These were valued by employees at all levels. Over the 
years these coffee talks were replicated by local managers 
worldwide throughout the company. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Office Tools : Among the tasks of our Systems group was the 
responsibility to order all office equipment like desks, chairs, filing 
cabinets, electric and manual typewriters, copy machines, mailing 
and postage machines, calculators and so forth. Harold Peterson 
did a lot of this work, and our task was to look for labor-saving 
devices and to keep standards so we could take advantage of 
quantity purchasing and make service requirements simpler. 

We were using a number of big heavy, expensive Friden 
calculators that had thousands of little gears inside to do 
multiplication and division. Friden also made a huge, even more 
expensive calculator that in addition to multiplying and dividing, 
did square roots. It 
lived in HP Labs and 
had a tall flag on its 
rolling cart that could 
be seen over the 
workbenches of the Lab 
so that it could be easy 
to spot then roll away. 

The only output of 
these calculators was a 
series of dials along the 
top from which you 
could read your answer. 

One day we came 
across a smaller, less 
expensive, unit that did all of the Friden calculations and also gave 
a paper tape output. Gene Doucette was the first to use it. He was 
doing bill of material explosions which broke down the quantity of 
each component needed to build a production run of products. The 
new calculator worked well, but about the third morning after 
Gene had begun to use it he came in to find it completely broken 
and partly disassembled with a note that said, “Sorry, Bill.” During 
the night Hewlett had come out to see how it worked. 

Reproducing pages was really awkward in these early days. 
Letters were typewritten, and if copies were needed, carbon paper 
was used. There were several ways to make more copies from an 
existing page. One of the more popular was to create the master 


This Friden mechanical calculator was a wonder 
in its day; with a loud clacking the carriage 
jumped from column to column & did square root 

HP Years 

pages on translucent vellum and then put the master through a blue 
print machine (Ozalid) which used an ammonia solution on light- 
sensitive paper. This was the same kind of machine used by 
engineers and architects for reproducing their large drawings. You 
could also make a copy on one-sided, flimsy, tan, heat-sensitive 
paper (Thermofax) that turned black in the sunlight. 

You could also type on a purple ink-backed master and then load 
the typed master onto a Ditto machine, which could crank out 
purple copies that faded away in time. The best copy quality for 
higher quantities came from a lithographic process used by the HP 
print shop, but this could take a day or two to get the copies made. 
Our Systems group was asked to manage the print shop. The shop 
used metal plates and also a Xerographic process to create masters 
for a printing press, but it was all manual handling until the 
masters went onto the press where copies were cranked out 

What an amazing break-through the first automated Xerox 
copying machine 
was. It had auto¬ 
mated the photo¬ 
graphic scanning 
of a master and 
produced the 
number of black 
and white copies 
that were select¬ 
ed. It was the 
same process we 
used in the print 
shop where we 
exposed a xero¬ 
graphic plate and 
then mounted it 
on a printing 
press to make 
copies, but the 
copier used toner rather than ink. HP people lined up to use our 
first office-friendly Xerox copy machine. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

In the early 1950’s computers were not in broad use and were 
generally an awkward tool except for some kinds of simple number 
manipulation, as in some accounting and some research 
calculations. HP acquired its first computer from Sperry Rand in 
the early 60's and began the painful process of developing 
applications. Before computers, the control and facilitation of 
administrative systems were accomplished with multi-part forms, 
ledgers, and files full of paper. When forms were well designed 
they could help facilitate complex processes and improve 

Instrument Repair Process : An early systems assignment for me 
was to review our instrument repair process. Carl Mahurin headed 
this activity and by going through the repair flow and information 
flow it was possible to significantly simplify the repair procedures 
and shorten the repair processing time. 

Annual Management Meetings : Hewlett and Packard held annual 
off-site management meetings and in the late 1950s about 40 
people attended. Cavier asked me to attend one of these meetings 
that was to be held in Monterey, CA. I didn’t qualify to be there, 
but he had created an important exposure opportunity for me. We 
had meetings the first evening with a meeting through most of the 
next day. After dinner the first night there was a casual session 
where A1 Bagley, Carl Cottrell, and other collaborators had put 
together a skit which poked fun at just about everything that was 
going on in the company at the time. 

They had some clever lines for me to read about my penurious 
control of office supplies and equipment. No one escaped the 
friendly ridicule. Hewlett played himself giving a very complex, 
detailed description of how the challenging new payroll system 
was going to work and then Packard read his script explaining how 
a simple, straightforward payroll system was going to work. It was 
hilarious and lampooned the way that the two men approached 
problems. It was impressive to see that the company leaders could 
laugh at themselves without any difficulty. 


HP Years 

The annual Monterey Management meetings included posters which 
found humor in management events. Caption reads: “I’ll take the liverwurst 
on rye. .. with a little cole slaw on the side.” 

Speaking is Frank Cavier who hired me. 

I recall the banquet posters, which were prepared for these 
conferences. They had real pictures with cartoon bubbles that gave 
the thoughts or spoken words of those in the picture. Very funny! 

After this lighthearted session, most everyone retired to the bar 
where a good number of folks were drinking gin fizz. It looked 
kind of interesting, so I told the bartender to make one for me 
without the gin. Everyone in the group said that's not a good idea. I 
said, "Why not?" You all say it's great and the gin has no taste. 
Well the bartender made one for me without the gin and the group 
was right, it was nasty. Better to just stick to my ginger ale. 

The next day leaders presented their recent results, challenges 
and plans for the coming year. Ray Wilbur had just been hired to 
be HP’s first overall Personnel Manager. He gave a very stirring 
keynote address on the importance of our people and that it was as 
important for them to grow as fast as the Company did. Dave and 
Bill gave a wrap-up and shared their insight on what we needed to 
change, improve and focus on for the company to continue to be 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

successful. Dave said that Ray Wilbur’s talk was the most 
significant thing we had heard in the meeting. 

After the meeting, I rode back to Palo Alto with Dave Packard. I 
felt intimidated at first, but we ended up having a nice conversation 
about our respective activities and families. 

Corporate Purchasing : The Purchasing Department invited me to 
review their procurement processes. I designed a purchase order 
that created a receiving report and facilitated the payment of 
invoices, and streamlined the full process. Don Anderson headed 
the department at this time and was great to work with. 

Ed Porter : One day Colette came to HP to pick up something. 
She parked in front of the 275 Page Mill building, close to the 
entry and little front lobby. As she left the tight parking spot with 
our little kids in the back of our car, she cramped the wheel a little 
too soon and her front end hit the rear of the car on her left. The 
dent she made was quite noticeable and she felt awful. She went 
back in and talked to Ann Laudel in the little lobby/reception area. 

Ann checked to see who the damaged car belonged to and went 
to get Ed Porter, the Vice President of Manufacturing. HP only had 
four Vice Presidents directly under Hewlett and Packard, so the 
dent in his car was a big deal. Colette’s anxiety had doubled by the 
time he came out and she profusely apologized. Ed waved her off 
and said don’t worry about it, no problem. He didn’t even collect 
license or insurance numbers. We both loved him. 

Porter was on the Palo Alto City Council and later became the 
Mayor. One Monday night I went to the council meeting with 
some boy scouts. An interesting agenda item came up where a 
black man was trying to get Council approval to build a mortuary 
in the southern portion of the California Avenue area to serve the 
residents there. The application was denied on what seemed to be a 
technicality. I felt sorry for the fellow. The next day at work Porter 
said he noticed that I was at the meeting and asked what I thought 
about it. I mentioned my concern about the funeral home 
application that had been denied. Porter said, “We did him a favor. 
There were a number of projects (a county courthouse, office 
buildings and upscale apartments) planned for that area that will 


HP Years 

change it from a less expensive residential neighborhood to 
professional and commercial district.” He added, “We are not free 
to talk about these projects in public yet, but we did save the fellow 
a fortune. He would have invested his money and gone broke when 
all the residents moved away.” 

Travel: On a trip in the U.S., I recall one morning in Loveland, 
Colorado stopping for an early morning breakfast at a small 
restaurant before heading into our plant there. To my surprise, 
Dave Packard, Bill Hewlett, Barney Oliver, head of HP Labs, Noel 
Eldred, VP Marketing, and a few other top HP leaders were there. 
We ate together and visited. The Leaders were just returning from 
New York City where they had held an HP Board of Directors 
Meeting. When we were done eating Packard picked up the bill for 
all of us, about eight people. The total was $24 and when he saw it, 
he said, “In the future, we are going to have all of our meetings 
here.” I suspect the cost of this meal was very different from the 
bills he got in New York City. 

Apricots : One summer Dave Packard said that he had a lot of ripe 
apricots in his orchard that were going to go to waste and he 
invited anyone who wished to come and pick them. Colette and I 
and our three young boys went to Los Altos Hills where his house 
had been built in acres of apricots. While we were picking, 
Packard drove his car down into the orchard. I thought we were in 
trouble of some sort. But he got out of his car, visited with us for a 
while, helped us pick and then roared away. We ended up with a 
good supply of apricots which we dried and canned. 

Sales Order Processing : When Building Number 3 in the 
Stanford Industrial Park (1501 Page Mill Road, Palo Alto) was 
complete, most of the HP administrative staff moved from 275 
Page Mill by the tracks, to the new classy, glassy building on the 
hill. Our Systems and Procedures group made this move along 
with the rest of HP’s admin people. During this time a couple of 
my BYU friends were recruited into the group. Roger Sant and Lee 
Simmons had spent time in the Air Force when they graduated 
from school as a fulfillment of their ROTC contracts. Roger then 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

went on to the Harvard Business School for an MBA. He said the 
thing that attracted him to HP was the list of 7 Corporate 
Objectives that Dave and Bill put together. He had not seen 
anything like it in other companies. It focused on Profit, Customer, 
Field of Interest, Growth, People, Management, and Citizenship. 

About 1960, a new Sperry Rand Uni vac computer was purchased 
by HP and a small programming staff was built up. The 
programming group in the Electronic Data Processing Department 
(which was 
from our Sy¬ 
stems group) 
had done a 
great job of 
our first pay¬ 
roll system 
and several 

Then they set 
about to do 
an automated 
sales order 

processing system using our relatively new central computer 
installed in the lower floor or our new building number 3. Many 
difficulties were encountered in this effort. It had been a 
courageous effort even to try at this point in computer 
development. Our new mainframe computer had way less memory 
than you would find in a small I-Pod and the I-Pod has only a 
small fraction of an I-Phone memory. [The complexity of this task 
became clearer when, many years later, the Heart software was 

As a result of the problems being encountered, Noel Eldred, the 
VP of Marketing, asked if I could help unkink the processing of 
sales orders. 


HP Years 

Our group had grown a little. Roger Sant, fresh out of Harvard 
Business School had joined the group as a systems analyst and Lee 
Simmon, a good BYU friend, came in as a support person to the 
group. As none of us drank coffee, at break time we grabbed a 
fourth person and went to one of the ping pong tables that were on 
most of the large porch-like decks outside each building and 
played lively doubles for 10 minutes. 

Roger Sant worked with me on the sales order problem, and we 
took a very simple approach proposing 3 or 4 state-of-the-art Smith 
Corona Marchant (SCM) machines. These machines were 
programmable, had an excellent keyboard plus two additional 
input readers for punched paper tape, or edge-punched cards, and 
two outputs for tapes or cards. 

Eldred was favorable to our proposal and asked me to make a 
presentation to the Management Council, which consisted of 15 to 
20 top managers of the company who met in the board room. This 
was in the days before computer-generated projection or even 
overhead slides, so we took a 2'x 3’ paper pad and some felt pens 
and made about six panels. The presentation went well, and the 
project was approved to proceed. At the conclusion, Packard said 
dryly, “We should give felt pens and a pad to everyone.” 

At that time customers purchase orders were typed on a hard 
copy form and then sent to an independent sales representative. 
The sales rep office retyped the HP items on our form and mailed 
it to Palo Alto where it had to be manually entered again for the 
HP factory that made the product, partially entered again for sales 
statistic and partially again for accounting functions. Sales Reps 
had to retype Customer Orders over because those orders had items 
for many different manufacturers that they represented. These reps 
were independent, non-HP people and were very good at what they 

With the newly programmed SCM machines, the orders received 
from HP's sales rep offices were processed in Palo Alto by 
operators at each of the four machines. Product information was 
entered from pre-punched cards, as was the customer coding and 
address information. These cards were pulled manually and fed 
through the machines to give consistent data input. The output 
consisted of a hard copy order for the HP factory and with carbon 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

paper acknowledgment for mailing to the customer, and one for 
mailing to the sales rep. Also, a summary punched paper tape was 
made concurrently which was used after shipment to create an 
invoice to the customer, and finally a statistical tape was made 
which could be read into the company's main computer to generate 
sales statistics, commission reports, and backlog information. Les 
Oliver and Bob Stephenson in Marketing were the inside 
champions on this project. Matt Schmutz’ computer group 
integrated the paper tape with sales statistics into the mainframe 
computer to keep sales statistics. This system saved much of the 
re-entry of data that the old process required. 

One day during the programming and implementation, I was 
eating lunch in the cafeteria and Packard with some other 
managers came in and sat across the table from us and asked how 
the sales order processing project was going. It had been a difficult 
day. Some things had not worked yet and I said, “We are doing a 
little pioneering.” Packard said “That’s OK. That’s what we do.” 
When we got done, the system worked well and became the pattern 
for the next generation of sales order processing. 

After completion of this project, Roger Sant left HP to start a 
tech company of his own and was quite successful. He later went 
on to become Under Secretary of Energy in the Bush 41 
Administration. From there he launched some successful energy 
producing companies. Lee Simmons transferred into the Personnel 
department that had been formed under Ray Wilbur. 

Expert Advice : I was troubled one day when Colette and I 
received a fairly large bill for our home insurance from a carrier 
that we had dropped and replaced with another insurer. Their claim 
was that they insured us for two extra months beyond our policy’s 
expiration and they wanted to be paid for l/6 th of a year plus late 
fees. This demand for payment from us had been made several 
times. I went to talk with Jean Chognard, HP’s patent attorney. HP 
had no in-house legal counsels, and Jean was our only lawyer. He 
got a big smile on his face and became very animated at the 
prospect of a good legal struggle. After a moment's thought, he 
said, "Here is what you do. Type up a letter on formal looking 
letterhead and tell them that it is not a good practice to charge 


HP Years 

people for things that they didn’t order. Then under a separate 
cover send them a bill for your consulting services, referencing 
your letter of advice. Don’t be cheap.” This sounded good to me so 
that’s what I did and I never heard from them again. Another 
simple HP type solution to a vexing problem. 

Industrial Engineering : In the early 1960s after a few years of 
managing the Systems and Procedures activities I was invited to 
join the Industrial Engineering Group. Carl Clement, the head of 
Industrial Design, had designed a series of modular electronic 
instrument enclosures. There were many preset sizes, but every 
size could be very easily mounted in a standard racking system, or 
they could stand alone on a test bench. The backbone of the 
cabinet system consisted of two die cast aluminum frames which 
supported everything else. All of the aluminum covers or panels 
were all pre-laminated with an attractive blue-gray vinyl so that no 
cabinet painting was required. My tasks were to expedite the 
completion of key tooling for various cabinet components, 
schedule their production and availability, and meet the 
commitments for their planned use. Before this, every HP product 

The Clement System I gave extreme flexibility to product designers, 
while providing a sophisticated brand image for HP. 

was housed in a different size and shape cabinet, and many could 
not be rack mounted. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

The cabinet modules were well received, and design engineers 
no longer had to create a unique enclosure for each electronic test 
and measurement tool we produced. This was a great way for me 
to become more familiar with HPs lab processes, tool and die 
making, machine shop processes, die casting and technical 
documentation standards. 

Purchasing and Materials Management : Don Anderson, the 
head of HP’s purchasing activity that I had worked with earlier 
called me over one day and said that he wanted me to come and 
work in Purchasing. I thanked him for the confidence but told him 
that I didn't feel that was the right direction for me. Sometime later 
Bob Sundberg, who was the head of all materials activities, 
including Don’s Purchasing Department, asked me to stop in. 
When I did, he reaffirmed the offer and hoped that I would 
consider the possibility more carefully. Again I thanked him but 
said I just couldn't take the offer. Shortly after that Ed Porter, VP 
of manufacturing, who was Sundberg’s boss, called me into his 
office and asked if I wouldn’t take the assignment in purchasing. I 
told Ed, “No, I really, really didn’t want to do it.” 

The NY Giants had recently moved to San Francisco and one day 
some my fellow workers decided it was time that we saw a real 
major league game. I believe it was a Wednesday that the Giants 
had a day game. I'd never before cut out of work on a weekday but 
thought this one afternoon can't hurt. I've already worked a lot of 
extra time and I'll certainly be doing more in the future, which will 
more than make up for the lost afternoon. So we all went. The next 
day everyone said that Packard had been looking for me all 
afternoon. I went over and reported in to Margaret Pauli, Packard’s 
tough-as-nails secretary. She said, “Hang on a minute” and in a 
short time sent me in. The company still had only two enclosed 
offices, one for Dave and one for Bill, but now there were four 
smaller ones, open at the top, for Executive Vice President level 
managers like Porter, Cavier and Eldred. 

Dave chatted in a friendly way for a short while. Baseball never 
came up. Then he said, “We’d really like you to take the job in 
Purchasing.” I was taken aback. As my mind raced through 
possible responses, I concluded that it was time to give the real 

HP Years 

reason for declining so consistently. So I told him that I was 
concerned about the way the department was currently functioning 
and that it would be very difficult to put it right without making 
significant changes which could hurt a lot of people. He listened 
carefully and then said, “That’s why we want you there.” I said, 
“OK then, I’ll do it.” 

Just at the time I was coming over to Purchasing, Don Anderson 
announced that he was moving away and would be leaving his job 
and that I was to take his place as head of Purchasing reporting to 
Bob Sundberg. So I began to dig in. 

We made a number of process changes that seemed to work well. 
Some changes were not popular. Firstly we streamlined a number 
of workflows. Then I asked the purchasing agents to stop going out 
to lunch, or dinner with vendors. Instead, if they needed to work 
with vendors through lunch, we would have the department pay for 
the two of them to eat in the HP Cafeteria. Instead of dinners out 
we period¬ 
ically invited 
our major 
suppliers in¬ 
to HP for a 
nicely cater¬ 
ed dinner on 
site with tab¬ 
le cloths and 
wine. This 
served to 
confirm that 
long, alco¬ 
holic lunch¬ 
es and 

dinners were no longer to be acceptable. The in-house evening 
dinners started with a plant tour. At dinner, we had senior HP 
managers give some HP orientation and, at the same time, thanked 
them for their efforts on behalf of HP. Bob Sundberg and Ed Porter 
coached me on the appropriate wine to serve for these occasions, 
because I had no clue. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

We also let the vendors know that we no longer wanted 
Christmas gifts and if any still slipped through we gifted them to 
the Veteran’s hospital. As a result of these changes we no longer 
had missing afternoons and we became less socially beholden to 
our vendors. These changes set a more realistic business tone for 
the Purchasing Department; however the real problems had yet to 
be addressed. 

The Value of Communication : The Personnel Department had 
training courses for new managers. They asked me to teach one of 
these, and I was first teamed up with Gene Doucette, who had been 
a school teacher and had broad experience in HP. Our group met 
several evenings a week, after work. About 15 people were in each 
group. We focused on the HP styles of leadership, and the 
instruction seemed to be well received. I had the opportunity to 
teach a number of these and other courses over several years. 

In that first class, one of the illustrative stories I used came from 
the Pacific during WWII. It was told of a destroyer captain who 
described some of the fierce sea battles he had been in. Several 
times he had the chance to pursue an enemy vessel, but could not 
keep up with them. He repeatedly barked the order down the 
communication tube to the engine room to give us more speed, but 
got no results, so they could not keep up with the target. When 
things calmed he went down into the engine room and told the men 
all he needed was an extra 5 knots and our ship could hit more 
targets and be a big help to the whole fleet. The guys in the boiler 
room replied that they couldn’t go faster because their boilers were 
scaled up. 

The captain came back to the bridge discouraged. He pondered 
boiler scale and the somewhat sour reception he got in the boiler 
room. As he thought more about the engine room, he realized that 
in all their battles these men were blind to all the surface action. 
More than that, in the depths of the ship they could feel and hear 
the pitching of the ship and the blasts of the guns, the torpedoes, 
and the depth charges exploding, all without knowing if the next 
moment was to be their last. Except for being a blind target they 
had little idea how they fit into the efforts of the team. The 
captain’s thoughts triggered an idea. 


HP Years 

The ship had a fellow on board who had experience as a radio 
broadcaster and the captain ordered some work to be done on the 
public address system, especially in the boiler room. When the 
next battle started, he put his radio man on the PA system. This 
broadcaster gave a vivid description of all the action as seen from 
the deck. Enemy planes were shot down; their large guns hit some 
targets. Every detail was broadcast. One of the enemy ships started 
to retreat, and the destroyer captain started pursuit. All these details 
hit the boiler room, and to the Captain's amazement he had seven 
extra knots as he requested acceleration. The pursuit was 
successful, and the enemy ship was sunk. The captain went down 
to the boiler room and thanked the men and said we could have 
never done it without your great work. Just as the captain was 
leaving, he turned and asked what happened to the boiler scale? 
The crew chief smiled and said we solved that problem days ago. 

This was a great lesson on the value of keeping the whole team 
informed. I had Bob Sundberg who had been a radio announcer 
record the story with a little extra drama and we used that tape with 
numerous management training groups. 

Materials Engineers: Sometime before my move to Purchasing, 
Bud Eldon had taken over the Systems Group and had made some 
good process changes for the company. He stopped by purchasing 
one day and told me that the Material Engineering group in HP 
labs was ready to be transferred or abandoned and a suitable home 
had not yet been identified. They were a talented group and 
Purchasing used them extensively to determine if the products 
from manufacturer A were electrically and mechanically 
interchangeable with products from Manufacturer B. In fact once a 
product had been put into production these engineers were the ones 
that could certify that a competitive manufacturer's product could 
be substituted for an original part. They also certified that the next 
generation of the original manufacturer's product was compatible 
with his old product and that our instruments would still work if 
we changed. 

I told Bud about my organizational concerns in Purchasing which 
were not yet fully resolved. I felt the Purchasing agents didn't 
justify their existence. We agreed that it would make a lot of sense 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

to move the materials engineers into Purchasing. Larry Johnson 
headed that Materials Engineering group. He was a workaholic 
wizard with electrical components. I liked him. We proposed the 
transfer of about a dozen engineers to our Purchasing group. 
Everyone agreed, and the change was made. 

This transfer put the 15, or so, purchasing agents in an awkward 
position. They were the ones who gave the purchase order requests 
to typists and talked to vendors over their formerly long lunches. 
Order quantities were determined elsewhere by inventory control, 
under Dick Were. Components to be built into new products were 
determined by the development engineers. Component substitution 
was made by the materials engineers who verified electrical and 
mechanical compatibility. The purchasing agents’ contribution was 
near zero. 

This led me to the dismissal or reassignment of the purchasing 
agents. Just one stayed on to buy the non-standard items that had to 
be searched for and the purchase negotiated. Some of the departing 
agents transferred within the company to other jobs, and some left 
the company. When all the dust settled 22 people had left the 
Purchasing Department and the full purchasing cycle for 
production materials was given to Inventory Control group under 
Dick Were, who was already doing 90% of the job. 

Our removal of Purchasing Agents and replacing them with 
Materials Engineers and Inventory Managers was described in a 
comprehensive article in the industry trade magazine “Purchasing,” 
in Feb, 1964. (To read this article, Google and go 
to Part 3 of this Taylor memoir.) 

It’s Hard to Let People Go : I hated firing people. It was rarely 
done at HP. On the days that I knew that this was going to happen I 
was nauseous and tense. Sometimes a reasonable and constructive 
discussion could take place, but sometimes it was a contentious, 
difficult exchange. 

One of the purchasing agents that I dismissed was a great fellow, 
who had many friends in HP. He often went hunting, fishing and at 
the HP Ranch with Dave and Bill and other senior leaders of the 
company. He very much enjoyed the social elements of a 
purchasing agent's role; the lunches and dinners with vendors and 


HP Years 

the review of their new products and the contacts with other HP 
people. Where he really struggled was being tied to a desk and 
spending significant amounts of time doing analysis and 
processing paperwork. 

In working with him on alternative career paths, I invited him to 
go to Stanford and take a Kuder Preference Test and a Strong 
Vocational Interest Test. No clear results came from this. Because 
he loved the out of doors, I suggested that he look into the career 
paths of a forest or park ranger. That didn’t click. 

The allotted time for his job search came to an end, and he left 
HP. I didn't see him again for 5 or 6 years and then one day ran 
into him at a title company in downtown Los Altos. We visited for 
a while. He looked prosperous, better dressed than his typical HP 
attire and was very upbeat and happy. After he left the woman at 
the title company who was helping us expressed surprise that I 
knew him and said, “He is the nicest and most respected realtor in 
the entire Los Altos area.” 

I thought about this for a while and concluded that it can 
sometimes be helpful to force a person to look at what they are 
doing and reevaluate their life’s direction. 

Common Part Numbers : By the early 1960s HP manufacturing 
divisions had multiplied. Those that had split from the mother 
company to other locations took with them the HP part numbering 
formats. However a number of companies had been acquired, and 
these had entirely different numbering systems. These new 
acquisitions joining HP tended to use many identical parts in 
common with HP divisions but with different numbers. The 
difficult decision was whether the acquired companies should use 
the same numbers that HP divisions were using. One strong factor 
in favor of common parts was our global service and repair 
operations. Having a single parts documentation system was highly 
desirable, but without a careful, technical review it was hard to be 
sure similar parts were interchangeable. So it would take a 
significant effort to merge the numbering of parts to one system 

After a careful analysis, we concluded it was economically 
advantageous to convert all parts and components to a common 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

numbering system so that we could get maximum quantity 
advantage from our total corporate buying. The conversion and our 
resulting higher usage of common parts would allow suppliers to 
give us lower prices and also improve their quality. This decision 
to merge to a common numbering system also meant that new 
parts being set up anywhere in the company had to be screened by 
our materials engineers to see if we already had that part set up, or 
if we needed to set up a new number. 

Hal Dugan, Materials Specifications Manager, and chosen 
delegates from Materials Engineering were given the task of going 
to all of our acquired divisions and converting their numbers to the 
HP common numbering and documentation system. They went to 
Moseley in San Diego, F&M in Pennsylvania, Boonton in New 
Jersey, and Sanborn in Massachusetts plus others over time. The 
materials engineers played a huge role in determining 
compatibility before a number was changed to an HP part number. 
It was an arduous task, but greatly increased the volumes we could 
commit to our suppliers. Higher volumes gave the manufacturers 
longer production runs and substantially lowered their cost, a good 
part of which they passed along to us. 

In addition to the conversion of numbers, Larry had the materials 
engineers develop a listing of preferred parts for use by design 
engineers. This also helped to focus product design on using fewer, 
more proven components. This helped increase our purchasing 
volumes and made quality management easier. 

The last missing link was bringing in annual forecasts of parts 
usage from all divisions. With some effort, we got these, and with 
their forecasts summarized it was possible to present our full 
annual usage volumes to multiple vendors for competitive bidding. 

The establishing of a strict business-like relation with vendors, 
the dismissal of traditional purchasing agents, moving the 
placement of production purchase orders to Inventory Control and 
now the completive bidding managed by materials engineers was 
very disturbing to Bob Sundberg, my direct boss. He had 
established excellent relationships with most of our old line 
suppliers and distributors. Now they were all being subjected to 
less personal contact and competitive bidding. This was so 
uncomfortable for him that he felt he had to leave HP. When he 


HP Years 

left, I was asked to take his spot as Corporate Materials Manager. 
It is not the way I ever hoped to get a promotion. He and I had 
talked through the direction HP had to go several times, but he did 
not agree with the direction. I had hoped we could work through 
his distress, but he never got comfortable with the proposed 

Materials Management : 

My new job now had not 
only the responsibilities for 
corporate purchasing by 
materials engineers 

managed by Larry Johnson, 
but added the departments 
of Inventory Control 
managed by Dick Were, all 
the Stock Room personnel, 
and processes, plus the 
receiving and shipping 
departments managed by A1 Spear, Material Specification 
managed by Hal Dugan, and Logistics, managed by Rod Ernst. 
This totaled something over 400 people. 

Bob Sundberg had a nice office in the comer near the entry of 
Building 3, with glass windows, an attractive desk, and chairs and 
had a large, artistic map of the world on one wall. I had learned the 
value of sitting closer to the troops, so I kept my gray desk and sat 
outside with the rest of the group. We turned Bob's former office 
into a very nice conference room. 

The group began to collect worldwide component usage 
projections from all HP entities giving us substantially larger 
purchase volumes. This collection process was formalized and 
made routine. With this global usage information Larry Johnson’s 
Material Engineers began to get competitive bids and place 
contracts which all divisions could procure against and have their 
orders shipped directly to their sites. All divisions began to benefit 
from the whole company’s usage volumes. I was astounded to see 
how much lower the unit price bids were for these larger 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

As these new lower prices began to work their way through the 
system, I noted on the company Profit and Loss statement that the 
material component in our cost of goods sold dropped two 
percentage points, and this, raised the Company’s profits after tax 
from approximately 12% to 14%. Higher purchasing volumes also 
gave us a hidden benefit, of greater leverage over quality, 
reliability, and availability. 

Contract Development: It was challenging and fun to set the 
framework for our large Corporate Purchase Agreements and to 
rework HP's purchasing terms and conditions which were 
preprinted as "boilerplate" on the back of our Purchase Orders. But 
by far the most 
interesting and 
complex contract 
that I worked on 
was one for A1 
Bagley. It covered 
the development 
and purchase of a 
cesium beam tube 
from Varian. The 
tube was to be the 
heart of HP’s 

highly accurate 
time standard inst¬ 
rument. I must 

have had more 

than a dozen ses¬ 
sions with A1 to 

reflect his wishes. 

When the contract was done, as I recall, it had unique 
development milestones, penalties for tardy performance, tight 
quality specifications, quantity estimates, price/volume formulas, 
and to top it all off, HP ended up with ownership of the patents for 
the tube. Bagley was a genius at whatever he did. This very 
successful product provided a giant step forward in extremely 
accurate time keeping. 


HP Years 

This cesium beam time keeping instrument was accurate to plus 
or minus a second in a million years, or some such extreme 
precision. The accuracy prompted Len Cutler, the project manager, 
to send engineers around the world to compare the time standards 
of major developed countries. Lee Bodily, a good friend, was 
asked to go to Boulder, Colorado to set an HP 5061A to the U.S. 
time standard. From there he flew on to London to make the first 
comparison. By the time he arrived at the National Laboratory 
where their time standard was kept the instrument had been on 
batteries for longer than Lee wanted. If the instrument lost power, 
he would have to return to Boulder and start over again. 

When he got into the UK Labs Lee told the supervisor who 
received him that he was very anxious to plug in his instrument 
before he lost battery 
power. The supervisor 
said, “Sorry old chap it’s 
Tea Time, and we will 
plug in after that." When 
the supervisor left for tea 
Lee skipped tea and tore 
apart an English Power 
receptacle and hot-wired 
the 5061A to the raw 
wires now hanging out of 
the wall. Lee had a higher 
priority than British Tea 

In Germany, the 
reception conveyed a little 
skepticism, and after the 
German timekeepers were 
briefed on the traveling 
clock, Lee was told to 
wait and that they would 
do the measurements 
themselves in their secure 
labs. They finished and 

brought Lee's clock back and declined much further comment. 

Correlating time from Europe to Asia 
with "Flying Clocks" 

Photo Courtesy of the Hewlett-Packard 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

In Japan, the measurements went well, but Lee was thrown into a 
mild panic when a nice woman came in to scrub his back while he 
was bathing. The whole trip was a cultural awakening for a 
western farm boy, turned engineer. 

The Copper Scare: One day in about 1964, I noted that doom 
sayers in the Wall Street Journal along with other trade journalists 
were forecasting a major copper shortage. We looked at the main 
copper components that we depended upon that could become 
scarce. Among them were transformers, coils, power cords and 
other wire products, etc. We tallied up an investment in a 6 to 12- 
month inventory of these components. It was not a small sum, but 
probably under $100,000. When I proposed to Ed Porter that we 
increase our stock of these items, he suggested we talk to the 
Management Council and all there agreed we should go ahead with 
the protective purchases. The orders were placed and received. The 
purchases kept HP quite well supplied when the shortage did 

During this copper shortage, a lot of the light bulb manufacturers 
converted the base of their bulbs from a copper alloy to the gritty 
aluminum that we often get now. Also some effort was made to 
change high-tension electrical transmission lines from copper to 
aluminum. This didn’t work out too well. 

A couple of years later I was in the warehouse talking to A1 
Spear and noted a few dusty pallets in the very high racks and 
asked what they were. He said they were transformers and coils 
(largely made of copper) that had become obsolete. We didn’t 
guess right on everything, and these were a few remnants of that 
defensive purchase. It hit me that even being safe had its risks. But 
at least we got through the crisis and ended up with a little bit of 
valuable scrap. 

Bill Hewlett : One night when most people had gone home, Bill Hewlett 
came out of his office, which was close to our area, and stopped at my 
desk. He was trying to estimate something very difficult and wanted to 
know the weight of water. I had some reference books, but we didn't find 
what he wanted. I told him that I knew that a gallon of water weighed 
about 7.7 lbs. He nodded and thought for a while and seemed to 


HP Years 

remember an old childhood rhyme and started back to his office 
muttering, “A pint’s a pound the world around.” I have no idea what he 
was working on. 

Theft : HP's recently acquired Sanborn Company in Waltham, MA 
had a very large sum embezzled over the period of a year or so. It 
appeared that the loss involved their materials department. As a 
result I went back to Waltham with another inventory person, 
prepared to stay until the problem was sorted out. Prudent 
accounting and inventory control normally helps protect against 
such fraud, but with two collaborating, they can often circumvent 
the protections. In the Waltham Division scam, one person ordered 
twice to get double the quantity of parts needed, then buried the 
second order after it had been paid. A second person in receiving 
pulled out the extra materials and then they resold it. Once the 
problem was exposed, we suggested some process changes to 
Bruce Wholey who was the new division general manager. A 
problem like this never cropped up again in any division that I'm 
aware of. Merging another company into HP took time, a lot of 
work and serious trust building with employees to instill the ethical 
integrity and high standard that HP had come to expect. 

Open Door Policy : One day there was a real commotion several 
desks away. Screams and shouts and a flurry of activity caught our 
attention. The next thing that I saw was Dick Were heading for 
Executive offices with a flaming waste basket in his hands. With 
flame flaring into the air he went straight into Hewlett’s office and 
out the rear doors to a private patio where he could set it down and 
put it out. Bill joked that this was the ultimate use of his open door 

Logistics : Rod Ernst, our logistics manager, came to me and said 
that he had an idea that he thought could speed our shipments to 
customers by a week, and at the same time lower the shipping 
costs. He called it Air Freight Consolidation and explained how it 
would work. An air carrier and many different local truckers at the 
destination end had to be contacted and persuaded to perform, but 
it looked very promising. Bay Area divisions had to be persuaded 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

to pool their shipments to consolidate them by destination before 

We worked out all 
contract together, 
initially with Fly¬ 
ing Tiger and 
somewhat later 
with United Air¬ 
lines. It cut our 
average shipping 
time from 14 days 
by truck, to less 
than seven days by 
air freight and 
short haul truck¬ 
ing. It was often as 
fast as two days. 

As I recall, the 
costs were about 
10% less than they 
had been by our 
standard ground shipment. These were great benefits for customers 
and for HP. 

Stockroom : A1 Spear was the supervisor of the main company 
Stockroom. He worked out a system of conveyor belts that 
delivered requested parts to the production lines. They ran through 
several of the Stanford Park Buildings 1-6 complex; each building 
had two or three floors each with a little over 50,000 square feet 
per floor. This replaced loaded pallets delivered with hand trucks 
and forklifts and helped to increase the speed and accuracy of 
material delivery to lines where HP products were assembled and 

Shipping : The unmovable DEADLINE of month-end always 
created a flurry of activity throughout the company. Sales 
Engineers closed sales as months ended, scrambling to meet their 
quotas and bump up their commissions. Some of our customers 


HP Years 

had expiring budgets at month’s end, so they put out purchase 
orders before funding expired. Somehow the HP manufacturing 
pace picked up at month end to meet production plans and quotas. 
HP’s top management was always concerned about what got out 
the door at month end because only the items transferred to a 
carrier could be counted as a “shipment” in that month’s profit and 
loss statement. These factors worked together to create a huge 
crunch in our shipping department at month-end. They were a little 
like the boiler room guys in the destroyer story. The Shipping 
group knew everything was coming down on them, but they had no 
idea where they stood for the month, or how many dollars of 
product they shipped month to date, or how much more might be 
coming at them. 

With this in mind, I started taking them daily order numbers 
from Maria Bilzer’s report to give them a clue what might be 
coming soon, and secondly got the daily dollar value of the goods 
they had shipped. When a top manager came by and wanted to see 
how we were doing, the shipping clerks had the numbers. Their 
commitment to getting everything possible out the door increased 
dramatically and they even began to work on the truckers, who 
picked up our outbound products, to come a little later in the day, 
or to come back a second time. The destroyer captain was right; it 
pays to keep your crew informed. 

Recruiting: HP had a superior recruiting program for engineers. 
These recruits constituted the lifeblood of the Company’s product 
innovation and hence our revenue stream. It was a very well- 
coordinated effort. 

As new Divisions were being formed, experienced people were 
badly needed to manage and supervise non-engineering activities 
such as production, materials, accounting, marketing, electronic 
data processing and other areas. Good people for staffing all the 
new divisions were in desperately short supply. It was clear that 
there was a need to mount a recruiting effort to add about a dozen 
potential first-line managers and supervisor and that we work out a 
rotational training program for them. I must have also gotten the 
approval of Bruce Wholey or John Young, but I don’t recall if I did 
or not. We did successfully recruit a dozen or more good potential 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

leaders from San Jose State, Cal Berkeley, Stanford and a number 
of other schools. We laid out about a 9 to 12-month training 
schedule for each of them, some started in Materials, some in other 
functional areas and rotated on from there. It was a very successful 
effort. I don't recall that any of those hired ever made it through 9 
months of rotations. They were picked off well before that. If 
memory serves me correctly, some high-level managers such as 
Jim Brownson and A1 Steiner among others came into the 
Company as part of that effort. 

Sales Representative Acquisition: In 1958, John Young was a 
promising young Stanford MBA Graduate who accepted an offer 
to work at HP. After establishing himself in HP for a couple of 
years, he was assigned to negotiate the purchase of most of our 
Sales Representatives. He did this well, and 13 of the 15 national 
Rep organizations agreed to be acquired. HP then organized those 
sales representative organizations into 4 U.S. Sales Regions and 
similarly one region was developed in Europe. One benefit of the 
acquisitions was that the new HP Sales Offices no longer handled 
non-HP products. 

With the Sales Representative organizations becoming a part of 
HP, Bud Eldon, then systems manager, saw that sales orders then 
no longer needed to be typed twice. We could capture the data 

once in the sales office and let that data flow through the rest of the 

These two YouTube photos show the ASR 35 we used for our data acquisition, 
transmission, and printing. 


HP Years 

company without re-entry. The Smith Corona Marchant machines 
had no data transmission capability and the best device at that time 
that could transmit data was an ASR35 teletype machine. ASR 
stood for Automatic Send and Receive. This machine could punch 
or read a paper tape, and print a document from a tape, from the 
keyboard, or from a transmission. 

These machines were used to create a digital copy and hard copy 
of an order. The digital copy on tape could be transmitted at the 
speed of about 60 characters per second or about 500 bits per 
second. These teletype machines were installed in the field and 
factories to transmit orders and shipment information for the 
company. Transmission Carriers were paid by the character for 
their service. Field offices kept paper tape copies of each order 
they entered and when the factory notified them of shipment, the 
sales office pulled that order’s paper tape and used it to create an 
invoice to the customer. These teletypes were the beginning of our 
data transmission activity. 

My Managers While In Materials : While in Materials 
Management I reported to three different managers. First was Noel 
(Ed) Porter. He was great and almost never 
looked at what we were doing. Occasionally I 
would get a little 3-inch square note, typed on 
his own personal, manual typewriter, which 
would have a comment, or request and was 
always signed N.E.P. That was about it. 

Next Manager was Bruce Wholey who 
managed the Microwave Division (before he 
moved to Waltham Division). Bruce was very 
interested in and attentive to what we were 
doing. He would come by a few times a week 
and share any news, or instructions that he 
wanted to pass along. When he was done, he 
would sit a bit longer and look at me with 
steady blue eyes and say nothing. This would 
start me scraping for other things that I could 
tell him. I always gave him more information 
than I intended. It was an interesting silent 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

interrogation method. 

My last manager in Corporate Materials was John Young. He 
had taken over from Bruce as the manager of the Microwave 
Division. He was a good, insightful manager and like Ed Porter we 
didn’t see him too much. It was John who sensed when it was time 
to give me a new challenge as I had finished the things that I felt 
needed to be done in the Materials area. One day he said to me that 
Gordon Eding would like me to come with him to Datamec a 
newly acquired company. I was very happy to work with Gordon 
and get some first-hand division experience. 

Datamec Division : Datamec was a small company that 
manufactured computer tape drives and disk drives. The disk 
drives were more in development than in production at the time 
they were acquired by HP. Some of their managers left shortly 
after the buyout, and Gordon Eding was chosen from HP to be the 
Division General Manager. He asked me to join the division to be 
the Finance Manager. In most companies this position would be 
called a controller, but HP had no controllers, because Dave 
Packard didn't think that a finance person ought to be exercising 
much control in a technical company. After Packard gave up the 
reigns of the company, a few controllers did creep into the 
landscape, but I don't think the substance of things changed. 

As generally happened when HP bought a company, the acquired 
company got hit very hard with corporate overburden. First of all, 
most of Datamec’s tape drive sales had gone to Digital Equipment 
Corporation (DEC), a successful minicomputer manufacturer but a 
direct competitor with HP computers. So a big part of Datamec’s 
customer base pulled away after the HP acquisition. Second, HP’s 
corporate surcharge and HP Lab overhead, plus more elaborate 
employee benefits were crunchers for the small company. Third, 
Datamec had to bear part of the expenses of part number 
conversions and changes to HP’s quality, engineering, accounting 
and production standards. This was an awakening experience for 
me to see how heavy these burdens felt from the perspective of a 
newly acquired company. 

I traveled around the U.S. with Tom Tracy, Datamec’s marketing 
manager, to work out termination agreements with all their Sales 


HP Years 

Representative organizations and then worked out the transition to 
HP’s sales force. We also negotiated with HP Sales Region 
Managers for slightly more accommodating selling terms for 
Datamec. Over a few months, we worked out all the accounting 
and financial changes that had to be made to match the HP systems 
and standards, including forecasting and reporting processes. All 
these changes made sense to me, but the poor guys who had been 
with Datamec for a while were in a state of confused agony. 

One day I was in the marketing department, and I noticed that 
Fred Waldron, who had also transferred from HP, was looking 
grim. He said HP Corporate has required us to do a 5-year forecast 
and I don't even know what's happening next week. He showed me 
the areas he had to cover. I told him, “This forecast is no problem. 
Corporate is going to add this forecast like a small drop into a large 
pool. Just take last year and add 10% per year, ask the labs if we 
can ever ship any disks and add a bit more in for that, take a stab at 
market trends, then do a little creative writing for your narrative 
and you’re done. If the field sales force doesn’t like our forecasts 
they’ll tell us.” He said, “Are you sure?” I told him that, “For us, 
right now, that will do.” He looked relieved and said, “This may 
not be as hard as I thought.” It turned out that in actual fact his 
forecast was almost right on. 

After a year or so HP’s external auditors came to do a full audit 
of the division. Spending a few weeks with Certified Public 
Accountants was not my idea of a good time. We got through it 
and with a little requested touchup we passed their scrutiny. 

The Datamec manufacturing manager was a courageous guy who 
was fighting cancer. He worked nearly to his last breath. After he 
died, Ray Smelek joined the division to assume that role. 
Gradually the little division got on its feet. 

Corporate Finance and Accounting : Wayne Briggson had 
become the top Accounting/Finance Manager in HP. He was a no- 
nonsense, kind of leader. He kept at his desk a big red rubber 
stamp that said “B*LL SH*T” which he used on memos and 
proposals that didn’t make common sense. During this time HP 
was struggling with financial accountability. John Young was 
proposing a matrix system which gave product line managers 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

worldwide responsibility for a cluster of related products. This 
responsibility cut across countries, sales offices and factories. It 
was far more complex than our old divisional model. The matrix 
demanded two complete sets of books, one for traditional and one 
for product line accounting. 

This didn’t match Wayne’s idea of simple straight forward 
business management. I think he fought this complex approach for 
a while and eventually left the company. The Product Line 
accounting was adopted and came back to haunt me later in the 
Heart System. 

17. Finnigan Instrument 

A Leap into the Great Unknown : By 1968, after eleven years 
with HP, I wasn’t looking for any changes in employment. I loved 
HP and for the greater part had enjoyed most every assignment that 
I had been given. Then one day out of the blue I got a call from my 
friend Roger Sant who had worked with me in HP’s Systems 
department, asking if I would consider taking a job in his current 
company, Finnigan Instrument. I told him I was pretty happy 
where I was, but that I would talk with him. Their offices were in 
the Stanford Industrial Park, near the fire station on Hanover. I 
stopped in after work one day. Finnigan made quadrupole mass 
spectrometers. This was a significant breakthrough from the huge, 
expensive magnetic spectrometers that could wipe out all your 
credit cards if you got too close. These products were used for: 
environmental testing, such as measuring pollutants in fish livers; 
medical measurements such as cholesterol levels in the 
bloodstream; crime labs for the breakdown of substance traces on 
crime evidence; drug testing for athletes, horses, etc., and other 
analytical diagnostics. 

They wanted me to be the General Manager of the little 
company, with a sizeable salary increase and an appreciable stock 
equity position. Colette and I deliberated long and hard. By this 
time we had eight children and a high-risk situation like Finnigan 
didn’t make a lot of sense for us. On the other hand it was a rare 
opportunity to work in a very small startup company and help it to 


HP Years 

grow and mature. I took the offer and bid a sad farewell to a lot of 
HP friends and mentors. 

The Finnigan challenge was exciting, but one of the first things I 
noticed was that just about all 30 of the employees were very 
distrusting. It didn't help that I had come from the outside. The 
prior leaders of the company, some of whom were still around, had 
not always been consistent, or straightforward with them. To try to 
work our way past this, I set up a profit sharing plan and a 
retirement program with some company matching. The company’s 
contribution was not large to either of these, but it was about the 
best we could do with limited resources and skimpy profits. 

Finnigan hit a period when the production folks could not make a 
single functioning spectrometer, and consequently we could make 
no shipments and hence we had no income. To resolve this critical 
problem, I sent our best quadrupole engineer to Coors Corp. in 
Colorado, not to drink beer, but to work with the Coors’ 
exceptional precision ceramic machine shop. The quadrupole was 
the heart of the spectrometer and consisted of four molybdenum 
rods held by two ceramic end pieces. We had only one quadrupole 
left in our lab that worked. That one unit worked well in any of the 
unshippable units that were sitting in production. I had Mike, our 
engineer, pack up this last working quadrupole, a bag full of new 
molybdenum rods and any test equipment he thought he might 
need. I told him he should not come back until he could repeatedly 
reproduce a good quadrupole. After five working days he called 
and said he had the solution. The key was one critical dimension in 
the ceramic machining. He brought back a bunch of good ceramic 
end pieces which held the four rods and we were off and running 

The valiant, but shorthanded engineers at Finnigan had worked 
hard to come up with a new product or two. One new design did 
well functionally, but it looked like a lab breadboard so I called 
Bob DeVries, a friend at HP, to ask if he would consider a small 
project after hours. He graciously agreed to help design a product 
package that would look like it had been made in a factory. When 
he got through it looked great. Unfortunately it never developed a 
great market to match its looks. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Many of our customers were interested in more sophisticated 
measurements. This could be done if a gas chromatograph (GC) 
was coupled with our mass spectrometer (MS). With some effort, 
that integration was accomplished, and Finnigan did successfully 
offer a GC/MS which was well accepted. 

After I had been about two years with the little company, Federal 
funding was cut off for many of the agencies that funded the 
purchase of our product. NIH, scientific grants, environmental 
projects and more were all slashed. Orders dropped like a stone, 
and it was necessary to lay off a good share of our small crew. I 
decided in the process to lay myself off. There were original 
investors that could manage what had to be done in the company. 
They were good skilled people and better able than I to help the 
company weathers the storm. 

I learned some important things during those 
two years: I had taken for granted the people of 
HP with their loyalty, trust and somewhat 
selfless collaboration. It was clear that was 
unique and hard to replicate. I was also 
uncomfortable at Finnigan when I could not pay 
bills and keep financial commitments in a timely 
manner. A single product company is riskier and 
less stable than one with multiple products areas 
and being dependent, directly, or indirectly on 
government funding doesn’t make for stability. 

Also, small companies, like Finnigan, had no 
support services, of the kind I had come to expect at HP. Nearly 
everything you needed you had to do for yourself. 

Shortly after leaving Finnigan I got an offer to return to HP. 

Me Rewiring 
Finnigan Office 

18. Return to HP 

Not Everyone Was Happy to Have Me Back : One manager in 
the Materials Department had felt that the changes I had initiated 
were too severe and not people oriented. He went to Ralph Lee, 
who had replaced Ed Porter as VP of Manufacturing, to see if he 
could stop my return. In spite of these objections, Cort Van 


HP Years 

Rensselaer, with encouragement from Matt Schmutz, made me an 
offer to return to a job in the Manufacturing Systems Group under 
Cort. I was very grateful for their support. At this time each major 
function, Manufacturing, Marketing and Finance had its own 
systems/data processing group. 

Because I had not had a lot of experience with mainframe 
computers and peripherals Matt Schmutz, the EDP Manager, with 
Corf s approval, told me that I should work in his computer room 
to get a feeling for computer room processing. This sounded like a 
good idea. My first assignment was to do the card sorting for a bill 
of materials explosion. Products to be built had to be exploded into 
its component parts to be purchased, or manufactured. To do this 
explosion, the quantity of each product scheduled to be built was 
multiplied times the component parts needed in each unit. There 
was a deck of cards for each instrument to be built with the 
component quantity needed. Now the task was to re-sort all these 
instrument decks by part number and assembly number to give the 
total quantity of each part to be purchased, or assembled, or 
fabricated. When every deck for every product was re-sorted into 
component part number, the computer could tally and print out a 
quantity of every component for all the planned production runs. 
This was essential because HP products used so many components 
in common. 

The cards to be sorted made a pile well over 20 feet high, but 
only a foot or two at a time could be loaded in the sorter. Part 
numbers were mostly eight digits and a few fabricated part 
numbers were longer. This meant that the entire deck would need 
many passes through the sorter to put the cards in their final part 
number sequence. 

I started in the morning and had been sorting for several hours 
when there was a distraction. When I returned to continue sorting, 
I grabbed the wrong pile of cards and instead of continuing the sort 
I had instantly shuffled the deck. Ugh! 

Matt came in to see how I was doing and I told him what had 
happened. He smiled and said, "You've done quite enough for the 
day. We'll clean this up." I was never invited back, and I never 
asked to return. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Cort asked me to develop a system for HP divisions to order 
from one another. There was a high volume of these internal orders 
and yet there was no systematic way to place these orders or to get 
credit back to the selling division. The high volume of these 
internal orders was spurred by the creation of new divisions that 
took product lines from established divisions to new division 
locations, both domestic and foreign. Cort saw the rapid growth of 
this activity and knew that we needed some systematic way to take 
care of these transfers. He suggested that I talk with Bill Johnson 
who headed Marketing Systems as he was working on a new sales 
order processing system called Heart. Learning what processes he 
was planning to use for moving orders from customers to product 
divisions might be helpful in handling these internal orders. 

Bill gave me a detailed description of the Heart system and the 
sales order format and flows that they planned to use. With some 
adjustments I employed that order system for internal orders and 
then initiated it within the company, globally. This Internal Order 
System (IOS) initially used multi-part forms and the company’s 
teletype transmission system, but was designed to use the computer 
based data transmission system (later to become Comsys) which 
was in the process of development. 

With the IOS de¬ 
sign completed, Cort 
asked if I would go 
to the Customer 
Service Center 
(CSC) in Mountian 
View, CA, from 
which all customers 
and HP repair 
centers could buy 
replacement parts. 

He said they were in 
need of a comp¬ 
uterized inventory 
management system. 

I was there for about 
a year working with 


This is a demonstration of the new Customer 
Service Center computerized inventory control 
system to Dick Wilson, Chuck Ernst, Clyde Francis, 
Bob Boniface, and Dick Arey. 

HP Years 

Clyde Francis who had a fantastic knowledge of how their manual 
parts systems worked, and also the parts of the inventory system 
that needed to change. That system got designed, programmed, 
installed and was working quite well at the end of the year. 

Packard Returns from DoD : I remember David Packard coming 
home from his service in the Pentagon as Deputy Secretary of 
Defense. As he came through the Customer Service Center where I 
was working, he had a friendly greeting, and I asked him how it 
felt to be back. He said, “It’s nice to be back where you can get 
something done.” 

In Packard's time away in the Department of Defense, speed 
bumps had been built into the parking lots and perimeter roads all 
around the HP Stanford Park complex. They were a pain. When 
Dave saw these, he ordered them to be taken out and said, “These 
are physical symbols of lack of trust in our employees. We do trust 
our people, and we are not going to have these damn bumps 

A more serious thing that developed while Packard was gone 
was the buildup of our short-term borrowing. The debt was 
primarily to finance operating costs. Rapid growth had required, 
purchasing more materials for manufacturing products, and 
financing our accounts receivable as sales grew. 

Our leaders concluded that it would be cost effective to replace 
this short-term borrowing with proceeds from an HP Bond issue. 
All the work had been done for the issuance of bonds and a 
prospectus had been printed and distributed to potential investors. 
We were just days away from the market placement of the bonds. 

This troubled Dave. He didn’t like debt and didn’t feel this was 
the right way to finance Company growth. He stopped the Bond 
issue dead. Then he scheduled the “Give ‘em Hell Tour" to every 
major field sales office and every factory. His messages were 
simple. To factories, it was "Cut your inventories back to a 
reasonable, well-planned level." To the field offices, which created 
invoices to our customers for goods shipped and then collected the 
receivables, his message was, “Tighten up your collection 
processes. Bring in the money owed to us faster." He added the 
exclamation point to both field and factory that if they couldn't do 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

this, he'd find someone who could. He was very direct and 
forceful, and when local managers saw him coming, they would 
murmur to their team, “Here comes the old charmer." After the 
first couple of visits, the word was out, and things changed 
dramatically. Short-term borrowing virtually vanished overnight, 
and there was no more need for a bond issue. 

Cort Van Rensselaer & Matt Schmutz : Working in Cort’s 
systems group was a great experience. He had a rich background at 
HP and most recently had been in Colorado Springs where he was 
the Division General Manager. He came back to Palo Alto to head 
the Information Systems and Data Processing (EDP) functions. As 
the Senior Systems manager in the company, he had the experience 
and vision to move HP’s processes forward. Matt Schmutz, who 
headed HP's EDP department under Cort, had been hired back into 
HP by Bud Eldon, the immediately prior Systems Department 
Manager, to direct the conversion from the SS90 to the IBM 360. 
This decision to switch computers was a good move on Bud's part 
as our processes were becoming more complex and skilled support 
from our vendor like IBM was more critical. 

Matt was a good friend that I talked to often. One time we were 
talking about an upcoming party for the group. I mentioned that I 
had a conflict and couldn’t come. Matt said with a smile, “That's 
great. It always makes me nervous when I'm slipping away into 
incoherence, and I know you are going to remember everything in 
the morning." 

Later Matt moved to the Business Computer (product 
manufacturing) Group and took on some major responsibilities for 
them. Sadly he developed serious cancer. I visited him in the 
hospital near the end and asked if I could do anything for him. He 
said, “Watch out for my son.” His son Bill was a great young man, 
but had taken longer to find a direction in life than Matt would 
have liked. He came into my Telecommunications and Office 
Systems Department under Luis Hurtado-Sanchez. There he 
established himself there quite well and found some work areas 
that he really enjoyed. 


HP Years 

Comsvs Implementation : Bill Johnson, who succeeded Bob 
Puette as the manager of Marketing Systems and development 
manager of the Heart System (for sales order processing), talked to 
Cort, my boss and asked if he could recruit me to his department. I 
had worked with Bill when I was developing the Internal Order 
System. Cort agreed to the transfer. I had completed the inventory 
system at the Corporate Parts Center. It was up and running, so I 
was ready for a new assignment. 

Johnson felt he had challenges in his telecommunications area 
and asked if I would manage it. This was to be the backbone utility 
of the orders flowing from field to factory and had the potential to 
handle all information flows within the company. 

The Heart System that Johnson was working on was still under 
development, but before it could be deployed it was going to need 
much faster and more reliable data transmission than the ASR 35 
teletype could provide. The Internal Order System that I had 
worked on was designed to use this more powerful data 
transmission capability if it could be developed. 

An interesting historical note: Bud Eldon, as Information 
Systems Manager, suggested the possibility of transmitting sales 
order information between 2116 computers, replacing the ASR 35s 
which he had deployed. There was some management skepticism 
about this possibility.. Before he left the department, Bud also 
hired Bob Puette and a number of others to do operations research. 
Dick Hackbom was hired into this group on a part-time basis while 
he attended Stanford. Out of this group the seeds of the Heart 
System and a new communication system (Comsys) were planted. 

The invitation to join this group looked very interesting. I had 
some exposure to the planned data transmission system already. I 
liked Bill Johnson who would be my boss, as well as Rich Nielsen, 
Gene Doucette, Bill Taylor and the people involved with the 
Telecommunications Group, so I readily agreed to the move. 

Bill Taylor and Gene Doucette were working with telephone 
companies and telephone equipment manufacturers. They looked 
for ways to lower our telephone line charges and negotiated 
telecommunication equipment contracts. They were responsible for 
PBX selections which were complex devices made by AT&T, 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Northern Telecom, Rolm and others, used at each HP site to 
receive and reroute inbound and outbound telephone calls. 

Paul Storaasli in the Telecommunications Group was working 
now with Rich Nielsen who had joined Howard Morris in 
Programming. Rich had then taken over the project when Howard 
transferred to Cupertino. Rich was working on the HP 2116 coding 
to give HP a better, faster and more accurate method for 
transmitting data with the use of computers rather than teletype 
machines. With some hard work Rich developed software to 
generate fast, reliable data transmission between two 2116 
computers. Testing showed that this was much faster than the 
teletype machines we had used and was free from bad line errors 
which we got with teletype. We did some calculating and 
determined we would need well over 100 computers phased in 
over time to set up the network. This was a very large investment, 
even though it was HP equipment. We also needed to buy modems 
from an external vendor and these in total were quite costly as 

I took our investment analysis to Bill Johnson, and he said, “Let's 
go for it." He and I talked to Bob Boniface who was now the Exec 
VP of HP's World¬ 
wide Marketing. He 
thought it looked 
good, but said it was 
a large enough in¬ 
vestment that we 
should get approval 
from the Manage¬ 
ment Council. I got 
out the paper pad 
and felt pens to 
make a few panels 
to explain what we 
were doing and 
what the invest¬ 
ment looked like. 

There was an offset 
in cost from the replacement of the slower teletype machines and 


The HP 2116A started life as an engineering 
computer, but was adapted for Time-Share data 
handling, which made it ideal for our data transmission 

HP Years 

their relatively high transmission cost. In addition the new network 
opened the possibility of transmitting additional kinds of 
information through the HP computers. We got quite an 
enthusiastic approval from HP’s managers. Packard said this 
should be a product. It was a different and interesting use of HP 
computers which up to that time had been used mostly for 
technical engineering work and very little for business 
applications. We placed orders for the HP computers and 
scheduled them out at the pace the Cupertino Manufacturing 
Division could sustain and still serve paying customers. We 
matched this shipment schedule to our installation plans. 

Later the Comsys data transmission system did become a 
product, the HP 2026. Some systems were sold, but it never 
became a big seller. Other companies found it difficult to deploy 
and manage the system in the way that HP had done. 

Transmission Lines : Commercial telephone lines at that time 
were very expensive compared to now. We could not broadly 
afford the expense of dedicated leased telephone lines. As a result 
our data transmission was planned for the use of dial-up lines. This 
meant you had to pick up a phone, get dial tone, dial the remote 
number, get a confirming modem tone and stick the telephone 
hand set into the modem and start computer data transmission. 
Standard modem speeds were 1200 bits per second (bps) versus 
our teletype at 35 bps. We were testing our transmissions with a 
faster 2400 bps modem, and it worked well over dial-up lines. 

Just as we were about to order 40 or more of the 2400 bps 
modems, Gene Doucette and Bill Taylor found a reliable vendor, 
Paradyne, who offered a brand new 4800 bps modem at about the 
same unit price as the ones we had been testing. A modem which 
was two times faster was like gold. We could get our data through 
faster with lower telephone line cost, which was charged by the 
minute. We ordered the faster modems. The Paradyne modem also 
had a slow speed reverse channel that could function at the same 
time a full transmission was going forward. Rich Nielson included 
a clever error detection and correction scheme using this reverse 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Data being transmitted was assembled into packets (a set of a 
couple of thousand characters) and at the end of each packet, the 
sending computer calculated a sixteen-bit checksum. The receiving 
computer read the incoming packet and did its own calculation. If 
the sending and receiving calculations matched, the receiver would 
send back over the reverse channel an acknowledgment (ack) that 
the transmission had been received correctly. If the calculations 
didn’t match because of a line error, the receiving computer would 
send back over the reverse channel a non-acknowledgement (nack) 
and the sender would send that packet again. This gave us virtually 
error-free transmission, even over marginal phone lines. Using the 
modem's reverse channel avoided having to stop the main 
transmission to send back confirmations or error messages. This 
was another important transmission speed advantage. 

Because dial-up lines for transmission were available in every 
country in HP's worldwide organization, we could move ahead 
quite quickly. As we received equipment we started up the first 
Comsys transmissions. 

The creation of our business data at all the HP locations was still 
done on the keyboard of teletype machines, and output was on 
punched paper tape. The tapes were very awkward to label, store, 
and handle. In all computer sites, the walls were covered with 
hanging tapes, and in many sites, clotheslines were installed to 
create more hanging space. In at least the larger sites, the paper 
tape was input to the 2116s where the data could be stored on 
magnetic tape in preparation for faster computer to computer 

Comsvs Moves from Computer Rooms to Desktop : Our 

computer data transmission system was given the name of Comsys, 
short for Communication System. As Comsys became broadly 
deployed, a key bottleneck was the entry of data to paper tape and 
then feeding the paper tape into the HP 2116 computers. Teletype 
machines which produced paper tape were so awkward that Paul 
Storaasli and Terry Eastham were determined to find a 
manufacturer who could supply a terminal with a keyboard and a 
CRT display that could input directly to an HP 2116A. Direct 
terminal entry to our computers also offered the important 


HP Years 

possibility of editing input, making possible immediate error 
detection and correction on the data entered. Teletypes could not 
do this. Finally, we found a small company in Salt Lake City called 
Beehive Electronics that made something very close to what we 
needed. They accepted our requests for modification and slowly 
began to deliver computer terminals to us. These new terminals 
eliminated the teletype machines and the punched paper tapes. The 
Beehives were deployed in the HP computer rooms around the 

The Beehive terminals were a huge step forward, but getting 
worldwide support from this small startup company was a real 
issue. Terry often woke up at night with nightmares about Beehive 

Field reliab¬ 
ility was im¬ 
proved by 
running the 
terminals for 
many hours 
before they 
were deploy¬ 

It was a 
couple of 

years before 
HP develop¬ 
ed a full- 
CRT term¬ 
inal, the HP 
2145, which 
could re¬ 

place these 

Beehive terminals. The HP product gave us significantly higher 
quality and much greater reliability. 

The implementation of computer to computer transmission with 
keyboard to computer data entry started in 1972. The network was 


The Beehive Terminals were replaced by the much more 
reliable HP 2645A. This photo shows these HP terminals 
assembled to demonstrate that one Comsys computer could 
support 64 data entry terminals as well as all transmission 
activities. The demo was for the people working on HP 2026, 
the Comsys Product. Pictured L to R are Hank Taylor, Rich 

Niptepn Tprrv Fpstham 

Ten Steps Then Breathe 

near completion and functioning quite broadly in 1973, even 
though the CRT terminals for input and printers for output were 
still restricted to the computer rooms, just as the teletype machines 
had been. An article in April 1974 Measure , “The Penny Post 
Rides Again,” describes the broad use of Comgrams throughout 
the company. Comgrams were internal messages which could be 
transmitted over Comsys from and to any point in the company for 
just a few pennies. These messages were entered into Comsys in 
computer rooms, which then sent them forward in batches. In the 
receiving computer room they were printed out and delivered by 
the office mail system. It took one to two days to get from desk to 
desk. Nevertheless this was very 
low cost and extremely fast for 
the 1970s. Downloadable copies 
of all Measure Magazines are 
available from the HP website. 

An interesting side note, during 
the time we were up to our ears 
in paper tape. All over the 
company in computer rooms, 
paper tapes with order numbers 
written on them were hanging 
around the walls and on 
clotheslines. When shipments 
from factories took place, these 
tapes were retrieved to create 
invoices for the items shipped. 

This often required cutting and splicing the paper tapes and had to 
be done pretty accurately or the spliced tape could jam the tape 
readers. Gene Doucette designed a simple aluminum block with a 
cutting guide and pins which matched the paper tape sprocket 
holes. One or two tapes at a time could be cut on this jig and then 
spliced to another tape with excellent precision and this prevented 
tape jams in the reader. Gene asked an HP traveler, probably Greg 
Garland, to take a couple of these splicing devices to Europe. A 
Swiss security agent grabbed the hapless messenger out of the 
customs line. They held him while they X-rayed the aluminum jigs 
and questioned the poor guy, threatening to put him jail for 


HP Years 

carrying secretive devices. With careful explanation, he was finally 
released with his aluminum blocks. It was good in many ways to 
be rid of the paper tapes. 

International Transmission Issues : Outside the US, the 
governments of each nation kept tight control over all telephone 
equipment and transmission lines. Some countries were more 
cooperative than others. As we established dial-up connections to 
the tougher locations, their restrictions were painful, allowing only 
1200 bps modems which were manufactured under their direct 
control. Geneva, Switzerland was a primary hub for all of HPs 
Europe’s transmissions and was a very high volume location, but 
the Swiss PTT was very restrictive. We negotiated with them for 
some time to get permission to install a faster non-Swiss modem 
and their answer was always, “NO.” Finally in exasperation I told 
them that internal communication was so important to us that 
unless we could install a faster modem that we would move our 
European Headquarters to another country that was more 

I almost certainly never could have persuaded HP to do this, but 
the comment was heartfelt and caught their attention for the first 
time. They said, “Give us a minute.” They came back and said that 
we could install a faster modem, but that it would have to be called 
a test installation and they wanted it located underneath the raised 
computer floor so as not to be visible. I asked how long the “test” 
would be allowed and they said indefinitely. Essentially they were 
saying you can have it, but don’t flaunt it. We said, “Done!” 

In Taiwan we were having a similar struggle with their 
government. As we lobbied hard for more speed they said this 
would be inconvenient as they were monitoring every 
transmission. We protested some and pushed for a trial at higher 
speed and they responded, “We shoot spies.” We lost that round. 

Motorcycle Mark : Bill Johnson mentioned to me one day that he 
was going to hire an ex-convict to help with sales statistics. The 
combination of sales stats and ex-convict struck me odd and I 
asked if he thought that was a good idea. He said he had talked to 
Mark’s parole officer and that there was zero chance of any 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

problem working with him. Mark had been addicted to heroin and 
run into some trouble with the law, but he had been rehabilitated 
using methadone. He was bright and fully reliable. So he came on 
board. There were many requests every day for special information 
from the Sales Stats files and Bill got the help from Mark he 
needed to produce the special reports 

Mark learned fast and did his work well. He looked a little 
different than the typical HP employee with a wild hairstyle, a full 
beard and tattoos all over, but people liked him. After he had been 
around a year or so he was talking to Johnson about his love of 
motorcycles and when he rode one he felt free and happy. His 
problem was that he hadn't saved enough money yet to buy one. 
Bill said "Go try the HP Credit Union they’ll help you.” In a few 
days he came to work with a helmet under his arm and he proudly 
took us out to see his new cycle; a powerful Harley. 

He loved to tell of his old days on a cycle and the trouble he had, 
especially with women drivers. He swore that there was 
something genetic that made motorcycles invisible to a woman. In 
one of the many stories he told, he was riding on Interstate 280 
when the freeway was very new. Not too many cars were on the 
road and yet he was sides wiped by a woman in a large car. The 
impact tipped his bike and as it fell he eased himself onto the up 
side and sat on it like a sled. He was going well over 60 mph and 
the bike, riding on its side, spewed off a 100-foot sparks plume, 
while he sat on top. By the time the bike stopped sliding he was 
well off the highway on a grassy shoulder. The lady driver had 
kept going, completely oblivious to his near death experience. 
With some minor adjustments and repairs he was soon back on the 
road with his scraped up bike. 

Several years after he came to HP and had his new motorcycle, 
he was riding a country road on the Fourth of July, hit some un¬ 
expected loose gravel, spilled his bike and was killed. It was a sad 
day for all of us who worked with him. It was instructive to us 
managers that we could help rehabilitate a motivated person, with 
high expectations and careful encouragement. 

Heart : When the Heart System was in the late stages of 
development Bill Johnson decided to leave his Corporate 


HP Years 

Marketing Systems management job. Jack Petrak was now Bill’s 
boss. Jack, who worked under Executive Vice President Bob 
Boniface handling marketing administrative activities asked me if I 

would take Bill’s job and oversee the completion of Heart 
development and implementation. Comsys was now fully 
functional and was starting to transmit some of the Heart system’s 
early data. It was also transmitting other data such as reports, data 
files, engineering designs and the company’s general message 
flow. I accepted the new assignment. 

Heart was a massive project. Chuck Sieloff, who was the 
programming manager for Heart software as development was 
nearing completion said, “HP had never undertaken anything of 
this scale before.” Over 5 or 6 years it had ground down three 
generations of Marketing Systems Analysts and a few generations 
of programmers. It used true database management that we had 
never used before. It had more than 100 modules all written 
independently that had 
to be made to fit 
together. It was so large 
that testing had to be 
done at an outside 
service bureau until HP 
bought a much larger 
mainframe computer. 

Chuck Sieloff observed, 

“When implemented, 

Heart [with its tentacles 
reaching into all parts of 
the company] became 
the de facto enforcer of 
company-wide data 
standards, making it 
possible to build other 
applications around its 
periphery. Once Heart was fully implemented, I think it was 
viewed as a major competitive advantage for HP.” 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

As the Heart modules moved toward completion, the most 
demanding thing that the Corporate Marketing Systems group had 
ever done was to document the system for users, train them office 
by office, factory by factory, and also train corporate users. Almost 
everyone in the company was affected in some way and needed 
training of some sort. This especially included departments like 
Accounting, Tax, Marketing, Field Sales, Product Specification 
and Manufacturing, Shipping and even the Data Processing Center 
where invoices and acknowledgment were now created and mailed 
and sales statistic reports were generated. Managers had to be 
trained on how they might use the new data that was now available 
to them. Virtually the whole company needed training and required 
new procedures, processes and reporting systems to be put in 
place. All told, it was an overwhelming project. 

In over simplified terms the Heart System created new field 
office and factory systems and used our IBM mainframe computer 
to execute the following processes: 

Customer File contained complete information for all of our 
customers. Every order was passed against this file to assure 
correct customer number, shipping, billing addresses, tax coding 
and so forth. It verified the Field Sales Engineer assignment to the 
customer and provided coding for commission credit. 

The Product File had every HP product and option listed for 
sale. It provided consistent product description and controlled 
current pricing. Each customer order had to pass against it. It also 
provided approximate delivery availability. This file was also used 
to create quotes for customers and to produce and manage the 
company’s price list. The product file had an accompanying file of 
configuration rules. It also had coding for worldwide product line 

Sales Order Processing took the order from the field and 
accessed the customer file and product file to assemble all the 
correct coding for each order and provided coding that allowed 
sales to be tallied by field engineers for commission payment, or 
by office or region, or country, or by manufacturing division or by 
product line. These sales orders were split to the appropriate 
manufacturing division for shipment. The system produced an 
order acknowledgment to mail to customers which verified pricing 


HP Years 

and approximate delivery dates which were taken from the product 

Open Order File stored every active order. When a 
manufacturing division shipped items on an open order, a shipment 
notice was sent to the Heart open order file and an invoice was 
created for the items shipped and was mailed to the customer. The 
data for all these shipments was passed on to HP Finance who 
tracked shipments to help produce HP’s profit & loss statements 
and also created product line accounting for HP worldwide. From 
this processing, sales commission were calculated and credited to 
field sales engineers. Information for sales tax accounting by state 
was generated. Unshipped orders gave an automated view of 
backlog by product division and product line. 

Sales Statistics File: This file held all historical sales 
information and was broadly used for analyses of current month’s 
sales activity and analysis of historical sales information and 

Sometime later, Heart was painfully converted to run on HP 
3000s. As the HP computers and operating system became more 
capable and the processing power increased, the HP 3000 provided 
an excellent computer system for Heart. 

Comsys Applications : With terminals now connected to our HP 
2116s it was possible to create some applications for use in our 
local sales offices to help with the processing of orders. Rich 
Nielsen helped prepare the way and George Radu and team 
prepared software for the entry of orders and local preparation of 
quotes, inventory management of local repair parts, sales and 
repair order status, delivery information, and other useful local 
utilities. Copies of HP’s product file and customer file were 
downloaded from the master files in Palo Alto, to the offices each 
night to provide data for these local programs. These valuable tools 
greatly increased the accuracy and efficiency of the key entry of 
orders in the offices and speeded the preparation and accuracy of 
customer quotes. When early versions of these programs were 
ready, Bill Hewlett looked in on one of our demonstrations and 
with some delight he said, “It’s about time we had this capability.” 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

How to Explain Heart : For some time A1 Olivario was the 
Executive Marketing Leader over our Heart/Comsys activities. 
This was interesting because he didn’t like to read memos, or 
reports. He didn’t like to write them either. He didn’t like phone 
calls or desktop computers. The pink telephone call slips left on his 
desk by his secretary were 90% crumpled into a ball and shot into 
the waste basket. When we met face to face he didn’t like to listen. 
When you needed to convey an idea you pretty much had to listen 
until he rambled onto your topic and then you had to quickly seize 
the point with agreement and adjust it as quickly as possible and 
then leave. One day he asked me what the heck the Heart system 
did. I thought there is no way I can get through this with him, so I 
asked him to give me a couple of hours and I would be back to 
him. I made a simple diagram to show the integrated workings of 
the Heart System with its interfaces to the field, accounting and 
manufacturing. The chart worked! He kept my simple hand drawn 
diagram and later I saw him explaining the Heart System to a 
visitor at his desk. 

I added some more detail to that hand done chart and Carl 
Cottrell, my direct supervisor at that time, liked it. Carl, in talking 
to Cort Van Rensselaer, decided it would be a good idea to add the 
integrated factory systems that Cort’s team had been working on 
for deployment to HP divisions. Accounting systems were also 
added. The composite diagram portrayed the major information 
flows for the whole company and was useful internally and also for 
customer presentations. 

With the very able computer programming direction of Chuck 
Sieloff and Sally Dudley we completed the last elements of the 
enormously complex Heart System and continued to roll these 
elements out to field and factory locations and placed them into 
full operation. European and Asian versions of Heart were 
completed shortly afterward and processed in Geneva for Europe, 
Middle East and Africa, and in Tokyo for all of Asia, thus giving 
complete global processing. Cochise (the name of the system in 
Europe) and Yamamoto (the name in Japan) were the parallel 
processing systems to Heart. 

The Heart System plus the Comsys transmissions meant that 
sales orders were processed on a very timely basis and every HP 


HP Years 

manager could look each morning at the sales orders received from 
all over the world the next morning. This was a remarkable 
capability for any company to have in the mid-1970's. Chuck 
House, in his book The HP Phenomenon , makes note of the 
“treasure trove” of information that “showed up at every general 
managers’ desk three days after month-end, starting in 1974.” This 
was possible because of Heart, its companion systems and 

Paul Ely was a marvelously energetic and forceful leader for HP. 
While he was still in the Microwave Division he very kindly came 
and spoke to our group and delivered the most enthusiastic 
endorsement of HP that I had ever heard. He compared HP to his 
experience in other companies. It was a real morale booster. 

By the late 1970s, Paul was head of the HP Computer Group. In 
late in 1977 we were moving Comsys applications to the field 
offices. These were really substantial productivity tools and were 
very well received. Paul’s group had released a new small business 
computer. It was called Amigo because it was intended to be very 
user friendly. Paul was eager to remove all the 2100s from the field 
immediately and install Amigos. Some said his management style 
was, “ready, fire, aim.” He asked for a meeting with me and all 
levels of my marketing bosses, Bob Boniface, A1 Olivario and Jack 

In the meeting Paul loudly and forcefully dominated a major 
portion of the time explaining that we should move the entire field 
processing from the 2100s to the new Amigo. He finally gave us a 
little gap for response and I told him that I understood the 
company’s need for an Amigo show place and that there couldn’t 
be a better place than the field offices. In spite of wanting to help, 
we had looked at the Amigo’s processing speeds for data 
transmission and the ability to connect relatively large numbers of 
terminals and process their transactions concurrently and it was 
just not possible to match the 2100’s. I briefly laid out the pertinent 
technical details. The room fell surprisingly quiet and the meeting 
ended. On our way to the cars A1 Olivario, said, “How did you do 
that? I’ve never before seen Paul go quiet.” 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Eventually we were able to convert the field computers to 
improved HP 3000s located just in the large offices and Region 
Headquarters with terminals going to the smaller offices via our 
internal internet, just as if they still had their own computers. This 
was on the route to consolidated processing centers described later 
in this narrative. 

At this particular time even our upgraded IBM mainframe was 
having difficulty processing our orders each day. The sales order 
files became so congested that we almost could not complete the 
order processing for a single day. Allan Imamoto and Donnie 
Foster worked out a solution by transferring our order files from 
random access disks to sequential tape files and this made our 
processing much faster. The size and speed of our order processing 
was an ongoing concern, but the value and contribution of the 
system to HP was immense. 

Corporate Telecommunication Services : In the late 1970s it 
became clear that the U.S. Government was determined to break 
up AT&T, our country’s only significant telephone company. It 
was hard to predict the exact results of the breakup, but the intent 
was to promote competition in the Telecommunication Industry. 
Meanwhile the Communication team and its activities had grown. 

HP Years 

Satellite video broadcasting was moved to this group. This 
provided a marvelous training tool that could reach a complete 
worldwide HP audience. It was used most actively for new product 
training for field engineers, but had many other uses as well. 

Comsys had grown as well. The terminals that were attached to 
the local 2100 computers had become significant information 
processors. The effect of creating these robust systems was to 
establish almost 200 small HP data centers around the world. 
Central support for these was coming from the Comsys group and 
Rich Nielson's technical support team. With all this data transfer 
back and forth our transmission volumes began to climb rapidly. 
Nevertheless our dial-up computer transmission capability was 
carrying the load very well. 

There appeared to be many unexploited opportunities in the 
telecommunication area with even more interesting things on the 
horizon with the breakup of AT&T. I talked to Carl Cottrell, my 
Marketing Manager and told him that with Heart fully deployed 
and operating quite smoothly it would be a good move for the 
company to let me leave Heart and focus on the company’s 
telecommunications. Allan Imamoto was working in the Heart 
group and was the natural leader to take over all the Marketing 

I got a pretty lukewarm reception to the idea of my leaving 
Heart. The very long development cycle, difficult implementation 
and companywide training and learning curve combined with 
turnover among key Heart people made my departure from Heart 
almost too painful to contemplate. But with persistence, and in due 
time, Carl sent me to talk with John Young, who was at that time 
the HP CEO, to explain my proposal. I described to John some of 
the areas to be explored and he agreed that with the changes 
coming to the US telecom industry that it might be a good idea to 
have a group to exploit telecommunication opportunities. But he 
wanted me to talk to every group manager as well as major 
division managers and get their opinion. This took a year in my 
spare time, but the overall reaction was very favorable. 

New Chief Information Officer : By the time I had made the 
rounds through the Groups and Divisions with the telecom 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

proposal, Lloyd Taylor had been selected to be the new CIO for 
HP, and he was my new boss. He was quite reluctant to make the 
change I had proposed, but with the broad endorsement I’d 
received he ultimately agreed. As suggested he did chose Allan 
Imamoto to take over the Marketing Systems management and 
Allan did a great job. 

CTOS Sets Goals : In about 1980, as the new communications 
department was established, and as communications separated 
from the Heart and Marketing Systems Team, the Office Utilities 
Group, headed by Luis Hurtado-Sanchez was moved into the 
communications group to join Comsys, TV, Voice and telephone 
equipment. So the original Comsys group had grown in size and 
scope. The group took the name: Corporate Telecommunications 
and Office Systems (CTOS). 

Chuck House, in his book The HP Phenomenon , notes, 
“Roxanne Hiltz (of The Network Nation) had already proclaimed 
HP’s email network, to be the second largest corporate 
communication network on the globe (1981); with these voice and 
video connections, it had arguably the most comprehensive 
network in the world, amazing for a company ranked Sixtieth in 
revenues in American industry.” 

In CTOS, the newly assembled staff set to work defining the 
projects we wished to undertake. Our general guideline was that 
any new capability developed should either pay its way directly by 
replacing existing higher cost activities or facilitate new 
capabilities for the company that enabled better overall operation 
that could save money in other areas. Here are some of the goals, 
or activities that the team established: 

Office Utilities Group : Personal computers (PCs) had just 
recently been developed and were becoming available from an HP 
product division, at reasonable prices. With these personal 
computers a rich set of office systems began to be available. 
Personal computer software could generate spreadsheets, word 
processing, overhead slides and charts with digital projection, 
along with other helpful efficiency tools. The office systems group 
under Luis worked to standardize and facilitate the entry of these 


HP Years 

capabilities into HP as personal computers began to creep into HP 

I recall a meeting that Luis’s group had arranged with Bill Gates 
and Steve Balmer where we were asking them to consider a suite 
of office systems that could run on our engineering work stations 
using the UNIX operating system just as they did on the Microsoft 
operating system. Bill thought about it for a minute and then said, 
“I don’t see much of a market developing in the UNIX world,” and 
made it clear that Microsoft didn’t want to go there. [I’m not so 
sure it was bad decision for M/S. They had a clear focus and felt 
that was their best direction for very high volume marketing.] 

Eventually, the standardization of software for the PC desktop 
was transferred to Chuck Sieloff. Susan Green who had worked 
under Luis, transferred with her small group to work under Chuck 
to develop a Personal Computer/ Common Operating Environment 
(PC/COE). This saved money on the acquisition and support of 
new PC software and gave HP PC users common capabilities. 
Perhaps more importantly PC/COE facilitated the transfer of PC 
information throughout the company because of the common 
platform. Another key advantage was any special HP software 
developed could run on any PC system in the company. For the 
users, the benefit was that the standard office desk PC became 
easier to troubleshoot and maintain because they were all identical. 
The Office Utilities Group was also programming an electronic 
mail system called Norman for use 
by HP employees who had PCs. 

Email could give HP a rich 
communication tool with person- 
to-person, on-screen connectivity, 
where Comsys was a site to site 
communication tool with hard copy 
paper at each end. While Norman 
was still in test deployment, an HP 
Division in Pinewood, England 
began development of HP Desk, an 
electronic mail software product. 

The Office Utilities Group used 
their experience with Norman to 

Read the complete story in the HP 
Journal for Sept 1986 

Ten Steps Then Breathe 

assist the Pinewood Division in the development of their product 
and committed to helping deploy HP Desk within the company. 

This HP Desk effort went very well and the fairly rapid imple¬ 
mentation of email within the company helped the deployment of 
PC workstations throughout HP to explode. (See the HP Journal 
article) This article describes the remarkable expansion of email 
from no users in 1982 to nearly all HP employees in 1985. Comsys 
had been the primary transmission carrier for Comgram messages 
and was also the first transmission carrier for HP Desk. 

When HPDesk was implemented, Comgrams went away and a 
major cultural shift took place. We each became responsible for 
our own typing and all of our own electronic filing. This combined 
with voice mail and the personal computers to make spread sheets, 
overhead slides and text processing spelled the end of the 
traditional secretarial position. Computing power had moved out of 
the computer room directly into the hands of users. This was a big 
cultural shift. 

The HP Desk system was described in the HP Journal for 
September, 1986. 

Data Networking : The 2100 computer and Comsys transmission 
had served HP incredibly well for 10 years but by the mid-1980s 
the commercial world was beginning to catch up. An international 
data transmission standard, X.25, had finally been approved and 
several manufacturers were producing products to this standard. 
We set about, under Doug Avery’s supervision, to implement an 
X.25 network for HP and bought Dynapac switches to connect to 
GTE Telenet backbone. The small Dynapacs had low switching 
power and were not fully reliable and they were replaced with 
carrier grade M/A-Com X.25 switches which had more capability 
and better network management capabilities. This process began a 
gradual move of our data transmissions from Comsys to the X.25 
network. We quickly learned that this standard, set by a multi¬ 
national committee over many years of debate, was expensive and 
cumbersome and not too much faster than Comsys. 

I asked Dell Fischer to go up to HP Labs and Corporate 
Engineering to look at the XPN and TCP/IP networks they were 
using to connect some HP Engineers to each other and to 


HP Years 

universities and government scientific sites. Of all the really bright 
people in our group, Dell was the one most interested in new 
technology and was very quick to understand its potential. He 
spent time with Zvonko Fazarinc and Walt Underwood reviewing 
their projects. After several meetings Dell came back with a very 
encouraging report on Internet capability. It was trim, efficient, 
flexible, economical and really fast, but the engineers were 
struggling with the network support and the lack of management 
tools. As meetings with Walt continued, Dell proposed to him that 
our group (CNS) take over the further development and support of 
the HP internet. Corporate Engineering would be our lead partners. 
They quickly agreed. Dell’s group with a couple of his engineers, 
Vikash Sachania and Peter Wang, took on the network R&D and 

Corporate Engineering in the Labs had worked with a little 
company called Cisco (yes, the same Cisco of today) in Menlo 
Park that had a dozen, or so engineers making routers and other 
related equipment needed to build an Internet network. Some of 
the first Cisco equipment was prototype stuff. As CNS took over 
the Internet project we bought more of this equipment and built a 
small test network up and down the West Coast of the U.S. It 
worked well and was inexpensive compared to X.25 so Doug 
Avery, Bill Lund and Hugh Tebault diverted their X.25 efforts to 
Cisco equipment at a much lower cost and much greater the speed. 
Both X.25 and HP’s Internet replaced 2100 based transmission. 
Comsys got a new backbone internal network which gave 
connectivity to all of HP, and also, had the potential to connect to 
the entire outside world as the world became internet capable. It 
also gave us the potential to access remote databases and 
processors in real time if they were prepared for this purpose and if 
we could make the network secure. 

More than 35 years after HP’s internet became operational, on a 
flight to Phoenix, I ran into Hugh Tebault who worked on these 
projects. He was now the President of the Latham Foundation. 
Shortly after our visit he followed up with this message: “It was 
great to see you again, albeit briefly, on our flight to Phoenix from 
San Jose. This gives me an opportunity to thank you again for your 
leadership at HP. Working on the new HP network with Bill Lund, 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Yves Lubino [from Europe], Dell Fisher and Doug Avery was a 
very instructive and enjoyable time in my career. Your providing 
us the ability to operate as a virtual startup within HP was key to 
the success of both the initial X.25 packet network and IP internet 
that allowed the ROUTS systems to deliver the business 
information days earlier for HP.” 

Transmission : Our heaviest data and voice traffic was in the local 
Bay Area. We found that we could make huge savings by 
withdrawing from the telephone company and carrying our voice 
and data traffic over our own microwave network. In 1984 we 
installed microwave dishes that gave transmission from Palo Alto 
to Wolfe Road in Cupertino and hit all of our Bay Area sites. This 
gave us broad bandwidth at a low cost. The microwave network 
carried all of our voice calls and most of our data volumes. 

To complete this installation we needed a Microwave repeater in 
Mt. View because line of sight transmission was required. The city 
would not let us erect a microwave tower on HP property in Mt. 
View, but finally, with the help of Lon Packard, a Mt. View city 
councilman who was a friend, we got a repeater rental spot on top 
of their tallest downtown building. This was a much better solution 
than our own tower would have been. 

Both we and HP Labs were interested in fiber optic transmission, 
so we obtained right of way and buried three conduits, two with 
fiber cable and one with copper cable that connected all of our Palo 
Alto sites. This took us completely out of the local phone company 
charges for HP-to-HP calls. The savings from our own microwave 
and fiber cable quickly paid the investment and returned large 
savings after that. 

As the telephone company competition increased, the rental costs 
of dedicated circuits began to become attractive over long 
distances. So we began to lease dedicated private circuits from 
phone companies, between key HP sites yielding even further 
savings on our voice and data traffic and at the same time allowed 
us to increase our speed and capacity beyond the dial-up lines we 
had been using. 


HP Years 

Voice and the Development of TELNET : We felt that we could 
lower costs and increase functionality of our telephone service if 
we could standardize our PBX equipment throughout the company. 
After some evaluation and some selling effort to the field and 
divisions, we cut down the variety of manufacturers that were 
used, but we never succeeded on a worldwide basis in getting to a 
single standard. 

The same competition we found in the US began to be felt on 
international long distance transmission lines. We began to see a 
dramatically-lowered cost of using private, dedicated lines to 
connect our sites around the world. Linking our domestic and 
most of our international sites with HPs own private lines, became 
very attractive. 

This paved the way for us in the early 1980s to have HP desk-to- 
desk telephone dialing almost everywhere in the world over our 
private lines. We also produced a global telephone directory about 
the size of a public phone book, which gave internal seven digit 
numbers needed to dial any other HP employee directly at his or 
her desk. This worldwide TELNET service not only made 
connecting to other employees around the world faster and easier, 
it substantially reduced our telephone costs. Mickey McNamara 
who reported to Bill Taylor had the responsibility to put together 
all the names and phone numbers for the printing of the Telnet 

The directory production was a big job and took a lot of 
proofing. Mickey decided one day to make her job a little more 
interesting, so she took her current print ready pages to the printer 
and had them run off and bound. Before the last book was bound 
she asked the printer to assemble the last directory with one page 
changed. That page had her boss’s name and phone number and in 
that special directory Bill’s line read “Bill Hot Lips Taylor.” The 
boxes of 70,000 - 80,000 good directories were already shipped 
around the world and Mickey delivered her special copy to Bill’s 
desk. As most of us tend to do, he looked up his own name to see if 
it was correct only to find Hot Lips. He nearly had a stroke as he 
envisioned 80,000 directories with Hot Lips all over the world. He 
only calmed down after he had checked half a dozen other 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

directories and found them to be OK. It takes a confident manager 
to take a joke like that, without any kind of retribution. 

Voicemail : By the 1980s HP had begun to make use of voice 
recording machines on the desks of many individuals. The huge 
time zone differences around the world made leaving voice 
messages an efficient way of dropping off information and getting 
timely replies back. In the mid-1980s Octel, a small company in 
Milpitas, had developed a product that connected directly to most 
any PBX which offered the same answering service as a desktop 
recorder, but had many additional capabilities and would cost less 
per person than continuing to buy individual recording/answering 

Tests of the product proved to be very positive and we gained 
approval to begin deployment of these throughout the company. In 
addition to answering and recording incoming calls, it allowed you 
to respond to a recorded message you received and send your 
recorded answer back to the caller’s in-box. Voice mail also 
allowed the caller to send a recorded broadcast message to a list of 
voicemail boxes or simply send a message to a person without 
calling them. This was very helpful when the time zone difference 
was great. It also allowed you to manage lists of frequently called 
people and easily send a message to that list. This was a very 
useful set of capabilities, especially for teams of people who 
worked together frequently, but were scattered over many time 
zones. Voicemail was deployed worldwide over a short time span 
in the late 1980s. 

Teleconferencing : Also in the early 1980s, satellite TV 
broadcasting was established in HP when satellite transponder time 
became available. HP already had excellent TV studios where 
training films were created. They added the ability to originate and 
broadcast TV programming to North America and then a little later 
to the whole world. Jim Hodel worked out the installation of 
receive-only satellite dishes at about 50 of HP’s major sites around 
the U.S. Over time this was expanded to 131 receiving points 
world wide by 1997. This video network made possible live 
broadcasts which introduced new products, gave training to our 


HP Years 

field support people, allowed honors co-op courses taught by 
Stanford faculty to be broadcast to HP engineers around the globe 
and facilitated other kinds of training and announcements to 
worldwide HP audiences. The TV broadcasts were outbound only, 
but arrangements were made for telephone links back to the studio 
which allowed questions to come back to the presenters from the 
entire audience, with the questions and answers heard by all. 

Audio Conferencing : During this time, voice teleconferencing 
became common at HP. High quality speaker/microphones were 
used in conference rooms to allow meetings with participants 
around the world 

Video Meeting Rooms : Then in about 1989 six conference rooms 
were equipped as two-way video meeting rooms. We developed 
some software to simplify the controls on the HP 150 desktop 
computer which allowed camera positioning to be adjusted by the 
moderator from a touch screen computer. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

This is a two-way video meeting room with an HP150 touch screen PC 
programmed to control cameras at the moderator's touch command. 

Desk to Desk Video : Early work was done on desk-to-desk video 
and testing was done at a number of HP sites. It was useful, but 
never proved to be very economical in the early days. 30 years 
later Skype did successfully what we were struggling to do. 

Cell Phones : In the early days of cell phones Bill Taylor saw the 
proliferation of cell phones, especially with our field sales people, 
and the attendant rise in telephone expenses. Mike Lovell in the 
field organization wanted to get better control of cell phone costs. 
He worked with Bill to negotiate agreements for the handsets at 
very much better prices than the individual offices were getting 
before and then worked out carrier provider airtime services also at 
deeper discounts. 

Sonoma Management Meeting : When our telecommunication 
plans were quite well developed and some early implementation 
had begun I was asked to make a presentation of our plans to the 
annual HP off-site management meeting, held this year in Sonoma, 
CA. The Group Managers and Division Managers that I had talked 
with about the idea of establishing a telecommunications group 


HP Years 

were there along with many other company leaders. The 
presentation of the plans was very well received and when the 
boisterous applause settled down David Packard rose to his full 
6’7” and said, “These are good tools, but I hope we don’t forget 
that personal contacts are the important thing.” Suddenly I flashed 
all the way back to the old pneumatic tube proposal, a lifetime 
earlier. This time, however, I knew that personal relationships were 
the primary key to a successful organization and all the planned 
communication tools were just supplements. 

Board of Directors : Shortly after the management meeting I was 
invited to make a presentation to HP Board of Directors. Packard 
was still the Chairman and Hewlett was Vice Chairman and John 
Young was the President and CEO. The presentation went well 
and the board was favorably impressed with our direction. During 
the presentation the Board members were very attentive, but 
Packard looked sleepy. He caught me afterword and explained that 
he had just gotten back from China late yesterday and his internal 
clocks were still off kilter. 

Because we were making a number of large, strategic 
investments in equipment and infrastructure the Board review was 
needed and we were happy to have their support. 

Management of Our Global Services : By the 1990s all of the 
activities described above had extended to virtually every HP 
location around the globe, which presented some problems of 
consistent, seamless operation of these services. After some 
evaluation we formed a global organization to manage and operate 
these services with about 400 people scattered around the world in 
all of our key sites, but reporting to me as part of Corporate 
Network Services. With excellent people throughout the 
organization things ran smoothly. Serge Guibout-Riboux in 
Geneva managed CNS people and activities in Europe and 
reported to me with full support of Dominique Courcoux, the 
European IT Manager. Similarly Bessie Mok in Hong Kong 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

managed people and services in Asia with the full support of Rick 
Bergan, the Asia/Pacific IT Manager. One of the very simple 
things that we did was 
to make a T-shirt with 
everyone’s name sup¬ 
er imposed on a world 
map and gave one to 
every person in the 
organization. It was 
an inexpensive gift 
but turned out to be a 
unifying symbol of 
global teamwork. 

Dean Hall in our 
Palo Alto CNS Staff 
spent a great deal of 
his time traveling in 
Europe and Asia to keep our far-flung organization tightly linked. 

an important two-way 
information conduit. 

Dean loved to travel 
and I didn’t, so he 
went oft-en, and 
thereby filled a critical 
role. With all his travel 
he was a student of 
frequent flyer deals. 
Phil Wilson, who now 
managed Bay Area 
EDP was also a travel 
guru, having 

supervised the HP’s 
travel department for 
some time. He and Dean came across a bargain they couldn’t pass 
up, so they took a whole Saturday and made a seven leg, airline 
circle tour around the Western U.S. to get some amazing flight 

He did an amazing job and provided 

This is a picture of a Corporate Networking 
Services meeting in Singapore including local 
networking and IT people. Early 1990s 


HP Years 

To help the group function as a single unit we used a lot of own 
communication tools with good results. Periodically however it 
was important to have personal, face to face meetings, so a small 
group of key network managers traveled to Palo Alto, Geneva, 
Grenoble, Boeblingen, Atlanta, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, 
etc. While together we worked on problems and set future 
directions. In these remote locations we included as broad a group 
of local networking and IT people as was practical. 

A Focus Group : In the early 1980’s HP had developed a solid 
reputation for pushing the telecommunication activities of the 
world forward and as a result I was persuaded to participate in an 
external focus group. The sponsor was not made known to us, but 
was likely a telephone company. A number of topics was covered, 
but the key issue was to determine what the use of high bandwidth 
transmission would be after it could be deployed. They defined 
“high bandwidth” as something just over 1 Mb per second; they 
called this T-l service. 

The group fumbled around for a while trying to imagine how 
businesses or individuals would use this much bandwidth. When I 
couldn’t stand it any longer I raised my hand and said that, “T-l 
service is barely at the low end of high speed transmission and the 
activities which will drive bandwidth requirement well beyond this 
are in the entertainment area: pictures, videos, movies, music, 
videogames, etc. That day will come soon and when it does T-l 
bandwidth will be uselessly slow.” The moderator became very 
uneasy. He quickly changed the topic and was unwilling to call on 
me further during the remainder of the session. 

HP 3000s : As the HP 3000 became a stronger and stronger 
processor, Cort Van Rensselaer had the vision to see that 
developing manufacturing systems on this platform would have 
several advantages to the company. It would give us a showplace 
for customers to see our computers in action. Secondly, with just 
one computer system instead of many, it would give us a common 
development platform for internal system development. Prior to 
this, each division had selected its own computers to run its 
manufacturing systems. The software was even more diverse. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

It took a good deal of effort, but Cort’s group developed a set of 
systems for manufacturing divisions to run on the HP3000. These 
systems were broadly accepted by divisions and HP became more 
standardized in our computer processing, and systems 
development, plus our support became much more efficient. 

It was a bit later when Allan Imamoto made the leap of faith and 
with his team worked out a way to process Heart on the HP 3000. 
All these conversions turned out to be a very good thing for the 

Customer Visits : During my years with Heart and Corporate 
Networking Services, HP was expanding from the manufacture 
and sales of engineering products into the business computer 
market. John Young, the CEO of HP, said, "It was hard work; 
believe me, just getting customers.” We were selling to people we 
had never sold to and at the highest levels in their corporations 
where we had seldom made contacts before. John said, "IBM 
owned every company outside of the lab or the factory floor.” The 
solution to breaking into new companies turned out to be bringing 
high level ex-ecutives to Palo Alto to attend HP manage-ment 
seminars where 
they were 
intro-duced to 
our actual 

processes. It 
seems like I 
was making a 
presentation, a- 
long with many 
of my fellow IT 
weekly. These 

had the credibility of hearing from someone who had actually done 
the things the customers wanted to do. Heart, Comsys, 
Manufacturing and Accounting systems were all very impressive 


HP Years 

to our visitors. John said, “We had a lot of great data. That was 
one of the most powerful selling tools ever [in selling to high level 
managers] because we had zero credibility in big corporate IT 
places.” John went on to say, “On a daily basis HP could get sales 
[data] from around the world—product by product, office by 
office, the next morning. The notion that you could get that in 1975 
was crazy for any other company. We had the order processing 
system, the order transmission system, and email that layered on 
that. It was the leading-edge worldwide system. It was remarkable. 
We absolutely had great control of our business.” (From a Chuck 
House interview with John Young; from his book The HP 
Phenomenon ) 

As we began talking to customer regularly, John explained that 
we didn't have to be excessively careful about revealing our 
administrative processes or performance data. His observation was 
that HP's organization, people, and processes allowed us to do 
things that most customer organizations simply could not 

The High Priority of Customer Needs : Sometime in the mid- 
1980s, Dave Packard who was still the Chairman of the Board said 
that he had a very unhappy customer contact him and he asked me 
to solve her problem. She had purchased one of HP’s early 
personal computers and integrated its text processing into her little 
business. The operating system and text processing program had 
become corrupted in a partial crash and needed to be restored. Both 
her hardware and software had been obsolete for some time and 
HP’s service organization had retained no obsolete software copies 
that could restore her system. Because of her distress they even 
offered a new PC with upgraded software. She wanted no part of 
that solution. She liked her system just as it was and simply 
wanted it back. When I talked with her it became clear that no 
other solution was acceptable. 

I talked to dozens of IT and Lab people to see if they had any 
ideas for a work around, or other solution. Finally someone 
mentioned Ainsley Frederickson, the assistant to Jack Brigham in 
HP’s Legal department who, to the best of their knowledge had 
never thrown anything away. She was a stately woman and 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

graciously took the time to listen to my problem. “I might be able 
to help you,” she said tentatively. Next thing I knew this dignified 
woman was crawling under her desk where under the right pedestal 
was a fair sized cardboard box. She pulled it out and we sifted 
through the contents. There were dusty manuals, a cable or two 
and old floppy disks. In the bottom of the box, like a hidden 
treasure, was the obsolete operating system on a small floppy disk, 
along with the text processor software. She allowed me to take it 
to make copies. I sent one disk to our customer and asked her to 
keep it safe for backup. She was thrilled to have her problem 

It was impressive to me that a very small customer who would 
never even show up as a blip in our sales statistics got Packard’s 
personal attention. 

Benchmarking Our Services : One of the ongoing problems of 
any corporate group is to be able to demonstrate to its own 
satisfaction that it is providing value, and further, to be able to 
demonstrate this to the profit centered divisions of the company 
who must bear the cost of those services. I remembered clearly my 
feelings of bearing the weight of corporate overhead charges in a 
small struggling division. With this in mind I told our group that if 
we couldn’t prove to ourselves that we provided a needed service, 
giving tangible value to divisions at a lower cost than they could 
get elsewhere, then we should be disbanded. We did not allow the 
cost of our services to flow into the corporate overhead charges, 
but rather billed our charges directly to divisions as a specifically 
measured service usage, such as telephone voice minutes used, TV 
broadcasts hours used, Mb of data transmitted and so forth. This 
allowed divisions to check outside alternatives for cheaper or 
better service. 

To make the CNS effectiveness very clear to ourselves, as well 
as to our divisions, who paid the bills, we decided that we should 
benchmark our services with the best-in-class companies who 
would be willing to compare the cost of services with us. I asked 
Chandran Sankaran who worked in our group (and later became an 
outside management consultant) to see if he could set up a 
benchmarking meeting with other companies and asked Bill Taylor 


HP Years 

to supervise the process. With some excellent work Chandran 
found a number of companies who were as interested as we were 
in benchmarking. The following were some of the first 
participants: Boeing, DEC, IBM, 3M, Motorola, Cargill, Lexmark, 
Control Data, a couple of banks and others, about 10 in all. 

What we found was that our cost per Mb of data transmission 
was significantly below most of the other companies in our 
benchmarking group. Normally we were the lowest, unless there 
was a company that had very centralized functions, or restricted 
geography to cover. Our worldwide voice costs per minute were 
quite a bit lower than the others, except for Boeing whose 
telephone traffic was primarily on two major U.S. campuses and 
almost no international voice traffic. Our email costs per message 
were well below others in the study group and so on. 

The result of the benchmarking was very positive. All of us who 
participated picked up new ideas for our services. It was gratifying 
to learn that our telecommunication services were by far the most 
complete, best measured, and provided strong services to users. It 
was helpful to be able to talk with our divisions and business 
groups and show that our costs were nearly the lowest of all the 
participating companies in every area. There were a few 
exceptions. For example Boeing was very centralized in just two 
geographical locations, as a result, most of their phone calls were 
local. Boeing company’s telephone cost per minute was lower than 
our worldwide cost per minute. 

One important thing that we learned from benchmarking was that 
the fewer geographical places a company performed a function the 
less that function would cost. This was true for all companies who 
benchmarked with us. This concept was important to HP as 
expense controls became aggressive. 

HP’s total Telecom costs as a percent of revenue were the 
highest of the companies who benchmarked with us. There are 
three main reasons for this: 

• HP’s services were by far the most complete. 

• Our common chart of accounts and location code scheme 
allowed us to collect all of our worldwide costs—for common 
carrier charges, labor, material, depreciation, maintenance costs, 
etc. The other companies could not do this. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

• HP’s decentralized organization had far greater geographical 
spread than those companies we compared to. 

While our total measurable costs were higher than the other 
companies, the cost of each of our services was generally the 
lowest of those in our benchmarking group. 

Another significant thing that was confirmed in our 
benchmarking was that whatever we could do over time to 
centralize our telecom and IT activities thru the use of network 
tools lowered our costs. In benchmarking the most centralized 
companies had the lowest costs, and even these came down as 
they centralized functions more. 

Bill Taylor continued this benchmarking activity after I retired 
from HP in 1997 and the process continued even after Bill Taylor 
left in 2002. I don’t know if benchmarking is still in use in any of 
the multiple new companies that have split from the old HP. 

Enterprise Directory : In the late 1990’s, HP came under even 
more severe competitive pressures and began a long, intense siege 
of cost cutting measures. Lloyd Taylor the Chief Information 
Officer was looking for ways to make significant cost reductions in 
HP’s total information processing. I recall one budgeting session 
where Lloyd asked us to terminate a global directory project that 
we had just begun and remove the costs from our next year’s 
budget. We did take out the cost from our spending plan, but 
quietly and more slowly continued the directory development. 
Lloyd was somewhat aware that we were bootlegging the work, 
but never said anything. There was sort of a tacit acceptance that it 
would stubbornly go forward. 

The project was to create a repository for names and phone 
numbers to replace the printed Telnet directory, and also store 
global email addresses, employee numbers, maps, organization 
charts, distribution lists, fax numbers, mobile phone numbers and 
more. In a secure portion of the directory there were location 
codes, Social Security numbers, employee numbers, job codes and 
so forth. 

This central database would be updated from numerous 
departments at least twice a month rather than once or twice a year. 
In addition to providing on-line user lookup with contact 


HP Years 

information, this directory became an integral part of the IT 
infrastructure. Software programs could access the Enterprise 
Directory for authenticating elements of their process and for 
automated routing of information electronically. For example, if 
you had an analytical output from a computer process and wanted 
it to go to all finance managers of a certain level, the directory 
would tell you who they were at this time and apply the routing 
information to distribute the reports. You could produce 
organization charts and identify reporting relationships across 
world-wide locations, and many other kinds of analyses. 

Much later, after Lloyd left HP to take a top management job at 
Cargill, he hit some people tracking problems. He called and asked 
if we ever completed “Our doomsday directory.” I said, “Yes; it 
has proved to be very useful.” He said, “Good, can I send a couple 
of people out to talk to you." Bob Horowitz hosted a two-day 
meeting with a couple of Lloyd's managers. Bob said it was 
somewhat discouraging for them because HP had so many of the 
building blocks in place to start with, where Cargill was starting 
near ground zero with significant organizational barriers. 

Centralizing Our Data Centers : The cost squeezes in HP 
continued. By this time our internal internet was robust and fully 
deployed and well managed. Within the company we had access 
from any desktop to virtually any computer processor anywhere in 
the world. Mike Lovell in the management of the field sales 
operation caught me one day and asked, “Will the TCP/IP network 
allow any PC in any field office to access a computer room in a 
remote location? If so could I replace 60 small computer rooms 
with one larger one?” I said, “Absolutely, that’s why we built the 
network.” He said, “Great, I want to do it.” Atlanta became the 
U.S. field data center and all the field desktop computers could 
connect to that center. The small computer centers in the scattered 
field offices were closed yielding great savings and better service. 

Overall HP continued to be concerned about cost reductions and 
we all had pressure from upper management to keep cutting. I 
suggested to Lloyd that we could close all of our factory computer 
centers except for one or two and provide as good, or better service 
to the company than we had now, much as the field had done. At 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

the time of this proposal almost every division had its own data 
center. These were larger and more complex than the small field 
office data processing rooms. I believe there were around 50 
factory data centers at that time. Reducing the number to one or 
two would have massive savings to the company overall. I 
explained to Lloyd that this was a perfect use of the network and 
that our processing would be more reliable and better managed. 

Lloyd listened respectfully, but showed no immediate sign of 
moving forward in this direction. Because it was a huge takeaway 
from sovereign divisions, he hired McKinsey & Co to come in and 
do a general study. I talked at length with the McKinsey people 
about the idea and details of data center centralization. They were 
shown the capabilities of our worldwide network and I gave them 
my rough estimates of very large cost reductions, probably on the 
order of $150 million per year. McKinsey interviewed many other 
IT people and line managers. Their study concluded that the 
centralization was indeed the right direction for HP to get 
significant cost reductions with better, more secure and reliable 
computer services. Of course their proposal was thick, nicely 
bound, had charts and graphs and they made multiple management 
presentations, while my pitch to Lloyd had been on scratch paper 
in his office. Management approval was given and the 
consolidation was successfully made. I’m sure that Lloyd felt that 
the weight of expert analysis was needed to pull this off. 
McKinsey’s credibility may well have justified their pricey bill. By 
1995 HP’s networking had facilitated other structural changes as 

External Access : The last major project I asked CNS to undertake 
was to create a network gateway to allow HP, as a company to 
connect broadly to the outside world. We needed to address a 
myriad of security issues, but the intent was to provide specific 
kinds of access from and to our customers. We also needed to 
connect and interact with our distribution channels. Similarly, we 
would need access to our vendors and they to us. Employees would 
need access from their homes to the office. We would have outside 
business partners and service providers with whom we will need 
two way access. There will be information sources that we need to 


HP Years 

access. This was a daunting task, but with the work of Dell Fischer 
and many others in CNS, gateway services were established to 
create a rich set of connection that were adequately secure. 

With the advent of networking beyond the boundaries of a 
company, the door to substantially more dramatic changes was 

Giving Back : I always felt generously compensated by HP for the 
work that I did. Because it was a joy to work in that environment, 
among outstanding people this feeling was even more intense. 
Because we had been treated so well, I felt the obligation to give 
something back to the world community as Dave and Bill had done 
in such an exemplary way. As a result Colette and I established a 
trust to benefit the Universities we attended and then specifically to 
give support to two additional organizations. These were the Boy 
Scouts of America and the LDS Church’s Perpetual Education 

BSA. Our five sons were all Eagle Scouts and our foster son who 
came to us a little too late to reach Eagle still advanced well into 
scouting and his life was enriched by the experience. Our three 
daughters have raised and are still raising eagle scouts of their own 
and our sons are as well. 

The Perpetual Education Fund is established to help people in 
less developed countries to gain an education and employable 
skills. By 2012 it has helped 53,000 people in 52 countries to 
substantially increase their earning power, lift them out of poverty 
and improve their ability to support their families. The assistance 
received is treated as a loan and is paid back into the fund to help 
others. Most all of those helped are current with their loan 
repayments and their repayments are immediately available to help 
others. Because much of the administration of this program is 
volunteered, the administrative costs are near zero. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Five Eagles: Dix, Tom, Brad, George & Brig 

Gift of Land. I was the managing partner of a group that owned 
160 acres of virgin redwood land in the Santa Cruz Mountains. As 
the partnership came to a close I was able to arrange a transfer to 
Save the Redwoods who in turn gave the land to Portola State 
Park. A significant portion of this transfer was a gift to Save the 
Redwoods and the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST). We were 
happy that the land could get broader public use and the virgin 
trees could be preserved. 

Colette and I have been very grateful that we are able to help 
with the support of these worthy activities and a few others. 

Exciting, Creative, Fulfilling : When we made the decision to 
come to Palo Alto for me to join HP in 1957,1 had no idea that I 
would get to work for such a great company and have so much 
satisfaction in the work that was to be done. The atmosphere and 
personality of the company over a 40 year period were delightful 
beyond any reasonable expectation. Much of what was good about 
the company, I believe, flowed from Dave and Bill, and I am 
grateful that I had the chance to work in their company during 
what turned out to be a golden era. 


HP Years 

I never had any illusions of changing the company or its culture. 
Over the years my consistent personal goal was simply to make 
things easier, faster and better. It was my great fortune to work 
with talented people who could create the tools to make this 
happen. The company culture created a marvelous environment for 
change and progress. We were all influenced by innovative lab 
developments and the constant flow of new products. HP people 
expected that all things can be improved. This included not only 
the endless flow of new and improved products, but also better 
information flows, faster processes, and less expensive 
administration. We all believed that we had, or could create the 
tools, to make each of us and the company more productive. HP 
had a winning culture and a delightful one in which to be 


Part Six 

Family & Church 

Adventures of the Units 

Family & Church 

19. Family and Church 

The Units: This name derives from an old TV show where two 
youngsters are trying to live a normal life with their friend and 
schoolmates, but their alien parents are cone headed carbon units 
from another planet. The kids called their cone headed parents 
“The Units.” Somehow we were tagged with the name and it stuck. 

The HP Choice : I accepted the HP job offer and came to work in 
July of 1957 after graduating with an MBA from Harvard. Colette 
and I drove across the country in the first car we had owned since 
we were married, purchased just as we left the Boston area. It was 
a $700, well used, somewhat rusty, blue and white Ford Victoria. It 
ran most of the time and looked pretty good, as the paint actually 
held some of the rusted body parts in place. 

In mid-July we drove into Palo Alto. It was afternoon; much of 
the landscape was dry and brown. Even the sky was brown from 
heavy smog.* Colette was 8 months pregnant and quite 
uncomfortable. We had a restless IVi year old boy who had been 
too long in the car. Colette looked around as we came in and 
asked, “Is this it?” It didn’t match her vision. We booked a room in 
the Coronet Motel (which is still there more than 50 years later on 
El Camino Real near Page Mill Road) while we looked through the 
Palo Alto Times house rental listings and called the likely 
prospects on the Motel’s pay phone. 

We did find a nice small home to rent on Moreno Avenue in Palo 
Alto and were lucky to avoid a bidding battle to lease the home as 
several people were there at the same time wanting to take the 
place. The owner somehow liked us and said it was ours. Probably 
that was because of HP’s good reputation and my future job there. 

On our trip across the country from Boston we stopped in 
Lethbridge and had a chance to visit the Greens and then came 
down through Utah and saw some of my aunts and uncles and 
cousins. Uncle Bud had been kind enough to store some house- 

* Air quality in the Bay Area has been cleaned up remarkably well since 1957. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

hold items and wedding gifts for us while we were in the east and 
we made arrangements to have these shipped to California to an 
address yet to be determined. I had reported in to HP, but before I 
started work we wanted to go to Los Angeles to visit my family 
where my parents were presiding over the California Mission. 
Steve and Dave were in the mission home with them. 

Just before departing to Southern California, Frank Cavier, VP of 
Finance at HP and my new boss said, “It’s really a hot July day, so 
you should take the coastal route to L.A. The inland route will be 
very hot today.” That made sense, so as we rolled away we pulled 
out the California map to see what our route would be. Well, to 
newcomers it looked like the coastal route was Highway 1, so 
that’s what we took. It was beautiful, stunning actually. We really 
enjoyed the incredible views for the first hour. Then as the winding 
road continued on and on, and our gasoline got lower and lower, 
we realized that there was no chance for a refill on this route for at 
least 60 more miles. Before we found a gas station we did run out. 

A couple of drivers on the highway were very nice to pick me up 
as I started to walk miles to a gas station and again as I returned to 
our car with a full jerry can. This route took us several extra hours 
and we stopped at a payphone to call my folks and tell them that 
we were going to be several hours late for dinner, but we did 
finally get there. It turns out what Cavier meant by Coastal route 
was US 101, not Highway 1, and coming back to Palo Alto we 
took 101 which was beautiful also, but not as spectacular, or as 

In Debt with No Funds : When we arrived in Palo Alto we 
literally had no money and a mountain of student loan debt. We 
scrambled to scrape up enough for deposits to turn on utilities. 
Tom was bom just over a month after we moved into our rented 
home on Moreno. Doctor and hospital bills piled up and we still 
had heavy student grants-in-aid to be repaid. We used credit to buy 
a washer as we were heavily into the cloth diaper business, but we 
could not afford a dryer so we hung out clothes and diapers in the 
California sunshine to dry. 


Family & Church 

We furnished our living room with a brick and boards bookcase 
for our books from BYU and Harvard. Tom Green loaned us an 
army cot which we put a blanket over for a couch. I had bought 3 
black sculpted wood, Charles Eames chairs when I was in college, 
because I really liked the design. I also had made a small chair 
with no arms and upholstered it when I worked at DTR. For a 
wedding gift we had received a card table with 4 folding chairs 
which became our 
dining room set. 

These came out of 
storage in Uncle 
Bud’s base-ment. 

We bought a bed 
frame with a 
Simmons Beauty- 
rest mattress and 
two cribs on credit. 

The floors were 
bare parquet hard¬ 

After several months Colette got tired of eating at our card table 
and we went looking for a real table. We found an unfinished 5’ 
diameter Luann mahogany table that cost $15. We asked the store 
owner if we could take the table now and pay him $5 a month. He 
kindly agreed. That table lasted us for 10 years or so. After a few 
years I cut it in half and added new boards in the middle to extend 
it as our family grew. When we finally got a used oak table we 
gave that mahogany table to a young Stanford couple who had just 
been married. 

A couple of times we needed a babysitter and there were some 
nice young girls in the neighborhood. One girl came and was so 
scared by the empty home that when we came home we found her 
mother sitting with her on the army cot. Another girl sat once and 
later when we called her again she asked if we had a TV yet and 
when we didn’t, she turned us down. 

At HP a friend was building an amplifier and he let me copy his 
unit and I built one as he built his; both units were built with used 
parts. I bought an inexpensive but good quality AM/FM tuner and 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

a preamp from Heathkit and assembled them. Somewhere I found 
a used speaker and at last we could hear music and news from 
local stations. Eventually we got a turntable to play our college 
collected vinyl records through the system. Since we had no 
cabinetry for these components they sat on the mantel over the 
fireplace to keep them out of the reach of Dix and Tom. Eventually 
I built a cabinet and speaker box out of walnut veneer plywood. It 
was a thing of beauty. 

As we approached mid-November I began to worry about tithing 
that we owed. I did a very careful, Harvard style, spreadsheet to 
summarize our income and committed expenses. We had no 
money to pay tithing and even fell short of keeping our noses 
above water. I talked with Colette and told her we were going to 
pay tithing anyway. Miraculously we got through the year and met 
all of our commitments. I still don’t know how that worked but it 
did and we have paid a full tithe or more every year since. 

As the family got larger we were still scraping to make ends 
meet Colette baked all of our bread and prepared homemade soup 
from any leftovers. We mixed 7 quarts of powdered milk with 1 
quart of real milk. We ground wheat to make cereal. We bottled 
fruit. I took a sack lunch to work every day and when the kids 
needed lunches at school Colette made their lunches also. When 
the family had grown and was older, in the morning you could see 
5 to 7 sack lunches lined up in row on our kitchen counter, each 
with a name and a smiley face or some other appropriate art work. 

David Campbell stayed with us a couple of times and 
complained to his mother that the Taylor’s have organic cereal 
every morning. 

It was difficult, but a happy time. 

Our First Palo Alto Home : In 1959 the owner of our leased home 
on Moreno told us that he wanted to sell the home we were living 
in. Because we had two young boys and were expecting a third 
child; he judged that the home was too small for us and told us he 
had sold it to someone else for $14,000. We were not financially 
ready to pay for a larger home, but we began to look, out of 
necessity. We found a 3 bedroom home on David Drive in Palo 
Alto and agreed to buy it for $21,000. This was a mammoth stretch 


Family & Church 

for us. We assumed the first mortgage of $18,000 that the seller 
had carried, negotiated a $1,000 second mortgage from him, 
borrowed the realtor’s commission of $750 as a third mortgage, 
borrowed $600 from my father-in-law and got an unsecured bank 
loan for $500 and took the remaining $250 from our meager life’s 
savings. Our David Drive home was a nice sunny, open, tract 

Our wonderful next 
door neighbors were 
Bill and Patty Ford with 
a daughter Sherrie and 
an adopted son Mike. 
Sherrie was a few years 
older but Dixon and 
Mike were the same 
age. One day Dixon said 
to Mike, “I’m three days 
older than you,” ex¬ 
pecting that he would 
get a little more respect. But Mike just replied, “Yea, but you’ll die 

The Fords were Catholic and attended “Our Lady of the Rosary” 
church and Dixon asked Mike, “Who is our Lady of the Nursery.” 
Mike said, “She is our Holy Mother.” Dixon said, “She’s not my 

Mike was never badly intentioned, but was often in trouble. One 
day Colette was giving Mike a detailed lecture about things he 
needed to stop doing. Mike seemed to be listening more intently 
than usual, looking her right in the eyes. Colette thought maybe at 
last, “I’m getting through to him,” but when the lecture paused 
Mike said, “I can see two of me in your glasses.” Things didn’t 

Sherrie was a 10 year old angelic blond. When Amy was just 
newly home from the hospital, Sherrie came over and sat by her 
crib many times and talked to her about how to be a girl. She was 
concerned that with 3 older brothers, Amy might not understand 
the fine points, like girls wear dresses; girls curl their hair, and so 
forth. That early crib advice seemed to have a positive impact. 

house built by Mackay and we lovec 


Interior of 3122 David Drive 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Babysitter Co-op : The David Drive neighborhood had a 
babysitting co-op which was wonderful. To get a sitter you called 
the secretary, which was a rotating position, and told when you 
needed someone to sit. The sitter who sat got hours of credit to be 
used later as needed. You couldn’t let your hours in debt get too 
large before you paid some back. 

I recall telephoning Colette one night when she was sitting with a 
neighbor’s children. The phone rang and rang, but was never 
answered. I tried several times with the same result. I became 
worried and walked over to the house where she was and she 
answered the door. I asked why she hadn’t answered the phone and 
she said, “I couldn’t find it. Look around.” Through the whole 
house there were clothes in piles and heaps, magazines, books, 
papers, coats and toys. Colette said, “I could hear it, but I couldn’t 
find it.” The lady of the house, in spite of her Stanford degree had 
a few issues. Some homes in the co-op were the polar opposite 
where everything was immaculate and even the pipes under the 
sink were polished and gleamed. I guess we were at the median, 
periodically tidy but not overdone. 

Mumps & the World’s Fair : In 1962 Seattle had the Century 21 
Exposition, also known as the Seattle World’s Fair. After some 
careful consideration Colette and I decided that we should go. Her 
parents, Tom and Cora were wonderfully encouraging and willing 
to come and watch over the children while we were gone. They 
even helped us with train and hotel reservations. 

We heard very good reports about the Exposition from those who 
had been. We really looked forward to the trip. Then just about 4 
weeks before the planned departure Tom got the mumps, followed 
closely by Brad and Dixon. Amy who was almost two didn’t 
participate. In a week to 10 days the kids were feeling some better 
when Colette and I both came down with the mumps. I was 
surprised because I had shared a bed with my brother Tony who 
had the mumps. I never got them and I sort of assumed that I was 
immune. Colette never remembered having the mumps or being 
exposed as a child. 


Family & Church 

We both ballooned out at the jaws and neck. Laughing, talking 
and salivating were very painful. The worst part was Colette 
looked so funny I couldn’t suppress the laughing and the pain 
nearly killed me. She had the same problem. If you even thought 
about a lemon you’d salivate and writhe with extreme pain. Many 
kind folk brought food that we couldn’t even think about. The 
medical advice was to stay flat in bed, so there we were, not even 
able to look at each other, not able to eat or talk much. The kids, 
Dix, Tom, Brad and Amy, ages 7 to 1+, ran the household. 

As the departure time for the World’s Fair grew close Tom and 
Cora arrived and we were still bedfast. We got up just in time to 
catch the train to Seattle, but both of us were pale and shaky. We 
collapsed on the train and just tried to enjoy the ride. 

When we got to Seattle we went to the hotel where we had a 
reservation. The “room” they had for us had a small bed in the 
boiler room, with large duct pipes overhead, a bare bulb on a 
hanging cord and no bathroom. We told them that wasn’t going to 
work. They said, “Sorry that’s it.” We took our bags onto the street 
and after a while found a nice looking place. They told us they 
would have a room after it was made up. We left our bags there 
and went out to the Fair. When we got back they had given away 
our room, because the extreme demand. The hotel felt bad and 
spent nearly an hour calling other places to see if they could get us 

They finally found a room within walking distance. We went to 
check it out. It was genuinely run down. It looked like they 
normally rented rooms by the hour. The floor of the room looked 
like it should never touch human skin. The decor could have fit in 
the movie Psycho. That is where we passed the night, I won’t say I 

We found a better place for the days we had left. The Fair was 
wonderful with lots of interesting displays, plus the new Monorail 
and Space Needle. We had a marvelous time and returned fully 
recuperated from our mumps. The kids were back to full strength 
as well but the Greens, bless them, looked a little frazzled. 

The Volkswagen Beetle : My brother Steve, after his mission, in 
Berlin picked up a VW Beetle at the Volkswagen factory in West 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Germany and drove it to Hamburg where it was to be shipped by 
sea to San Francisco. Being close to San Francisco we were 
recruited to pick up the little white bug at the dock. 

When the notice came of the ship’s arrival and the availability of 
the car, Colette and I planned a trip to the city by train with our 4 
children, Dixon 8, Tom 6, Brad 4 and Amy not quite 2. At the time 
Colette was about 6 months pregnant with George. When we got to 
the train station we realized that neither of us had much cash in 
hand. (This was 1964, well before ATMs or the broad use of credit 
cards.) We scraped together just enough funding to get our train 
tickets and felt that we would be OK for the rest of the trip, 
because we could jump in the little Beatle and be home in an hour. 

The train ride was good but when we arrived in the city we 
realized that it was a pretty long walk from the train station on 
Third Street (at that time) to the vicinity of the Ferry Building 
where our paperwork showed the shipping office for the car was 
located. We set forth bravely and almost an hour later we came to 
the small business office indicated on the shipping manifest. They 
informed us that car could not be picked up here; we would have to 
go to Pier 82. Well okay we thought. It can’t be too bad because 
the pier numbers here were in the thirties so it will be just over 40 
piers down the row. We soon learned that pier numbers are not like 
house numbers where a difference of 40 house numbers would be 
half a block away. Pier 82 was clear back past the train station and 
then beyond that by 3 or 4 more miles, most of the way to what 
would become Candlestick Park. 

We set out again wending our way through the streets of San 
Francisco. As we trudged along we encountered a drunken fellow 
resting in the sunshine on the pavement. He raised his head as we 
pressed by and said, “What have we got here, a family or 
something.” By this time it was not a happy family. There were 
comments from large and small that this was not their idea a fun 
time. Possibly inspired by the drunk, Amy exhaustedly lay down 
on the sidewalk. All the other kids followed suit and Colette was 
far from chipper. 

I asked everyone to empty his or her pockets and Colette dug 
through her purse and we counted all the coins. If they didn’t 
charge us for the two smallest children, we might have bus fare. 


Family & Church 

We talked to a few bus drivers before we found one that went close 
to pier 82. When we found the right bus, we talked to the driver 
and showed him the money we had he took pity on us and said, 
“Close enough.” 

At the pier we found a fellow and showed him our paperwork he 
told us to hang-on and he would have someone get the car. We 
dodged fork lifts and delivery trucks while we waited. Finally the 
car was brought up out of the ship and we signed for it. Our family 
gladly collapsed snugly into the little “bug” and we started for 
home. We had just gotten out of the dock yard when I noticed that 
the gas gauge was below empty. For safety on the ocean shipment 
the tank had been completely drained. We were literally running 
on fumes. In those day gas stations would not take general purpose 
credit card. They required you to have their card. A Shell card for a 
Shell Station; a Chevron card for Chevron and so forth. I went 
through my wallet and had two cards and Colette had one more. 
We began to frantically searching for any of these stations while 
our fumes lasted. Just as we were sputtering out we found a 
Texaco station and filled the tank. 

We got home and sometime later my brothers picked up the car 
and drove it back to Utah. It became Stephen’s family car for a 
number of years. We will never forget the car with the simple 
pickup in San Francisco. 

Community Service : HP leaders had always set a great example 
of serving in the community. I could see that giving service in my 
community was a good thing to do if the opportunity presented 
itself. When I was still quite new in the company, Frank Cavier 
worked out an invitation for me to join the Board of Directors of 
the Palo Alto Red Cross and gave me some good coaching on what 
a non-profit board member does. There were many local 
luminaries on the Board: Percy Mitchell (after whom Mitchell Park 
was named), Bill Lane who was the Managing Director of Sunset 
Magazine and many others. I was a very small fish in a very large 
pond. From there I found my way onto the Board of the Stanford 
Area Council of Boy Scouts of America where I served happily off 
and on for 25 years. I also had the opportunity to serve on and 
chair a special study Committee of the Palo Alto school system 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

and Colette and I served as co-Presidents of our local schools 
Parent, Teachers and Students Association. Over my career with 
HP I had a consistent opportunity for church service as detailed 

Stanford Ward : By 1960, the LDS student population at Stanford 
had become quite large and the Quorum of Twelve authorized 
David Haight, our Stake President, to organize a Stanford Ward. I 
was asked to be the First Counselor to Bishop Ron Poelman in the 
newly formed Ward. In February we began staffing the Ward from 

Membership rolls had about 250 young people. Assignments 
were made to more than 150 of the student-aged members to help 
with the key operations of the new ward. Two years later Ron was 
called into the Stake Presidency and I was called to be the Bishop. 
It was a challenging and joyful opportunity to work with these 
bright and energetic young people. Mitt Romney attended the 
Stanford Ward in his freshman year and then left on a church 
mission to France. I served in the Stanford Ward until 1967 at 
which time I was called to be the Bishop of the southern Palo Alto 
Ward. The dividing line between the two Palo Alto Wards was 
Oregon Avenue. 

Palo Alto 2 Ward : My change to a family ward was good because 
we now had 4 children and they were attending this family ward 
while I was serving in the student ward, so I didn’t see them on 
Sundays. Being able to attend church with them was a plus. A 
normal family ward like our Palo Alto 2 Ward had a wider range 
of activities than a student ward and for that reason was a little 
more complex. There were programs for children including 
nursery age. There was a range of activities for teenaged youth. 
There were 8 times more Sunday School classes to staff and so on. 

Palo Alto Stake : In 1972, after 5 years, I was released from this 
bishops calling and shortly after was called to be the first counselor 
to W. Kay Williams with LeRoy Porter as second counselor. The 
boundaries of this stake included Menlo Park, Woodside and 
Atherton on the north, and Cupertino on the south, and everything 


Family & Church 

in-between. It was called the Palo Alto Stake. After two years this 
Stake was divided into two Stakes; Los Altos and Menlo Park. I 
continued to serve in the new Los Altos Stake Presidency for 7 
more years and had many wonderful experiences with great 

Scout Master : When I was released from the Stake Presidency, in 
the early 1980s, I had a delightful assignment to be the scoutmaster 
in my family ward. At the time I became scoutmaster our ward had 
just 3 scouts, so I went to several Palo Alto schools and recruited 
more than 40 additional boys into our troop. A number of the 
recruited boys came from difficult home situations and they 
benefitted from more than their normal amount of attention. Our 
Troop had a great time backpacking in the Sierras and Trinity 
Alps, snow hiking, swimming in lakes, cliff jumping, skiing, rain 
camping, learning to cook on campfires, hang gliding, organizing 
service projects and learning as merit badges were earned and 
requirements passed off. 

Menlo Park Stake : After 5 years of great fun with the scouts and 
youth, the Los Altos Stake had a boundary change and our ward 
was assigned to be part of the Menlo Park Stake which 
encompassed everything from Palo Alto on the south to San Carlos 
on the north. A short while after this boundary change I was asked 
to serve in the High Council and then Stake Presidency of the 
Menlo Park Stake, where I continued until I called to be a mission 
president in 1999. 

20. Travel 

In my early days at HP I had a few occasions to travel in the U.S. 
and Europe. Wherever I went the HP people were gracious and 
helpful. Generally in a short time we could resolve any problem 
that needed to be worked out. 

Later in my Telecommunication job I travelled more broadly; in 
Asia to Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. I was able to take 
Colette on several of these trips. We traveled in Europe even more. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Our travels there took us mostly to Germany, England, France and 
Northern Italy. It was great to have her with me. She could explore 
while I attended meetings and worked with people in my group 
and at night she could tell me about all the good stuff. 

Passports : I was a pretty naive traveler. On an early trip to Europe 
Colette was able to accompany me. Her parents had graciously 
come to stay with our children. Together we had had some close 
calls catching airplanes, so for this trip we went early to SFO for 
this European flight. At the airport I went to exchange some money 
into German Marks and they asked to see my passport. Yikes! We 
had both forgotten to bring our passports. Colette’s was at home 
and mine was in my desk drawer at HP in Building 1 in the 
Stanford Industrial Park. 

We had been dropped off at the airport so we had no easy 
transportation to go back for the missing passports. Nick Kuhn was 
our neighbor directly across the street. It was a Saturday and I 
reached Nick on the phone at home and told him of our dilemma. 
He was willing to help. I started to tell him how to find the 
emergency key into our house to get Colette’s passport and he 
stopped me and said,” Everyone knows where your spare key is.” 
Then I tried to describe how to find my passport at HP. 

He found Colette’s passport quite easily, but at HP the guard 
crew had no idea where to find my desk (the HP phone book just 
had building number and floor). Nick, being a resourceful fellow, 
dialed my phone number and wandered through Building 1 until 
the ringing phone brought him to my unlocked desk, 

Germany : Nick delivered our passports to me at the airport, and 
though we had missed our originally scheduled flight, we caught 
one about 3 hours later. Fortunately security was not the big issue 
that it is today and with Nick’s help the recovery was fairly 
smooth. Once in Europe HP meetings went well. Colette was very 
courageous and had the adventures while I was at work. On her 
own she took the train to Heidelberg for a day and then lost her 
way back. Finally a kind English speaking German helped her get 
back to our hotel in Boeblingen. 


Family & Church 

On another trip I had worked most of the week at our German 
factory (GmbH) and still had more to do so I stayed over the 
weekend. On Saturday Hans and Heiki Vogel took me on a 
wonderful excursion around the area and graciously translated all 
the needful explanations. The next day on Sunday, I told them I 
would go on my own and try not to get lost. I went to the LDS 
Church there in a rented hall and met a very nice German family 
who invited me to their home for dinner. I had taken one quarter 
(shorter than a semester) of German in college and they had a 
young daughter who had taken some English in school. It was 
interesting that we could talk about a wide range of things; from 
governmental differences to cowboy movies, but it took a lot of 
hand waving and picture drawing. It was a warm, wonderful 

France : Colette came with me on a business trip to Grenoble. One 
day I had gone to work and she decided to have lunch at our hotel. 
She had grown up in Canada and had studied French for almost 5 
years, so she was more comfortable there than in Germany. As she 
studied a menu she spotted Ris d’Agneau and knew that this would 
be some dish of lamb and concluded this would be safe. When she 
was served the plate had a full quivering brain of lamb with an 
almond on the top. Her stomach turned and she knew that she 
could never eat it. As sometime happens in nice European 
restaurants the waiter hovered very near to see if she enjoyed her 
meal. He was also trained not to bring a bill or menu back again 
until this course had been finished. She carefully ate the almond 
off the top of the brain and then gradually spooned the rest of the 
brain into an envelope she happened to have in her purse. She had 
to do this carefully when the waiter’s back was turned. Finally she 
had done enough that the waiter brought the bill and let her escape. 

At a different time I recall getting a ride to the Lyon airport with 
Angelo Carlessi, an HP friend. Like all Italians he was a race car 
driver at heart. As we were speeding down the frozen motorway on 
a wintery day, Angelo decided it was too hot in the car. He undid 
his seatbelt and started to take off his overcoat. I leaned over and 
offered to steer the car. Angelo said, “No, no, it’s OK, I am 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

steering with my knees.” Happily we survived, but I was never 
sure we would make it. 

Later in the Telecommunications area I did a great deal of 
traveling through North America, Europe and Asia to meet with 
our telecommunications managers around globe. It was rewarding 
to be with them face to face to work out solutions and plan future 
directions. As mentioned Dean Hall spared me from excessively 
frequent travel. 

Africa : For a number of years we had skied with good friends in a 
group called the Ski Bees. They were a wonderful group composed 
of dentists, attorneys, doctors, real estate developers, veterinarians, 
accountants and so forth. The group enjoyed each other’s company 
and decided to accept Fred & Sue Morris’s invitation for a trip to 
Africa lead by Gary Strand, the Morris’s good friend who lived in 
Tanzania. Gary had a first class guide service. This was one of the 
best trips ever, enhanced by the company of good friends. Here are 
some quotes from that trip that give a little flavor of the trip. 

• Carol Leavitt (Mel’s wife): We heard over the wall of a 
roofless, very gross public restroom in a small African 
village, "When I get home I'm going to kiss my toilet." 

• Bette McMullen: We were camped in the midst of rocky 
outcroppings (kopjes) on the Serengeti Plains. Lions were 
roaring to each other on all sides of us from the rocks. We 
were telling stories around the nighttime campfire and as 
the evening got late Bette decided to leave the fireside 
conversations and go to bed. Partway down the trail to their 
tent she turned back and asked, "Lions can't work zippers, 
can they?" 

• Fred Morris, as he poked a 17 foot crocodile, with a short 
stick said, "It's dead." Just a few minutes later he brought 
us all back to the river to see the dead crocodile and it was 

• Gene Bramhall: Dorothy felt quite sick and several of the 
men helped Gene administer to her. When the group had 
left we heard Gene through the tent wall say to Dorothy, "I 

sure hope you don’t die honey; it would take me 
literally weeks to find someone as nice as you.” 


Family & Church 

• Hank at about 5 am heard the canvas water basin on the 
tent porch being filled and said, “Thank you” through the 
tent wall. At breakfast time Gene and Glade who were in 
adjacent tents teased Hank for being uncommonly polite to 

• Gene Bramhall, a true liberal, had not fully grasped the 
concept of conservative water use for his shower. He ran 
out just as he had thickly lathered and shampooed. 
Throughout the camp we heard the plaintive call for, “More 
water please.” Gary’s crew had to go back to the river for 
more water and then warm it a little over the fire. For half 
an hour we heard the cries for more water and had to 
ponder on Gene standing buck naked in the shower with 
soap drying on his body. Not a pretty image. 

• Fred Morris observing 30 or more elephants moving into 
protective position for their young, spoke to our Land 
Rover driver, "Get closer...get closer...get closer." And then 

The Killer Elephants on the run, about to crush our Land Rover 

when we were very close he said, "Now turn off the engine 
so that we don't blur our pictures." Then when the three 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

largest specimens swung their ears straight out and 
trumpeted Fred said, "Ah yes, the famous false warning, 
they are only bluffing." Well those three elephants charged 
at full speed and almost killed us! 

We returned to Africa a second time this time with Fred and Sue 
Morris and their family, with Gary Strand again as the tour leader. 
We returned to the Serengeti with wonderful views of the all the 
wild animals. Three experiences standout: 

1. Sitting in the middle of a Wildebeest migration with 
thousands, all sizes and ages, on every side. 

2. Going to the Mahale Mountains and observing 
Chimpanzee families in the wild and sleeping with 
monkeys and warthogs. 

3. Following gorillas in the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda 
and the Congo. 

When we were deep in the Virunga Mountains we came to a 
gorilla family who had paused in their journey. We were warned to 
stay 25 or more meters away, but the gorillas had no such warning. 
One full grown male grabbed Colette by the arm and hauled her off 
into the jungle. She was wearing a black fleece and the gorilla 
thought she looked pretty cool. 

The trackers who were with us were amazing. They came 

Was that hot number I grabbed really a Human? 


Family & Church 

alongside the gorilla that was holding Colette and made some 
grunting sounds which our hairy friend seemed to understand and 
he released her and the trackers lead Colette back to the group. 
That little episode certainly added zest to our gorilla tracking. 

Alaska : It is interesting that Africa and Alaska were two of 
Colette’s most dreaded trips, She “never had time” to get shots for 
Africa until compelled at the very last minute, thinking all the 
while that there may be a way out of this trip. Once there she found 
it was one of our most memorable and delightful trips. Alaska was 
earlier but she looked forward to that trip with about the same 
reluctance. We travelled to Alaska with the Cy and Bette 
McClellan, who had helped us get into some ownership interest in 
the Glacier Bay Lodge so that I could help them as a member of 
the board of directors. 

We flew into Seattle and shortly after we arrived they closed the 
airport because of rain and high winds. While we were waiting for 
the storm to abate we heard a plane take-off. We quickly asked at 
our counter, “What was that? Is the airport reopening?” The 
attendant said, “No we are still closed. That’s just Alaska Airlines. 
They think this is good weather.” 

When we flew into Sitka we saw what they meant. The approach 
was over the water and there were huge stone monoliths sticking 
up 30 to 40 feet out of the water. Probably igneous extrusions of 
some kind. With high winds and turbulent sea the aircraft bounced 
in the air and dodged through these tall stone columns on 
approach. It was heart stopping. While on Sitka we saw a lot of 
Native American arts and crafts, some in progress as we watched. 
The bad news there was that none of our bags had made the flight 
with us and never caught up with us for 3 or 4 days. Every day we 
enjoyed the same lovely outfit and a newly purchased toothbrush. 

We then flew over to Juneau the capital of Alaska. The thing that 
impressed me there was the scant amount of land available to build 
a city on. The sea comes right to the base of the mountains which 
rise up steeply to staggering heights. So Juneau is on a little strip of 
land between the sea and the mountains. Just north of Juneau is the 
Mendenhall Glacier. If you look where the glacier has calved off 
you get a view into the beautiful deep blue color of glacial ice. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Around Juneau there were about 8 miles of road north of the city 
and maybe less to the south and that was it. There was no place 
you could drive to from there. Today the road north may go a little 
further to a State Park on the north, but there it ends. Don’t plan to 
drive anywhere from Juneau. 

From Juneau we took a small pontoon biplane, piloted by a kid 
who would have been driving motorcycles if they had roads. He 
took off from the water, gained a little altitude and skimmed 
through the mountain peaks, not over them. He came so close that 
he scared the mountain goats grazing in the cliffs. Then as we 
neared Glacier Bay and the Lodge we gripped our seats as he dove 
for the water. Amazingly the pontoons held us up and we skimmed 
into a dock. We climbed 30’ up a very steep ramp to reach the real 
lodge dock. I asked why build such a steep climb up to the lodge 
dock level and the answer was, “Tides.” Wow. I’d never seen a 
tide rise that much. The next morning the tide had risen so much 
that the sea plane dock and the upper lodge doc were at the same 
level. Lots of small boats get lost when the owner thinks they are 
tied off high and dry. Then the tide comes in so strongly and so 
high that the boat floats up, mooring ties are broken and the boat 
floats away. 

The Glacier Bay lodge was warm and cozy. The boat trip from 
there to see the glaciers calving off into the bay was spectacular 
and the forest was thick with bald eagles and other wild life. We 
took out a small fishing boat and were among whales and dolphins. 
Colette tangled her fishing line with a lady from our group, but it 
didn’t matter. She and her tangled partner caught a 100 lb. Halibut. 
We brought some of our share home frozen, but Alaska Airline lost 
it for a couple of days and when it arrived in Palo Alto it had 
mostly thawed. Colette had to cook and serve as much as she could 
as fast as we could handle it. 

Sometime after this trip, Brad who was a teenager at the time 
came downstairs after just finishing a shower. He was grumbling 
that there was no deodorant in the bathroom and then forcefully 
spoke out for all to hear, “Sell Alaska and buy deodorant!” 

Mexico was our 3 rd most dreaded trip. We went with Monte and 
Janice deGraw, Monte’s dad, and Janice’s mom, Aunt Celestia. 


Family & Church 

Colette had read horror stories from tourists in Mexico and 
expected the worst. Monte said not to worry and explained that he 
spoke the language and had gotten along very well on all his prior 
trips. We found out that Monte’s best Spanish was, “No 
problemo.” Nevertheless we had a great time with the deGraws 
and the other family members. We saw important sights around the 
Mexico City area and never got sick. Our major nightmare was 
with the police who stopped us three times for bogus shakedowns. 
White Gringos were a target on the roadways. This time Colette’s 
fears were confirmed. 

Other Travels : We have had many other wonderful travel 
experiences over a lifetime. Among the favorites are trips were to 
be with our family members and their children: Richmond and 
Memphis with Dix and Denise; Provo and Wales with Tom and 
Katy; Buffalo, Atlanta, Minneapolis and Toronto with Brad and 
Ann; Eastern Utah, England, Hong Kong and China with Amy and 
Jeff; Loomis, Alpine, and San Diego with George and Marian; 
Roseville and Alpine with Nicole and JR; Burbank, Disney 
properties and La Crescenta with Brig and Michelle; Pennsylvania, 
Amish Country and Raleigh with Megan and Matt; Idaho, Utah, 
Oklahoma, and Texas with Tim and Shelby. We have had all 
kinds of delightful trips to visit family or to be with them wherever 
they are or where they want to go. 

In addition to trips already mentioned here are a few more that 
rise to the top: 

• Touring SE England with Tom after his mission. 

• Touring Brazil with George after his mission. 

• Boston, New York, D.C. and Hawaii with Nicole. 

• With Brigham in Alabama and Florida after his mission. 

• Seeing Jamaica with Tim after his mission. 

• Bicycle trip with good friends through southern France. 

• Bicycle trip through the southern U.S. along the Natchez 
Trace with friends. 

• Exploring the rich history of Turkey with good friends 

• Israel, following Christ paths, with Monte and Janice. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

• Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and most of Europe for HP 
business. Colette broke free to come on some of these. 

• Peru and Machu Picchu with good friends from Nashville. 

• Mediterranean Cruise with California friends. Venice to 
Barcelona; hopelessly lost on the train out of Rome. 

• The Big Island - summit of Mauna Kea, lava flows and 
macadamia nut trees, with the Giles. 

• Warsaw, Krakow, Carpathian Alps, Slovenia, Budapest, 
and Vienna with good friends. 

• Alpine, Snow Mass, Steamboat Springs, Telluride, Crested 
Butte, Sun Valley, and Whistler, all with good friends in 
the “Ski Bees.” 

• Eastern Canada - Montreal to Boston - St Larence cruise 
with ski friends. 

• Trips to Ocracoke Island, just off the southernmost portion 
of the Outer Banks, NC with Tennessee, Utah and 
California friends for Donald Davis’s Storytelling work¬ 

• The Paradores of Northern Spain, Andorra and Portugal. 

Maybe the best trips of all were the big circle tours we used to 

take with the whole family in the Dodge Dart and VW Van from 
Palo Alto to Lethbridge to Provo to see the Greens and the Taylors. 

21. Our Real Estate Escapades 

Oregon Expressway : As the first few companies moved into the 
Stanford Industrial Park in the later 1950s (HP being one of those) 
it became clear that the Park was going to expand rapidly. There 
were large reserves of Stanford land that had been designated for 
an industrial park, leasing building sites to businesses who wished 
to locate there. At that time, Stanford, the City of Palo Alto and 
Santa Clara County realized that the existing two lane residential 
road called Oregon Avenue was going to be totally inadequate to 
carry the traffic that would develop. So plans were made to provide 
a link from Highway 101 on the east, through to the Stanford 
Industrial Park and then eventually connect to the planned 
Interstate 280 in the west foothills. The Oregon Avenue 


Family & Church 

improvement planning stirred a heated debate in the City of Palo 
Alto, and ultimately went to a citizen referendum for a final 

One day I was in church sitting on the stand next to David Haight 
who was the Stake President and at that time the Mayor of the City 
of Palo Alto and later to be an Apostle. We talked briefly, when we 
should have been listening, and he asked softly “What should we 
do about the Oregon Avenue expansion?” He knew I worked in the 
Stanford Industrial Park, but was also a resident of the City. The 
proposals had extremes. One plan called for a freeway to be 
developed with very limited access between Highway 101 and the 
upcoming Freeway 280. The polar opposite was to do almost 
nothing to the two lane road. Residents were truly worked up about 
the issue. The freeway solution would cut the city in half, and to do 
nothing would throttle the city’s traffic and kill the development of 
the Industrial Park. I whispered back to him “Widen the street, 
limit the number of stop light cross streets and synchronize the few 
traffic lights that cross Oregon to smooth traffic flow.” He nodded 
and added those thoughts to a thousand other inputs I’m sure he 
had gathered. In the end, that’s about what the city and county did. 

When Oregon Avenue was widened to make Oregon Expressway 
all 90 of the houses on the South side of the street had to be 
removed. Colette was driving me to work one morning so that she 
could keep the car for the day. As we drove down Oregon all of 
these houses were for sale, but had to be moved to a new lot. The 
prices were pretty low and I joked with her saying that if you 
bought one of these and moved it you could probably make a 

About 10:30 that morning I got a call at work from Colette who 
calmly told me that on the way home she bought one of the houses. 
I was dumbfounded and finally asked her how she proposed to pay 
for it and where she was going to put it. She said “That’s your job, 
I negotiated the purchase. It was a fantastic price, it’s beautiful, 
hardwood floors throughout. And not only that, it has tile in the 
kitchen ... etc.,etc.” 

Over several weeks I talked to the Cities of Los Altos, Mt View 
and East Palo Alto and none would take a house moved from Palo 
Alto. The cities all said, “The house won’t meet our building 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

code.” Because other cities would not take it we went to the City of 
Palo Alto offices and looked through every property record for 
vacant lots. We found several that were available on Christine 
Drive which had just been extended through to Middlefield Road. 
We put a 10% deposit on one of the new lots. The selling price was 
$10,000 plus a $1,200 obligation for a street bond. It was a very 
nice lot on a nice street. We had real qualms about dropping an 
older, smaller moved house on a street of this quality. 

It was shortly after we bought the lot on Christine Drive that a 
realtor who had been looking for lots with us called and said that 
he had found some lots that had just opened up on Wintergreen. 
We looked at the street and it was perfect. A creek on one side 
created shallow lots, maybe only 50 feet deep, but across the street 
the new lot we were looking at was normal size and it backed up 
to some older homes that were a good match for our moved house. 
We bought that lot. It was hard to get through the red tape and 
permits to build a house, or anything else in Palo Alto, but moving 
a house within the City is ten times worse. Hearings, public 
notices, variances, City Council meetings, detailed plan reviews, it 
was a nightmare. But it finally got approved and the house was 
moved so that we could fix it up and landscape it. 

Colette and I worked feverishly on the moved home site, I cut 
down the upper half of a redwood tree that had died. When the 
very tall dead part was cut the falling tree almost reached into the 
neighbor’s yard 
behind the house. 

I talked to him 
first to warn him 
and he was 
delighted to get 
rid of what he 
called, “That old 
sore eye.” We 
moved huge old 
lumps of concrete 
and other debris 
from the yard. 


Family & Church 

I had borrowed a truck from HP to haul away everything to the 
Palo Alto dump. We couldn’t fit it all into the truck so we decided 
some of the large old concrete pieces could go into the excavation 
around the footings. Colette and I together couldn’t lift some of the 
huge pieces. One very large one we, together, could barely budge 
so we rolled it and tipped it end over end toward the foundation. 
On the last tip of the slab it looked like it would hit the new 
concrete foundation. My instinct said, “No problem,” but Colette’s 
instinct was to protect the new foundation. When she tried to stop 
the big slab her finger was crushed against the foundation. 

She needed to go to the hospital for urgent care, but I had to 
return the borrowed truck empty and the dump was closing for the 
day in 30 minutes. We wrapped her finger in my hankie and she 
rode with me to the dump so I could clean out the truck and then 
we went to the hospital. The doctor stitched her up and gave her a 
protective splint then gave her a small bottle of Percodan. She took 
one or two pills to cut the pain and we went home. 

When we got home Colette was singing and dancing around the 
kitchen and decided to cook a huge dinner for the whole family. It 
was very nice but I couldn’t figure out what had happened to the 
wounded warrior. We saw pretty quickly how people can come to 
depend on drugs. Fortunately Colette didn’t need many more and 
she had no painful withdrawal. 

After the move and landscaping we were done. We found renters 
for the house. In about a year it became clear that I didn’t have 
time to be a landlord. Work at HP, church leadership assignments 
and family used all the time I had. So we sold the moved house for 
just about what it had cost us. Lockheed, who was a huge employer 
at the time, had a big layoff and we were lucky to break even on 
the sale. So we didn’t get rich as we foolishly expected, but we did 
end up with the lot on Christine Drive. 

On this “left over” lot from the moved-house episode we built a 
new home in 1964. It had 5 bed-rooms that would hold our 4 
children, Dixon, Tom, Brad and Amy with room for George whom 
we were expecting in a couple of months and eventually four more 
welcome additions; Nicole, Brigham, Megan and Tim. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Other Real Estate Ventures : In addition to the moved house that 
landed on Wintergreen Way we tried two other local real estate 
ventures. We 
bought a lot 
in Ladera, 

San Mateo 
County when 
the area was 
still in devel¬ 

It was a 
really steep 
lot and when 
we took Dix, 

Tom and 
Brad to the 
property to 
look around 
they actually 

cried because it was so scary. We sold the lot after holding it for a 
year and made a 14% gain on the sale. The problem was that the 
buyer almost never paid us. 

Later when our son Tom was grown and had a family, they lived 
in Palo Alto. He worked at HP but always had his eye open for 
unusual properties. He bought a terrible commercial lot that had a 
29 foot frontage and was only 100 feet deep. He successfully built 
a tin house on the lot. It was featured in Sunset Magazine. 

He turned a warehouse into a home, and attempted to build a 
home in the Palo Alto water tower. Dick Peery called Tom the 
“slum lord of the city.” One day he said he had lined up a distress 
purchase of a warehouse on Transport Street. It was being sold 
because taxes were delinquent. He asked if I would be willing to 
buy a 37% interest in the warehouse to help with the financing. 
There was nothing that I needed more than a tax delinquent 
warehouse so of course I agreed to help. It had some serious ups 
and downs as a commercial rental property. When the “dot-com” 
bubble burst Tom said he’d had enough of the commercial rental 
business and said he was going to convert the warehouse into an 


Family & Church 

art studio. I said, “Tom, artists have no money.” He replied, 
“That’s not necessarily true” and went ahead with the conversion. 
As an art studio it makes a little less per month than a full 
commercial rental, but has been 100% occupied for more than 10 
years with a waiting list, while commercial properties have long 
empty spells. The art studio has been rock solid and Tom gradually 
took over full ownership. 

Taylor Terrace Units : My Father and his siblings ended up with 
the property where the ruins of the old slaughter house stood. This 
was at the foot of the mountain where I grew up. The property had 
been held for decades by the ANT Estate. Finally the children of 
Arthur and Maria’s in the late 1960s or early 1970s decided to 
develop it. Part of this property was given to the Church for the 
construction of the Provo Temple and on the remainder a Planned 
16 Unit Development, called the Taylor Terrace, was built. 

In the late ‘70s after the first lovely units had been built, Uncle 
Bud and father were fretting a little about the one acre piece of 
land just to the north of the Taylor Terrace development. It 
belonged to Joseph K. Allen of Atherton, CA. Joe had indicated to 
father and Bud that he didn’t want to sell because he had his own 
development in mind for this and other property he owned on 
toward the mouth of Rock Canyon. This was too bad because the 
property was ideally situated to be a continuation of the Taylor 

I told father and Bud that I knew Joe quite well and would speak 
to him about the property. I had numerous talks with Joe over 
several years. He showed me his plans and we finally agreed that 
the one acre in question did not need to be integral to his 
development and he agreed to sell the acre to me so that the Taylor 
Terraces could extend north to the Rock Canyon Road. A closing 
date was set in September 1980. 

I talked to Bud and father, thinking they would pick up the 
purchase and complete the development. They both wanted to see 
the development go ahead, but felt that there was no one in the 
association, including themselves, who was in a position to take 
the responsibility. They suggested that I might do it along with 
some Taylor cousins they thought might be willing to participate. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

So I checked with possible partners, but none was able to 
participate at that time. 

With more sentimental feeling than good judgment, Colette and I 
decided to go ahead. The land purchase from Joe and his wife Ruth 
was closed on September 23, 1980. John and Dixon Markham had 
done the site survey for us prior to the purchase. Upon closing 
John Markham and his firm began serious design and layout work 
on the property. 

We had expected initially that there could be four additional 
units, but John suggested strongly that six units were quite feasible. 
His layouts and elevations were approved by the Taylor Terrace 
Association and they gave us permission to proceed. 

The City of Provo required zoning changes, street realignments, 
re-paving of the street and development of sidewalks at our 
expense. Then one of the city engineers concluded that we were in 
the 100 year floodplain, which meant all the units had to be 
redesigned to avoid any below-ground-level occupancy or some 
major earth work to put us out of the floodplain. We chose to build 
a berm and elevate the units above the roadways and got the city’s 
approval of our flood plan. A little later the city decided that we 
were not in the 100 year flood plain after all. However a few years 
later a real 100 year flood did occur. It did indeed threaten the 
development, but the berm and the lower roadway protected the 
units perfectly. The preparations were not in vain. 

The builder who had done the first 16 units, LaDell Petersen, had 
projects started which made it impossible to do these last 6 units. I 
looked around for alternative builders, but found none that 
measured up to LaDell’s standard. As the city fussed around about 
our building permits LaDell’s schedule cleared a little bit and he 
said if we could give him some flexibility to work on his other jobs 
he could do the building for us. I was delighted! 

We started construction in November of 1980. During the winter 
the very very rocky earth was excavated and the huge boulders 
were used later on the property to build retaining walls. 
Foundations were poured that winter for all the units. 

Before we started we had a bank commitment for a construction 
loan. In the meantime the economy of the country had gone crazy 
and the bank backed out of its loan commitment. No other Utah 


Family & Church 

financial institution would even talk to us. Interest rates climbed to 
a high of 21% if there was any funding to be found. 

The only way we could proceed was to get margin loans against 
all of our stock and to remortgage our home with a new first and 
second mortgage. In addition I worked with my Palo Alto banker 
to get a large unsecured loan. Finally in desperation we borrowed 
all the cash value of our life insurance policies and we pulled all 
we could from my HP pay check. LaDell was very accommodating 
with our payment schedule and allowed us go forward at a 
different pace when need be. 

In the latter half of 1982 the some units were complete enough to 
be sold and we began to retire our mountainous debts. 

The last snag was that the city would not record the sale of 
individual units until the project was annexed by the Taylor 
Terrace Association. The association would not annex the project 
until every detail of the project was complete. Finally I posted a 
completion bond and the association annexed the new units. 

By the end of 1982 the project, with six units at the comer of 
2300 North and Temple View Drive, was complete except for a 
little landscaping work. All the properties were sold or leased. In 
total we about broke even, except we had accepted a parcel of 
property at 1500 North 1450 East as part of the payment on one 
unit. That lot turned out to be unbuildable because of an 
earthquake threat. The assumed value of that lot was our net profit. 

Results : It is interesting to note that of our real estate investment 
efforts the ones intended to make money, mostly broke even or 
lost: Pistachio Orchards, Orange Groves, Ladera, Wintergreen, 
Stockton housing development and Taylor Terrace Units. The 
investments done to help others, or intended for a family residence 
and use, all did well: Glacier Bay Lodge, David Drive, Christine 
Drive, Bearmont, and Transport Art Studios. 

22. Choices for the Family 

How Many Children : While Colette and I were dating we talked 
about a family and how many children we thought we should have. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

As I recall, Colette said 6, which I thought was pretty courageous 
for an only child. I told her I would like to have 8 if that could 
work out. There was not a lot more discussion as we were both 
satisfied that we wanted a family. 

With a family in mind I chose a very satisfying career path but 
not one that would have likely been a first choice if I had been 
single with no children. Colette with many skills and talents could 
have done many things successfully, but opted to be a hard 
working full-time mom. These are choices about which we have 
absolutely no regrets. 

Lethbridge—Utah Circle Tour: During school at Harvard and 
later when I was first employed at HP we had almost no time for 
vacations or travel. When vacation time became available, a year 
after I started work, we talked about what to do with our two 
weeks. We concluded that the most important thing we could do 
was to see our families and begin to instill in our children a sense 
of closeness to the family. So with the young boys, Dix and Tom, 
we began a multi-day, 3,000 mile journey up to Canada to see 
Colette’s family and then back down through Utah, where my 
folks had returned from their mission in California, to see my 
family. We spent about 4 days at each destination and another 4 to 
5 days on the road. Our family numbers grew, but the great circle 
tour took place virtually every year. 

Over the years we did several things to make the journey 
somewhat tolerable for the children and us. We build a little 
console that fit between the two front seats in the VW van. On the 
back of the console was a 2 gallon water cooler with a spigot 
where the kids could get drinks. The top had a small working 
surface to make sandwiches on. From the front you could open a 
little door that had two shelves that could hold food, like bread, 
peanut butter, cheese, fruit and so forth. In the very back of the van 
over the engine compartment, Colette made a cloth covered foam 
pad. In that area were some books and a limited number of games. 
On top of the van was covered rack where we kept all of our 
baggage. Each child was limited to one flight bag and then one 
large bag contained all the Sunday clothes. Everything would just 


Family & Church 

fit in the overhead and that kept all the interior space free for 

Each of the kids had an assignment. Dixon was generally the 
baggage handler/loader. Tom was the water manager he kept ice 
and water in the cooler. Amy was the librarian and could check out 
books and sometimes read to the younger kids. Brad did road 
games. We had an 8 track tape player and someone was in charge 
of music and so forth. Everyone got to make a white T shirt, done 
in crayon with their title and a picture appropriate to their job and 
then the wax of the crayon was ironed into their shirt. 

Most years we didn’t stop for much of anything during the day. 
We had food and water and the kids could move around in the van; 
no seat belts were required. We carried a tightly capped bottle for 
emergency urine deposits. One tip on this, if there is ever an 
emergency need to empty the bottle of this type out the window 
while the van in moving at 65 MPH, always point the bottle to the 
rear. If you point it forward the oncoming rush of air blows the 
urine all over the inside and outside of the car. (Just a handy tip 
you may never need.) 

Occasionally we allowed a little more time on the road to see 
local attractions. One year especially we planned the trip to see an 
old saw mill in operation and drove through the redwood forests in 
northern California. Then in Oregon we went along the coast and 
stopped for a dune buggy ride and played on the beach there for a 
while. We Stopped in a few motels along the way and enjoyed 
their swimming pools. We crossed the border into Canada near 
Vancouver and then on through the Canadian Rockies and stopped 
to look at Frank Slide where a whole town was buried. A huge part 
of the mountain had cracked off, filling the valley below. At Fort 
MacLeod we toured the old log fort. All these stops were before 
we reached Lethbridge that year. We explored caves in Oregon and 
Montana on some trips. 

From Utah on our way home we stopped in Elko. While all the 
kids were swimming, I noticed splashing in my peripheral vision, 
Brad was drowning. I took three quick steps across the deck and 
leaped into the pool. When I came out of the pool water was 
pouring out of my clothes all over the deck, but I had Brad and a 
soggy wallet safe and sound. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Crossing the Border between US and Canada was always a dicey 
business. It seemed like the rules in both countries were always 
changing and the emphasis of the border people shifted as well. 
Many law abiding citizens were nervous when the interrogations 
by the armed border guards started. 

Tom and Cora Green had a friend, Heber, who was one of the 
few that loved the challenge of the crossing. He built secret 
compartments in his car doors and trunk to smuggle cigarettes and 
other items where there was an enormous price difference between 
the two countries. He was a traveling salesman with lots of 
crossings and his smuggling must have added nicely to his income. 
This was not a wholesome endeavor. 

The Greens, with a small group of friends, were going just across 
the border for a picnic. Cora had a ham, buns, potato salad and all 
the other trimmings. When they got to the U.S. side they were 
stopped and the ham was taken away because of a potential hoof 
and mouth disease in Canada. The Greens knew that the disease 
was in horses and cows, not pigs. Cora seldom got her anger 
stirred, but this did it. As the ham went away she snarled, “Don’t 
you want the buns and mustard too?” 

One time coming back from a U.S. shopping trip George, Art & 
Tom and families approached the border with all they had 
purchased. The men came to an agreement before they got to the 
border that they were going to be totally honest this time in 
declaring everything they had bought. George was the first to go 
through. He went into the office to make his declaration. He came 
out pale, as he had been charged a staggering customs fee. Tom 
was headed for the restroom when he saw his brother Art tearing 
his list of purchases in half after he saw what had happened to 
George. Sometimes honesty has a price, but it is worth it. 

Alberta grows great high protein, hard wheat and it makes the 
world’s best bread flour. So when we visited Lethbridge, Colette’s 
dad would get us a small sack to take home. On one trip I asked 
Tom to let us buy 100 pounds of white and 100 pounds of whole 
wheat. These fit perfectly in the two backseat foot wells on either 
side of the transmission hump in our Dodge Dart. We put a blanket 


Family & Church 

over the sacks and the hump and it made a nice bed for any of the 
children who wanted a nap. 

We went home by way of Crowsnest Pass and on to the 
Kingsgate/Eastport border stations leading into northern Idaho. As 
we got closer all I could think of was that we had that flour stowed 
away on our back floor. I got more and more tense as we 
approached. When we got to the guard station the armed guard 
came over and leaned toward my open window and said, “What’s 
your name sir?” My mind was frozen and all sensory input froze 
with it. With glassy eyes I said, “I’ve got 200 lbs of flour in the 
back.” Colette from one side and the guard from the other said, 
“Your name.” I still couldn’t get it out and finally the guard patted 
me on the arm and said, “Calm down sir, it’s going to be alright. 
Flour is OK. Now can you just tell me your name, or let me see 
your driver’s license.” Finally my mind came back from wherever 
it had been and we got through the border with all the family and 
the flour. A smuggling career was not going to work out well for 

Where to Live : We gave a lot of thought about where we wanted 
to raise a family. North Palo Alto, Sharon Heights and Menlo Park 
were quite full of “old money” and were a little too ostentatious for 
us. In addition the price of properties there were a big stretch for 
us. Atherton and Woodside and Los Altos hills were financially 
clear out of reach, Los Altos was a little bit ranchy-orchardy and 
Mountain View was Mexico north and Moffett Field sailors. South 
Palo Alto was solidly middle-class with engineers, mechanics, 
plumbers, accountants and welders; etc., perfect for us. 

Chores : When we built our home we intentionally did not put in a 
dishwasher. We had a large grass area and no power mower. We 
wanted very much to find meaningful chores that could be given to 
the children so that they could learn to work. By washing and 
drying dishes, mowing lawns, raking leaves, managing a paper 
route, babysitting and taking other jobs they did learn. I’m grateful 
that all of the kids became very good workers and have all been 
good in their vocations and parenting duties. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Two Feet on the Floor : Most of our college age kids were home 
for the summer and David Campbell was living with us while his 
folks were on a mission. At school the kids had become used to 
keeping the hours that suited them. At home now it meant that they 
were coming in at all hours of the night, but I had to be up by 6:30 
am and off to work. My nights were very short. I finally called 
them together and told them that I understood that they were used 
to managing their own time and that was fine, but no matter what 
time they got to bed they had to get up with me at 6:30 AM and 
help with chores around the house. There were floors to scrub, 
exterior painting needed and yard work to be done. I needed their 
help and would have about 40 minutes to get them started on their 
projects for the day. 

From then on at 6:30 AM I woke them each up and asked them 
to put two feet on the floor and gave them their morning 
assignments. This was not a popular program, but some good work 
did get done and nighttime hours came somewhat more into focus 
and I got a little more sleep. After I left for work some of the kids 
were found asleep in the van in our garage. 

College Education Expenses : Before a family night Colette made 
a great poster sized chart that showed where everyone in the family 
would be year by year for the next 20 years. At that point Dixon, 
our eldest, was a teenager and Megan, our youngest, was a 4 year 
old. The chart took everyone through grade school, middle school, 
high school, graduation, start of college, mission and college 
graduation, then marriage. I immediately saw dollar signs on all 
these milestones. It was possible to put estimated total cost year by 
year to support these worthy objectives. That was a shock. Even 
with my good salary the totals in many years were more than we 
could pay for. We went through the chart with the kids and told 
them that all these things were important for them, but that we 
were going to need their help. 

Each child was given to understand that they would need to fund 
one half of their university costs and we would pay for half. We 
said their part could come from their savings, summer work, jobs 
at university or scholarship funding that they earned. As the years 
played out all of the kids were great to fund their half of their 


Family & Church 

university education and benefited from the experience. Similarly 
the boys helped contribute to the cost of their missions. 

Aunts and Uncles : Quite often, late at night, or on a Friday date 
night, Colette and I would talk about the progress of each child and 
try to figure out what they needed most at that particular time. 
Sometimes this resulted in changing rooms and roommates, 
sometimes chore assignments were changed, sometimes learning 
help was needed and so forth. On one of these nights we were both 
lamenting the complete absence of cousins and the scanty 
connection to uncles and aunts in our children’s lives. These had 
been tremendous forces and examples for us as we grew up. My 
aunt Celestia was a wonderful person and she scolded me as often 
as my mother did. My Uncles Lynn, Clarence and Arthur were all 
encouraging forces in my life. My cousins were mostly all making 
good choices in life and set a great example. Colette had the same 
experience as she grew up with Aunt Ha and her Green cousins. 

We came to the conclusion that we would have to develop some 
stand-ins for aunts, uncles and cousins for our family. We knew 4 
great families with children about the same age as ours and we 
shared our thoughts with them. They responded enthusiastically to 
the pseudo aunts and uncles idea. The families were Gene and 
Charlotte England with 6 children, Jack and Dixie Zenger with 6 
children, Norris and Mary Finlayson with 6 children (and a 7 th 
later), Kent and Betsy Christensen with 5 children. With these 
wonderful families we had house parties, picnics, Olympic 
contests, built spook alleys, played night games in the park and did 
other fun activities. 

Some years later George heard me talking about this and he said, 
“Oh, I didn’t know that was a strategy thing.” 

23. Family Activities 

There were a number of activities that the family enjoyed 
together. I’ll list just a few activities here as memory joggers. The 
stories resulting from these activities could fill more books. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Family Ski Trips : As I grew up in Utah I loved to ski, so as our 
children got older we went to garage sales and ski swaps and 
equipped the family with the best skis we could afford. This 
equipment did not meet Dixon’s discerning standards, but 
everything worked well enough to get by. We bought an old rack 
from Dick Franke that fit on our VW van; we lashed our skis and 
poles onto it and were off by 4 or 5 in the morning for a three to 
five hour drive to Dodge Ridge, Squaw Valley, Heavenly Valley, 
Sugar Bowl or Bear Valley. We couldn’t afford to stay overnight 
so the trips made a very long day. The kids all learned to ski well 
and we had many fun trips together. 

Colette’s Skis: Colette had pretty good skis, but bad bindings. One 
day at a garage sale I found some Miller ski bindings that had 
never been installed. They were still in the original box. These 
were reported to be an advanced design with state of the art safety 
release features. 

One evening I was home and was determined to install the new 
bindings. Colette left me reading the instructions as she went to a 
Relief Society party. When she returned home 3 hours later I was 
still reading the instructions. They must have been translated from 
Chinese by a 4 th grader who had never installed anything. I had a 
feeling this is why I had found the bindings in their original box, 
uninstalled. Before midnight I just bit the bullet and put them on 
her skis. The bindings were painstakingly fitted to her boots, on 
which I had installed special metal plates to mate with the 
bindings. The whole setup finally looked to be functional. 

I should note here that the metal plates that were installed on 
Colette’s boots to accommodate the Miller bindings caused her to 
slip on the parking lot ice and she broke her arm. Those bindings 
were cursed. 

Now if you ever break a bone, the very best place to do it is in a 
ski area. We took her to clinic in the small ski town and in very 
short order the doctor had her reset and in a cast. It was a perfect 
job and it healed just right. 

On a beautiful, but very cold ski day at Squaw Valley we had a 
great, but freezing day of skiing for the whole family. When it was 
time to go down from the upper peaks and meet at the car Colette 


Family & Church 

said, “I think that I will take the tram down.” I urged her to, “Ski 
down with me. The way is easy and pretty gentle.” Well I had 
forgotten about a couple of areas on the way down that didn’t live 
up to my billing. These were very stressful for her and it took some 
hard work after a strenuous day on the mountain to get her through 
them. We got to the car alright, but arrived at our home very late. 
We got unloaded and put all the kids all to bed then I took some 
stuff out to the garbage. To my surprise there in the garbage bin 
were Colette’s skis with the Miller ski bindings, poles and boots. It 
was a definite statement about her future in skiing. She would not 
be competing with Picabo Street for an Olympic medal. 

Giants Baseball : Once or twice a year we would try to get to 
Candlestick Park to see the Giants play. It was always fun, but I 
remember one mid-summer Saturday when everyone had pitched 
into their chores in the morning so we could get to an afternoon 
game. It was a warm morning and we were all a little sweaty and 
overheated as we climbed into the VW van to head to the ballpark. 
No one even thought about a coat or sweater. When we arrived at 
Candlestick there was a stiff breeze blowing fog over the 
mountains and the wind was swirling through the stadium. I think 
we lasted for about 3 or 4 innings and had to leave. We were all 
frozen and could barely make our legs work to get back to the car. 
It is no wonder that some years later the Giants built a new 
ballpark in downtown San Francisco with a lot less icy wind. 

For an 8 th or 9 th birthday present we gave Brad a ticket to a 
Giant’s game at Candlestick. They were offering a Willie Mays 
baseball bat to the first 10 or 20,000 fans coming into the stadium. 
I took Brad and we were not quite as early as we wanted to be so I 
dropped him off with his ticket to get through the gate in time for a 
bat, while I went to park. (No helicopter parent would do that 

He successfully and happily got a bat and was waiting for me to 
join him, when a large teen aged boy approached him and said, 
“Where is your dad?” Brad honestly answered, “He’s parking the 
car.” The teen quickly grabbed the bat and vanished in the crowd. 
When I came through the gate, the bats had all been given out and 
inside I found Brad in tears without a bat. I tried to see if the 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

stadium people could help us, but they had no more bats and had 
no hope of finding the thief. Over the years Brad has considered 
many other ways he might have answered that teen. I think his 
favorite fantasy response would be to pull a little closer to the 
biggest guy he could see and say, “That’s my dad.” 

Stanford Football : On Saturdays in the fall the whole family 
would jump on bikes and pedal over to the Stanford Stadium for a 
football game. It was always a beautiful time of the year. The air 
was cool, but sun was still warm. There were leaves all over the 
streets as we pedaled to the campus. It was a great trip and a nice 
day in the sunshine. Stanford’s games were always a little in doubt, 
but they had their moments. Colette and I were used to pain. BYU 
won very few football games during our years on the campus, 
Harvard was no better, so the Stanford games seemed normal. It 
was the bike trip and the nice fall days in the sunshine that made it 
a great experience, plus only an occasional football highlight. 

In recent years Stanford’s team has done better, sometimes with 
national ranking. The Stanford stadium has been rebuilt and is 
smaller, newer and fancier. Lights have been added for night 
games and most of the games, because of TV are being played at 
night. All of these changes may be good for Stanford football 
financially, but as a fan much of the old fall afternoon attraction is 
gone. But in exchange we see a few winning seasons. 

Family Bike Hikes : To do a family bike hike meant examining all 
the bikes, repairing flats, and mechanically repairing and adjusting 
the non-working element. Then when all the bikes were in working 
order we had local excursions. One time before taking off, the 
family lined up closely, side by side and for a picture snapped by 
Tom Kuhn. Just after the picture was snapped one of our group lost 
balance and toppled the whole group like a row of dominos. 

One of our biking challenges was to keep from losing bikes. 
Occasionally they were left unlocked at school or some other place 
and they were taken. But the worst problem, by far was the loss of 
bikes out of our own backyard shed or out of our garage. In total I 
think we lost 21 bikes. A neighbor boy was suspected. It was a big 
challenge to keep rolling stock for everyone in the family. 


Family & Church 

Funny Book: Young kids between the ages of 2 and 10 say some 
very funny things and sometimes have some very insightful 
observations. Good friends, Ron and Claire Poelman, whose 
family was a few years ahead of us age-wise, had made it a 
practice to record these comments as they came along. They would 
read some of these quotes occasionally at family nights and said 
that it was one of the most fun things their family did. It seemed 
like a great idea to us so Colette got some journal type books and 
began recording. I occasionally caught a good one for entry as 
well. We overflowed the first small binder and started a second. 
Periodically in our family nights we read some of these. They were 
always fun for all to hear. 

Family Cabins : Several times in the summertime our family 
stayed at the Arthur Nichols and Maria Dixon Taylor (ANT) Cabin 
in Wildwood, Provo Canyon. Now that both Arthur and Maria had 
passed on, the cabin was managed and scheduled by my aunts and 
uncles. Our family had not yet built a cabin at Brickerhaven. On 
Utah trips we enjoyed a turn at the ANT cabin. The canyon air was 
cooler, the kids played in the creek behind the cabin, hiked on the 
mountain, used the clever homemade playground equipment in the 
meadow, rode the little train that circled around, had church in the 
out of doors under the boxelder trees and enjoyed shopping in the 
little store down by the main highway. 

Some years later my father built the Altamont cabin in 
Brickerhaven where we could spend a week with Tony who was 
the summer resident caretaker for the family. The mornings were 
cold and often we built early fires in the fireplace to warm up. 
Without a fire it was not unusual for all 10 of the family to gather 
in the very small bathroom where there was a radiant electric wall 
heater. Morning pancakes never tasted better than at the cabin. 

This Brickerhaven cabin was often the launching point for hikes 
up Timpanogos. I think I took most of the family, at least down to 
Amy, on the challenging hike to the summit, or sometime up into 
the big Provo hole. These hikes are beautiful and have been 
enjoyed by at least 6 generations of the family 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

GTMH : The hike to the Big Provo Hole is affectionately named 
after my cousin George Terry Taylor, Lynn’s youngest son. The 
hike is called the GTMH which is short for the George Taylor 
Memorial Hike. It started when Hank Nelson, son of my aunt 
Alice, married Christy Stewart. At 6 AM on the morning after the 
wedding George knocked loudly on the door of the Nelson cabin 
and announced to the newlyweds that they were going to have a 
little hike. Reluctantly the young couple dressed and followed 
George up the mountain, mostly with no trials, to Big Provo Hole 
and then over into Stewart Cirque, the origin and source of Stewart 
falls, then down over the cliffs back to Brickerhaven. This was an 
outrageous intrusion on their honeymoon, but they loved it so 
much that this hike has been repeated every year for decades. 
Large numbers of Taylor descendants join in on the hike. Even 
though George seldom came on the hike again, it still bears his 
name, the GTMH. 

Honda Civic : When Honda first introduced this car model it was 
the beginning of a transition for them. In the U.S they were known 
as a motor cycle company and this was their early step toward 
becoming an automobile manufacturer. The civic was a very small 
car, about the size of the early VW Bug. Our family was too large 
for this little car, but the whole family was seldom in the car at the 
same time, so when gasoline became impossible to get in the 1980s 
we bought one of these very fuel efficient cars for around town 
use. Gasoline was so hard to get that many gas stations could only 
open a day or two a week when they got a new shipment. When a 
station was able to pump gas, cars would literally line up for miles 
to fill their tanks. Restrictions were made that allowed you to fill 
up only on odd or even days. As you can imagine gasoline prices 
doubled and tripled. It was nice to have a little car that could get 
more than 30 mpg. 

We had enjoyed the little dark brown car for a number of years 
when one day it suddenly went missing. We came back after 
Church one Sunday and it was gone. No one in the family had any 
idea where it was. As we checked around the house we found that 
a set of keys was missing from Colette’s purse which had been left 
in the Kitchen. As usual our house was not locked, so anyone 


Family & Church 

could have come in. We reported the loss to the police, but they 
had no immediate answer. A few days later the police did report 
that they had found our car, abandoned. They directed us to a 
storage lot where towed cars go and we picked it up. 

Eventually we learned that it was Robbie Wise, our next door 
neighbor boy, who had come in and taken the keys from Colette’s 
purse and gone for a joy ride, had a collision and abandoned the 
car. One of the problems was that all of Colette’s keys, not just the 
Honda key, were still missing. 

I took Robbie for a car ride to find the keys and he told me he 
didn’t know where they were. I told him to think really hard 
because we were never coming home again until the keys were 
found. He grudgingly said maybe there were some places we 
could look. He directed me to the Peninsula Bible Church close by 
and had me pull along the north side and said, “They may be over 
there somewhere,” nodding toward the bushes and the side of the 
church. I explained that I was not going to search for them, he 
was. There was a little more grumbling and then he said, “I think 
they’re on the roof.” After sizing up the wall height I said, “I’ll 
take you home for a ladder.” As we drove I asked how they could 
have gotten on the roof and he admitted that he threw them up 
there. When he finally got onto the roof and looked around for a 
while, he found them and returned them to me. 

It was sometime later that George had borrowed the Civic to 
attend a Palo Alto High School (Paly) Band marathon. The plan 
was to play until they dropped. At 2 in the morning the marathon 
broke up. George dropped off a couple of people and continued on 
home. On Middlefield Road, about one block before he was to turn 
onto Christine Drive, he fell sound asleep at the wheel. He veered 
slightly to the right and hit an old decrepit AMC (American 
Motors) Gremlin. Even when a Gremlin was new it was voted one 
of the 50 worst cars ever made. It was also voted one of the 50 
ugliest. This old Gremlin didn’t even run and had been parked on 
the street for months. Nevertheless George hit it squarely, knocked 
it forward into a second parked car, which was damaged also and 
in the process crumpled the Gremlin and pretty much smashed in 
the front end of our tender little Civic. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

At 2:30 am George limped into our bedroom and said, “Don’t 
worry, I’m OK, my leg is just bleeding a little.” I roused from a 
deep slumber and when my head cleared I said, “Why are you 
bleeding?” George explained about the accident. I went out to 
Middlefield Rd. and under the street light I could see the three cars 
with our Civic at the rear. They were all at curbside and not 
blocking any driveways, so I went back home and went to bed. 
Next day George left notes on the two damaged cars and we 
somehow got the Honda to our driveway. 

George had to buy the Gremlin for $700 and pay something 
toward the repair of the car in front of it. With some friends 
George worked on the little Gremlin AMC car and actually got it 
to run, sort of. George drove it for maybe 25 yards before it died 
completely. He finally sold it to a scrap dealer for $75 and they 
hauled it away. 

While we were figuring out what to do about repair of our 
Honda, George came back from school and said that his friend 
Craig Morley was taking an auto shop class at Paly and would love 
to try fixing it up. We agreed. We didn’t have too much to lose. 

The car was gone for several weeks and we were learning to live 
without it. One day Colette was home alone and she heard strange 
noises that seemed to be coming from the street by the garage. 
That made her nervous. Then the front doorbell rang. She was not 
expecting anyone at this midday hour and there was no car in front 
that could tell her who was calling on us. She figured that it was a 
robber trying to case our place and see if it was safe to break in, so 
she hid herself. Then she thought, “I’d better call the police, so 
from her upstairs hiding place she called. Very quickly the police 
were at our house and the doorbell rang again. This time, seeing 
the police car, she felt safer and answered the door. They had a 
young man in custody and when Colette looked at him she saw that 
it was Craig Morley who was just trying to return the car. After 
some discussion, Craig was released, the police were thanked for 
their prompt response and our crunched car was back on our 
driveway, still not running. The report was that it was too hard for 
his shop class to fix. 

We eventually had the Civic repaired and repainted. Colette and I 
looked at a bunch of small paint chips to choose a color. We settled 


Family & Church 

on a nice BMW rusty brownish red color. When we got the car 
back it was in one piece again and it ran, but the color turned out to 
be bright orange. Sadly it did not make the little car look like a 
BMW as we had hoped. The only saving grace was that with the 
new color it was never hard to find in a large parking lot. 

Family Principles : In a couple of our family nights we took some 
time to develop a set of family principles as guides for life. Each of 
our kids had a chance to put in ideas with ours and then we 
consolidated them, made copies and put a copy in each family 
member’s soft cover Book of Mormon, which we used in our 
family nights. The list was a far better one than I would have done 
alone. Here is an abridgement of the list. 

Taylor Family Principles - September 1977 

Keep a close relationship with the Lord 
Be sexually pure and chaste 
Be honest in every way 
Respect those in authority 
Know how to work hard, intelligently 
Be neat and clean in personal habits 

Have a helpful, kindly, loving, serving attitude toward others 
Attend all church activities 
Study hard 
Serve a mission 

Marry in the temple and have a good sized family 

Develop creative and practical skills 

Develop the ability to enjoy, laugh and live life fully 

With each item some text followed to explain what was intended. 

What Does Your Dad Do? : When my children were asked, “What 
does your dad do?” their standard reply was, “He works at HP.” If 
questioned further, they always said, “I don’t know.” I thought this 
was a little troubling so for one of our weekly family evening 
meetings I hauled all the kids and Colette, up to HP at 3000 
Hanover, in the Stanford Industrial Park and took them into a state- 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

of-the-art video conference room. There I had slides, hand-outs, 
illustrations, plus we were sitting in a two-way video conference 
room that was one of my HP group’s development projects. I went 
through my most understandable projects and invited them to ask 
questions. They were attentive and I thought at last they had some 

The next time I overheard one of them asked, “What does your 
dad do?” the answer came back, “He works at HP and he’s a 
manager or something.” So much for the elaborate conference 
room briefing. 

24. Bearmont 

Origin : One evening in 1967 we had a group of friends in our Palo 
Alto home. We were talking about the generally rural upbringing 
most of us had enjoyed, with access to mountains, canyons, forests 
and streams, and that it was a shame that our children could not 
have some similar experiences. At that time almost all Bay Area 
land was privately owned with no place that a young person could 
just wander and explore. One thing lead to another and this group 
of families began a search for some property in the nearby Santa 
Cruz Mountains where our children might have at least some 
experiences similar to ours. 

The Original Group included Kent & Betsy Christensen, David 
& Sally Ellison, Jim & Sandra Ellsworth, Gene & Charlotte 
England, Brooke & Sally Grant, Joe & Ruth Jeppson, Larry & 
Jewell Knight, Ken & Sondra Madsen, John & Susan Olsen, 
LeRoy & Vonda Porter, Jack & Dixie Zenger, and us. 

The search was great fun for the families and finally after a 
couple of years we found 160 acres on the northern border of 
Portola State Park. The property had a large stand of virgin 
redwoods, plus huge old Douglas Firs, oak and madrone. It was 
mountainous terrain with steep ups and downs. In the valley 
bottom was a year around stream called Bear Creek that ran 
through the property from east to west and eventually flowed into 
Peter’s creek, and then to the ocean. On a high southern ridge 
there was a clear view over the wooded Santa Cruz Mountains to 


Family & Church 

the Pacific Ocean. All 12 of the families loved the property and in 
April of 1969 formed a partnership to buy it. After some very 
lively, humorous discussion the name Bearmont was chosen for the 
property and partnership, the name being derived from the 
mountains rising up from Bear Creek. 

I was pressed into service as the Bearmont managing partner. 
We did a contoured elevation survey of the property, designated 
family camping sites, built fire circles, developed a water system 
from a spring, built a 30’ rope swing high in a large, sturdy 
madrone that swung out over a valley of giant ferns. The best part 
was that our kids could build monkey bridges across the stream, 
chop down dead trees, blaze trails up and down the mountain, 
build tree forts and cook on open fires. Colette was a good sport, 
sometimes warming two or three baby bottles over the campfire. 
We all became very familiar with poison oak and its effects. 

One Friday evening we invited Jack and Mary Lois Wheatley to 
join us for an overnight camp. Jack (who served as Mayor of Palo 
Alto) was a West Point graduate and was easily ready to sleep on 
the ground. Mary Lois on the other hand was a Manhattan fine 
artist. In the morning when we woke, Mary Lois with her long 
blond hair streaming out of her sleeping bag onto the ground, 
opened one eye and said, “What was it about us that made you 
think we would like this?” Well, they were good sports and 
experience didn’t kill our friendship. 

From a large stately redwood tree that had died but remained 
standing near the road, we harvested a substantial amount of 
lumber which we used to make a large three tiered deck that 
terraced down toward Bear Creek. A fellow with a portable saw 
mill cut the lumber for us and took a share of the lumber as pay. 
The Bearmont kids did a lot of the construction under the direction 
of David Jeppson, son of Joe and Ruth Jeppson. The Deck gave us 
a bit more civilized camping spot for the families who didn’t like 
to sleep on the ground. 

Every winter a number of oak and madrone trees would fall 
across the tenuous roads on the property. The “road” was more 
like a logging trail, cut by a caterpillar. We took our boys and their 
scout troop to the property and cut the downed tree into short 
lengths to clear the way and then split the log pieces for firewood. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

They sold the firewood to fund troop projects. The troop often 
camped at Bearmont as well. 

There was a wide variety of wildlife in our Santa Cruz Mountain 
retreat. We saw wildcats, coyote, wild boar, deer, mountain lions, 
skunks, possums, raccoons, and of course banana slugs, 
salamanders, and more. While Bearmont was only 10 miles from 
our house as the crow flies, the 90 minutes it took to travel the 19 
miles of sketchy roads and arrive in the quiet solitude of the tall 
trees, made it feel a thousand miles from civilization. 

Bad Day at Bearmont : Colette’s cousin Ted Thain with his wife 
and family visited us and we invited them all to join us for a trip to 
Bearmont. All of our kids jumped into our VW Van and Ted drove 
his family in his car. Over an hour later we found our way into a 
Bearmont clearing surrounded by huge virgin redwoods. When we 
finally parked, Ted looked a little pale. He’d never been over such 
bad mountain roads. 

We had a fun lunch together in the redwoods. Some other 
Bearmont families had joined us. The kids hiked over to the huge 
swing that soared over a giant fern forest and then played some 
games in the woods. After lunch the adults cleaned up the area and 
visited. Dixie Zenger’s brother Clayne Robison who had helped us 
clean-up was shaking the water off his hands when his wedding 
ring flew off into the wild growth. We all looked long and hard, 
but could never find it. 

By this time Brad, our teenaged son, was somewhat bored with 
the day and asked if he could take the car keys so that he could 
listen to the Giant’s baseball game on the van’s radio while we 
continued visiting. A bit later one of the families needed to leave, 
so Brad, with our permission, seized the opportunity to ride back to 
civilization with them. In the late afternoon when it was time for 
all the rest of us to leave we realized that Brad had taken our only 
keys for the VW Van, leaving 7 of our family stranded. Dixie had 
forgotten her Skyline Road gate key so she had parked at the gate 
and walked 4 miles down into Bearmont. Cell phones didn’t exist 
in those days, so we had no way to reach Brad or anyone else for 
help. We finally loaded all of our younger kids with the Thain kids 


Family & Church 

into their small car and the adults and larger kids began to hike up 
the road behind the car packed with kids. 

As mentioned the Bearmont roads were not good. As Ted was 
driving out, the left side of the narrow road caved out from under 
him so that both front left and back left wheels were hanging over 
the edge of a very steep drop off. The walkers quickly caught up 
with Ted and pulled all of the kids out of the car. All the adults and 
older kids tried to push the car up onto what was left of the road, 
but we couldn’t do it. I asked Ted to get his jack out and I found a 
few large boulders. We stuck the boulders at the edge of the drop 
off, set the jack on them and cranked it up as high as it would go. 
Then everyone pushed again to tip the jack and this time the car 
moved inward just enough to catch what was left of road edge. Ted 
cautiously crawled in from the passenger side and was able to 
drive forward enough to find a better part of the road where we 
loaded the kids again and continued our 4 mile trek up and out. 

After some time in the deep woods we all got up to Skyline gate 
where Dixie had parked her car. From there Ted got his family 
together and with great relief headed home to southern California 
after his harrowing visit. Dixie packed her car with her family and 
all of us and drove to her house. From there we called Brad who 
was at his friend’s house. He had completely forgotten that he had 
the car keys. 

He was willing, with the help of his friend, Dave Thomas, to 
drive back to pick up the van and bring it out. Our family all 
waited at the Zenger’s home which was in Los Altos Hills, closest 
to Bearmont. Brad set out on the journey, but a long time passed 
and there was no sign of him. He was to deliver the van to us so we 
could go home. An hour or two later than expected Brad showed 
up with his friend, but no van. He had tried to complete the 
retrieval, but did not have a key to get into the Skyline gate. Even 
if he had walked down in for the van, he could not get it out with 
the gate locked. I gave Brad my gate key and in another hour or 
two, after it was dark, we had the van and could finally go home. 

After that bad day we kept a spare key in a magnetic box in the 
wheel well of the van and the gate lock was changed to a 
combination. All these were good improvements, but a bit late. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Gravel Truck : We had a nice little spring in the Giant Fern 
Valley. It had clear, cold water and was high enough elevation to 
service some of our better camping areas on the lower parts of the 
property. So we bought a 500 gallon redwood tank and assembled 
it just below the spring hooked up PVC pipe to the camping areas 
and set about to develop the spring. To do this we dug back into 
the flow and laid a concrete channel to capture the flow. Then we 
needed some gravel for the water to flow through when we 
covered the trough back up. I bought a yard of course gravel and a 
yard of pea gravel from a local supplier and asked him how much 
it would cost to have it delivered. He said $15.00. That sounded 

On the appointed day Gene England and I had made a crib out of 
logs at the bottom of a steep 40’ drop off the road. Colette and 
Charlotte went a mile or two down the rugged road toward Portola 
State Park to meet the truck driver. 

They led the driver in, but when he came to the log bridge over 
Peter’s Creek, he shook his head and climbed down under the 
bridge to look at the structure he came out shaking his head, but 
the women assured him that the bridge would support his large 
dump truck loaded with 2 yards of gravel. Reluctantly he drove 
across and it held. 

As they led him up the treacherous road toward the Bearmont 
property an overhanging tree branch sheared off his air horn, 
which didn’t seem critical at the time, but the driver explained that 
his brakes depended on the same air system and now he had no 
brakes. If he could have gone back right then he would have, but 
the road had no place to turn around and the road behind him was 
very steep and really not wide enough for his truck going forward 
let alone backing with no brakes. 

He continued bravely on with encouragement from the women 
who offered him a sandwich to keep his strength up. In another 
half hour or so he arrived at the spot where we needed the gravel 
and he looked around at the very narrow road with the sheer drop 
off on one side. We told him to just drop it over the edge and try to 
hit the log crib below; pea gravel first and the coarse gravel 
second. He looked astounded and murmured “over the edge!” 
“Yes, over the edge.” 


Family & Church 

He wiped his brow, shook his head and dumped the load. 

We drew him a map of how to get out of the upper road. This 
was a challenge because there was a maze of roads, but we 
explained how not to go wrong and assured him that this would be 
a much better road for a truck with faulty brakes, because it was 
uphill to the gate. We gave him the code to the Skyline gate, 
thanked him profusely and wished him good luck. 

We finished the spring and water system and it worked like a 
champ. However I have often thought of that poor truck driver and 
wondered if he changed professions after his day with us. 

After many decades of joyful use, our families had grown up and 
a majority of families had moved from the Bay Area, we faced a 
decision about what we would do next with the property. The first 
step was to sell and gift the westerly 80 acres which had the bulk 
of the huge virgin redwoods. This half of the property was sold to 
Save the Redwood Organization for a price which covered our 
total original costs and gave us a small capital gain. A sizable 
portion of the sales value was gifted from Bearmont to Save the 
Redwoods. They in turn committed to contribute the 80 acres to 
the State Park to extend its borders. This partial sale allowed many 
of the original partners, who had moved, to be bought out. 

Final Sale : The remaining partners held and used the remaining 
property for another 10 years, or more. Clearly at this point a 
succession plan was needed. Many remaining partners had 
considered leaving their remaining equity in Bearmont in their 
estates for their children. I was concerned that this was going to 
create serious problems in the future. While the ownership could 
be managed with twelve families, the next generation of families 
sharing ownership would increase to 56, making the partnership 
unmanageable. Finally all the partners agreed to sell and gift the 
property to the adjacent Park, much as we had with the first 80 

In 2005 I arranged for the remaining 80 acres to be sold and 
gifted to Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) specifying that they 
gift the property to the park much like the sale we had made to 
Save the Redwoods. The partnership closed in January of 2006. All 
of us felt good about the wonderful years we had and felt it was 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

appropriate that others now have the opportunity in the Park to 
share some of the nature experiences that we had enjoyed so much 
at Bearmont. 

25. Church Experiences 

Ward Choir : With two wards and numerous meetings in our 
church building it was always a struggle to find a time for a choir 
to rehearse. As Bishop I suggested to the Sunday School that we 
start a choir class with a teacher and choir director splitting the 
time. The teacher taught a 20 minute gospel doctrine lesson and 
then the choir director had a 20 minute rehearsal. It worked 
wonderfully well for more than half a year. The class members 
enjoyed the arrangement and felt the lessons were excellent; many 
said better than a full length class. The ward had the best choir ever 
and the choir performed once or twice a month in our church 

Of course the Sunday School Manual didn’t provide for this 
option so as our class became more broadly known, inquiries were 
made and we were directed to stop the class. The choir did 
continue, but went back to struggling for a practice time. 

Primary Chorus : I noticed that whenever we had a primary 
program in Sacrament Meeting that our attendance was 10 points 
higher and many of the less active parents came. Our Primary was 
quite large, maybe more than 100 children and I talked with the 
Primary President about forming a chorus that could sing regularly 
in our church meetings when the ward choir was not performing. 
She was supportive and we took about 40 of the older Primary 
children and Colette became the director. The older children loved 
the chorus and they became very skilled and even performed in 

Because this children’s chorus worked so well we did the same 
thing with the ward youth. Then each month the ward choir, the 
youth chorus and children’s chorus all sang. The ward members 
loved it and our attendance increased. 


Family & Church 

The Power of Testimony : When any of us bears personal 
testimony to the truths of the gospel or bears witness of the mission 
of the Savior there is a tangible strengthening of our spirit and our 
testimony grows brighter. The difference before and after is 
remarkable. This struck me as a bishop and I regretted that only 
about 10 to 14 people had this opportunity in any of our fast and 
testimony meetings. I talked to Walter Gong and Bob Darby, my 
counselors, about this and explained that I wanted to create more 
opportunities for testimony bearing. They were a little concerned, 
but did agree to try it. 

On the next Fast Sunday after the Ward business and passing of 
the Sacrament, I identified 4 specific groups in the congregation 
and asked each group to follow one of us; i.e., me, one of my 
counselors, or the HP Group leader. We each lead our group to a 
pre-designated spot in the building and one group stayed in the 
front pews of the chapel. Testimonies were then borne in these 
smaller groups and closing prayer was offered in each group. The 
results were remarkable. Instead of a dozen people bearing 
testimonies there were more than 50. Some who expressed 
themselves had not done this for years, and some had never taken 
the opportunity. The groups were intimate and receptive. There 
was no sense of being “on stage” and the testimonies were 
personal and heartfelt. If listening to a testimony has a value of 1, 
bearing your testimony has a value of 5 to 10 so when a few people 
complained that they did not hear everyone who stood up that day I 
simply explained what I felt was the value ratio. 

We did not do this every month, but probably once a quarter, or 
so. This went well for a year or two. A couple of other wards in the 
stake thought this was a good idea and followed suit. This made 
the Stake President very nervous. He checked with Salt Lake and 
then asked us to stop and we did. 

A few years later when I was being set apart in a stake 
presidency. Elder L. Tom Perry said to the new presidency, “When 
you are prompted to do something constructive outside the normal 
guidelines of the church to bless the people, do it. You will be 
surprised how much good you can do for the Saints before you are 
told to stop.” 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Blessing the sick: I got a call one evening from a young Stanford 
Ward widowed mother of 3. Her husband had died recently and 
she determined that if she was going to support her children she 
needed to strengthen her education and for this reason she was at 
Stanford getting an advanced degree. In her phone call she 
explained that the doctors who had just examined her said that she 
had tuberculosis and asked if I would give her a blessing. This sent 
a cold chill clear through me. On my mission I had visited 
members in a TB sanatorium and it was grim. It appeared to me 
there was no good cure and no recovery to a full life. 

When I laid hands on her head to give a blessing I felt 
immediately that this was a woman of great faith and that the Lord 
urged me to give her a strong blessing. So I blessed her to be 
completely restored to full health with the ability to care for her 
children. When done I couldn’t believe that was the blessing I had 
pronounced, because in my gut I knew that I had not seen people 
get better from this disease. I went home feeling uneasy. 

The next day she called to tell me that she had spent most of the 
day at the doctor’s offices. They kept calling her back in from one 
office to another for reexamination with additional chest x-rays, 
comparing yesterday and today. What they were finding, to their 
bewilderment, was that all traces of TB were gone. She was crying 
with joy and I was grateful for her faith and the Lord’s 

On a second occasion, in different ward, I was called to give a 
blessing to a man in the Veterans Hospital and took Bob Darby, 
my counselor with me. When the blessing was pronounced it was 
of comfort and assurance of life’s continuation beyond this. As we 
were walking out Bob said to me that was the worst blessing he 
had ever heard and it was not what he expected. I agreed with him 
that it was not too cheery for this world, but I told him that today 
that man would die and be with his family who had died before 
him. Within a day he was gone. 

PA 2 youth : As a bishop I had a real problem with the Teacher age 
young men and with them the young women were headed the same 
way. (This was during a time that we had lots of youth in the ward, 
two Deacon’s Quorums and a full Teacher’s Quorum and plenty of 


Family & Church 

Priests.) I had worried about the rowdy Teachers for some time 
without a good solution to the problem. One day I was home sick. 
This was rare. In 40 years I had less than 3 or 4 sick days off. At 
one time I did have almost a week off with an eye injury. I was 
miserable, but not sick. 

On this rare sick day at home I decided that rather than waste the 
day I would seek an answer to my youth problem. When I prayed 
really hard about it the Lord said pretty clearly, “Go read the 
D&C.” Wow, why didn’t I think of that? So I read all the scripture 
relating to the duties of a Teacher in the priesthood. When I did 
this I got three pretty clear thoughts: One was that the Teachers’ 
current job was invisible to the ward. Secondly, they were done 
with their priesthood assignment before the meeting started and 
three: they were not doing their scriptural duty. 

Their priesthood assignment was to prepare the sacrament in a 
back room and when they were done they all went to sit in the back 
comer of the chapel to stir up a problem in every meeting. Of 
course the young women followed their lead and came to that 
comer also. Both the Deacons and the Priests had visible 
assignments in front of the congregation during the meetings, but 
not the teachers. The scriptures said they should teach members the 
gospel and they weren’t. While most had home teaching 
assignments they virtually never taught any of the families if they 
even visited with their companions. 

The result was we made a few simple adjustments: Home 
Teaching Senior Companions were asked to let the Teachers teach. 
We asked everyone in the congregation to sit with their family in 
Sunday School (SS) opening services and Sacrament Meetings. Up 
until then this had not been the tradition in the ward at all and it 
took a while to win everyone over. Thirdly, we gave the Teachers a 
responsibility to teach a short scriptural lesson in SS opening, Jr. 
SS and in Sacrament Meeting, the three meetings where all or large 
parts of the ward assembled. The teaching assignment for Teachers 
worked as follows: One teacher read a scripture, one explained in 
his own words what it was saying, and the third Teacher applied 
the teaching to our lives with his testimony. The Teachers made 
this presentation in both Junior and Senior Sunday School opening 
assemblies which were held in the morning and in Sacrament 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Meeting, which was held in the evening. Nine Teachers had 
assignments each Sunday and they did the research and preparation 
for their scripture presentations. 

When these changes were made our problems vanished. Even the 
Lord says, “When all else fails read the manual.” 

Counselling: One evening I got a phone call from a young man, 
I’ll call Eddie. He wanted an appointment with me, his bishop. He 
met me at the church and began to lay out a long list of complaints 
about his wife, the mother of their three young children. It was a 
very long list of issues: weight gain, grooming, housekeeping, 
cooking style, reading habits, the list went on and on. I listened for 
a long time and in the middle of one of his long complaints I got 
the clearest impression and prompting that this rant was not the 
problem, but rather that Eddie had been unfaithful to his wife. 

I stopped him and told him of my impression. He was taken 
aback and began to bluster and then broke into tears as he 
grudgingly confirmed that my impression was correct. He had met 
someone at work and the relationship had gotten out of hand. 

The discussion shifted to his problems and the course of action 
he should take. It became clear to him; that he should set his life’s 
course back on track and strengthen his relationship with wife and 
family. He knew he wanted and needed to do that. I gave him a 
blessing. And he went away feeling that the impossible burden he 
had felt coming in, had begun to lift. 

Over time he made good his repair work and the family unit 
came back into focus. The Lord knows our problems, even when 
we are confused and He has a way to get the message to us if we 
will listen. 

Church Welfare : In our ward Priesthood Executive Committee 
(PEC) Meetings each week we devoted some time to ward 
members who were in need of assistance, as most all wards do. 
Fortunately we didn’t have a large number, probably averaged a 

In a Stake Conference Leadership Meeting we got some 
encouragement from the visiting general authority to assist our 
welfare recipients more fundamentally and help them to become 


Family & Church 

self-sufficient. We took the advice to heart and worked with each 
individual. In just a few months all but Peggy successfully became 
independent and moved off the welfare rolls. 

Peggy’s case was more difficult: a single mother with one young, 
out-of-wedlock child. She had limited schooling and no developed 
marketable skills. The whole PEC group racked their brains for 
options that could work. After a long discussion there was a long 
list of things she could not do. I finally asked the group, “What can 
she do?” Bob Darby finally said, “She loves children.” This was 
our first glimmer of hope and I asked, “Could she offer child care 
service?” Bob felt that she would be very good at some kind of day 

This seemed to be a feasible option. We talked with her and she 
was thrilled with the prospect, but there were problems. She lived 
in a small apartment with no yard and could never accommodate a 
group of children without better housing. She felt getting a better 
living situation was out of reach with her limited means. 

I had an idea and ran some numbers. It looked like we could 
make something work if we could get some seed money. I talked 
to the ward high priest group and explained that we would very 
much like to help Peggy become independent, but to do that we 
would need some funding sufficient for a down payment on a 
home, about $7,000 at that time. They all agreed to help. 

We found a Sterling Gardens home in a distressed sale, made a 
successful offer and bought the home for Peggy, in her name. 

She and her daughter moved in and opened up a day care 
program. In our area there is high demand for this kind of service. 
With her earnings she could carry the mortgage and homeowners’ 
expenses and still generate a tight, but reasonable living allowance. 
As her daughter grew, she could help with the child care when she 
was not in school. Peggy loved the work and the children and 
parents who used the service loved her. 

Her service continued for decades, until she retired. All who 
helped with this project felt rewarded as they saw Peggy’s spirit, 
attitude and self-esteem soar. She had become fully self-sustaining. 
The home appreciated significantly in value and when sold became 
the backbone of her retirement funding. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Emergency Preparedness : The Prophets of the Church were 
wonderful to encourage us all to have food and water storage for 
emergencies. Periodically this would be reemphasized and on one 
of these occasions I made a sustained effort to urge ward families 
to seriously gear up. Many of the families responded. It occurred to 
me that it was a waste to put stuff on a shelf and never use it or 
ever test out what we were storing. So in the next Sacrament 
Meeting I picked 6 families out of the congregation and asked if 
they would accept the calling to live on their food supply for 2 
weeks (as I recall). These were all families with children in the 
home. They all accepted the challenge and I added our family to 
the group without warning Colette. It was challenge. 

As we neared the end of the experiment our local newspaper was 
tipped off about the project and was curious. They did an article 
with a family picture which was picked up for country-wide 
coverage by the AP. Soon after Channel 5, KPIX, saw the article 
and came to our home for interviews and video tapes. In an 
interview I explained what we were doing and why. They taped 
Colette and me in the garage with our rolling canned food storage 
shelves and also our home bottled fruit and wheat storage. Then 
they shot a video of a meal that Colette had prepared. 

In those days all of our kids came home from school for lunch. 
The camera caught each one as he or she arrived. After a blessing 
on the food the video showed them eating some homemade soup 
with homemade bread. Tom had come in a little late and quickly 
took a seat at the table. He was served a fresh bowl of soup from 
the stove. He took one bite and spewed the very hot soup out 
across the table. KPIX didn’t edit that little sequence out, so there 
was always some question about the heat of the soup or quality of 
storage food meals. The story got passed along to other channels 
through news services and I had friends from all over the country 
call to say they had seen us. Newspapers from all over also picked 
up the picture and story and clippings rolled in from everywhere. 

Publicity was not our objective. A real survival test was what we 
wanted. In the Sacrament Meeting following our test I had each of 
our families report on their experiences. All had survived and had 
a better idea of what to put in their storage, but it was not clear that 
anyone really enjoyed the experience. Our kids would not eagerly 


Family & Church 

volunteer to do it again. Brad reported later that he thought the test 
had lasted for 3 to 6 months (just to give you a gauge of how 
quickly the test time went for him). 

Personal Promptings : Richard Sonne had been our Stake 
President for nearly a decade when Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum 
of the Twelve came to the Palo Alto Stake to call a new president. 
On the Friday and Saturday before our early 1973 Stake 
Conference our family was on the beach at Pajaro Dunes with the 
Englands and their six kids, and Zengers and their six. Around 
mid-day I had the clear impression that Elder Packer needed to talk 
with me, but also knew that I did not have to be the Stake 
President. I eventually convinced the kids and Colette that we 
needed to go home. Colette and I had just enough time to settle the 
kids and go to the evening meeting of Stake Conference. After the 
meeting had started Elder Packer came off the stand and went out 
and shortly after someone tapped me on the shoulder and said I 
needed to go the Stake President’s office. Elder Packer met me 
there and his first question was why are you here tonight? I thought 
it would sound funny to say that I knew that he wanted to talk to 
me, so I simply said we have a lot of kids and this adult session is 
the only one where we can hear the speakers. He looked skeptical, 
but proceeded to call me as the First Counselor in the new stake 
presidency to serve with W. Kay Williams as President and LeRoy 
Porter as Second Counselor. Colette gave her approval and the 
next day we were sustained and set apart. 

Elder Packer had people all that Saturday afternoon trying to get 
hold of me but no one could find me. (No one had cell phones in 
those days.) Elder Packer did not know, but might have suspected 
that the Lord had already reached me and left a message. 

It has been surprising to me, when issuing a calling that often the 
person already knew by the spirit that the calling was coming. 
Over the years I’ve issued hundreds and hundreds of callings and I 
believe that about a third of those called already had the same 
promptings at the same time that I had had as a bishop or stake 
president’s counselor. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Diane: One particularly remarkable case was at the time we were 
organizing the Stanford Ward. The Bishop, Ron Poelman and 
Brooke Grant and I, as counselors, had met several nights to 
prayerfully staff the newly created ward. Then we each set out with 
a long list of people to contact and issue callings to. I was a bit 
muddled with all my scraps of paper with notations and I called the 
wrong sister to be the Relief Society President, in error. She was a 
good woman, but not the one the Lord had directed us to call. 
Later in our bishopric meeting we talked about the error and 
decided to let the calling stand. On Sunday we went ahead and 
sustained “the wrong woman” in sacrament meeting. During the 
week that followed the new RS President’s husband’s academic 
plans had a sudden change and they moved before the week ended. 

We went back to Diane, the Lord’s original choice, and called 
her to be the Relief Society President. She cried and her husband, 
Don, explained that about the same time we were asking the Lord 
who should have this calling, she had a very clear jolt and 
understood that that she was going to be called to this 
responsibility. She told her husband her feelings of concern about 
their small children. He reassured her that it would work out. 
When another woman was sustained on the Sunday just passed, 
Don said she cried, because her clear prompting was so far off 

One week after the wrong woman was sustained Diane was 
sustained and set apart. She was a great first Relief Society 
President of the new ward and was greatly reassured that her 
sensitivity to the Spirit was not distorted. We make mistakes, but 
the Lord gets it right. 

Palo Alto Politics : I have not been particularly active in political 
work at any level. Somehow in the early 1970s some friends 
convinced me that I should help with the selection and 
campaigning of carefully chosen City Council nominees. This was 
not an appealing project, but somehow I felt compelled to do it. 

About 10 well placed, influential people in the city made up the 
committee I was part of. Our objective was to choose good 
candidates who would govern the city in a much better way than 
the current, strident, dysfunctional council was doing. I was no 


Family & Church 

power broker in the city, but I did know about 1,000 people in the 
city pretty well because of my church assignments 

Five out of 9 seats were standing for election and we hoped to 
get good people in all 5 seats. Five good candidates were chosen 
and they were persuaded to run. Along with the other committee 
members I helped raise money for the candidates, helped prepare 
printed material, and spent a good amount of time talking to people 
in their behalf, door to door and by correspondence. 

Four of our five chosen candidates were elected and the one who 
lost did so by a razor thin margin. Fortunately the one who 
squeezed in ahead of our man was a good candidate. The 
complexion of the council changed remarkably and good things 
began to happen. The next election round was a few years later 
and the same process was repeated and we placed our candidates in 
3 of the 4 open spots. 

At this time in my life I really had very little discretionary time, 
with family, work and church all needing much attention. I really 
wondered at times why I felt I had to be involved in this city 
council election process. Then one day it became crystal clear. The 
newly created Los Altos Stake had only one good building in 
Sunnyvale and we needed to house 8 or 9 wards. So as a Stake 
Presidency we decided that we needed 3 new chapels, a Stake 
Center and two ward buildings. Locations were chosen for a Stake 
Center in Los Alto on Grant Road and a ward building Palo Alto 
on Middlefield Road property that the Church already owned. The 
third building was planned for north Los Altos on Jordan Avenue 
on the property where an old inadequate chapel was located. 

Los Altos was a reasonable city to work with for building 
permits, and we received two from them for the buildings we 
needed. Palo Alto had been impossible. For years all kinds of 
Christian church projects had been turned down by city officers 
and City Council. Now with the new slate of city council members 
the Middlefield Road project to build our chapel was approved in a 
very constructive way and they even allowed us to choose the 
name Ensign Way for the small street that runs in front of the 
chapel. This friendly window for church development in Palo Alto 
only stayed open for a few years, just enough to get our chapel 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

there completed in 1978. Then the City Council “turned to worms” 

Without that completely different kind of city council in Palo 
Alto for a few years, I feel we would have never been able to build 
the chapel on Middlefield Road and the church owned property 
there would have had to be devoted to some kind of subsidized 
housing, which was the only thing the Council was approving. 
Sometimes the Lord leans on us to do something and we don’t 
know why until afterward. 

Stanford Ward : In the Church sustaining votes are quite generally 
unanimous in the affirmative, but not always. In the mission field 
we held a branch conference where the branch president had come 
under criticism from a few dissident members who voted not 
sustain him. Those voting against were given a chance to fully 
explain their issues after the meeting. This had been a good 
learning experience for me. 

Many years later when the proposition to divide the Stanford 
Ward was being presented by our Stake President, there were a 
number of negative votes. The Stake President seemed to have 
never seen a vote opposing a person or proposition and he was 
frozen at the pulpit. The pause was long enough that some who had 
voted no stood up and began to explain why the proposal was not a 
good idea. I slipped over to the President and suggested that he 
invite them into his office down the hall to discuss their concerns 
after the meeting. He did this and order was restored. The meeting 
proceeded more smoothly then and Richard L. Evans of the 
Quorum of 12, who had come to evaluate the division of the ward, 
gave a very inspiring sermon. 

Afterward the meeting with concerned members went well. I 
explained that two wards rather than one would give more 
opportunities for callings and church service, and further that with 
single students and married student in the same ward that all the 
major callings went to the married students because of their 
maturity and accessibility. Single students kept irregular hours and 
often could only be reached on a single dormitory phone per floor. 
(There were no cell phones, email, text messages, or internet 
connections in 1965.) 


Family & Church 

Those who initially had concerns understood the reasons for 
change and supported the division. 

Primary in a Single Student Ward? : The division of the Stanford 
ward into two wards, the 1 st and 2 nd really did provide many more 
callings for the younger students. They took responsibility for the 
workings of their church, some for the first time. Having a calling 
made all the difference to their growth in the gospel and 
correspondingly, the number who fell away from the church 

One remaining concern was that there were too few callings for 
the many very strong and capable women in the Ward. Once the 
Relief Society was fully staffed there were too many talented 
women who had no church callings. After prayerful consideration 
with my counselors I had the clear impression that we needed to 
organize a Primary. This seemed a little strange to me because we 
had no children in the ward. The Lord’s answer was to go out and 
find children for this Primary. After assuring my counselors that 
we could and should do it, we called a full Primary organization. 
We met with the new leaders, teachers and staff along with the 
Ward Mission Leader and his group and explained that the Lord 
wanted them to go door to door, describe the program and get 
permission and referrals to recruit the children who would attend. 

The new leaders did this with enthusiasm and were very 
successful in finding children who wanted to attend and had the 
support of their non-member parents. They established a thriving 
Primary with a full complement of local children. The Primary met 
on a weekday evening, including a Cub Scout Pack. Some boys 
went on in to scouting in the local Palo Alto wards and some of the 
young men and women became church members. 

President Harold B. Lee’s second wife loved the Primary and had 
worked in it most of her life. She caught me one time at General 
Conference and said, “Are you the single student ward bishop who 
organized a Primary?” When I nervously admitted that yes, I am, 
she gave me a big hug and said, “That is the most wonderful thing 
I’ve heard of.” I don’t know how the word of this filtered back to 
her but she knew. I was pleased and relieved that she was happy 
with our Primary. We generally tried pretty hard to keep our 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

activities that went beyond the Handbook under the radar, but 
word does travel to SLC. Fortunately, this project had high level 
support and it continued for many years after my release. 

Single to Married : When the Stanford Ward began it was 
dominantly student members. Over time young singles in the area 
gravitated to the ward. These were wonderfully talented people 
with jobs in the area. By the time the married students had moved 
to a married ward the Stanford student ward was half non-student. 
For most of them it was clearly the time in their life to be married. 
Their schooling was behind them and they were working. Some 
were graduate students and upperclassmen. So my counselors and I 
began to make a concerted effort in interviews, firesides, and 
church talks to explain the importance and need to move toward 
marriage. We had socials and activities with this in mind. 

One activity that I remember was a very nice picnic basket 
auction. The women made a basket including all the food items 
needed for a picnic. Then without identifying the creator the 
baskets were auctioned off to the men. After all the baskets were 
purchased each woman came forward to claim her basket and share 
it with the purchaser. The picnic was at a nearby park and each 
couple had to work together to come up with something to present 
to the group. Some new friendships were made that could have 
never developed otherwise. The proceeds of the auction went to 
more socials. 

That year the ward had 32 temple marriages and each one was 
positively highlighted in our ward gatherings. It was a very 
rewarding effort. 

During this time the Church sent us a slide presentation for the 
young people of the church. Without too much time to review the 
materials, I dutifully set up a fireside for the ward and shared the 
presentation. There was a large group and only a few of them were 
freshmen and sophomores, the great preponderance were older. 

To my embarrassment the presentation was titled “Too Much 
Too Soon.” It was all about how to keep the romantic brakes on. I 
apologized to the group and said that, “We got the wrong material. 
What we really needed was the presentation for ‘Too Little Too 
Late.’ Now get out there and find your soulmate.” 


Family & Church 

Audio Visual Aids : Brooke Grant, my First Counselor in the 
Stanford Ward bishopric, and I were attending a quarterly Stake 
Priesthood Meeting in the Menlo Park Stake Center. As we came 
in for the opening assembly in the chapel, I noticed a slide 
projector and a screen were set up for us. I commented to Brooke 
that I had almost never seen an audio-visual presentation work out 
well. Brooke smiled and thought about that for a minute and said, 
“Same for me.” 

The time came in the meeting for the slide presentation that had 
been set up. It was a 35mm film strip that an operator manually 
advanced one frame at a time when he got an audible beep from 
the separately recorded narrative. The narration for the slides was 
wired into the chapel sound system. In our presentation the 
operator got off two or three beeps so pictures were a bit out of 
sync with the sound track. Focus was also a little fuzzy, but we 
were coping and able to glean most of the message. 

Theo Vehaaren was the High Councilman responsible for Audio 
Visual equipment for the stake. He was a high school teacher, 
trained in such things. He was the one who had come early to set 
up our slide show. He had been busy elsewhere in the building and 
came in shortly after the slide presentation had started. He didn’t 
know the sound was off a few frames, but the poor focus caught 
his eye. He slipped over unobtrusively to adjust the project. Next 
thing we knew there was a kaleidoscope of color in the whole front 
of the chapel. While Theo worked feverishly to get the picture 
back, the sound track continued on, beep...beep...beep. From that 
point onward we lost all connection between the dialog and the 
pictures. Short of starting over there was no way to recover so the 
operator just plowed on to the end while we wondered what the 
message really was. 

After this ill-fated start for the general meeting we broke into 
sections. Brooke and I went to the meeting for bishoprics with the 
Stake Presidency. The three members of the Stake Presidency sat 
at a table in the front of the room and the 10 to 12 Bishoprics and 
their counselors sat in rows facing them. Brooke and I were on the 
first or second row. The meeting went quite well for a while. Then 
there was another slide show with a recorded sound track like the 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

one we had just come from. This went somewhat better. We were 
only off a frame or two, but no one in our room tried to adjust 
anything. After the slide presentation the meeting continued and 
was running quite long. 

The Stake President was talking when we noticed that the door 
behind and to the right of the Stake Presidency table had been 
opening at about 2 minute intervals for almost 10 minutes. From 
our seats we could just make out Theo looking through the crack of 
the door. He obviously wanted to put the equipment away and go 
home. After a bit the front door moved no more, and through the 
back door into the room Theo tip toed in. He unplugged the 
projector and the turntable. He put the soundtrack record in its 
jacket. The turntable and the projector both had carrying cases and 
he got them in. The trouble started as he removed the little table 
the equipment had been on. It was only a modest disruption until 
two metal folding chairs collapsed and fell against other metal 
chairs and created a cascading collapse of other metal chair with a 
resulting huge noise. The Stake President didn’t pause, but went 
right on. Finally Theo was almost out the back when the door 
banged noisily against the cases and table he was carrying. Still the 
Stake President just plowed ahead with his thoughts, not even 
breaking stride. Because of our earlier talk about visual aids I had 
almost lost it and was fighting to hold back an uncontrollable 
laugh. Brooke was grinning and holding his breath. 

A little time went by and I had almost regained my composure 
when the front door behind the Presidency opened again. There 
was Theo. He tiptoed in behind the Stake Presidency and was 
beginning to remove the very large portable projection screen. The 
Stake President continued on as Theo carefully pulled up the tripod 
feet and was starting to extract the whole screen without scrolling 
it into its holder. Unfortunately the legs had not locked in the up 
position and dropped just as Theo was pulling the full screen out 
from behind the Presidency. The legs then caught on something 
and the whole screen crashed down. I lost it and had to put my 
head down on my knees to stifle my laughter. I could feel Brooke 
bouncing up and down next to me. That made it worse. The Stake 
President didn’t even pause. 


Family & Church 

I looked ahead from my low, hysterical, bent posture and there 
was Theo almost nose to nose with me. He had crawled under the 
presidency’s table to untangle the screen legs. It was at this point I 
had lost all composure and just tried to stay out of sight from all 
the others in the room and clamp my mouth shut. By some miracle 
Theo extracted the screen, left the room, put away the equipment 
and went home. The Stake President had not missed a beat, but I 
had no idea what the last part of that meeting was about. 

Now with the advent of computers the fumbling is different, but 
it is not altogether gone. There are cable swaps, software 
incompatibilities to sort through, file searches for the material to be 
presented, and sound connections which tend not to go smoothly. 
I’ve remained a little gun shy about the use of electronic audio 
visual aids. I’m sure they might be nice when they work. 

Prospective High Priests : President Kay Williams came back 
from a trip with some ideas he’d picked up about reactivating a 
large group of people in a stake. Our whole stake presidency felt 
the ideas were good and could help our stake, so we made plans to 
do the following: 

First we identified men in each ward who were High Priest age, 
but were still Elders or Aaronic Priesthood bearers. We selected 
about 45 men and divided them among the presidency and spoke to 
each man personally. We told them that they had been selected by 
the Stake Presidency (who are also the presidency of the High 
Priests quorum in the stake) to be ordained High Priests. In each 
case this elicited a voluntary discussion of things they felt held 
them back, such as tithing, word of wisdom, sometimes people 
problems, etc. These were very helpful and liberating discussion 
for the men. After they received some positive encouragement 
almost all knew they could make the corrective steps. A time frame 
was set and each individual suggested a time to meet again. In the 
meantime they were invited to meet with their Ward High Priests 

I don’t recall the exact numbers at this time, but most of the men 
(maybe 30 of the 45) made the changes in their lives, became 
temple-worthy, received the Melchizedek Priesthood, when 
needed, and were ordained High Priests. These men overall 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

remained active and contributed to the strength of the Quorum and 
the church. David Latimer was one of the men that I spoke to about 
becoming a High Priest and was the one that I had the most 
personal contact with over succeeding year. As result of his 
personal progress he was endowed and ordained and was a stalwart 
force for good. I know many of those we talked to made similar 

The Sequoia Group : While serving in the Menlo Park Stake 
Presidency, I observed that our stake had a dismal home teaching 
record, especially in the northern part of the stake. In examining 
the reason for this I found that they had vast numbers of 
membership records for people whom no one had ever visited or 
seen. There were so many records of this type it had been 
impossible for ward leaderships to meet them or for home or 
visiting teachers to be assigned. In the wards of our stake, in total, 
there were over 800 of these untouched records. 

I talked to our Stake President, Boyd Smith, and suggested that 
these records be removed from the wards and placed in a separate 
unit, then call 7 couples to be co-leaders and missionaries to this 
group. Boyd said, “Let’s do it.” Seven great couples were called. 
The unit where the records were moved was called the Sequoia 
Group. The couples made visits to these 800 plus folks, as far as 
their time would allow them. They sent letters to the entire group 
quarterly. In a short time they found a significant number of the 
group had died or moved from our stake. A larger part of the 
group could be visited and had potential for reactivation and a 
smaller segment was unwilling receive visits. Records were moved 
and updated for those who had moved, or died. Visits were made 
to the contactable group. Some of them came to the Sequoia Group 
sacrament meetings. The group who would not accept visits, got 
just a quarterly letters. 

This Sequoia Group operated for several years. It off loaded the 
formerly burdened wards and did a great deal of good among this 
less-active group. As a Stake, our home teaching contacts 
improved dramatically by removing this burden from the ward and 
giving them personal attention. The group served a very useful 
purpose until ward boundary realignments made it less important 


Family & Church 

to sustain the group and it was closed out. In the meantime 
important contacts had been made, records had moved on and 
wards more effectively contacted their members. 

Visiting and ministering : As Bishop of the Stanford Ward, I 
made an effort to visit every new student coming to school. This 
was quite difficult as the students were seldom in their dorm 
rooms. The best chance to catch them was usually after midnight. I 
recall catching a young man named Scott, after a few tries. He was 
in his freshman dormitory during orientation, before classes began. 
I let him know how happy we were to have him at Stanford and a 
little about how the student ward worked. He got all the meeting 
and activity times and how to get to there. I told him I hoped to see 
him on Sunday. He did come and continued to attend that year. I 
didn’t think much about it because a good number of the new 
young people attended faithfully also. He was called on a mission 
that summer. 

More than 40 years later I met him at a BYU function and he 
filled in the rest of the story. He had grown up in Salt Lake where 
his parents were not particularly active in the church. He had not 
attended church regularly either. When he arrived at Stanford he 
had been invited the first night by his new dorm mates to go 
partying. He just didn’t feel like it that night so he stayed in. That 
was the night I stopped by to talk and that was a pivotal time for 
him as the dorm parties continued and he said he would not likely 
have resisted another night. 

At church he made new friends and was challenged to read the 
Book of Mormon. During that freshman year he read it for the first 
time and gained a strong personal conviction that the church was 

When he related this story he was a professor at the BYU law 
school with a family of five children who had grown up as active 
church members. He said further that without his decision to stay 
in his room that night long ago and receive that visit he did not 
know where life would have taken him, but not likely where he 
was now. 

Ginny: Jack Knell a less active elder and his non-member wife, 
Ginny, moved into the Palo Alto 2nd ward when I was bishop. I 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

knew Jack’s brother at B.Y. High School, so I was looking forward 
to meeting Jack. I stopped by one evening. Jack was cordial and 
Ginny was a friendly, upbeat type of person. They had two young 
boys at the time and the thought crossed my mind that we would 
never get the boys or the parents into the church without some 
divine help. Then, almost out of the blue I called Ginny to be a 
primary teacher. She pointed out that she was not a member of the 
church. I was surprised that I had issued the calling without first 
talking to the Primary President and was almost certain that I had 
broken a rule or two in the church handbook of instruction. 
Nevertheless I assured them both that it would be okay and that her 
boys could come to Primary with her. 

I repentantly called the Primary President and explained what I 
had done. I asked her forgiveness and help. She assigned Ginny to 
a great co-teacher and within a few months Ginny was baptized 
and her boys followed her in turn as they turned eight. The couple 
had more children and Jack became active in the church. All the 
boys in their family served missions and now along with the girls 
are strong members of the church. I’ve come to understand that 
God knows what He is doing. 

Ralph was a single graduate student at Stanford. His 
membership record came into our ward in about 1964 and I set 
about to find him. I finally located him in a Palo Alto home that 
had been converted into student living spaces. He was at home 
with his foot in a cast, getting around on crutches. As I recall, he 
didn’t come to the door, but called me in from the chair where he 
was reading and smoking his pipe. He told me he had sprained his 
ankle so badly that it required the cast to heal. 

I learned that he was a graduate student at Stanford from 
southern California. His father was not a member of the church, his 
mother was a less active member and though he had been baptized 
as a child he had not progress far in the priesthood. His knowledge 
of the church was scanty and I challenged him to learn more in a 
ward that was especially for student like him who were ready and 
mature enough to learn the gospel of Jesus Christ in more depth. 

I was delighted that on the next Sunday he came to church and 
had a very good experience. He progressed steadily in his 
understanding of the gospel and advanced in the priesthood. It 


Family & Church 

didn’t hurt that he dated some outstanding LDS women. In one of 
our Sacrament Meetings he gave one of the best talks on the 
atonement of Christ that I have heard. After some months he gave 
me the delightful report that he had just been home and had 
baptized his father. 

Ralph found a lovely young woman and they were married in the 
temple. From there I had scanty contact, but I seem to recall they 
had several children. 

26. Bears of the Sierras 

One of my favorite books as a boy was The Bears of Blue River by 
Charles Major. The young hero of the book had more scary, but 
successful adventures with bears than you could ever imagine. I 
never expected to have any bear adventures, but I was wrong. 

Upper Yosemite Valley: One Thursday evening after work I took 
Dix, Tom and Brad ages 12, 10 and 8 on a backpacking trip. 
Because we started from home late we got the Yosemite Valley 
floor near midnight. We didn’t want to take time to make a camp 
so in the trees we just spread out our bags on the ground and 
crawled in. About 5 am I was awakened by some indistinct noises. 
When I looked in the dim light of dawn, I saw a huge bear sitting 
on Dixon’s hair, which was stylishly long. I sat up and shouted, 
“HEY! HO! GET OUT OF HERE!!!” The bear turned slowly and 
looked at me as if to say, “What’s your problem.” As I pulled on 
my pants and shoes, I could see that it was 3 bears, presumably a 
mother and 2 large sized cubs. They were sitting in a circle around 
a large rock eating from our trail food backpack. By this time all 
the boys were awake and Dix had extracted himself from under the 
mother’s backside. I threw a few rocks and broken tree limbs at the 
bears and reluctantly they stood up and began to move away. Just 
before they vanished into the woods, the mother came back to the 
rock and picked up the backpack they had been eating from. That 
was bad. I didn’t mind losing the trail food, but my camera was in 
the pack so I chased after the bears trying to get the pack from the 
mother’s jaws. The boys and I chased the bears for almost an hour, 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

shouting and throwing rocks and small logs. Finally the mother 
bear turned around and came toward us, the pack still firmly in her 
snout. She let out a huge jaws-closed growl. We backed off as she 
advanced and we said, “OK, it’s yours. Put pictures of your cubs 
on your cave walls.” 

Back in camp we collected all of our stuff from the VW van and 
decided we hadn’t lost anything that was critical to our 
backpacking trip, so we loaded up and moved out. We climbed 
Vernal Falls into upper Yosemite Valley. When we got there it was 
still early afternoon so we made a temporary camp, took all the 
food out of our backpacks, put it in a nylon stuff bag. We tied it to 
the top of a 30 foot pole and leaned the pole against a tree with the 
bag 6 feet away from the tree trunk and 20 feet off the ground. 
Then we went to play in the upper Merced River. We built rafts 
and floated on the river and built a bridge and climbed a peak on 
the south side of the river. 

It was early evening when we went back. In camp we found our 
tom stuff bag on the ground, the draw strings still fastened to the 
pole 20 feet above and two bears were nosing through the remains 
of our food. I chased them off and we surveyed the damages. We 
had a few eggs, some butter, instant oatmeal and a package of 
dried potatoes still left. Not much compared to what we started 
with, but we wouldn’t starve. We put our last food in a small 
paper bag and this time I determined to do something bear-proof. 

What had happened with our leaning pole was a young bear, 
agile enough to easily climb the tree, went up the trunk to a branch 
above our food, came out 6 feet and then dropped, grabbing the 
stuff bag as it fell and the bag tore just below the drawstring. 

This time I was determined to win the battle. I’m smarter than 
the average bear, I thought. We found two 35 foot trees and strung 
a rope tautly between them about 25’ off the ground. In the middle 
of the taut rope I threw the second rope and hoisted our last food in 
the paper sack up to about 20’ and tied off the second rope on a 
third tree. There was now no way to climb to the bag from below, 
or do a kamikaze dive from above. 

We had left a few things back at the river so we went back for 
them. In less than two hours we were back ready to make dinner. 
When we got to where the food was tied off our paper bag was on 


Family & Church 

the ground and a mother bear was finishing off what she wanted. 
We chased her off, but all she had left us was the dried potatoes 
and a small piece of butter. 

It was sometime later that I saw how that last sack was raided. 
The mother sends two cubs, one up each tree supporting the taut 
rope and from the tree top has the cubs lean in toward each other. 
That makes the taut rope slacken and the bag comes down low 
enough for the mother, standing on hind legs, to reach it and pull it 
down. The score now was the Bears = 3 and Hank = 0. 

We decided to go without dinner and have the potatoes for 
breakfast in the morning. We picked an open space surrounded by 
low chaparral to lay out our sleeping bags. As an extra precaution 
we made a rope perimeter through the chaparral around our bag 
area. Then we hung a few pots and pans that would clatter if the 
rope was disturbed. Once in the night the pans clattered and I 
scanned around with my flashlight and saw a dark round shape 
moving away. 

Next morning we made a fire and prepared to cook our dried 
hash brown potatoes. I read the label 3 times and it said nothing 
about soaking in water first. I guess everyone knows that except 
me. So I put the little dried crispy shreds of potato into the last dab 
of butter and browned them. I expected them to puff up a little in 
the butter and heat, like popcorn, but no luck. Our breakfast was 
very crunchy, dry potato shreds. 

It was Saturday morning and we had nothing decent to eat since 
Thursday afternoon so we decided it was time to bail out. We 
hiked down the mountain for a good half of the day. As it often 
happened I had brought no money so when we reached the valley 
floor I could not buy food for the starving lads. We all went 
through our pockets and pooled together fifty cents, just enough 
for a Snicker Bar. We split it 4 ways and drove home very hungry 
and discourage about being outwitted by Yosemite bears. 

More Bears : I had several more trips with some of my sons that 
involved struggles with bears. On this trip we were with the troop 
as we found a nice camping place in a wilderness area of the high 
Sierras. We all set down our packs to check the surrounding area. 
When we came back to spread out our sleeping bags and cook 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

supper we found that Adam Giles backpack was gone. One of the 
boys said that he thought he had seen a brown bear streak through 
camp and pick up a pack. We left a couple of adults and most of 
the boys to guard the packs and few of us went to find the missing 
pack. As we began to look, Adam confessed to the search party 
that he had brought 2 pounds of Gummy Bears in his pack and that 
could be a factor in his loss. In about 15 minutes we found Adam’s 
backpack partly tom open and all the bears (real and Gummy) 
were gone. He was really upset to lose his Gummy Bears, but 
grateful to still have a backpack and bag to sleep in. 

Back in camp we made dinner and ate. When the campfire and 
stories died down and it grew dark, we climbed into our bags. As 
full darkness came on we could just make out one or two bears 
looking us over from 10 to 15 yards away. That particularly 
bothered Peter de Schweinitz. He couldn’t sleep and a couple of 
times during the night I when looked up Peter’s head was out of 
his bag with flashlight in hand doing 360 degree scans of our 
perimeter. He kept the vigil all night and reported that he 
frequently saw large, bright yellow reflective orbs staring back at 
him during the night. We owe Peter for his sleepless, protective 

On Another Backpack Trip Tim and I were with the troop as we 
camped at Lake Vernon, a beautiful spot. The bears were getting 
smarter and peskier each year, so the boys thought hard about what 
they would do with their food for the night. Finally they decided to 
hang everything in about 12 stuff bags on the sturdy limb of a large 
pine tree. I suggested to them that this might not be the best plan, 
but they were sure it was. I put my food into 3 plastic garbage 
bags, one inside the other, tied it off and put it under a bush a fair 
distance from the big food laden pine tree. 

That night there was a big commotion in the tree. All the camp 
roused and focused flashlights on the sturdy limb where the food 
hung. There were two bears on the limb sampling each bag for the 
best food. It was like a wine tasting exhibition with the 
connoisseurs up the tree. All the boys came out of their bags with 
the hope of saving some of their food. Rocks and stick were hurled 
at the two intruders. Slowly and majestically they came down and 


Family & Church 

strolled away. They never got to my food under the bush in plastic 
bags. Box score: Hank = 1 and the Bears = 23. I can’t gloat over 
this win, because it was the boy’s easy pickings that saved me. 
Overall we had enough food left to survive. 

Technology to the Rescue : The next time we backpacked in the 
Sierras the rangers told us that a special container had to be used if 
you carried any food into the wilderness area. There was no quarrel 
from us. The container was a small, approximately 1 gallon, 
fiberglass barrel which fit nicely into our packs. Each of us rented 
one and put all of our food inside the barrels and screwed in the 
lids tightly. 

The first night in we were hit by a ton of bears. It was after 
midnight and we were all bedded down snugly. The bears took the 
barrels out of our packs and for several hours during the night we 
heard the barrels thumping and banging off the trees and rocks in 
the forest. No one even got up. We just rolled over and went back 
to sleep. By morning the bears had given up and left. All we had to 
do was search through the forest to find all of our unopened 
barrels. From there on the trip went very well. Finally the 
cumulative box score was Hank = 2, Troop = 16 and the Bears 
were stopped cold at = 23, with no prospects for the future. They 
had gotten their last food from me and my groups. 

27. Hiking and Backpacking 

Growing up on the mountain instilled a love for hiking and 
exploration. Trails were never important because good mountains 
always pointed the way; you could never be lost. Rather than 
loving trails I was more of a free range hiker. To my surprise I 
found that this did not work for everyone. 

Stewart Falls Area : Colette and I had all 5 of the younger kids 
hiking on a trail up from Stewart Falls. We had gone some time 
when we came across a tight cluster of about 3 dozen baby rattle 
snakes keeping warm in the middle of the trail. I decided they 
wouldn’t bother us if we didn’t bother them, so I jumped over 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

them with Brig and Meg who were the smallest hikers and told the 
rest of the family to just jump over and we would be on our way. 
All, including Colette made it just fine. That was the easy part. 

Shortly after this I told the family I would show them another 
way back to Altamont, the family cabin. The proposed route had 
no trail but we wouldn’t have to go back over the snakes. At that 
point I had pretty good agreement to try this bushwhacking, but as 
time went on, hiking through the rough forest and brush began to 
wear thin. Murmurs got stronger. Some felt that we were lost and 
then came accusations that we were totally lost and we would 
never get home. The movie Jaws had recently come out and 5 year 
old Megan asked Colette rhetorically, “Would you rather be lost in 
the woods, or eaten by sharks?” Bless her! 

I led the crew down through the brush and forest until we hit the 
creek that flowed by our cabin. The only problem was that I had 
overshot somewhat and we were downstream a half a mile. I 
thought that was pretty good navigating in the rough, but their 
standards were higher. Having to cross the stream on a wet 
slippery log didn’t lift the mood of discontent, but we did get back 

Around the Y Mountain : On another occasion I was hiking with 
my brothers Steve and Dave. We went up past the Y, then up Slide 
Canyon and then on to the top of the Y Mountain. From there we 
enjoyed the wonderful view of Utah Valley, and then looked 
northward down the sheer cliffs into Rock Canyon and then 
continued on our planned journey which was down into high valley 
between the Y Mountain and Provo Peak, then down through Rock 
Canyon and back home. If we poked around to the east a little I 
was pretty sure that we could cut off some distance rather retracing 
our steps southward clear back into Slide Canyon and then back up 
over the trail summit. I took a couple of looks over the back side of 
the mountain which didn’t yet get us past the cliffs and David got 
very anxious. He was sure there were cliffs everywhere if we cut 
off the trail. Finally he said, “I’m just going home the way we 
came, on the trail.” He did just that and went down to Slide 
Canyon and then on down past the Y the way we had come up. 
Steve and I eventually found a way without losing all of our 


Family & Church 

altitude and finished our planned trip around the mountain and out 
through Rock Canyon. Proving once again that off trail 
bushwhacking is not for everyone. 

Scoutmaster: One of my favorite assignments was being called as 
Scoutmaster of Troop 66 to serve the young men of the Palo Alto 
2nd Ward. At 51 I was pretty old to be running around with the 
scout age boys, but all my body parts were still working okay and 
it was fun to be with them. 

There was one small problem. There were almost no boys in the 
troop, just my son Brigham and Adam Giles and Peter 
deSchweinitz. With just 3 boys we couldn’t even form a normal 
troop organization with patrols and other troop officers. So I put 
together a set of slides that showed the wide variety of fun 
activities that our troop had over the years, then went to 3 or 4 
grade schools in our immediate area where they let me show our 
activity slides during the lunch hour. Many young boys attended 
and excitedly went home with sign-up sheets and an invitation for 
parents to meet with me. 

The response was overwhelming. 41 new boys signed up with 
their parents support. Overnight we had a full troop. The new boys 
were enthusiastic, but a large share of them had never experienced 
much discipline or teamwork. Even worse, their language would 
make a sea captain blush. We established some ground rules for 
the troop. One of them was that when bad words slipped out 
(unconsciously most of the time) we developed a very efficient 
spanking machine consisting of the non-offending boys. The 
spoken words got better pretty fast. 

Discipline began to come around and the troop began to function 
quite well with good advancement, fun and substantive scout 
meetings and a couple of fun outdoor activities each month. The 
boys were asked to propose ideas for activities and I added a few 
more, then the troop got to vote on the top twelve activities, one 
for each month. We went hang gliding, rifle shooting, day hikes, 
cycling trips, rain camping (where some the boys ended up in a 
small lake after midnight and spent the rest of the night in our VW 
van), 50 milers, and many more. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

A couple of the boys had such difficult social adjustment 
problems that I formed an “uncooperative patrol” (not by that 
name) and had them meet with me on a different night from the 
rest of the troop. This worked better for them and the troop. A dad 
of one of the boys helped me with this patrol as much as he could. 
Alan deSchweinitz helped me a lot with the main troop. 

Jim Rodgers was the best scoutmasters I had ever known, so I 
went to talk with him to see how things should work. His troop for 
years won top honors in the Menlo Park Stake where points were 
given for overall troop advancement and other good things. His 
troop always had more than double the number of points of any 
troop in the Stake and it was almost surely the best troop in the 
whole council. Jim’s advice was, “Just do what the scoutmaster’s 
handbook says to do.” So that’s what we strived to do. My goal in 
scouting was to equal what Jim was doing with his troop. It was 
not easy. It took about 18 months, but finally there came one or 
two stake courts of honor where we got a few more points than 
Jim’s troop. It was a grand day when we crossed that threshold. 

The troop was too large for a normal 50 mile hike through 
wilderness areas, so we divided the troop in two and had the young 
boys go with two or three good leaders in the ward on a somewhat 
gentler hike in the Sierra Nevada’s and I took the older boys to the 
Trinity Alps. We had some good preparation instructions before 
the hike and I was surprised when Demea and Duval, black twins 
got on the trail with 50 pound packs. I couldn’t believe it. I had 
them empty out their packs so I could see what they were carrying. 
It was pretty obvious that they had not had their mother looking 
over their shoulder when they packed. They had cans of tuna, pork 
and beans, canned fruit and canned beef. We divided up the heavy 
cans to all the boys and gave lighter packs back to the twins. Day 
by day, as we went along all the packs got lighter. 

It was a great hike and for many of the boys it was the first of its 
kind for most of them. As we were coming down from a high 
mountain peak we hit a huge snow bank. I told the boys this was a 
great shortcut opportunity and pointed out that the trail below cut 
through the bank of snow 4 or 5 times and if we wanted we could 
slide down the snow and save a mile or two. I told them I would go 
first and all who wanted to could follow in my path. Swoosh! I was 


Family & Church 

down in no time. Four or five of the boys followed my slide. The 
rest said, “No thanks” and walked down the trail. An hour later we 
were all joined up and continued our trek homeward. 

Other Memorable Backpack Trips : We had been hiking and 
camping for four days in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with the 
older and younger scouts of the PA2 ward. Peter Weiler had heard 
great comments about Benson Lake which was very deep into the 
wilderness area. It had been called the Riviera of the Sierra, but it 
was so far into the mountains that it was rarely used. That was our 
target for the fourth evening. As we reached the lake valley we 
were confronted with marshy land with very tall grasses, willows 
and general undergrowth. As we whacked our way and looked for 
the best routes through the seriously mucky areas, the boys said 
this is just like being in “Nam.” They had all seen footage of the U. 
S. troops slashing their way through similar territory in Vietnam. 
The grumbling stopped and they went to work when we told them 
to use their knives and hiking sticks for guns with bayonets and cut 
a path through this enemy territory. 

When we arrived at Benson Lake it was clear blue with 
incredible sandy beaches. We had a great camp there with beds on 
the soft sand. The next day Peter and I and some of the older boys 
looked at the topographical maps and noticed that the trail went 
way around, well out of our way, probably adding an extra day, or 
more, to our trip. Peter agreed with me that we might do well just 
to take off on a more or less direct line to an area where we could 
camp for the night and be just a few hours’ hike away from the 
trail that led to Hetch Hetchy Dam and our cars. We had some 
granite cliffs to get down and then forest and lake areas to go 
through. It was a hard day of hiking, but it all worked well and we 
came to the planned camp site for the night. My sons Brad, George 
and Brig were among the boys with us and Brad was very nervous 
after going the whole day without seeing a trail. He had a growing 
concern that we would never get out of the mountains or ever see 
our homes again. We told him that the trail was just up the next 
mountain, less than an hour or two away and we would hit it first 
thing in the morning as we came out. He could not rest easy and 
said, “I’m going up right now.” He took one boy with him and 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

literally ran up the mountain to locate the trail that would take us 

He found the trail and was back in a little over an hour with the 
peace of mind that can come only when you know you are not lost. 

Huckleberry Lake : The whole scout troop was on a multi-day, 50 
mile backpack trip led by Peter Weiler, a great outdoorsman. Peter 
was eager to get to Huckleberry Lake, which had great camping 
and the world’s best fly fishing. On the first day our trail came 
within a couple of miles of Kibbie Lake. George who was 13 told 
Peter we just had to make a detour over to Kibbie because it was 
his favorite lake. Peter said it’s a 2.5 mile diversion and will cost 
us at least a day, maybe two, to get there, play around and then get 
back to the trail. Peter finally took George aside to talk some sense 
into him. After a half an hour, of animated talking and 
topographical map rattling, they rejoined the group. I don’t know 
what was said, but we went to Kibbie Lake. Peter didn’t know in 
advance that he really had no chance to dissuade George. 

Several things made Kibbie lake attractive to the boys: the water 
was relatively, warm compared to other Sierra lakes, it had nice 
smooth granite rocks here and there in the water that made islands 
for sunning, and best of all it had cliffs on the far side that dropped 
vertically down into deep water; perfect for cliff jumping. It was 
about a quarter mile swim across, but it was worth it. On the other 
side the cliffs sloped upward along the water’s edge so that the 
boys could choose their diving or jumping height, from the cliff 
that rose from 6’ to 60.’ Everyone had a great day at this 
unplanned stop. 

When it was time to move out the next day I suggested to Peter 
that it looked like there was a great off trail possibility that would 
allow us to cover two planned day’s journey in one day. Not only 
that we would go past Many Islands, Boundary, Little Bear and 
Spotted Fawn Lakes, all of which were a fair distance from any 
trail. We had never seen these lakes on past trips. Also if we stayed 
on the trail we would be on dry rocky terrain, while this cut off 
should have a great variety of beautiful areas. All we had to do was 
strike out to the north-east from Kibbie and go up the mountain. 
Reluctantly Peter agreed to try it. 


Family & Church 

We needed to get to the east side of the lake with all of our packs 
to start our cross country adventure, up the mountain. It wasn’t 
quite as easy as I thought. The north end of Kibbie Lake was all 
cliffs right into the water. It would have been simple with canoes 
to get to our starting point at the mouth of Kibbie Creek, but we 
had no water transportation. Some low riding, soggy log rafts were 
built, but they either sunk or fell apart. Not to be thwarted we went 
to the west side of the cliffs, up the mountain, above the cliffs, 
through dense foliage and then traversed across the mountain to 
Kibbie Creek on the east side of the lake. This took time and it set 
us back the greater part of the morning. However from that point 
on the off-trail hiking was perfect. We made up the lost time and 
explored all the lakes we had never seen. The boys liked the area 
so well that when we started home from Huckleberry Lake they 
insisted on jumping off-trail again, to camp the night at Many 
Islands Lake. 

76 Miler l It sounded like a good idea at the time. Forty miles by 
canoe and thirty-six miles hiking and camping in the Trinity Alps. 
I had nothing on my schedule to prevent my going. Colette was 
off with the ladies at Tahoe for shopping, eating, tennis and fun, so 
why not. The 76 mile adventure was organized by Bobby Blunt 
the Troop 66 Scoutmaster and since I was the Troop Committee 
Chairman in 2003 it seemed like the right thing to do. 

I pictured the Trinity River, a very popular canoeing place, to be 
very placid with sandy banks and grassy meadows beyond. Think 
again! It was a wild river. The second clue of things to come was 
that many of the fiberglass canoes were patched with duct tape. 

It was the summer, but we were high in the mountains and it 
could be cool. There were 24 of us, two to a canoe. I rowed and 
my partner steered. My steersman, Michael Jackson, was risk 
averse so when my “placid” river turned out to have a lot of white 
water rapids, large rocks, swift currents and small waterfalls his 
instinct took us frequently to the side. Normally this would be a 
happy choice, but the banks had overhanging tree limbs, willow 
branches and thorn bushes that grew along the edge. I strongly 
preferred the swift currents but my steersman preferred the river 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

banks where we were rudely capsized by low overhanging limbs 
and plunged into the icy waters fresh from the melting glacial 
mountain peaks above. 

Adding to our challenges was the fact that our canoe leaked quite 
rapidly. Whenever I could let up on paddling for our life, I was 
frantically bailing water. This extra ballast of water meant that we 
rode lower in the water than the average vessel, so that when we 
ran the rapids, and there were many, we took on more water which 
gave us another good cause to sink. 

Out of our group of 24 there were only five who didn’t go under. 
Three of these fortunate river runners were my son Tom, plus 
grandsons Griffin and Bradley Taylor. I took the prize on being 
second most dunked. I’d like to blame my steersman and the 
leaks, but I’m not sure that is totally fair. I’m sure I did my part. 
With all this underwater time, one of our really great decisions had 
been to keep the backpacks in the trucks and not take them in the 
canoes as first planned. This however led to my second major 

When we pulled damply out of the river for the last time, three of 
the adults hooked up the canoe trailers to trucks to tow them 5 
hours down Interstate 5 back to the bay area where they were 
needed the next day. We were all told to move our backpacks to 
the truck that was staying. My pack was already in the truck that 
stayed with the hikers, so I knew that I was okay. 

The canoes went home with the truck as did a few of the younger 
boys. Those who remained needed transport to our evening camp 
site. It was some distance to the trailhead where we planned to 
sleep and because of the leapfrog shuttling of hiker that was 
required, the truck with all the packs went on to the trailhead first, 
while the bulk of us waited for the passenger cars to retrieve us. 
When we were finally picked up it was a long hard search to find 
the trail head camp. We covered every dirt road in those 
mountains before we found where the others were waiting. 

We pulled into camp about midnight. It was then that I learned 
that my pack and Griffin’s pack had been moved during the day 
into the departing truck and was by that time arriving back in Palo 
Alto, 200 to 300 miles away. Fortunately, Bradley, age 11, who 
had returned home with the canoes, had left his pack and sleeping 


Family & Church 

bag. George was kind enough to loan these to me. Griffin 
borrowed a day-pack from Bobby Blunt, the scoutmaster, and 
found a spare sleeping bag in one of the cars. Bobby also loaned 
me a pair of socks. So with none of the tools, supplies or comforts 
we had carefully prepared in advance the two of us made do with 
what we could borrow. 

Well it wasn’t so bad brushing teeth with a stick and flossing 
with grass stems. I had my small key chain pocket knife and 
carved a spoon out of a wooden stick to eat with. Bradley’s 
sleeping bag was a bit snug and only came up a little past my 

With no clothing changes except the borrowed socks, my outfit 
got pretty sweaty. Sweat has salt and the insects and animals of the 
Trinity Alps were seriously salt deprived. I got masses of flies and 
other insects on my shirt and pants looking to fill their salt 
requirements. When we reached our high point on the mountain, I 
decided to take a bath and wash out my clothes in the icy stream. I 
washed my clothes first, without soap and hung them a little 
distance away, on bushes in the sun to dry out. Then I bathed in the 
stream. When I got out of the stream my pants were gone. I 
thought, “Those dam scouts.” When questioned they all denied 
moving my pants, so I went back to look more carefully. I found 
them on the ground 30 yards away. They had been partially 
chewed to a pulp. We concluded that they had been taken by the 
deer we had seen and had been thoroughly chewed to get the salt. I 
rinsed them out again and then wore them wet because that is all I 
had. These now had more stylish holes and were softer than the 
stone ground jeans that you have to pay big bucks for. 

The thing I had forgotten was that a 36-mile hike high into the 
beautiful Trinity Alps seems to be 90% uphill, because downhill 
goes so quickly. We all had a great time and it was fun to be with 
Tom, Anders, Griffin, George, Bradley and Brian and the entire 
troop. Colette reported that when she picked me up at the church, 
the Bradshaw boys sought her out to report that, “Hank is the 
man!” Nice compliment at age 72. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

28. Other Adventures 

Lost Keys : Both Colette and I discovered the same day that we 
had lost keys. I had borrowed a truck to work on the Creche 
Exhibit and had lost the single key for it. Colette had lost her full 
set of keys: car, home, church, bicycle and others. It was critical 
that we recover them. We both searched very carefully and 
extensively in all the probable places with no luck. I told Colette it 
was time to ask for help. We knelt together and asked the Lord to 
help us find the lost keys. When we were through I had two clear 
impressions. One was that I needed to look again in the blue jeans I 
had put in the laundry basket. I had been through the jeans about 
10 times already and found nothing. But an answer is an answer so 
I dug them out one more time. As I pulled them out of the basket 
the lost key fell out on the floor at my feet. That was incredible. 
Colette looked at me and said, “That takes care of you, but what 
about my keys.” 

I shared my second impression with her, which was that her keys 
were OK and that she would find them in the normal routines of 
life. We could be patient since I had duplicates for most of her 
keys. She had hoped for more, but had no better impression, so we 
let it go for the moment. It was two days later that she was 
preparing a meal and decided to slip on an apron. As she removed 
the apron from the drawer it felt heavier than usual and jingled. 
She felt in the pocket and there were the lost keys. 

Powder Cowboy : Somehow against all logic, rational thought and 
reasonable caution Dixon talked me into going with him and his 
adventurous friends in later March 2003, to the British Columbia 
Mountains for four days of CAT skiing. We with our skis were 
transported straight up the mountains in a caterpillar outfitted with 
12 seats. I’m sure that I was an unwitting replacement for some 
sensible soul who realized it would be foolhardy to do this kind of 
thing. When I asked about the dozens of people who are killed by 
avalanches each year in those very mountains, Dixon replied “oh 
don’t worry, we ski mostly in trees.” I said “DOWN A STEEP 
TREES, you’ve got to be kidding.” He said “well not really that 

Family & Church 

many trees. Besides this Powder Cowboy group is good. They 
haven’t left very many of their customers buried in avalanches. 
They carefully strap a little transmitter on each of us so that they 
can find our bodies should any of us be buried.” 

All too soon we found ourselves being dropped off at the top of a 
very, very, very tall mountain somewhere north of Femie, B.C., 
Canada. The sun was shining bravely, but weakly. Gale force 
winds were blowing us off the summit and frozen snow was caked 
on the stunted trees. Our guide pointed down the mountain at the 
completely untracked powder and said “we’ll pretty much go right 
down the fall line. Try not to get separated from the group of 12 
and we will hope to meet you at the bottom.” The unabated fear 
was exceeded only by the freezing wind chill of the mountaintop. 
It was then I knew my concerns were well founded; I had made a 
serious mistake to come. After a few minutes, going down looked 
slightly better than freezing to death on the top. 

It got better (or maybe just more familiar) from there. You might 
ask if I ever got skillful in the deep powder and I would have to 
answer, “They don’t call me Tree Well Taylor for nothing.” The 
group was very kind and came back into the woods to pull me out 
of an 8-foot deep powder tree well. Keep in mind there is no edge 
to a deep powder hole. Getting out is like trying to climb out of 
quicksand with skis on. 

Dixon was “maaahhvelous” on the high peaks, deep snow and 
steep slopes. He also set the pace dodging through the trees at high 
speed. It was fun to watch him sail down. He also must have had 
some inner satisfaction as he got payback for his traumatic 
childhood experiences when I took him to the top of the Siberia 
run and KT 22 at Squaw Valley. 

I did survive and surprising as it may sound, had a great time. 
Would I do it again? Ummmm let’s think about that a little bit... 

The Wedding Car : When our son George married Marian there 
was a beautiful reception at the home of David and Connie 
Bennion, Marian’s parents. We were in their stunningly 
landscaped back yard on Maple Street in Palo Alto. There was a 
formal reception line formed on the back yard grass. After an hour 
or more I needed to move around a little or die in place, so I 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

slipped out of the long line. As I moved stealthily out of the back 
yard I noticed that both David and Connie were missing from the 
line. I found David in the house in a side room watching the news 
on TV. Then I discovered Connie at the front door sitting on a 
stool, where she greeted guests as they came into the home and 
sent them on to the back yard. 

I went into the front yard and on the street found a large group of 
young people energetically decorating the little yellow 
Volkswagen beetle that George and Marian were planning to use 
later that night for their departure. Long strings of metal cans and 
plastic bottles made dangling chains that were wired to the back of 
the car. Water based paint and shaving cream spelled out “Just 
Married” and many other wedding appropriate thoughts. I left the 
youth to their work and quietly returned to the reception line in the 
back yard. 

Both our family and Bennion family were long-time residents of 
the Palo Alto area so that many, many wonderful people attended 
the reception. Just before I was about to drop, the flow of guests 
slowed and the line was officially and mercifully disbanded. 

The arrangement that night for the newlyweds was that George 
and Marian would drive the VW bug to the Marriott Hotel by the 
San Francisco airport, stay overnight, catch a hotel shuttle to the 
airport in the morning and fly to Hawaii for their honeymoon. 
This left the highly decorated yellow VW at the hotel parking lot. 
I was to pick it up later the next day and bring it home. No 

Colette’s mother and father, Tom and Cora Green, had come to 
town for George’s marriage and they volunteered to come with us 
to the hotel by the airport to pick up the car. When we got to the 
hotel we cruised the large parking lot for a while until we found 
the little yellow bug in all its glory, with decorative writing, and 
dangling cans and bottles. Colette said quickly, “you’re driving 
that and I’ll take OUR car home. I’ll see you there.” Colette and 
her mom were gone in a flash, but Tom Green, good sport that he 
was, had jumped out and said “I’ll come with you.” We stared at 
the car. It was a colorful mess. We examined the dangling stuff 
on the back hoping to remove it, but it was all wired on — too 
difficult to remove without side cutters and pliers. 


Family & Church 

So we jumped in and headed toward the freeway with a loud 
clatter and bouncing jangle behind us. U.S. 101 is a very busy, 8 
to 12 lane freeway, so we edged cautiously into the traffic flow and 
headed south toward home, about 25 miles away. It took only 
moments to realize that every car on the highway was taking a long 
hard look at us and smiled as they sped by us. A large group of 
Hell’s Angels motorcycle riders came up from behind and 
completely encircled us as they passed, staring intently into our 
windows, after reading the “Just Married” sign. They shouted 
“way to go” and raised their hands high in a victorious salute. 
After about the 40th motorcycle rider came by we saw they were 
not focused on the car’s decorative artwork, but rather they were 
looking at the two occupants of the car and grinning at the odd gay 
couple they thought they saw. Soon after the Angels passed a 
large tractor/trailer rig came by us and after taking a long look 
down into the car, the driver smiled and gave a long blast on the 
his powerful air horn. Just a few minutes after that another big 
trucking rig came along and after looking carefully at us from his 
high cab gave us multiple blasts on his air horn and gave us a 
thumbs-up visible through his side window. 

It was an excruciatingly long trip down the highway and it was a 
huge relief when we hit the Palo Alto exit ramp. From there we 
slunk down all quiet side streets until we got to our home 
driveway. Immediately I dug out my plier and side cutters and we 
uncoupled all the dangling cans and bottles and then sprayed off 
the paint, shaving cream and toothpaste decor with the hose. 

In spite of our discomfort we learned several things to remember: 
San Francisco Bay Area, even in 1987, seemed very friendly to the 
apparent marriage to two guys. 

Always take a pair of side cutters and a damp cloth if you ever 
pick up a wedding car for someone. 

If you have to drive a crazy car somewhere, stick to the quiet 
back roads. It may take longer but you can avoid being a major 

And most importantly, if you see mischief happening and do 
nothing to intercede, you may end up living with the 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Untangling from Government Help : Tim’s dad, Jeffrey S. 
Schmalbeck, is a great man who had experienced some very trying 
times. At the age of 18 he married Mildread Barnett a very 
attractive, charismatic 24 year old African American woman who 
already had 3 children by 3 different fathers. Jeffrey legally 
adopted these 3 children and over a few years, with his new wife, 
had two more boys, Timothy and Benjamin. Jeff was quickly the 
father of five. 

After about eight years Jeff and his wife separated and the 5 
children and she were on their own. About this time Jeff began to 
suffer mental health problems. To cope he began to drink too 
much, lost his driver’s license and landed in Jail. In prison he was 
diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Mildread lacked the education 
and employment skills to care for the five children and they 
eventually all went to foster homes. 

When Jeff was released from prison he had prescription 
medication which helped with his bipolar condition and he could 
once again hold a good job as a skilled drywall carpenter. The 
problem was that any time he got payroll wages they were 
garnished by the County Department of Child Support Services 
and with the meager funds they left him he could not support 
himself. So he sought jobs where he could work for cash without 
going on a payroll. 

When Tim came into our family in 1995 and I met his dad. Over 
a period of time I learned that he had the following government 
agencies after him, just waiting to take money from his wages: 

• The County Department of Child Support said he owed 
about $56,000 and with penalties that totaled about 

• The IRS wanted $9,285 for about seven years of back taxes 
plus penalties. 

• The State Franchise Tax Board (FTB) wanted $9,461 for 
about 7 years of back taxes and penalties. 

• Social Security claimed, at first, that more than $60,000 
was owed because of payments made to his family. 

• Add to these problems he no longer had a license to drive. 

I worried about these severe burdens that would hold him back 
for a lifetime if not corrected. Jeff was in an impossible hole with 

Family & Church 

no way to dig out. His kids loved him as he had been a stable 
connection for the family, when Mildread had left the area. He 
could be an example of a solid working father, but with all these 
encumbrances it was difficult. He wanted to work and lead his 
family, but the oppression of multiple government agencies made 
it impossible. 

When I talked to him he was very willing, even eager, to try to 
dig out of this mess, so I told him we were going to do it somehow. 
We made several trips to San Jose to talk to the County Child 
support people and wrote numerous letters and filled out forms. 
After some time they stated they would not reduce, or forgive any 
of his debt, but they would limit their monthly payment 
requirements to $300. This monthly amount would not amortize 
his debt or cover the interest, but if he paid it they agreed not 
increase the amount owed with interest and more penalties. 
Further, if he paid regularly they would not garnish his wages. 

Jeff felt he could handle this monthly payment if he knew that 
his earnings would not be taken away. He was a union member in 
good standing and he soon got work as a pay-rolled employee with 
no immediate risk of his wages being garnished. 

We knew that when paychecks started to roll in that the IRS 
would be next in line to take his wages. They had sent notices. So I 
started working with them. Jeff brought me a box filled with loose 
papers and envelopes. I sifted through all this material and filed 7 
years of back, Federal tax returns. Partly it was a work of 
estimations, but we used every real number we could find. Then 
we began to negotiate for a settlement of all his delinquent taxes 
and penalties. After some telephone calls and much 
correspondence they agreed to an “offer in compromise” of $3,000 
for all his back taxes and penalties. I paid that for him and he was 
at last clear with the IRS. 

Work with government agencies so far had taken 3 years. I felt 
that next in line to take his wages was the California Franchise Tax 
Board (FTB), who administer Income Tax for the State. This did 
not appear to be as urgent as the first two agencies, because they 
had not sent any delinquency notices to him yet. I started to work 
with the state. Several phone calls helped lay out the process, but 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

just about this time Colette and I were called on a mission to 

I knew that it was urgent to finish the settlement work on his 
state income taxes, the Social Security debt claims and also the 
DMV for license restoration. These were all multi-year projects, 
but Colette and I would be gone for three. 

I had worked with Dan Livingston, a recently retired executive 
and VP of Well Fargo Bank. Dan was a friend and a church 
member, but had not attended church too much. Colette and I 
became acquainted with the family through his son and daughter 
who attended church, and for a number of years I was a home 
teacher to him and his wife Carol. 

He had helped me on a number of important projects and was not 
only one of the most competent men I knew, but was one of the 
nicest and most generous. He had helped a number of people he 
had befriended. They had greatly benefited from his skillful help 
and guidance. He took an assignment to help in the Regional 
Bishop’s Storehouse for four years when it was the Menlo Park 
Stake’s turn to fill that assignment and he did an outstanding job. 

I talked with Dan about Jeff and his situation and he very 
graciously agreed to help. I introduced Jeff to Dan. They got along 
well and continued to work on all the undone settlements. 

One day out of the blue Social Security began to take half of 
Jeffs wages. Dan and Jeff worked with them and they backed off 
the high monthly paycheck deductions. In 1999 Dan and Jeff got a 
legal review in court of Jeffs Social Security problems. The debt 
was reviewed and the amount due was lowered to $12,000. Then in 
2003 Dan helped trigger a final review and the full amount of the 
S.S. debt was forgiven. 

Meanwhile County Child Support continued to collect their $300 
payment each month. It was in 2005 that county must have realized 
that they were not even treading water with the payments they 
were receiving. They contacted Jeff and Dan with a proposal for a 
settlement of the full debt for a payment of $10,000. 

By this time Colette and I were back from our mission and Dan 
gave me the good news that the County Child Support would settle 
their claim. Dan worked out a payment plan where he and I would 
split the funding of a loan to Jeff to pay the Child Support 


Family & Church 

settlement amount. Then Jeff would pay us back over a couple of 
years. The settlement was paid and Jeff was faithful to his 
commitments and the debt was fully repaid. 

The Franchise Tax Board had been steadfastly unwilling to 
negotiate a settlement on Jeffs past due taxes and penalties. 
However, just after Jeff settled with County Child Support he got a 
letter from the Franchise Tax Board saying now that the county 
obligation was taken care of they wanted $9,400 for taxes and 
penalties in arrears by the end of the month. Dan worked with the 
FTB and they eventually settled for $3,000, which Jeff paid. 

In 2005 Jeff had reached a major milestone. Child Support was 
settled; IRS was settled; Social Security was settled and the FTB 
was settled. At last no one was hanging over his paychecks to grab 
money. It had taken a decade of persistent work to reach this point. 

The last remaining hurdle was the restoration of his driving 
privileges. This was a huge hurdle. Classes were required for a 
year, but Jeff stuck to it. Dan saw it through with Jeff and he got 
his driver’s license restored in 2009. This had been a very long 
road for Jeff to get his life back. In total it had taken 14 years and it 
was harder than you can ever imagine negotiating rationally with 
these unyielding government agencies. 

Dan was exactly the right person to help slay the dragons and he 
didn’t stop there. He helped Jeff set up a checking and a savings 
account with regular deposits. He also helped Jeff invest a small 
IRA inheritance from his mother. The investments grew year by 
year even though Jeff has been required by law to take annual 
distributions. He now rents a home that his son Ben owns in the 
Stockton, and has done a lot of work to fix the property up. This 
home is close to Ben and near most of the rest of his family. He is 
working steadily. 

By the end of 1999 Jeff began to see some glimmers of hope and 
he wrote the following while we were in the mission field: 

“I appreciate the work, time effort and love you ve given and 
showed me. Without the help / could have never accomplished 
this. Also thank you for “turning Dan on to me. ” He's been very 
helpful and kind. He has all the information they needed at his 
fingertips. ” 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

I’m extremely grateful to Dan for finishing what I had only started. 
With Dan’s help Jeffrey has come to a wonderfully stable point. I 
wasn’t sure when Jeff and I started on this quest that it was totally 
feasible. It took a lot of hard, unflagging effort, with Dan carrying 
the last two-thirds of the load and providing the key guidance and 
negotiation. In the end it was truly a miracle. 

Anders and Little Henry : Anders, as a returned missionary, 
agreed to help Colette and me with 10 of his young cousins in a 
Brickerhaven Kids Kamp. While we were planning a very 
challenging hike in the surrounding mountains I had asked Anders 
to come along with me to help with the younger kids who might 
have a hard time. 

We had a trail for the first half of the journey and that went well. 
Then we veered off trail into heavy, dark woods. We called it the 
Tulgey Wood and were vigilantly on the lookout for the 
Jabberwocky. In a short distance the mountain sloped off steeply 
becoming almost cliff like, but the foliage continued to be very, 
very dense. The kids were having to slide down through and 
below the undergrowth and sometime had to get on top of the 
growth to leap down to the next branches. We came to a small 
opening in the heavy woods and we stopped to take stock of our 
situation. Little Henry age 8 had been grumbling a bit and 
approached Anders to ask, “Is this fun, or is it just scratchy.” 
Anders replied, “This is really fim!” Then showed him how the 
bushes and branches could be like trampolines and if you fell down 
the mountain the heavy growth would stop you and it really didn’t 
hurt that much. Anders had great persuasive powers. 

With this positive answer Henry’s whole outlook changed. 
Tumbling and bouncing down the mountain became a pleasure and 
he said, “This is even more fun than when Grandpa John takes me 

It is often true in life that the way we look at something makes 
all the difference; whether we will enjoy it or dislike it. We 
observed good friends who were great youth leaders. One thing 
they had in common was the practice of explaining in advance 
what a great event they were going to have. Then during the event 
they let the kids know that they were doing well and having a 


Family & Church 

wonderful time. When the event was over they looked back and 
described what a fantastic event they had been part of. It really 
helped shape the outlook and enjoyment. 

Tim was called to be a scoutmaster when they lived in Lehi. The 
retiring scoutmaster brought a box full of papers and manuals to 
Tim and said, “These are for you, but you probably won’t need 
them because hardly any of the boys come.” 

The next scheduled event was a troop campout in just two weeks. 
Tim took a few minutes in Priesthood Meeting and asked how 
many of the boys were coming on the campout. Ten or twelve 
were possible, but only two hands went up. Then Tim asked, “How 
many of you plan to go on missions?” All twelve hands went up. 
Then he asked, “How many of you plan to take your mother on 
your mission?” The boys all laughed and said, “You can’t do that.” 
Tim said, “Well then you are going to be eating your own cooking 
and you would be smart to learn what I’m going to teach you about 
how to make great meals. Not only that we’ll do it on open fires. 
We’re going to teach you how to make those fires with no matches 
and no paper! Can your Dads do that?” There was laughter as the 
boy thought about their dads struggling to build any fires, even 
with matches and paper. 

Then Tim asked, “How many of you can sink an ax in a target at 
20 paces? We are going to learn how to do that. And best of all we 
are going to play Zorch.” “What’s Zorch?” the boys asked. Tim 
said, “I can’t tell you yet, but I will say that when I was a scout we 
would kill for the chance to play Zorch in the mountains in the 

Several days later one of the mothers had 4 of the boys in her car 
and the boys were talking about the troop’s camping plans. The 
mother asked if they were going and her son said, “Yeah, all of the 
boys are going.” The mom was surprised and asked, “What 
changed your minds?” And one of the boys answered, “We’re 
going to play Zorch.” “What is that,” she asked. One of the boys 
answered, “We don’t know yet, but it is going to be really fun.” 

The perspective does change everything. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Nia’s Baptism : The bishop who spoke at Nia Schmalbeck’s 
baptism said, “When I interviewed Nia it was different from my 
normal baptismal interviews. Most 8 year olds answer very briefly, 
sometimes with their heads down. Nia spoke right up and didn’t 
stop with a simple answer, she would add, “Let me tell you why I 
believe that” and then proceed to lay it out. He said when he came 
to the end of the interview list he said, “That completes the 
questions” thinking they were done. But no, Nia said, “I have some 
questions for you.” 

The first question was, “Do you ever have people come for these 
interviews and say they are not ready to be baptized yet?” 

And the second question was, “When people do get baptized and 
know right from wrong, why do they sometimes not do what Jesus 
wants them to do?” 

The bishop felt his spur-of-the-moment answers were a little 
flimsy so when he came to the baptismal service he had thought 
more about those questions and studied the scriptures to give a 
more thoughtful answer to her. He said interviewing her was a 
rewarding experience. Then as he concluded his baptismal talk he 
asked Nia, “What does baptism mean to you?” Straight away she 
said, “It means I’ve taken on me the name of Jesus and now I need 
to do something good with it.” Remarkable! 

TSA in Provo : Who would have ever thought we needed 
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening at the 
Provo airport. Utah Valley is not necessarily fertile ground for 
terrorists. Maybe because they have just 4 flights in and 4 flights 
out per week an episode like this could develop. 

We were leaving our Brickerhaven cabin in the fall of 2015 and 
catching an Allegiant flight from Provo to Oakland, California. As 
I entered security the first TSA agent swabbed my hands and put 
the swabs into a detection machine. That was the first of those tests 
for me in 85 years of travel. She came back quickly and said, “You 
have tested positive for bomb making materials. Take all your bags 
into that private screening room.” I took 2 bags off the conveyor 
and found that the only small screening room was busy, so I 
waited. While I was waiting one of the male agents boomed out, 


Family & Church 

“Stop everything. Lock down all the doors. We have a situation!! 
This is not a drill. Lock the doors!!!” 

There was an unclaimed bag on the conveyor that had come out 
of the x-ray machine. Paul and Sara Gilman from our ward were 
on the same flight with us and Paul, in the confusion of the crazy, 
cramped screening process had not picked up a small carry-on bag 
and this had caused the alarm. Actually Paul was only about 10’ 
away from his bag, but just around a little comer. He quickly 
picked up his bag and situation was resolved. 

Meanwhile the little screening room had become available and a 
fellow pulled me in for the most complete pat down I’d ever had. 
He sent several items of clothing and shoes back through the x-ray 
machine. Then we went through both of my bags item by item, 
dirty laundry and all. The most exciting thing he found was a 
couple of unopened 2 lb. bricks of Tillamook cheese that I had 
brought from the cabin so that they wouldn’t spoil there. The 
screener said, “Hmm, cheese! We had wondered on the x-ray what 
those were.” Then in my bathroom bag they found a nearly empty 
4 oz. tube of toothpaste and said, “Sir you can’t have that.” I said, 
“I know about the 3 oz. mle, but this tube is practically empty.” He 
said, “Look right there. It says 4 oz.” There was no point reasoning 
with a man who knew his mles, so I said, “Okay, it’s yours.” 

Finally I was released with my re-packed bags. When I came to 
the waiting/boarding area Colette was worried and wondered what 
had happened to me. I told her the story and she said, “Did they 
take your Swiss Army knife?” It was in one of my carry-on bags 
on a ring with my car keys, but they had missed it. Then she added, 
“I told you that cheese would be a problem.” 

I concluded, after all that good government help, I’m not sure I 
feel much safer in the air and secondly the Provo airport is just not 
busy enough. 

Cabin: The Taylor family has had a long tradition of spending 
summertime in the mountains of Utah. Grandma, Maria Taylor, 
spent virtually every summer in the mountains where it was cooler. 
She had her husband, Arthur, build a wooden platform and install a 
tent on it. She would stay in the mountains until late summer while 
he made periodic trips to visit and bring supplies. These temporary 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

summer quarters were established in various locations: South Fork 
of Provo Canyon, Strawberry Lake area and eventually on a lot 

Arthur had 

purchased as he 
helped establish 
Wildwood. Other 
lots in this devel¬ 
opment were 
owned by friends 
and family of my 
grandparents. After 
a few years of tent 
living Arthur built 
the ANT cabin on 
their lot in 


Wildwood. Over the The Units in front of Uncle Bud's Lot 
years the cabin was expanded and modernized. Uncle Bud and his 
cousin Sank Dixon had to herd the family cow up to Wildwood 
annually so that Maria and the family could have milk. 

Earlier in this book I described briefly the some magical times 
spent at Wildwood with grandma. I also noted the establishment of 
Brickerhaven which following the pattern of Wildwood. At 
Brickerhaven uncle Lynn and aunt Cess built the first cabin in 
about 1946. I had many glorious days at their cabin and in the 
mountains with my cousins. 

Over time the number of cabins grew as Brickers built, or sold 
their lots. A number of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and family 
friends acquired lots and built there. 

My father and mother had one of the original lots at 
Brickerhaven. It sat undeveloped for many years. My mother 
enjoyed planning and designing cabins for the lot, but never lived 
to see the cabin that my father had his cousin-in-law Fred 
Markham design. The cabin was named Altamont, after my 
mother, and was completed in about 1968. Father gifted the cabin 
to his four sons. We and our family members very much enjoyed 
time in this cabin. Tony became the summer resident and was a 
wonderful host. After Tony died Stephen and David began to feel 


Family & Church 

the time and cost of upkeep outweighed the benefit that they got. 
We agreed on a market value and I bought their two-thirds interest. 

Bearmont, in the forested Santa Cruz Mountains of San Mateo 
County CA followed much the same organizational pattern of 
Wildwood and Brickerhaven. We enjoyed this property very much 
in its near raw state, for almost 40 years. Development there was 
restricted by the State and County so using the property in its wild 
state was our best option. Because the property could not be 
divided or developed in any reasonable way for our owner group 
the Bearmont property was sold and gifted in such a way that it 
could be added to the Portola State Park and thus preserved the 
virgin redwoods and the native forests. 

After our Bearmont property had sold in 2006 we began to think 
seriously about the possibility of building a cabin on the 
Brickerhaven property that Uncle Bud arranged for us to buy from 
Deseret Trust, where he was establishing his missionary fund. We 
talked to an architect in Provo and he developed some plans for us, 
but the cost of building his plan was too high for us. We very 
nearly abandoned the idea. 

About this time we were invited to the Olivers in Carmel Valley 
and stayed in a guest house on their property. It was a welcoming, 
pleasant structure with very livable spaces and was remarkably 
compact. After staying there Colette observed that the layout 

Cabin Under Construction - 2007 

would be 
perfect for a 
cabin. She 
set to work 
using that 
layout; ad¬ 
apting it 
into a little 
style cabin. 
It all seem¬ 
ed to work. 

We talked 
to a different 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

that our daughter Amy and her husband Jeff had used for their 
home. His work was excellent; we loved the plan and took it to 
bid. The costs for the little compact cabin were far better and we 
put a young contractor to work on the project. The most significant 
challenge was handling the spring water that ran into the 
foundation excavation. Steady pumping was required and still the 
backhoe sunk below its axels into the mud. We finally had to put 
perforated pipe in gravel under the rock wall behind the cabin and 
and in deep gravel trenches around the sides and under the cabin to 
catch the flowing spring water and carry it to the small stream 
below the property. 

With some travail the cabin was completed in July of 2007. We 
moved in and immediately hosted eight of our grandchildren there 
for a delightful “Kousins Kids Kamp.” 

I call it The Cabin at Taylor Springs in honor of Uncle Bud and 
all the travail with water flows. Colette calls it The House at Pooh 
Corner because of our comer location and her true love of Winnie 
the Pooh and the hundred acre woods. 

Our T-Shirt Design for a later and larger 2011 Cousins Camp 


Part Seven 


The Big Four, the Binks & Tim 

Ten Steps Then Breathe 

29. Children 

Early Observations 

We were blessed with eight wonderful children and then to our 
surprise had a ninth. All of them have grown into wonderful 
upstanding citizens, outstanding providers and great parents to 
their families. It is remarkable to observe that the character traits 
that we saw in childhood, to a great extent have carried through 
into adulthood. Their spirits seemed to come with these and to a 
great extent have carried on through life without too much change. 
Here are just a few early observations: 

Dixon drew immediate attention at the Boston Lying Inn where he 
was bom. All the babies there were Italian, black, or dark Irish. 
Dixon was very white with bright blond hair. Nurses from all over 
the hospital came by to see the fair haired baby. 

From his early days he was a worrier. By or before the age of 2 
when anyone changed his cloth diaper with safety pins he would 
look up tensely and say, "No hurt you. No hurt you." 
Unfortunately, Colette had stuck him a time or two. Our attractive 
two-door Ford Victoria was a bit rusty but was held together by its 
tough paint. It was not totally reliable. When we got in and turned 
the key Dix age three would lean over and say nervously, "Will it 
start? Will it start?” When Tom Green, visiting from Canada, 
drove Dixon home from our church at Addison and Guinda in Palo 
Alto he watched carefully and when he noticed a wrong turn he 
would lean over from the back seat and like the voice of doom he 
would say “you’ll never get there!” 

He was fascinated with a set of Hi Fi components that I had 
assembled from kits. I had to keep them on the mantle, out of 
reach, to avoid electrocution. Dixon would stand on the floor 
beneath them and point at them, twisting his wrist anxiously. I 
picked him up and let him get a better look, but he really wanted to 
get his hands on the array of electronic components. 

In our house on Moreno we could not afford any furnishings. All 
we had was a bed, a washer and two new cribs one for Dix and one 
for Tom, our new baby. One day Dixon took scissors or a 
screwdriver and scratched his name into the headboard of the crib. 


Colette was aghast, it was one of the only new pieces of furniture 
in our house and now it had DIXON carved into it. She took him 
to the crib and pointed to the gouged letters into the paint and told 
him, “You’ve ruined it.” 

Nevertheless, he was quite proud that he could write his name. 
When we had visitors, he would take them to his bedroom and 
show them his handiwork and say, "Look at the ruin-it." 

Dixon was a hard worker and very competent. He liked things 
well organized. He loved my tools and took very good care of 
them when he worked on a project. Not everyone in the family was 
so respectful of tools. This bothered him enough that one day he 
got a peg board, hung it on the garage wall and fastidiously 
organized all the tools so they could hang on it. Behind each tool 
on the pegboard he painted the tool’s outline, so you knew where 
to return it and could quickly see when it was gone. 

As a young child he loved to play with trucks and cars. At ages 
two to four he made the best motor sound effects you could hear 

One Sunday in the Stanford Ward Dixon age five or six had been 
assigned to give a talk in Primary which we knew nothing about. 
There had been no parental coaching for him or any prep time at 
all, but when they announced him as the next speaker he looked a 
bit startled, but marched forward and gave a great impromptu 
account of the storm on the “Sea of Gallalilly” and Jesus’ rescue of 
Peter and the ship. 

When he had finished his door-to-door trick or treat visits on 
Halloween, Dixon would bring home his candy in a large paper 
sack, or pillow case and dump it on the living room floor. Then he 
would take an hour or two to organize it into rows with like items 
put together in size order. Then he would carefully transfer it all to 
a shoebox or similar container. Unless someone got into his candy 
it was still around in July. 

As a Blazer Scout, Dixon had a great adult leader named Jack 
Denton. Jack took me aside one day and said that Dixon was a 
great little leader among the boys in the Blazer Patrol. 

One Christmas he got a 3 foot long battleship complete with guns 
that shot plastic bullets, powder for explosions, signal lights that 
could send Morse code and had detailed appointments and 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

compartments which made it very lifelike. Dixon played with it 
carefully for years and always put it away in its original box with 
all its pieces, including unopened powder bags. Several years 
passed and he outgrew it and gave it to Brad who loved it and used 
it actively. The battleship and its pieces didn’t last a year. 

One evening we needed a sitter on short notice and decided that 
Dixon was a responsible nine year old who could handle the job 
for two or three hours. As we were about to leave he said, “Aren’t 
you going to say to me, ‘Help yourself to anything you find in the 
refrigerator or cupboards, like you do to other sitters?” We said, 
“Yes, by all means. Help yourself.” 

When we got home there were seven empty banana Gerber baby 
food bottles in a neat row. Dixon loved these and his poor baby 
brother, George, had to go without his Gerber banana for a while. 

Dixon loved current styles and trends. He kept track of what was 
cool and what was not. High quality was always best. These 
discriminating tastes applied to hair styles, cars, skis, clothes and 
more. It troubled him that many of our things did not meet his 
standards. He did his best to spruce things up. He painted his old 
wooden skis trying to make them look like the new Volkl, KT, or 
Heads. He painted the grill on our Dodge Dart and added some 
racing stripes on the hood and sides. The VW van which replaced 
the Dart was a sore disappointment to him. I tried to cheer him up 
by pointing out it had a Porsche engine, but that didn’t do it. 

Dixon didn’t mind a good conflict. Goodness knows I was on the 
wrong end of some of those. He was one of the few young people 
I’ve known to be evicted from Seminary. I taught him at home in 
the early morning before school, until he could be re-admitted. 

He had very good report cards and grades throughout his public 
schooling in Palo Alto, but almost never did homework. At a 
relatively early age, he completed his requirements for Eagle 

Straightforward confessions were a challenge for him. When he 
was quite young I noticed “DIXON” painted on our dark brown 
back gate in white letters. When I asked him, he assured me that he 
did not do it. None of his siblings could reach the painted letters, or 
write, or spell his name and it was done with our paint and brush. 
Suspicions ran high. 



Against parental guidance he bought a motorcycle and kept it 
secretly at a friend's home until it was discovered and forcibly 
sold. Later both he and Tom bought motorcycles and kept them at 
our house. It was surprising how much of the time these cycles 
were down for repairs. This was a blessing. 

The classic case was Dixon having our Dodge Dart at school for 
some shop work and deciding to drive it home in the mid-day. He 
was too young for a driver's license. Just by chance Colette and I 
were leaving home together in an HP car, on Ross Road (one of the 
back routes to our home) when we saw the Dodge Dart coming 
toward us. As the car approached, we noted that there was no 
driver. Our quick conclusion was that Dixon had seen us coming 
and did the only thing he could think of to preserve his deniability 
and ducked under the dashboard as the car was rolling home. I 
decided not to follow him, because if he saw us following he might 
never sit back up and would surely crash into something. Best for 
us to drive on by and let him resurface quickly to get home in one 
piece. Later when I talked to him about the strange driverless Dart 
he had no idea how our car drove itself from school to home. It 
certainly wasn't he. 

Beginning at age 10 to 12 Dixon could do an excellent standup 
comedy routine and have the family in stitches. He could imitate 
the Smothers Brothers, comic lines from the Kingston Trio and 
other popular entertainers of the time and made up his own. It was 
a great talent. 

In high school, he had a class which required that he learn 
drafting. This was something that he seemed to really enjoy and he 
did very well. The drafting process seemed to fit well with his 
sense of order and neatness. All good talents for a future 

Thomas as a nursing baby under the age of a year showed a strong 
propensity to tease. With his new top and bottom incisors, he 
would bite his mother while he was feeding. She would wince with 
pain and withdraw and he would grin broadly at her as if to say, "I 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

As a baby in a stroller Tom had a big smile for everyone. It was 
very engaging. Most people were compelled to stop and bend 
down to speak to him. 

Between the ages of two and three Tom was shopping with 
Colette and as they were walking through the store she saw a small 
but very attractive charcoal broiler and she said, “Look at that cute 
little grill.” Tom looked in all directions and said, “Where is she?” 

He had the best imagination for any kind of junk. We took him 
off the garbage chores because he came back with too much stuff 
that we hoped to discard. For example, he took empty matchbook 
covers from the garbage and started a collection which he 
eventually made into a scrapbook. He would look at all sorts of 
trash items and would tell us, "I can use this stuff." Later when he 
worked for HP, his fellow workers would stop at his desk and say, 
"Tom we are throwing this out, but I thought I would stop by your 
desk first to save you the trouble of going through the dumpster." 

As a very young boy ages four to six he had a great focus on his 
projects. He really didn’t want to take time for bathroom breaks. It 
really didn’t occur to him that his soggy jeans resulted from 
bladder pressure. It was a year or two later in life when the family 
was looking at projected 35mm slides and his siblings started 
teasing him about the dark circle around his crotch in the pictures. 
We were grateful that he started at that point to make an effort to 
get to the bathroom before drizzling into his shorts. 

When he started school the district felt he needed speech therapy 
and he spent some time there each school day. When I asked him 
why the special class he said, “I’m having a widow difocoaty wiff 
my aaoos.” In Junior Sunday School (now Primary uses that time 
slot) he gave a wonderful talk about, “Yiddow Yost Yams.” He 
had multiple years of speech therapy, which turned out to be a 
worthwhile investment. He learned to speak as clearly as a 
Shakespearian actor. 

As a boy, he loved to play in the dirt. He built hills and dams and 
roads for trucks. In the area under the street light we had an 
elliptical space that I proposed to plant some bushes and all the 
kids, but especially Tom said, "No, no, no, that space is too 
valuable to us." Then at about age four he came in and thoughtfully 



asked, “Is there dirt in heaven? I told him, “I’m not sure, but 
probably.” He said, “If not, I don’t want to go.” 

Before dinner, the kids had to show their hands to see if they had 
washed before lining up for food. One evening Tom had very dirty 

Cora, Tom, Amy, Dix, Brad and Tom Green at 3122 David Drive, our first home 

hands. It was important not to lose your place in line for any 
reason, because the good food may be gone before your turn if you 
were at the end of the line. We discovered some years later that 
this was the reason that chewing gum built up under the kitchen 
counter. No one dared risk leaving the line to dispose of it and 
then return to the back of the line. So when Tom and I looked 
together at his hands, he looked up at me and said, “That’s not dirt, 
it’s baseball stains.” 

I asked each of our kids to try at least one sport at school each 
year. Tom tried pole vaulting and wrestling. He learned some 
skills, but didn’t excel in either of these. I think in wrestling he 
won recognition for being the most pinned on the team. So he 
looked around for other options and took up fencing, technical 
mountain climbing (not a school sport) and gymnastics. To get on 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

a gymnastic team he had to join the Palo Alto High School (Paly) 
team as Cubberley didn’t have one. He got quite good at this and 
won a silver medal. 

As Tom worked his way toward Eagle Scout he tackled the 
cycling merit badge. He completed all the requirements and then 
went to a badge counselor to get it signed off. The counselor said, 
"Sorry you have to check in with me before you work on your 
requirements. So he started over with the required four or five 25 
mile hikes, then did his one or two required 50 mile bike hikes and 
for some technical reason he didn't pass him again. He changed his 
counselor and tried a third time. This time he did his final 50 mile 
ride from Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz. Part way into the ride his 
pedal came off and he couldn’t get it back on, so he did most of 
that ride with one pedal. It was a tough struggle, but he fought it 
through and got the badge. In several ways that badge was a bad 
experience, but it was a good way to learn about determination and 
perseverance. He earned his Eagle award at the earliest age of 
anyone in the family. 

In High School he was fortunate to have a principal with a sense 
of humor. Tom organized numerous pranks and events. When his 
weight was down for wrestling he had friends tuck him in a gym 
locker, all curled up, where he stayed for some world record 
setting time. He could hardly walk when he got out. His picture all 
curled up in the locker was in the school newspaper and possibly 
the Palo Alto Times. 

Then there was the urinal from the school bathroom. He and his 
friends used their mountain climbing skills to mount the urinal on a 
40-foot high totem in the grassy plaza used for graduation and 
school assemblies. The totem had the crest of each High School in 
their League mounted along its face and now it had a urinal at the 
top containing a bouquet of roses to celebrate graduation. On 
another occasion Tom hired his younger brother, Brigham, and one 
of the Michael boys to go through the Palo Alto creeks and collect 
a bucket or two full of young toads. Tom had made posters and 
submitted newspaper articles that warned a mysterious T day was 
coming. Early one morning after the toads were collected, Tom 
and friends broke into the library and turned the toads loose. An 
especially big fat toad went onto the librarian’s desk. There was 



brief panic in the library when the large and small toads were 
discovered, but the cool handed librarian quickly called the biology 
teacher and asked him to come with his class and collect them for 
specimens, and they did. Through all of these and more Tom 
thought he was anonymous, but the principal had figured it out and 
knew for some time who the masterminds were. Still, he let Tom 
graduate from Cubberley High School with a smile. For graduation 
Tom ordered the longest robe they offered, built some stilts, nailed 
his old shoes on the bottom of the stilts, created some fake pant 
legs and took his diploma on stage as a 7’ 6” graduate. Someone in 
the crowd said, “They must have a great basketball team.” He used 
the same stilts to attend concerts as it improved his view. Colette 
made a special concert outfit for him to go with the stilts, kind of a 
very long legged jumpsuit. 

He and his friends created a very funny Monty Python like skit 
which they performed for a school assembly, and for a time he had 
a regular column in the school newspaper. 

Bradford as very young preschooler loved to draw and was very 
good at it. He spent many hours in our "playroom" at the small 
table drawing. His drawings overflowed his art pad and soon cover 
all of our interior closet walls. When he was old enough to go to 
kindergarten he was very quiet and cautious. Mrs. Black, his first 
teacher, was not the best teacher in the Palo Alto Unified School 
District and tended to be harsh and critical. Brad spent most of his 
kindergarten year in class under the table. In first grade he got a 
great teacher, our friend, Pat Robinson. She did things the children 
enjoyed and was very encouraging to each of them. With a great 
teacher Brad came out of the shadows and became very optimistic 
and outgoing from that year onward. 

Even when Brad was so young that he was not talking yet he 
loved balls. You could put any kind of ball in his hands and he 
would light up all over. When he even heard a ball bounce he’d 
laugh and clap his hands. There was an accident where Tom fired a 
little spring loaded gun that shot suction tip darts and the plastic 
tail end of the dart grazed Brad’s eye and took a small chunk out of 
the cornea. It was extremely painful and for more than two or 
three days he did not open his eyes, because it hurt so much when 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

he did. The Doctor advised us to put Neosporin in his eye, both to 
disinfect the wound and make the eye feel better. I pointed out that 
the label says not for eyes, but the doctor assured us it was okay. 
The label warning was just to avoid requiring a prescription for the 
product. That Neosporin did help, but he still kept his eyes closed. 
In the evening of the second day we went to Oakland to watch the 
church basketball tournament. The Stanford Ward, where I was 
bishop, was in the finals. The sound of the bouncing ball was the 
thing that enticed Brad to open his eyes and from that point on he 
was fully on the mend. Our Stanford team won the region playoffs 
and went on to the church finals in Salt Lake City. They probably 
would have won this also, but only had six players and late in the 
game when two had fouled out, and they were playing with just 
four on the floor, then went down to 3 players and their lead 
dwindled. They had their first narrow loss. 

Even as a toddler he was always very positive. For example, he 
would approach his mother and say, “You want to make me 
cookies don’t you!” 

I believe that Brad had the record number of broken bones in the 
family. When I took him to the doctor to have his arm set the 
doctor asked how many children we had, I told him 8. He looked at 
me and smiled, "Watch carefully; you may as well learn how to do 
this." On another occasion we had a child with a broken arm, and 
the doctor said, "Let's get an x-ray of this." The other kids who 
were watching said, "What about my toe, my foot, my leg." The 
doctor was very kind and patient and said to them, "Come aboard." 
So over the flat plate came an arm, a foot, the toe and a shin. When 
the multiple bone x-ray was developed the doctor called us in 
where the x-ray film was mounted. He went once around the x-ray, 
“Arm is broken, but the bone is in place. Foot bone is only 
cracked. The toe is broken, but is OK where it is. The shin was 
cracked, but mostly healed now.” Everyone walked away carefully 
while their bones continued to heal. 

Brad had gone on his bike to Bergman’s Department Store, in 
Midtown to buy a birthday present for a friend. He chose a nice 
glass jar and bought penny candy to fill it. He was carrying the 
present home very carefully, but as he peddled along the sidewalk 
a car driven by Mr. Liberatore pulled out of a driveway and hit 



him. The bike was smashed, Brad was bruised and bleeding, but he 
had protected the glass jar of candy and it was unharmed. Bill 
Liberatore, the driver’s son, told us many years later he tore into 
dad saying, “How could you hit Brad? Everyone in school loves 
him and now my reputation will be ruined!” 

One evening we were frantically trying to organize the kids to 
accompany us to the Little League ballpark very close to our home. 
Brad had a game there and we were taking sandwiches to have our 
family supper there and watch his game. Just as we were about to 
leave, Scott Morton, one of Brad’s good friends, burst in the front 
door. He was breathless but managed to announce, "Brad just hit a 
grand slam home run!" Dam, we had missed it. Tom coined the 
term "family slug" for all those occasions we were trying to get the 
family organized to get out the door. We did see the rest of the 
game and saw Brad pitch well and he got some hits but there were 
no more grand slam home runs. 

One day we were talking about putting carpet over some of the 
hardwood floors in the kid’s bedrooms and Brad concernedly said, 
“You can’t do that!” Colette asked why not. He took her to his 
bedroom and twisted his rubber soled sneakers on the hardwood 
floor and it made a squeaking sound. Brad said, “In my room, 
that’s my favorite sound.” Full carpeting never happened. 

Brad did many things well, but fastidious room organization and 
housekeeping were not among them. Colette came into his room 
one day while Brad was lying on the floor amongst clothes and 
stuff staring up at the ceiling. She looked around at the complete 
disarray, shook her head and said, “Brad what are we going to do 
about your room?” He looked up wistfully and said optimistically, 
“I was thinking about building a shelf,” implying that might solve 
the massive problem. 

He had an unusual sense of empathy for a young boy. He could 
sense how others felt and what their needs might be. He was 14 
when we had our 20 th wedding anniversary. We didn’t have too 
much history of celebrating anniversaries in an outward way. More 
often than not Colette would be in the midst of road show, or 
musical production rehearsals, or I would be in bishopric or stake 
presidency meetings. In this rather negligent environment, Brad 
took his own money and bought us a china bell for our “china” 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

anniversary, all nicely wrapped, and presented it to us. Very 
thoughtful and motivated me to step it up a bit! 

He bought a vinyl record that he loved at Tower Records. When 
he got it home, the record skipped grooves and the music was 
replaced by noise. When he took the record back they would not 
give him a replacement, or credit without a receipt. Unfortunately, 
he had not kept the receipt. I mentioned to him the importance of 
keeping receipts until the new product was tried and tested and had 
no risk of return. He was very sad and I mentioned to him this 
would be a valuable lesson. He said, "I hate learning valuable 

Because each of our children had to pay for half of their College 
education it was beginning to cause Brad some concern. He had 
taken over the family paper route for several years, but had given 
the remote, difficult part of the route to George to do and the rest 
of the route he took care of a little like his room. When we got 
calls from his customers saying they did not get their paper we 
would put Brad on the line and he would say, “I did deliver it and 
all you have to do is look on your garage roof or under the third 
bush on the left side of your driveway.” Collecting was a little bit 
hit and miss so he didn’t have large cash reserves saved for 

Around this time he heard that anyone who was elected a High 
School Student Body President could get a full BYU Scholarship, 
for leadership. He said, “That’s easy; IT1 do that.” So he ran for 
Cubberley High School Student Body President and won quite 
handily. Then, fortunately, he did qualify for the University 

There were two or three bright young women who understood 
that Brad might need a little help with the details of his high school 
presidential office. One morning we got a call from Marguerite 
Gong who said, "Susan will not be at school today, but don't 
worry; I'll be taking care of Brad." That was the first we knew of 
his special help. 

In one of Brad’s classes the teacher, Ron Andersen said, “I want 
each of you to outline an activity plan for the whole school, with 
details of how to make it work.” Later Ron reported the results to 
us. Most of the class were staring at the ceiling or out of the 



windows, or sharpening their pencils or quietly chatting with their 
fellow students. But through the whole period Brad was writing 
furiously in his notebook with multi pages of details. The teacher 
noticed this and looked at what he had written. It was a very 
impressive plan and Ron made arrangements for Brad to 
implement it. The school had a very successful Hawaiian Luau 
and program for the entire student body under Brad’s direction. 

Amy was one of our most avid thumb suckers. When she was bom 
she already had a blister on her thumb from pre-natal sucking. One 
sweltering summer day she was age 3 and came into the kitchen 
covered with mud. She was obviously exhausted and needing a 
nap. She said to Colette, “Will you wash my thumb.” 

There is a season for everything, and some things must come to 
an end. Amy was socially aware enough to realize when she started 
kindergarten that thumb sucking was not a broadly accepted pass¬ 
time and gave it up - except occasionally at bedtime. 

As mentioned our young neighbor next door, Sherrie Ford, 
worried about Amy in a house full of boys and started coaching 
Amy in her crib on the finer points of being a girl. It seemed to 
work. Amy did wear dresses to school and took ballet lessons and 
was a model of young womanhood. 

When she was three or four years old, she wanted very much to 
talk on the phone like her mom, but had no one to talk to. Colette 
solved the problem for a while by dialing the automated time 
recording and let Amy talk to the recorded operator. The operator 
would give the time every 10 seconds and this would go on until 
the phone was hung up. After concluding her third or fourth 
session with the time lady, she came to Colette dismayed saying, 
“She doesn’t even know I’m Amy!” 

At the dinner table there was a similar problem. Amy had things 
to say, but her three older brothers dominated all the discussions 
and she couldn't get a word in edgewise. When the frustration 
became too much to bear she would emit a piercing groan and tears 
would flow. Colette or I would have to pull her aside and see what 
was on her mind and engineer a brief entry into the conversation. 
As a result of the suppression she became very quiet around the 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

When Amy started school she had been so quiet at home we 
didn’t know what to expect of her in school. At the first 
parent/teacher meeting Colette thought she might find out that 
Amy was overly shy. When asked directly, the teacher said, 
“Heaven’s no. She’s one of the most outspoken in the class and 
one of the brightest. She is a real leader.” That was surprisingly 
good news. All she needed was a chance. 

Like Tom before her, she needed several years of speech therapy 
to correct her missing sounds. Given time, this process was also 
very successful. 

Amy got along very well with playmates. Mothers would call 
Colette to see if Amy could come over to play with their kids. 
There was one little girl who lived down further on Christine Drive 
who was very difficult. Amy would play with her anyway, but one 
day she came home and said emphatically, “She doesn’t know 
what nice is!” 

We had some good friends in Boston whose son came on a 
mission to the Palo Alto area. One night we came home late. In the 
kitchen we heard a clunking sound in the sink. When we turned on 
the lights there were two large live lobsters thrashing about. 
Colette said, “What do we do with these?” I said, “We’d better 
cook them before it’s too late, but I don’t know how.” Colette 
pulled out our Cambridge Branch Cookbook and she read, “Bring 
a large pot of water to a full boil and plunge the lobsters in 
headfirst. Ignore their screaming...” Then she said, “I can’t do 
this!” and went into the living room and sat on the floor behind the 
chair near the bookshelves. 

I cooked them and of course they turned from dull green to 
bright red. I put them in the fridge for later use and we went to bed. 
The next morning was Saturday and fairly early little Amy 
bounced into bed with us and said, “What are we having for 
breakfast?” Colette answered, “I don’t know. What would you 
like?” She said, “I don’t know, but I know what I don’t want.” 
Colette said, “Oh, and what’s that?” Amy said, “I don’t want those 
two red monsters in the fridge.” 

Amy was a great dancer and Loma, her teacher, wanted her full 
time in Ballet. She was a featured soloist in many of Loma’s dance 
programs. Loma was very disappointed when Amy decided to 



spend more of her time on gymnastics. In gymnastics she did very 
well and went to several state meets and won prestigious Central 
Coast Section ribbons. She was good in all the events but her best 
was probably the balance beam. Even from the time she was a 
toddler she was extremely stable on her feet. When we drove 
around in the car, she declined to use a car seat and preferred to 
stand next to the driver. (That was not illegal at the time.) As we 
drove no twist, turn, or sudden stop could tilt her off her feet. No 
matter what, she just stuck right there. 

From a very young age, Amy was constantly doing cartwheels 
and other amazing moves throughout the house. I lived in constant 
fear that I would be blindsided, or kicked in the head, or get a foot 
in the stomach. When asked why this had to go on in the home she 
said, “I’m only happy when I’m moving.” 

Amy was an easy child to have in the family. She instinctively 
wanted to do the right thing. She seldom, if ever needed scolding. 
If you spoke to her sternly and looked serious she could burst into 
tears. Her early years needed very little course correction. 

She worked hard at babysitting and hired out to do household 
chores like cleaning and ironing. When it came time for college 
she supplemented her earnings and savings with several nice 

Dogs scared her to death. Sometimes there would be a dog at a 
house where she had to work and she would come home to get 
little George, age 8, to come with her to handle the dogs so she 
could get in. It’s ironic that as an adult, she was one of the first in 
the family to have a dog in her home. 

In her school work Amy was exceptionally good at math and had 
a good way of explaining math concepts to others. When younger 
siblings had math questions and Amy was not home, we would 
refer them to George who was home studying in the dining room. 
He was also very good in math. But the kids would say, u Oh, I 
think I will just wait until Amy gets home.” 

No one seems to be able to eat comfortably with an orthodontic 
retainer. Amy was no different, so at lunch time she would take it 
out. But rather than just setting it on the table, which she thought 
looked gross; she wrapped it in her napkin. One day she 
distractedly put the crumpled napkin on the paper plate and put it 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

in the trash. It wasn’t until the end of the day that she realized she 
had lost her retainer and she remembered how it happened. When 
she got home she told Colette what had happened and expected 
that we would have to pay for a new one. But no; orthodontic care 
is expensive enough without buying extra retainers. She was 
marched back to the school cafeteria and traced the garbage 
handling processes clear through. It became clear that everything 
had gone to the dumpster outside the cafeteria. Amy crawled in 
started looking through mountains of trash without much luck, so 
Colette joined her. They dived in and finally found the right napkin 
with the retainer still inside. What an amazing victory for 
determined motherhood. 

Amy always dressed well. Even when grunge became stylish she 
wore beautiful skirt and dress outfits to school. Thanks again to 
Sherry Ford’s infant coaching & Marguerite Gong and Shari Sant’s 

George didn’t like rapid change. When Nicole was bom he was 
evicted from his crib and graduated to a real bed. He didn’t 
welcome this change. One day we couldn’t find him. After a long 
worrisome search we discovered the small boy. He’d taken his 
pillow and blanket and made a bed under what was now his sister’s 
crib, and there he was fast asleep. Toilet training was also a long 
hard struggle. When we dressed him in regular shorts he protested 
by taking them off, then leading me or Colette to the chest of 
drawers, where he pulled out a folded cloth diaper, set it on the 
floor and flopped down on top of it, and pointing down at the 
diaper needing pins and would grunt ungh, ungh, ungh indicating, 
"Put these back on or else." Though he wouldn't talk, he 
understood all that was said to him. He and I had a long, one-way 
talk about the use of bathrooms and that it was long past time for 
him to pitch in and move toward societal norms. If he did not start 
working at it, I explained that I would have to tie him to a tree in 
the front yard with no pants and squirt him off with a hose 
occasionally. Fortunately, he did eventually master the use of a 
toilet and we never had to tie him to the tree. 

Talking was similarly slow. He was reluctant to start speaking. 
He became a master of communicating without words. It was 



remarkable what he could convey without words. For example, he 
could give complex instruction on how to fix a glass of Kool Aid 
for him all with sounds and gestures. Maybe he was waiting for 
his voice to change, because when he started talking he had a very 
shrill, squeaky little voice that pierced clear through your head - it 
was painful. Brad made a recording of his high-pitched voice as he 
was declaring that when he was a teenager he was not going to 
have zits like his older siblings. If the recording still exists, it’s a 

When he was three he loved to take a chess board and set up all 
the men on the board. I’m not sure he knew all the moves, but he 
loved the setup. 

From a very early age, he was a persistent negotiator. He was 
never unpleasant, but just never gave up. Brad was holding a new 
birthday gift and George with high interest said, “Can I see it?... 
Can I hold it?... Can I have it?” 

He’d made requests of Colette for things he needed as she 
continued with her work saying. “Uh huh, or yes dear,” but without 
really listening. Finally, he grabbed her by the leg and held on. 
When she looked and bent down to see what he wanted he held her 
face in both of his little hands and looking her in the eyes said, 
"You have really dumb ears." 

Later at about age nine he asked Colette to take him to the store 
when she was up to her eyeballs with other things that had to get 
done. She had several things to make and put away, then run some 
urgent errands and get to an appointment all in less than 2 hours. 
George said, “’Rell,’ what if I helped you make A and B and put 
away C and D while you do the rest. Then when you run errands, I 
could come with you and my store would not be out of the way.” 
Colette caved in and George got to the store. This was a typical 
negotiation. He seldom lost. 

One Saturday morning we had a major family work party; dug 
out weeds and trimmed bushes, worked on the lawn and cleaned 
everything up. George about age six looked around and said, "This 
looks great. We should do this every year." He liked it, but didn't 
want to set the expectations too high. When he was eight or nine, 
he showed us a list at the end of the day and said, "This was a 
perfect day. I've done everything on the list I made this morning." 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

He showed me the list and it read something like this: Get up, 
brush teeth and make bed. Finish model. Free time 10 am to 1 pm. 
Go to store. At 2 pm to 4 pm play a board game with John Kuhn, 
Free time 4 pm to 5 pm. 5:30 to 6 pm collect paper route money 
until dinner time. Play with GI Joes after dinner until 7 pm. Free 
time 7 pm until bedtime. Each item was checked off and he was 
beaming with success. We would probably all have better days if 
we left a little more specific “free time” in our schedule. 

John Kuhn and George played together a lot. John may have 
been the only person patient enough to enjoy this. He and George 
organized baseball games that used no ball. George would tell 
everyone where the ball had been hit and they would have to run to 
field it. He also called balls and strikes. It must have been a very 
satisfying game for the controller. 

Over time George bought several very complex war board 
games. One had an instruction book about an inch and a half thick. 
For more than a week John and George sat and read from the 
instruction book while the game pieces were still unopened. Going 
into the 11 th or 12 th day they were still reading instructions when I 
heard John plaintively ask, “Do you think we might actually be 
playing today, or tomorrow?” I’m not sure if the game ever did get 

From his small portion of the paper route George, as a young 
boy, collected regularly and saved his money. One day he decided 
he had enough to buy a good set of high fidelity stereo 
components. Colette took them to Gemco (where Target now sits) 
and waited in the car while George and John did the shopping. 
After about half an hour George came back to the car and said to 
Colette, “It’s time for you to come in and do your yelling and 
screaming.” The sales people thought the two boys were just kids 
playing with the equipment and decided to kick them out of the 

Colette did her best work when she was angry. She stormed in 
and demanded to see the manager and told him aggressively that 
her boy had saved up a sizeable amount of money and that he was 
a serious customer and they had better help him with much greater 
respect, or else. It all worked and George came home with a new 
stereo. He also eventually graduated to ownership of the entire 



paper route and people still tell me today that George was their 
best paperboy. 

The story told earlier about his diversion of the whole troop to 
Kibbie Lake stands as a tribute to his negotiating skills, (page 330) 

George’s persistence carried into the classroom. One teacher told 
us at a parent teacher conference that he finally realized that the 
class could not go on to a new topic until George understood the 
current one. Several classmates came to him privately and said 
they appreciated all his questions because they didn't understand 

He had a Chemistry teacher at Paly, a cute little black woman 
who told us she was pretty sure that George had a learning 
disability because of all his questions. When she saw that his first 
test results were the highest in the class she went to him and said, 
“George, you been ‘funning’ me.” Not really, that was the true 

With his own money George bought a subscription to Time 
magazine. When it was delivered he would take it into the dining 
room and read it from cover to cover. 

George worked in the lunch time food 
shack at Paly High. There was a retarded 
boy who came every day for lunch who 
had gotten to know George behind the 
counter. He ordered the same thing 
every day and as he approached the 
shack he would smile broadly and shout 
out, “Hey George, a tuna fish sandwich 
and a glass of milk, a dolla’ ten.” Then 
he put his money down, exact change 
each time. One day the school raised 
prices and the cost of the two items went 
to $1.25. But the boy didn’t understand 
that and never had the extra money. So 
when he continued to approach with his, 
“Hey George, a tuna fish sandwich and a glass of milk, a dolla’ 
ten.” George took a kindly approach and served the boy and 
covered the shortfall. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Nicole had a nice yellow blanket which was a comfort to her. It 
was a gift from Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett. With this wrapped 
around her she would suck her two middle fingers on her right 
hand. This put her pointer finger in her right eye and her pinky 
finger in her left and her thumb on the cheek. A style of her own. 

As she got older and her blanket had seen excessive use, it got 
pretty gamey. One of her older siblings, maybe Tom, took the 
disgusting blanket, even though it was still precious to Nicole and 
hid it in a zipper-enabled decorative pillow. No one knew where it 
was. It was a painful withdrawal for Nicole, but over time she 
recovered. As years passed the old decorative pillows made their 
way into the garage to make softer seats on handle bars, or 
kneeling pads for garden work. It was many years later when the 
ragged blanket was miraculously discovered in the old pillow and 
promptly and properly discarded. There should have been a 

It could be said without exaggeration that Nicole was a very 
willful and stubborn child, but regardless of any severe penalty, 
she was not likely to change her mind. One day there was some 
very hot tabasco sauce in a bottle on the kitchen counter. She 
insisted that she wanted to try some and no amount of explanation 
could dissuade her. I gave her the bottle and a spoon. Rather than a 
careful test she bolted the whole spoonful down. This was 
followed quickly with screaming, crying, streaming tears, 
coughing and spitting into the toilet. Sometimes experience is the 
only way to learn. 

Even as a toddler she was very socially inclined. Sometime 
during the day when she was two to three years old she got lost for 
hours at a time. We found out later that every neighbor on the 
street knew her. She would go door to door to visit and ask, “Do 
you have any cookies today?” Neighbors we had not yet met 
would stop us and say, “Oh, I’ll bet that you are the parents of 
Nicole. She is such a sweet girl.” 

Nicole really hated to have her hair washed and the process of 
combing out the snarls was even worse. With a lot of other kids to 
worry about Colette decided that life was too short to be fighting 
over hair washing and such, so she gave Nicole a Pixie haircut to 
make it all easier. Well that didn't go over too well, and in later life 



Nicole has decided that was a crippling blow that has impacted her 
to this very day. At the same time it may have motivated her to 
become the world’s greatest hair stylist, and you can be sure that 
none of her daughters ever had short hair. 

Janet Mason, who was Dixon’s age, was one of Nicole’s friends. 
Nicole visited frequently with her across the street. When Nicole 
was about six we had just returned home from Utah, after having 
driven all night. It was about 5:00 am when we pulled in and 
started unloading the car. After an hour we discovered that Nicole 
was missing. We asked all of the kids if they had seen her since we 
got home and none of them was sure they had. Our last bathroom 
stop was in Nevada and I asked everyone if she had gotten back in 
the car after that stop. One or two felt she had, but no one was sure. 
We became very concerned and called the highway patrol in 
California and Nevada and asked them to be on the lookout for a 
little blond haired girl. It was still too early to bother the neighbors, 
so we waited an hour or two and then started calling them. Gloria 
Mason across the street answered their phone and said no they had 
not seen Nicole and all the other neighbors said the same. 

We were getting pretty frantic, when at 9:30 am she strolled in 
the door. When asked she explained that she had been at the 
Masons. Janet had come to the door a little after 5 am, half asleep 
and Nicole started to review her trip. Janet said, “Come into my 
room to tell me” and there they both fell sound asleep. That’s why 
Gloria didn’t even know she was there when we called. It was a 
happy ending to a stressful morning. 

One family home evening we asked Nicole what she would like 
to have the family sing for a closing hymn. She said, “I would like 
to sing the song about shopping.” We were completely puzzled and 
asked which one she meant. She said, “You know, T am a child of 
God, rich blessings are in store;” 

In school Nicole had such a keen interest in what everyone else 
was doing that she couldn't focus well on the teacher's instruction 
or her own work. She started school as one of the youngest in her 
grade and after some consultation we decided she would do better 
to drop back a year. Short-term, socially it bothered her to see 
friends go to a different grade, but by high school the move turned 
out to be a real plus. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

In the early grades, even after dropping back a year, she still fell 
behind. Colette had a teaching degree and had exceptional skills. 
She suggested that Nicole be taught at home and we decided to do 
it. We talked to Mr. French, the principal who was very nice and 
plead with us not to pull her out of public school, because of the 
loss of funding that would cause them. We agreed on a plan where 
Colette would teach Nicole and Mr. French would give them a 
classroom of their own. Then for a few hours each day, Nicole 
could join her classmates. This went very well. Nicole was smart 
and without distractions she learned quickly. In just a few months 
she caught up two full grade levels on the standardized testing. 
From then on she held her own academically. 

Nicole had a nice singing voice but was reluctant to use it before 
any kind of audience. She composed music. One of her most 
famous pieces was titled “Rock-a-Pony’s Going to Get Your 
Baby.” The lyrics went on: “She scrambles in the dirt, she 
scrambles in the dirt and she walks in the tall, tall grass. Baby lost. 
Baby lost.” We never had a psychiatric evaluation of this 
composition, but possibly should have. 

Time management and priority setting was not her strong suite. 
One evening when quite a few of our family were home there was 
a knock at the door. It was a young man who had come to pick 
Nicole up for a babysitting job. She looked panicky and grabbed 
George and asked if he would go with the man because she had 
promised to sit for someone else and had forgotten about this 
additional commitment. George and the man agreed on the 
substitution and away they went. Next at the door was the 
appointment that Nicole had remembered and off she went. We 
thought all is well that ends well when there was a third knock at 
the door by a couple that Nicole had also agreed to sit for. We 
explained our problem and said that we could talk to Brigham, a 
younger brother, if he liked. Brigham, age 10, was reluctant to go 
and the fellow was a little apprehensive about the substitution also, 
so he went away sitter-less. We just hoped there would be no more 
knocks at the door that night. 

Nicole was a great ballet dancer and had some wonderful 
programs. One of the most memorable was her solo performance 
as Red Riding Hood. In a few very nice programs Amy and Nicole 



did some beautiful dances together. Their skill qualified them both 
to be on their respective high school song leader teams, Amy first, 
at Cubberley High School and Nicole later at Gunn High School. 

In high school Nicole got a job in a frozen yogurt shop. She 
enjoyed the after school work and gave it her full effort. She had a 
strong sense of what was right or wrong in the business and 
decided that the topping containers were looking gross. So she 
took it on herself to load them in our Volkswagen van and brought 
them all home after work for a good scrubbing. The only problem 
was that the chocolate and caramel vats tipped over and the 
residual topping spilled out all over the back floor of the Van. The 
final result was that the pots got back to the shop looking beautiful, 
but the VW floor was never the same, even though she scrubbed 
long and hard on it. 

In grade school, Nicole’s social intensity wore out some of her 
friends, but in high school that intensity was spread over 14 of her 
very closest friends and it was just perfect. When there was a 
school or church dance, a good number of those beautiful friends 
would gather in our bathroom to finish getting ready. There was 
hair styling to do, makeup to put on, clothing to be borrowed and 
swapped until everyone was at the zenith of perfection. Often by 
the time they were ready the dance was within 30 minutes of the 
ending. But what a grand entry they must have made. 

The clothes borrowing got to be a real issue when older sisters of 
the girls started leaving for college. There were frantic calls for the 
return of all borrowed clothes. At our home Nicole had 
accumulated more than a large trunk full of borrowed clothes and 
she set to work washing and cleaning them all. When they were all 
clean and neatly folded they went into the back of the VW van 
(where the floor was still clean) to go to school and be returned. 
Nicole was a little late for first period and rushed to her class with 
the intent of returning the clothes through the day. She didn’t lock 
the car and when she came back to make her first delivery 
everything had been stolen. Nothing got returned to its owner, oh 
sob. A sad lesson was learned: never borrow clothes and never 
lend unless you intend to give the item(s) away. 

Nicole went to BYU Hawaii for her freshman year. Packing was 
a challenge, because she needed all of her stuff. When we went to 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

SFO to put her on a plane I swear there were 30 boxes and 
suitcases she wanted to take. I told her the Airlines won’t take that 
much luggage. She said, “Oh it’s easy. You just tip the porter $5 
and he will get them on for me.” We unloaded half a cargo 
container of stuff on the curb, while she went to find a porter. 
When the porter saw the stack he walked round and round it 
shaking his head. He finally said that pile will cost $500 to ship. 
Nicole began to cry and plead with him and finally he said, “OK 
$30 and I hope I don’t lose my job.” Lucky she was a beautiful 

Nicole’s intense interest in people resulted in many, many 
lifelong friendships and the skills to maintain them over the years. 

Brigham was our largest baby at birth and grew quite chunky in 
his first year or so. Then he met up with real food and found that 
he didn’t really like anything very much. We encouraged him to 
try at least a bit of everything that was prepared and it would 
mostly make him gag or throw up. When he grew older he 
developed skills for hiding things under his plate, or filling his 
mouth and then slipping away to go to the bathroom and spit it out, 
or spreading things out over his plate broadly and thinly so that it 
looked like he had eaten something. I believe that he survived on 
cold cereal and toast. 

An important experience in the creeks of Palo Alto broadened his 
eating spectrum. He liked the creeks and gathering toads, crawdads 
and other interesting thing there. His friend, one of the Michael 
boys, often went with him. Maryann Michael his friend’s mother 
was from NC and really knew how to prepare crawdads. She took 
what the boys brought home in buckets and made several meals for 
the boys over time. Brigham learned to love crawdads. This 
gradually became a love of almost all sea food. 

When he was just beyond toddler stage, he began to ask complex 
questions like: "Is anything exact?" My answer was, “Probably 
not, but likely close enough.” (At work we had sensitive 
micrometers that could measure the thickness of metal to a ten- 
thousandth of an inch. You could have two guys measure the same 
thing and get different readings just because the micrometer and 
the metal had warmed up in their hands from the first measurement 



to the last.) Another typical question was, "How can air hold up an 
airplane?" Mind you this was from a three or four year old. I was 
shocked, but encouraged by his inquiring mind. 

As he went into kindergarten Brigham had speech problems 
similar to Tom and Amy only it was mainly with the “S” sound. 
One day he asked, “Why to some people say “es” and I say “th.” 
Somehow this speech problem must have bothered George. One 
day he pinned Brig to the floor and looked him in the eyes and 
said, “If you don’t start talking normally I’m going to smash you.” 
What had taken years of therapy to cure Tom and Amy was cured 
overnight by George. From that point onward Brigham’s speech 
was excellent. 

On several occasions Colette's folks came and helped us with 
babysitting while we traveled for a week or so. When we came 
back from one trip, Tom Green reported that Brigham, about age 
six or seven, had said to him, "It is really frustrating when people 
come down from Canada and don't know where my friends live." 

When he was tested in school he might have had the highest IQ 
in the family. It was hard to understand why he didn’t do better in 
school. Possibly he was bored, or maybe his sketchy diet yielded a 
low energy level, making him less industrious. For whatever 
reason he skated on the edge in school and never studied that I can 
recall and his grades showed it. He was not opposed to cutting a 
few comers. 

When he took over the Palo Alto Times paper route inserts were 
a problem. These were in separate bundles from the newspapers, 
and the paper boy had to put one insert inside each paper before it 
was folded and delivered. Some subscribers to the paper really 
looked forward to these advertisements. They kept track of the day 
that some regular inserts came with the papers. We began to get 
complaints that customers were not getting their inserts. Then one 
day I was looking under some stuff in the bike shed and discovered 
large stacks of insert bundles that had never been delivered. That 
had saved Brigham a lot of work, but it was not a morally, 
ethically or commercially acceptable labor saver. 

Brigham was good at Little League Baseball and we enjoyed his 
wide open, high scoring games. He loved movies and had the 
ability to put himself fully into the picture. The Planet of the Apes 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

series really captured his imagination. Across the street, Mr. Heikle 
had planted a row of about 10 pepper trees that had grown together 
enough that Brig could swing from tree to tree like a true simian. 
One Saturday Tom was drafted to take Brig and friend to a “Go 
Ape” Extravaganza at a downtown theater in Mountian View. 
They had five Planet of the Apes movies that ran back to back. 
Free popcorn, a hotdog and a free drink were all part of the 
package. Brig loved all five movies and the total experience, but 
Tom reported that little kids were throwing up all over the theater 
and it was disgusting. The Shark movies Jaws , etc. likewise got his 
full attention. 

For Halloween Colette made an ape suit for Brig that went with a 
store bought ape mask. It was a most imposing outfit and he was 
the best dressed in the Halloween costume parade. 

He learned to play the cello and had many very nice 
performances that we enjoyed. He had great artistic skills and did a 
number of excellent pencil sketch portraits. He did an oil painting 
of a house that won an impressive award. We journeyed to San 
Francisco to see it on display in the Bank of America Building. Of 
course some of his best work was done in church, drawing people 
on the stand, or composing imaginative creatures. 

He was a great scout. I was honored to have him as the Senior 
Patrol Leader for a number of months when I was a Scout Master. 
He was a great help in the planning and coaching of the younger 
boys. On backpack trips, he was a good hiker, and in the evenings 
he was a marvelous storyteller. After dinner, as the boys dried their 
wet shoes around the campfire Brig could recount the full story of 
Star Wars with the script almost verbatim. With his flashlight in 
the campfire smoke he could create an excellent laser sword as the 
story unfolded. The whole evening was enriched by the smell of 
burning shoe rubber around the fire. When it wasn’t Star Wars it 
could be any other current hit such as Cujo, etc. 

In the summer between years of High School Brig took a job in 
the Feriante Roofing Company where George also worked. One of 
his assignments was to belay a fellow worker on the roof by tying 
off a rope to a tree, or in some other way securing the rope. Then if 
anyone slipped on the roof, they could only fall a short distance 
before the rope caught them and prevented them from crashing to 



the ground. In the early afternoon one day Brig came home and 
went straight into the living room and sat in one of the chairs 
beside the fireplace and just stared into space. Colette saw him 
settle in and said, “You’re home early.” He said, “Yup.” She 
asked, “Are you okay?” He said, “Yup.” 

He sat there for an hour or two and was still there glassy eyed 
and quiet when George came in and shouted, “BRIG, YOU 
ALMOST KILLED REGGIE! You didn’t secure the belay rope. 
We had to take him to the hospital.” Reggie recovered, but that 
ended a promising career in roofing. 

Another of his jobs was desk clerking at the Stanford Park Hotel. 
This went well until he called his friends in to clean up the leftover 
food from a company who had held a meeting at the Hotel. That 
turned into a party and he was fired shortly after the event. 

Our ward had a great basketball team and a good coach. Brig was 
on the team as they won the Stake Championship and went on the 
Regionals. When they had their first game Brig noted that several 
of the teams had jerseys with the player’s name on. He concluded 
that their team was not going to cede that advantage to an 
opponent. He recruited Colette to cut out the letters needed to spell 
all of his team’s names. He laid them out on the jerseys and ironed 
them on. The next game the whole team looked glorious and they 
won their next playoff game and as best I recall went on to win the 
Regional Championship. 

Brigham’s love for movies continued and it was in that field his 
creative energies blossomed with the Disney Studios. 

Megan was the first of our children whose birth I was able to 
attend in the delivery room. In the ‘50s and early 60s fathers were 
not allowed in for a delivery, but those rules softened over time. If 
I had to pick one delivery to be at, that was the best because 
everything went perfectly. When she came home from the hospital 
she was the first of all our children to sleep clear through the night 
with no interruptions. We believe to this day that her spirit was 
chosen for us by her Grandma, Alta who knew we needed a break. 

When Megan was not yet three, the whole family went to 
Disney-land. Getting tickets in those days was a complex problem 
for a family of 10. There were different prices for different ages 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

and tickets of different value for different attractions. We were in a 
serious family huddle sorting out what we needed, and everyone 
was speaking at once suggesting different numbers for different 
ticket categories. I was calculating the numbers and explaining that 
there was no charge for Megan who was still two and said, “Megan 
doesn’t count.” She was affronted and looked up defiantly saying, 
“I do too. One, two, three, four...” 

As a preschooler she came into the house and asked Colette if 
she could iron a block S onto her blue jean jacket. When asked 
what the S would stand for she said, “Slave.” Colette said, “Are 
you sure you want to do that?” She definitely did. She had been 
trying to gain entry into the neighborhood boys club that met in the 
cobbled together clubhouse in our back yard. At first they were not 
having it. “No Girls allowed.” George had an L on his jacket for 
Leader. Alan Miller had a C for captain and John Kuhn had an M 
on his jacket for member. Megan finally sold the idea that they 
needed a slave to go into the house for cookies and drinks. And so 
she got into the club with an S. 

Sack lunches were made faithfully every school morning for 
each of our kids and then each sack was inscribed with the name in 
felt pen. When everyone was off to school quite often there would 
be a sack left on the counter and this day it was Amy who failed to 
pick up. Because Megan was still a preschooler she came to 
Cubberley with Colette to make the delivery. As they walked down 
the outdoor corridors along came a group of girls and as they got 
closer, they screamed and pointed, “Look! There is a miniature 
Amy.” It turns out they were friends of Amy and immediately 
recognized the strong family resemblance. 

Megan was a ballet student at Loma's studio and she was pretty 
conscientious about learning her part. We came to a recital when 
she was four or five and everyone was supposed to put their arms, 
hands and feet in starting position. Megan looked down the row 
and a couple of the girls were in the wrong position so she quickly 
left her spot and put them in position. Then later in the dance a 
couple of girls were turning in the wrong way and Megan 
forcefully set them on the right course. 

After the dance she came to us and said in exasperation, “It’s so 
hard to teach them.” 



She didn’t have Sherry Ford as a mentor when she was an infant 
and Megan grew up as a tomboy. She preferred to wear jeans and 
liked her hair pretty short while boys liked their hair pretty long. In 
one of her early grades, maybe first, she came home and said to 
Colette, “Will you curl my hair?” This seemed a bit out of 
character and Colette asked her about the sudden need for curls. It 
took a while for the story to come out, but essentially what had 
happened was that Megan, in her customary jeans and T-shirt was 
scooped up by a teacher as she was going into the Girls bathroom 
and was scolded for trying to sneak in. It took some time to get the 
gender status all straightened out. For the future she was hopeful 
that a curl or two would solve the problem. 

One season Megan played on the same little league team as 
Brigham. She almost always got on base. She was a very 
aggressive base runner and when she hit to shortstop and the throw 
to first was often a little late, she would not stop and would run 
hard to beat the throw to second. At each base, by the time they 
played on her she was already past that base and on her way to the 
next until she cruised into home plate for a score. This was more 
spirited baserunning than we ever see from the SF Giants. 

At one Parent-Teacher conference the teacher observed that it 
was wonderful that Megan was in class with little Doreen. When 
Colette asked why, the teacher said, “Little Doreen needs to know 
a well-grounded little girl like Megan. It will be really good for 

Colette took Megan shopping for birthday present for a young 
boy who was a classmate. When they approached the toy store 
Colette asked, “What do you think Peter would want?” The answer 
was, “I don’t know what he wants, but he needs a Teddy Bear.” So 
that’s what he got. 

It seemed like Megan was pretty trouble free in her high school 
years, compared, say to her seven older siblings. Adam Giles, who 
was the same age, now and then reported that she was in real 
trouble and he worried about her. But there was nothing in our 
sleuthing efforts that turned up any real evidence of anything from 
the dark side. She didn’t cause a lot of drama in the home, or 
elsewhere and she seemed to be very comfortable to live under the 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

radar. This was good news for aging parents who were slowing 

One of my most consistent memories of Megan was seeing her 
comfortably crashed in the overstuffed gray reclining chair in the 
“TV room.” It seemed to be more her spot than anywhere else in 
the home. When I found her there I often asked, “How does the 
homework stand, she would invariably answer, “It’s all done.” 
This seemed like a long shot to me, but she stood firmly by her 
answers and got good grades. 

In her later years, she came out of her figurative "gray chair" and 
became a very well organized, energetic mom. 

Timothy was a surprising late life entry into our lives. He turned 
15 shortly before he came to live with us. We were his 13 th home 
in his short life and we hoped that it would be his last. Almost the 
first night he came to our home we held a two-on-one family night 
to layout hopes, expectations and general rules of the family. It 
was a pretty long session. We covered church participation, school 
attendance, general moral & ethical behavior and long-term goals. 
Tim was hunched over a sheet of white paper writing steadily all 
the while we were talking to him. 

When we were done, we thanked him for taking copious notes 
and asked if we could take a look at them. He was very reluctant, 
but finally let us see his paper. It wasn't notes at all; it was a 
picture of a little old man and woman, each tied to a stake above a 
big pile of wood. From the bottom of the picture there was a young 
boy crouched low with a torch in his hand coming to ignite the pile 
of wood. He was a good artist and his inner thoughts 
were clear. So much for the success of our first 
Family Home Evening. 

Tim was about 6’ 5” by this time and probably 
weighed 280 pounds. When he moved into our home 
his large homemade, oversized bed couldn’t make it 
up the stairs, so his helpers took out the window of 
our second story bedroom and boosted the bed 
through the opening. 




Reed Alan was Tim’s best friend and one day they took pistols 
into the creek to see what they could find. They were carried away 
with their adventure and shot out some widows in houses above 
the creek. Their fun ended when the police picked them up. Later I 
took Tim back to the home of Bo Nixon whose large window in 
the back of his house had been the major damage from the 
shooting. Tim apologized and made arrangements to pay for the 
damage over time. 

In the semester before he came to our home Tim had missed all 
or part of 70 days of school. That was nearly every possible day. It 
was time for serious goal setting and the following rules were set: 

• A class missed once meant that same amount of time would 
be spent on Saturday studying that subject and a letter 
would be written to the teacher to apologize for missing 

• A class missed twice would double the Saturday study time 
and a letter to the teacher would again be needed to explain 
the second miss and again to apologize. 

• A third miss would triple the Saturday time and so forth. 

Colette made a sign off sheet for each teacher to sign each week, 

with comments about attendance, classroom performance and 
homework turned in. She picked up the class report sheets from the 
teacher or the office each Friday. Sometimes a special teacher 
conference had to be scheduled. In addition she picked him up 
after school or sports each day and brought him home to 
supervised study. 

Tim loved to draw and was talented. He loved to sing and was 
especially prone to singing when he was in the kitchen fixing food. 
He had a very nice voice and became a member of the Gunn High 
School Choir. He joined the Merrill’s Performing Group for Youth 
(PGY), and had many excellent singing performances. He was an 
avid reader and had read more books than all of our other children 
combined; he was not so good at math. He loved to talk and was 
always ready with a good question and willing to expound on any 
subject at any time. One of his teachers told us that if Tim had a 
good day, the class had a good day, but if Tim had a bad day the 
whole class was demolished. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

At age 15 it was time for Tim to get some driver’s education and 
experience behind the wheel. When I mentioned this to him he 
said, “I already know how to drive.” I asked him, “How that could 
be possible?” He said, “I used to steal cars.” When I expressed 
shock and dismay he said, “Oh it wasn’t that bad really; mostly 
just joy rides. Most cars have alarms and the way to work around 
that is to pick the car you want and then bump it late at night and 
then hide. The bump sets off the alarm. The owner has to get out of 
bed to turn it off. You wait ten minutes, and then bump it again. 
After two or three trips in the middle of the night to turn off the 
alarm the owner decides it is malfunctioning and disables it. Then 
you hot wire it and go for a spin.” Very useful information, but I’m 
not sure when I will use it. 

Tim signed up for the classes required in the driver’s licensing 
process. My brother Stephen who did a lot of driving instruction in 
Payson High School said, “All new drivers, in their first year, on 
the average, will have three accidents.” Our eight children, Dixon 
through Megan, had their share of small dents and dings, but never 
really wrecked a car. Tim fell more into the mainstream, nearly 
totaled one car and left two others in need of serious shop repair. 
Stealing cars seems not to have been the best training ground for 
trouble free driving. 

Tim never met a weapon that he didn’t love. He had collected a 
few knives and other interesting weapons. In shop class he tried 
several times to make a good throwing axe. When I came into the 
garage and found my rake and shovel handles were cut off I asked 
him what could have happened to them. He said, “I needed those to 
make a handle for my axe. When he came home from his mission 
in Jamaica he said, “Do you want to see the souvenirs I brought 
home?” We were eager to see. He brought a cloth roll out of his 
bag and opened it to reveal seven machetes. It was a beautiful 

We had Tim save the money that the State of California pays 
foster parents and to this, he added all of his earnings at HP where 
he had a summer job. The understanding was that he could not 
spend any of this but could invest it. When he asked, "How should 
I invest and what should I buy?” I told him he should choose. Just 
find the companies that he liked most and he felt had good 



prospects for the future.” As I recall he chose McDonald’s, Intel, 
Microsoft and possibly one or two more. During this time the 
stocks all did very well and from this fund he paid for a good part 
of his college schooling, part of his mission, two car wrecks and 
had a little left toward his first home purchase in Idaho. 

With nearly full-time coaching by Colette, Tim's grades and 
general deportment improved dramatically. When he strayed off 
course, whether at school, in the neighborhood or with friends 
Colette knew almost immediately. She had a foolproof information 
network that reported in real time, plus she had a strong sixth 
sense. Tim was dumbfounded by this uncanny knowledge of all his 
activities and he called her, “The magical dwarf.” 

He was a very bright and able student when his mind was right 
and with this coaching, his grade averages over the next two years 
went from D+ to A-. The strong improvement trend helped him to 
be admitted to BYU. 

There is much more to all of these children’s’ stories and more 
about how Tim came into the family, but it should be told either by 
them, or Colette who did a lot of the heavy lifting. 

These nine children have grown into admirable men and women 
and they have brought into our family 44 of the most terrific 
grandchildren in the world. These grandchildren are good students, 
good missionaries and are admirably faithful to the gospel and high 
principles. At this time these Grandchildren have 17 wonderful 
children of their own who are following the same great pathway 
and we love them, every one. 


Part Eight 

Tennessee Nashville Mission 

Three Years in The Lord’s Service 

Tennessee Nashville Mission 

30. Tennessee Nashville Mission 

The Beginning : It was in early January 1997 when Colette and I 
were invited to travel to Fremont, CA, across the bay from our 
home, to talk to a member of the Seventy who was there on a stake 
conference assignment. He told us that he had been asked by Elder 
David Haight to see if we were in a position to receive a calling as 
a mission president for the church. I had just retired from HP, so it 
was a fair question. I explained that we had three entanglements. 
We hoped to be able to launch Tim, our foster son, on a mission in 
the near future, Colette’s father was widowed and his health was 
not good, so Colette, the only child, was making visits to see him 
(sometimes in the hospital), and I had two consulting contracts to 
assist companies with their telecommunication strategies. In spite 
of these short-term conflicts we felt that they would be resolved 
within a year or so and I would let Elder Haight know when things 

In a little over a year, Tim was launched on a mission to Jamaica, 
sadly, Tom Green had died, and I finished the consulting contracts 
I had committed to. I let Elder Haight know by letter. Then late in 
1998 my Brother Tony’s cancer problems became acute and I 
spent as much time with him as I could, flying back and forth from 
California. On December 29 th he died. 

In early February of 1999 Colette and I were in Colorado with 
friends that we had skied with for 10 years or more. When we 
returned home we had messages everywhere from Elder Haight. 
All our children and local church leaders had the same message for 
us: “Call him.” So I called. 

When I reached Elder Haight he said, Tm overdrawn at the 
bank." "How so," I asked. He said, "I've submitted your name to 
the Quorum of 12 and the First Presidency to be a Mission 
President. Now can you get Colette on the phone so that I can 
verify that you two can accept such a calling?" He scolded us for 
not letting our kids know where we were going. Then he added, 
"I’m glad to know you were skiing in Colorado. That tells me 
you're healthy enough to serve a mission." Shortly afterward we 
had a phone call from President Faust who officially called us to an 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

English Speaking Mission, to be determined later. Then later we 
were notified that it would be Tennessee Nashville. 

The Church Mission Department did some very careful checking 
on our medical status and church activity. Normally they like 
mission presidents to be well under 70, and I would turn 70 in the 
second year of our three-year mission. Boyd Smith, the Menlo 
Park Stake President, with whom I served as a counselor, told me 
that he got a call from the Church asking if I wasn’t too old for the 
calling. He told me that his reply was, “Good heavens no. He has 
more energy in the stake leadership than anyone.” So the 
Missionary Department let us slide in under the wire. 

Travel to the MTC : On June 20,1999 we flew from California to 
Salt Lake City. On arrival, we were uncertain about how to catch 
our shuttle to the MTC in Provo. We went to the Ground 
Transportation Desk and they didn't have us on their list, but could 
arrange something for us if we wished. There was a young woman 
at the desk also looking for a ride, but was confused about her 
destination; thought it was Provo, or Spanish Fork. She was 
obviously unfamiliar with Utah. We spoke briefly to her and I said 
she could share a limo ride with us if she sorted out where she was 

Before I signed up for a limo the MTC driver had arrived and 
found Colette. We gathered all of our bags and then I took a few 
minutes to look for the young woman, but she had vanished. We 
started toward the MTC van which was in the short-term parking 
terrace area. Just as we entered the elevator she appeared out of 
nowhere and told us her destination was Provo. 

Because the driver had no one else to pick up and had plenty of 
room, I told her she could ride with us. On the trip we found that 
she was a lapsed Jehovah's Witness - shunned by her family. We 
told her about our mission calling and the value that the church had 
brought to us and our family. We fumbled around in an effort to 
commit her to meet with the missionaries to learn more. We were 
rescued by our MTC driver who invited her to go to church with 
him. She was a cute girl, and he was a good looking fellow and she 
readily accepted. 


Tennessee Nashville Mission 

With a little help from our driver, our mission proselytizing had 

MTC: We entered the Mission Training Center for about four days 
of Mission leadership training. Tim was just back from his mission 
and was already engaged to Brenda whom he had dated before his 
mission. Colette cut out of the MTC training to attend a shower for 
Brenda at our daughter Amy Ringer’s house and I went to a Taylor 
men’s gathering where advice was given to Tim. It was apparent 
before and absolutely certain after this evening that Brenda and 
Tim were not a good match. We spent an another evening and a 
very late night encouraging Tim to take action on what he had 
already come to realize; breaking the engagement was the right 
thing to do. Late on the night before our very early plane flight to 
Nashville, Tim retrieved his engagement ring and got his computer 
from Brenda’s apartment. That was a blessing for all concerned, 
even if we ended up very short of sleep. 

Setting Apart : We were set apart by Thomas S. Monson, the first 
counselor in the First Presidency. He was very gracious and 
described his close relationship with my father and Aunt Ethelyn, 
our step mom. He had specially invited Ethelyn to the setting apart, 
because of his respect for her. He called her an Elect Lady. 

President Monson had learned of Colette’s experience of writing 
and directing numerous road shows and stage productions and told 
us the story of when he was a deacon. He and his whole deacon’s 
quorum had been selected to be Eskimos in a road show. His older 
sister had a lead singing part in the production. She was the Statue 
of Liberty welcoming all the diverse groups into the country and 
then recited “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses 
yearning to be free...” But the night of the performance she lost 
her voice. He remembered all the deacons in their Eskimo outfits 
all came together in a quiet classroom and had a prayer for her and 
asked that her voice would be restored. He said it was a miracle. 
Her voice came back and the performance was a rousing success. 

He then went to his beautiful wood paneled wall and gave it a 
push and the wall sprang open. Among many books and papers he 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

immediately found his copy of the program for that road show and 
showed it to us. 

He also told the story, mentioned earlier, of my father being his 
mentor when he was called to be a mission president in Canada. 

Financial Training : On one of our MTC days there was a power 
failure which shut down the whole facility. This was during the 
time that we were to have received training on the handling of 
mission finances. When we got to Nashville it was just a few 
months until the church got after us for showing too much 
financial initiative and creativity in home and office furnishing and 
medical expenses for the missionaries. 

Arrival in Nashville : Our plane left SLC very early in the 
morning on Thursday, July 1, 1999 and our shuttle from the MTC 
to the airport was even earlier. We had a plane change in St Louis 
to make before arriving in Nashville and our connecting flight was 
several hours late. It was very late evening when we were met by 
President Bray and two assistants at the airport. They drove us to 
the mission home where Sister Bray quickly served a much 
delayed meal to us and the office staff who had come to greet us. 
There was just time for President Bray to give me a bunch of keys 
and pass codes, then show me the way to the office and say 
goodbye. Sister Bray showed Colette her office in the mission 
home where she kept medical records and that was it. Early Friday 
morning the Brays were gone before we saw them again. We felt 
pretty ill-prepared to take over the mission. 

Soon after the Bray’s departure we got a visit from a man in a 
painter’s outfit who explained that he was doing paint jobs for the 
church and said the mission home was slated to be painted and 
somewhat remodeled in the next week, so it was urgent that we 
select the colors to be used. So we spent a good part of Friday and 
Saturday moving in to the mission home and looking in paint 
stores to find color samples for every room in the very large 20 
room home. 

Wasps : We found the mission home was full of wasps, even 
though the home was sprayed regularly by a pest control service. 


Tennessee Nashville Mission 

The spray was very helpful with the many little creatures of the 
South, but it didn’t discourage the wasps very much. The spray 
made them woozy, but didn’t kill them. Some visitors and 
missionaries would become hysterical when they saw the wasps, 
but really it was as if they were drunk and I could gather them up 
in a napkin and release them outside. 

Missionary Missing : About 2:00 AM on our first Sunday morning 
(day three for us in the Mission) I got a call from The Zone Leader 
to tell me that an elder in Cookeville had not come home last night. 
That town was about two hours’ drive out to the east of the mission 
home. I asked them to take care of the abandoned companion and 
get some rest and that we would drive out to meet with them early 
in the morning at the chapel. 

When we arrived at Cookeville the missing Elder had come 
home, but had spent the night with a woman who was a new 
convert to the church. After sorting out the details and making 
arrangements for Elder Black, the brand new missionary who had 
been deserted, Colette and I drove the wayward missionary back to 
Nashville. I was able to reach Sid Sandstrom, whom I had never 
met. He was the mission’s executive secretary and the two of us 
held church disciplinary court, called the missionary’s Stake 
President and put him on a plane for home. This was a very sad 
day for the missionary and not a good start for a new leader. 

Missionary in the Hospital : Later that Sunday afternoon we 
received a call informing us that a Sister Mollie Ann Taylor was in 
the hospital in a southern Tennessee town. Colette and I drove 
there to see her, determine her status and give her a blessing. She 
had quite severe back pains and was immobile. We made 
arrangements for her companion and asked to be updated on Sister 
Mollie Ann’s progress. She was released from the hospital in a day 
or so. A few weeks later it was necessary for her to return home to 
get more extensive medical care. 

Zone Conferences : Very early on Monday (day 4) we began a 
series of five Zone Conferences: one meeting in each stake of our 
mission. We started in Stones River, TN (McMinnville Stake). The 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

next day was in Brentwood, TN (Franklin Stake). Wednesday was 
in Mount Juliet, TN (Nashville Stake). Thursday, in New 
Providence, IL (Paducah Stake); and Friday in Murray, KY 
(Hopkinsville Stake). We spoke and participated in the training in 
each of these conferences. It was a great experience to meet the 
160 wonderful missionaries of the Tennessee Nashville Mission, 
but on top of the very stressful first weekend it was overwhelming. 

End of Week One : The week had been more challenging than we 
could have ever imagined and the prospect of a complete 
disruption of the mission home for painting still hung over us. Was 
there to be no time or place to find peace? 

On Saturday, after these first eight days in the mission field, I 
came home from the office and found Colette sitting in the middle 
of our bed, crying. When I asked what the problem was she said, "I 
can't do this. I want to go home." I reminded her that we had no 
home to return to; Tom and Katy were now living there. This 
reminder didn’t give her the comfort she needed. Nevertheless, she 
gathered her courage and soldiered on for three years. She caught 
the spirit of the calling and did a spectacular job. She was a 
blessing to all 500 missionaries who came through the mission. 

We learned a few weeks later that no painting or other work on 
the mission home had been authorized by the church. The 
workman was only hoping it would be and was doing his best to 
get the business. It was a huge relief that it never happened, but it 
would have been even better it we had not spent our first day and a 
half selecting colors. 

Car : Soon after we arrived the church sent us a new car to replace 
the well-used car the Bray’s had left. It was a white Ford Crown 
Victoria, the kind that police and highway patrol use. We found 
that almost all cars on the road slowed down when we approached. 
One day Colette was leaving the office in it and remembered 
something else she needed so she did a quick U-turn on a relatively 
quiet street and three cars pulled over to the curb and were very 
relieved when she drove on past them. 

Tennessee may have the best roads of any state in the union. I 
think A1 Gore’s father (Senator from Tennessee) had worked out 


Tennessee Nashville Mission 

the Federal funding for our current Inter-State system and some 
funds somehow must have slipped back into his state. They had 
beautiful four lane divided highways to virtually nowhere. 
Occasionally there would be a village along one of these roads 
where the speed limit dropped abruptly on a downhill straight 
away. They funded their community with speeding tickets paid by 
the unwary driver who didn't catch the sudden speed drop. I got 
two or three such tickets during our mission service. The tickets 
made it hard to renew my auto insurance when I got back to 

31. A Few Missionary Experiences 

While in the Mission I interviewed each missionary about 10 times 
per year and read about 40 letters from him or her during that same 
year. There were also chances to work and teach with them. 
Almost all of our missionaries had wonderful experiences; there 
were struggles as well. I have selected just a few sample incidents 
from the many experiences we saw. 

Good missionaries carry a special spirit that is tangible to 
someone who is susceptible to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. 
A couple of missionary accounts illustrate. 

Elders Anderson and Wilhelm were teaching two boys of an 
inactive member who has just become interested in returning to 
church. Elder Anderson said, “One evening when we came to their 
home the boys said they could see a glow, or a light around us. 
There was a great spirit as we taught them. It has been exciting to 
see their growth as they embraced the gospel.” 

In Bowling Green KY Elder Eves, his companion and the Branch 
President met with the Pastor of the local Baptist Church at his 
request. They all met in the home of the good sister from his 
congregation who was a recent convert to the LDS church. The 
discussion was quite reasonable, but it did become heated at times. 
The branch president reported that, “The two young elders were 
remarkably courteous, restrained and non-contentious. At the same 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

time they were extremely well prepared and amazingly skilled in 
their use and knowledge of the scriptures.” The sister who had 
joined the church had been present for the whole discussion and 
finally the Pastor turned to her and asked why she had left the 
Baptist faith. 

She explained that when the Elders first called on her she felt and 
saw something powerful. She became confused about her Baptist 
membership. She spoke to several members of the Baptist 
congregation and asked if, as a church, they believed they were led 
by a prophet. She was told that she needed to talk to the Pastor. 
She reminded him that when she spoke to him he simply gave her 
some anti-Mormon literature. 

The recent convert went on, “When the Elders made their second 
visit, I saw Christ in their eyes and face. That was so powerful, 
along with the doctrine they taught, that I joined the Church of 
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” This powerful testimony ended 
the discussion and the Pastor left. 

In Alma 5:14 it says: And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren 
of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye 
received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced 
this mighty change in your hearts? I believe this literally happens. 

Training : At a Zone conference I had the missionaries 
contributing to a list of the characteristics an exceptional 
missionary might possess. I was recording their suggestions on the 
blackboard as the discussion went along. We were listing qualities 
such as strong faith, being spiritually receptive, obedient, 
hardworking, etc. And as the list got longer one of the elders piped 
up and said, “Why don’t you just say, be like Elder Laudie.” 

That was a good point. You couldn’t do much better. 

The power of serving with dedication : One evening Elder Laudie 
brought his companion to me and said, “You two need to talk.” 
Elder Warner, the companion, had transferred to TNM from Chile. 
He had been home for a short while with a medical issue and was 
returned to our mission rather than go back to South America. He 
came in to convince me that he should go home again, this time 
with a hip problem. He showed me that it made a little popping 


Tennessee Nashville Mission 

sound when he walked. I had a strong impression that his hip was 
just fine. Mine pop too occasionally. We talked for some time and 
I explained that I thought that going home would be a mistake and 
he reluctantly agreed to try again for a while. 

It wasn’t too much later that he was back describing blindness in 
one eye that made it dangerous to ride a bike. Most of our 
missionaries had to ride a bike, at least part time. He said he’d had 
this partial blindness for a number of years. I asked him to hold on 
a minute while I talked to his dad on the phone. His father said, 
“That’s ridiculous. His small impairment should be no problem. 
He was a wide receiver on his high school football team.” After 
further discussion with the elder it became clear that the reason he 
had returned home from Chile and wanted to go home again now 
was not medical; he had a girlfriend he wanted to get back to see. 

I finally told him that he could go home with my blessing if he 
would write a letter for me. He said “Sure, who to.” I said, “This 
will be to your son who I know you will have in the next few years 
and in the letter I want you to explain why you left your mission 
before really starting.” He worked on the letter for about 30 
minutes in a quiet room in the mission home. He came back to me 
after this effort and said, “I’m staying.” I said, “That’s great, but 
only if you will work whole heartedly with Elder Laudie (who was 
an Assistant to President (AP) over all our Spanish speaking 
missionaries). He said he would work with full dedication, but he 
would like to be an English speaking missionary. That made sense 
because his Spanish skills were still limited and it would take 
precious time to get up to speed in that language so that he could 
work effectively. 

He moved to an English speaking companion and kept his word 
about working hard. He became a great missionary and was an 
Assistant to the President in the latter part of his mission. When he 
got home, the girlfriend of prior interest was clearly not the one for 
him. He told me some years later that the encouragement to stay 
and trying to write that letter had "saved his life." 

Elder Levin was a brand new missionary when his companion told 
him that they were teaming up with two ward members for the 
evening and he was to take his member companion and teach a 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

first discussion to a media referral. Member companions never 
taught the discussions, but reinforced and bore their testimony. 
Elder Levin was really nervous because he didn’t feel he had 
mastered the discussions well enough to teach, but he bravely went 
as planned. The referral’s home had no light in the front room 
where he was to teach. There was just a little light coming from the 
back hall. He could barely read the scriptures and couldn’t see the 
discussion outline. He offered an earnest silent prayer for help. He 
said the discussion came out perfectly with a very strong spirit. He 
said, “I challenged her to be baptized and when she said yes, I was 
so shocked that I forgot to set a date. It was cool to see how the 
spirit can work so strongly, even in the dark.” 

Evil Spirit : Colette and I were completing the drive back from 
Paducah, KY at the far western edge of our mission when I got a 
phone call from Elder Laudie. He was with a new convert who was 
thrashing and banging things around and had scared his roommates 
so badly they were cowering in a back comer of the apartment. In 
trying to speak with the possessed man Elder Laudie said the reply 
was in a very strange low, rasping voice and it said, “I am Legion.” 
I asked if he had used his priesthood to cast out the evil presence. 
He said yes, several times and that would calm thing for a few 
minutes, but then the thrashing and strange noises would begin 
again. I looked at our location and my watch and estimated that we 
could be in the apartment area where he was in about 20 minutes. 

When we arrived, the afflicted fellow was writhing on the 
kitchen floor making very low strange noises, the roommates were 
still terrified and huddled in the far comer. Elder Laudie and I 
combined our faith and by the authority of the priesthood I cast out 
the evil spirit that possessed the young man. He became very limp 
and quiet. I suggested that we carry him outside to spare the 
roommates. It was sprinkling lightly and the air was cool. In a 
short while this revived the young man. He was coherent and was 
talking in a normal voice. 

We learned that earlier in the afternoon, after church, he had 
gone with some friends and was tempted to have a few cans of 
beer. He knew it was wrong and the alcohol lowered his spiritual 
resistance to evil forces. This was likely the opening needed for 


Tennessee Nashville Mission 

him to be invaded and he surely was. Any of us become more 
susceptible to Satan’s influence when our lives are off course. 

Sister Hart was a wonderfully conscientious young missionary. 
She had been troubled with severe stomach pains for several 
months. She finally came from Clarksville, where she served, to 
the mission home and stayed for a couple of days so she could see 
a skilled internist in Nashville. His treatments helped a little and 
she went back to her area. Gradually the problems returned and 
became worse. Colette, our mission medical authority, and the 
Missionary Medical Consultants in Salt Lake began to suggest it 
was time to give her a medical release and let her go home. 

She was a very good missionary and I didn’t feel right about 
sending her home. The assistants and I went to Clarksville to give 
her a blessing, even though she had had blessings for this problem 
before. Elder Young anointed and I sealed, commanding her to be 
well and finish her mission in good health. I seldom command by 
priesthood authority, but that is how this blessing came out. 

About a month later I received this note from her. “I'm feeling a 
lot better; I'm so grateful for the blessing. I know that the Lord is 
mindful of me and wants me to be well. I'm grateful to be on my 

Sisters in Paducah : The city of Paducah, KY was out west where 
the Ohio River runs into the Mississippi, about two to three hours 
from the Mission Home. One night about 2:00 AM the sisters there 
called me to say that they had an evil spirit in their apartment. One 
sister saw a strange man walking in their apartment hallway, but 
from the waist down his body was below the floorboards. Her 
companion didn’t see him, but felt a definite evil presence in their 

At the time of the call things seemed to be edgy, but stable, so I 
asked them to have a prayer together and specifically ask the 
Lord’s help for their protection and safety and I would come out as 
early in the morning as I could get there. 

When I arrived at their apartment with Colette, it was pretty clear 
that the sisters had not done very much to make the apartment a 
friendly, happy place. Every light bulb in the apartment, save two, 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

was burned out. Also they had no brightening decor. Most of the 
missionaries add a few posters, like the “Armies of Helaman,” or a 
picture of the Savior, or the Sacred Grove, or their families, to 
bring some color to their apartment, but the Sisters had nothing. 

I dedicated the apartment as a protected place with a spirit that 
would sustain missionary work. Then I asked them to go buy at 
least a dozen light bulbs and put a good one in every fixture. I 
suggested that after the bulbs were replaced, they call the mission 
office and get as many colorful pictures as they could use and put 
them around the apartment. They did all this and things seemed to 
be going better. 

I didn’t hear from them for about 10 days, and then at 1:00 AM 
the phone rang. It was the very frightened sisters reporting that 
they both heard strange noises just outside their windows. The 
noises seemed to target them and didn’t seem to be general in the 
neighborhood. They could see nothing unusual out of the windows 
in the dark. 

I asked them to call the police. In about 20 minutes they called 
back and said the police had come and brought two young men to 
the door and asked if they knew them. The sisters did know them 
and told the officers that it was alright; they were friends and could 
be released. It was the Zone Leader and his companion who knew 
they could get a rise out of these sisters, but they didn't expect to 
be arrested. Fortunately, the Elders didn't spend the night in jail. 

I actually thought this was a pretty good prank given this 
particular opportunity, but in the interest of decorum I transferred 
both him and his companion and appointed a new Zone Leader. 
The prankster was a good missionary and in a few months he 
became the Zone leader of a different Zone. His repentant 
companion also went on to serve a great mission. 

Answers to Prayer : Elder Black was teaching a couple about 
Joseph Smith’s first vision. The wife began praying quietly about 
this as the discussion went on with the husband. She received her 
answer as she finished praying and said to her Husband, “It is true 
and you can know through the feelings of your heart that it is true. 
It feels like your heart is swelling.” 


Tennessee Nashville Mission 

Media Referrals : The Church placed periodic advertisements on 
some local TV stations in Tennessee offering Bibles and the Book 
of Mormon at no charge. Elder Turner said, “We delivered a Book 
of Mormon to a 21 year old woman named Amber, who had seen 
the Church ad on TV. She let us in and we gave her the first 
discussion. The spirit was so strong that she began to cry as we 
presented the story of Joseph Smith’s vision. It was sweet. The 
next day we went back to teach her about salvation through the 
atonement of Christ and the principles of faith, repentance, baptism 
and the gift of the Holy Ghost. She felt the spirit and cried again. 
She is coming to church tomorrow and reading the Book of 
Mormon and praying about baptism.” One week later Amber was 

One True Church : Elder Littlefield noted, “Javier couldn’t 
understand or believe that there is only one true church. We tried 
four or five different approaches to explain, but nothing worked. I 
finally suggested that we ask Heavenly Father right now. We knelt 
and he offered a simple prayer and near the end, the spirit swept 
over the room. I felt it so strongly I knew that he must have also. 
When he spoke he asked if we felt that. I asked him if he now 
knew the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only 
true church. He said yes and committed to be baptized." 

The Virgin Mary: Elders Teemant and Brimley were talking to a 
person who asked, “How could Mary remain sinless when she was 
unwed and conceived the Savior?” Elder Brimley, a brand new 
Elder, jumped right in and explained why this was and had to be. 
The investigator responded, “I’m going to join this church. I’ve 
asked many churches and pastors this question, but this is the first 
and only good answer that I have had!” 

In the Mountain Country of Tennessee, two young missionaries 
trudged down a long, remote country road and came to the home of 
a "dirt poor farmer." They knocked and spoke briefly at the door, 
but were not invited in by Mrs. Martin. As the missionaries were 
leaving down the hot dusty track that went back to the main road, 
one of the Elders bent to wipe some of the dirt that had piled up on 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

his shoe. By this time the father of the home had joined his wife at 
the door. They were both watching through the screen door as the 
Elders walked away. When Mr. Martin saw the Elder wipe his 
shoe, he became concerned and said to his wife, “Look, that’s a 
testimony against us. (Matt 10:14) Quickly call them back!” Mrs. 
Martin called and the elders came back. This time they were 
invited in. They left a message and a copy of The Book of 
Mormon. The elders never returned to that remote farm house. The 
book sat on the shelf for more than 20 years gathering dust. 
Occasionally Mr. Martin would point to the book and say to his 
children, “That is a special book.” 

One day Wanas, the oldest son of the Martin children, was 
driving home in a heavy rainstorm and saw two young men who 
“Looked like drowned rats.” Wanas offered them a ride in his truck 
and learned that they were linked to the book that his father had 
pointed to with such respect. When he got home from the rainy 
encounter with the elders he was prompted to take the book off the 
shelf and read it. This reading completely changed the lives of the 
entire family. Nine Martin children joined the church, along with 
their father, mother and grandmother. 

When Colette and I were in Tennessee Wanas Martin was the 
Stake President of the McMinnville Stake. His brother Alan, who 
told this story, was the Ward Mission Leader. All the Martin 
family members were strong, active church members. The family 
would love to find the missionaries who first called on their 
parent’s home to thank them for their efforts years before, but have 
no idea how to find them. 

I’m sure that the missionaries who left that book with the Martins 
so long ago, were discouraged after what seemed like a long 
fruitless walk into the sparsely settled mountains. Certainly the 
missionaries later who were drenched in the rain didn’t consider 
that their finest day. 

Think twice before declaring defeat after a bad day. It is 
impossible to know the final effects of our efforts. If we work with 
commitment and devotion, the Lord will manage the harvest with 
his own eternal perspective. The final results of all our efforts are 
in His hands. 


Tennessee Nashville Mission 

Anger Management : We had an Elder who had struggled with 
ADD and had pretty severe anger management problems. He made 
life very difficult for his companions and punched his hand 
through the wallboard of their apartment. This had been a frequent 
problem and it became clear that remaining in Tennessee was 
counterproductive for him and the mission. I called his Stake 
President who talked to his parents and with their help, rather than 
going home, the following arrangements were made. The Elder 
was transferred to Martinez, CA where he could live with his 
brother, who was married with children. He split his time between 
the local Bishop's Storehouse and the Oakland Temple laundry and 
cafeteria. In the evenings he was able to help the full-time 
Martinez missionaries with exchanges. His brother was the ward 
mission leader and could help make these arrangements. 

He wrote periodic letters back to me reporting his activities. It 
was a very constructive alternative for him and he completed his 
mission honorably. 

Two Missionaries were lost on a mountain road. Sister Curtis and 
Sister Judd stopped the car to look at a map and try to determine 
their location. Before they could get oriented they both felt 
prompted to check the house down the country driveway and see if 
they were lost for a purpose. They walked up that long drive to the 
farm house and met Mrs. Hunter. She asked if they would just 
leave some literature, because she was quite busy. While the 
Sisters were digging out materials Mr. Hunter came to the doorway 
and both he and his wife began to ask questions about the church. 
The Sisters stayed quite a long time answering questions and 
teaching the gospel. The Hunters said they had wanted a Book of 
Mormon for some time. The sisters gave them one with a nice 
explanation of the book and how it came forth. The Hunters had 
been looking for the right church and were very grateful for the 
visit of the lost Sisters. They gave the sisters several referrals of 
other families who would welcome a visit. It turned out the sisters 
were really not lost at all, simply led by the Spirit to where they 
were needed. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Breaking-in a New Companion : Elder Larsen was a very good 
missionary and had been selected to be a trainer to a new 
companion fresh from the MTC. Elder Larsen decided it would be 
a good idea to give his new companion, Elder Dodenbier, a 
challenging introduction the mission. Their assigned area was in a 
very hilly, wooded, residential area of Nashville and the very large 
area was worked on bikes. Elder Larsen laid out their first day’s 
activities so that they could cover the whole area with miles and 
miles of biking, up and down very steep hills. 

Elder Larsen was a little surprised to see that his new companion 
seemed to be keeping up with him, but he thought he will soon 
give out. As the day went on Elder Larsen tried harder to tire out 
his companion, but nothing seemed to faze the new Elder and he 
seemed to be humming to himself rather than breathing hard. 
Toward the end of the day Elder Larsen was dragging low, but was 
still determined to set a demanding pace, between appointments. 
His new missionary companion seemed to be handling every 
challenge in stride. When he was peddling his bike he was smiling 
and looking around enjoying the beautiful area. 

At the end of the day Elder Larsen was ready to collapse with 
exhaustion and ended up stiff for a week, while Elder Dodenbier 
looked as if he had just barely warmed up. What Elder Larsen 
didn’t know is that his new companion had come straight from the 
Marine Corps, where he had just completed his tour which 
including some additional physical training. 

The moral of the story is don’t aim to embarrass your 
companion. Just focus on things that will help the most. This is a 
good lesson for life. 

Blessing : Elder Baker was asked to give a blessing to an inactive 
man who had broken his leg. The Elder said, “I blessed his leg that 
it would heal and further that it would not hamper his daily life, 
then the spirit directed me to bless him to be more righteous, be a 
better example to his roommates and to be worthy of the spirit’s 
guidance in his life.” When I finished he said, “I feel better 
already.” Elder Baker asked, your leg feels better?” He said, “No, 
my leg is fine. It was my heart that was hurting me.” 


Tennessee Nashville Mission 

Elder McGuigan was a wonderful young missionary. He was very 
talented musically and was able to play any number you could 
think of on the piano, without music. After a few months on his 
mission, he began to struggle. He was seeing and hearing 
apparitions that gave him very negative, derisive personal 
feedback. This caused him often to consider taking his own life. 

The Church medical staff in Salt Lake City advised me that he 
should return home as treatment was not feasible in the mission 
field. His parents were not church members and when I told them 
of the problem they traveled from Vancouver, BC, Canada to be 
with him. They were able to escort him home. Before he arrived, I 
called his stake president to enlist his support for the returning 
Elder and also called Robert Haight a good friend who was the 
Mission President in Vancouver and asked him to include our 
Elder in anything that he felt was appropriate. 

After we had been home a year or two we got the very sad news 
that Elder McGuigan had taken his life. 

Some years later our grandson Brian, at age 19, developed 
similar symptoms. He lived with us for a short while he sought 
some effective remedy to the voices only he could hear and the low 
spirit he felt. There was very little medical or psychiatric help 
available to give him hope. Sadly he also took his own life at age 
20. At the time of this writing there seems to be no effective 
treatment for this kind of mental illness. 

Laundry Soap : One elder who was departing, had just recently 
purchased a large supply of laundry soap formed into white, two 
inch square, pellets. He didn’t want to leave them behind so he had 
removed them from the outer box and filled one suitcase about half 
full of soap pellets and the other half was his laundry. TSA held 
him up for a long interview about the strange white stuff. He 
nearly missed his plane. 

Haunted House : In Paris, TN there was an old rented house that 
had housed several sets of missionaries over the years. All those 
Elders had stories about the house and concluded that it was 
haunted. At nights the Elders would often hear the shuffling and 
scraping of furniture across the floor in the upstairs attic room. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Occasionally the stovetop would be left on when no one had used 
it. Things were moved around the house when both Elders knew 
they had not moved the items. Doors would slam when no one was 
there. The Elders mentioned this to me a time or two, but really 
never complained or seemed disturbed by the strange happenings. I 
toured the home fully and found it to be a nice place, so with the 
Elders agreement we kept the home for missionary housing. 

One day the Elders saw an older gentleman digging in their 
backyard garden. They looked again a few minutes later and he 
was gone. Later in the day they were talking to a neighbor and 
mentioned the old man they had seen and mentioned the noises and 
movements in the house over the past months. They gave the 
neighbor a full description of the man they saw in the garden and 
the neighbor smiled and said, “Oh yeah, that’s old Charlie. He 
lived there for years before he died. He has just never left.” 

About 6 months later the house caught fire while the Elders were 
out working. It was a wood frame house and it burned to the 
ground quite quickly. We never knew if Charlie was finally ready 
to move on and didn’t want to leave his home behind, or just forgot 
to turn off the stove? 

That was the end of our favorite haunted house. The Elders 
salvaged a few things and got a few new items of clothing. We 
found new housing for them that was not nearly as exciting as the 
haunted house. 

Tracting by the Spirit : Sister Gast was the trainer for Sister 
Green, her new companion. They felt the need to seek some 
guidance for their tracting efforts and prayed together over ten 
optional starting points. After their prayer Sister Gast, the trainer, 
had a clear impression they should start on Martin Street, but 
before sharing her promptings asked her companion where she felt 
they should start. Her companion timidly said, "I think Martin 
would be the right street." So out they went to Martin Street and 
were delighted to teach seven very high quality discussions that 
day. In the evening they came back each with a member 
companion and taught three more discussions on that street. 


Tennessee Nashville Mission 

32. Family Experiences 

The Mission Home was a beautiful ranch style house in 
Brentwood, TN. From the master bedroom to the kitchen was 
approximately 135 feet. It was such a long trek that it discouraged 
trips for late night snacks. There was a full lower floor as well 
which had a large dormitory room, two large bedrooms, storage 
rooms, a meeting room, a three car garage, furnace and A/C unit 
space and a full apartment for an office couple. Because the home 
was on a steep slope, the front and the main floor was at ground 
level and around behind the basement was on ground level, with 
the main floor above like a second floor. It was a very large home. 
Accommodations were comfortable when we had a large incoming 
or departing missionary group or when one or more of our families 
came to visit us. 

Thanksgiving Visits : We loved being closer to the eastern 
members of our family. Megan and Matt and their five children 
lived on the other side of the Appalachian Mountains in NC. Brad 
and Ann and their family lived in Minnesota, just up the 
Mississippi River, Brad and Rachel Edgren and family lived in 
Germantown near Memphis TN. We had delightful periodic visits 
from these families and especially had great visits at Thanksgiving 
when all of the eastern families could converge on the Mission 
Home. We invited the AP’s and a few local missionaries to join us 
for the traditional touch football game at a school yard and Colette 
would prepare a fantastic Turkey dinner for the whole crew. 

I chuckle at some of the pictures that were taken as we became 
tour guides for a visiting family and visited local points of interest. 
As always the family took group photos when we stopped. I was 
often lined up in the picture, but was usually talking on the cell 
phone when it was snapped. I guess that was true life. 

Sardines : When families visited with their children the favorite 
nighttime activity was to play Sardines. This is where one person 
hides and all the rest of the group tries to find him, or her. When 
the hider is found the finder joins the hider until all the group is in 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

the hiding place. The last person to find the group becomes the 
hider for the next round. The game was played when it was dark 
and all the lights were out. The game worked well for all ages. 
Because the home was so large, hiding was restricted to the 
upstairs only. Some hiders were really good. The champion was 
Brad Edgren who went to the laundry room and hid on top of the 
extra refrigerator and extra freezer behind a row of plastic picnic 
coolers which were stored up there. He was never found. The 
whole group had to give up. 

One time it was our granddaughter Olivia's turn to hide and when 
she left, her younger sister Grace said, "This is going to be easy. 
Olivia can't be in the dark. She'll need a light on." Grace was right. 
Way down in the bedroom there was a little light on and there was 
Olivia in the pool of light. 

Colette was a good hider. She found a spot in the kitchen on top 
of the counter where it was completely dark and hunters could 
almost touch her and still not find her standing there. One night she 
was hiding in her spot when the phone rang. In the mission field 
you just can’t ignore the phone. Quite often it can be an 
emergency. Colette could just reach the kitchen phone on the wall 
from her hiding place and she picked it up and whispered, “Heiio.” 
On the other end of the call was our daughter Megan who lived in 
North Carolina and she whispered back, “Heiio.” After a brief 
exchange Megan Said, “Why are we whispering?” Colette Said, “We’re 
playing Sardines here.” There was a long pause and Colette added, “you 

remember that Brigham and his family are visiting?” Megan Said, 4 Oh, thank 

heavens. I thought it was just you and dad.” 

Pizza : The 14 mission presidents and about 90 stake presidents in 
our Area were invited to an Area Training meeting in Washington, 
DC. Several General Authorities were in attendance. Two days 
later when we returned I traveled with the five stake presidents in 
our mission and one general authority who would be touring our 

Colette had driven to the Nashville airport to pick me up and had 
a little time on her hands before our plane arrived. She had not had 
much to eat during the day and remembered that there was a great 
pizza place at the concourse exit where she could get something 


Tennessee Nashville Mission 

and be in position to see me as I came from the plane down the 
concourse. (This was before TSA changed everything.) 

When she got to the restaurant the tables were all crowded and 
she spotted one that had just been abandoned, but not yet cleared. 
She took it still littered and was enjoying her pizza when all 7 of 
us, Stake Presidents and General Authority came down the 
concourse. She waved and all of us went over to visit with her. She 
had a dab of tomato sauce on her chin and four empty beer bottles 
in front of her on the table. She was a little embarrassed. Some 
explaining was necessary. 

Kirtland : From October 23 to 26, 2001 we joined 13 other 
mission presidents for a Mission President’s Seminar in Kirtland, 
Ohio. Elder Cecil Samuelson, one of the 7 Presidents of Seventy 
along with Elder Sheldon Child, our Area President, plus a few 
other General and Local Authorities who conducted this training. 
While there we toured the Church restoration projects which were 
finished, partially completed, or still in the progress. Our local 
historical authority had stories of little miracles that let the 
restoration projects go forward. One involved moving a main 
highway so that the old Kirtland town center could be restored. 
The Mayor of Kirtland had said no to the highway move and 
would not budge. 

The Mayor loved football and a short while after his refusal on 
the town center project he was watching Steve Young on TV 
during warmups before a game and Steve briefly removed his 
jersey to adjust his pads and the camera caught the T-shirt which 
he was wearing under his jersey. It read, "I Love Kirtland." The 
Mayor was very excited and pleased about this and mentioned it 
one day to the Kirtland church project leaders. The project people 
very quickly got Steve to send a large autographed picture to the 
Mayor and suddenly the highway move was approved. 

There were stories of ancestors who had lived in Kirtland. 
Colette got a couple of good Benjamin Franklin Johnson stories. 
One was just after the Kirtland Temple was completed. Joseph 
Smith wanted to give a blessing to everyone who had worked on 
the construction. When all the people in the line had been blessed 
Joseph had the feeling that he had another blessing to give. He 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

went out toward the entry and found Bennie, who was about 16. 
Joseph asked, “Did you help on the Temple Bennie?” and he 
replied, “I helped my brother make a lot of bricks, but they 
crumbled and were thrown out. Then I got sick and didn’t directly 
help with the construction.” Then he thought for a minute and 
added, “But I did sell my rifle to contribute cash.” Joseph said, 
“You’re the one I’m looking for. Come in.” 

Another story about Benjamin was some time later when he, 
asked Joseph Smith if it was a sin to marry a rich woman. Joseph 
said, "No it wasn't a sin, provided everything else was okay." So 
Benjamin was married the widow LeBaron and ended up buying 
the lovely home near the Kirtland Temple from Joseph and Emma 
who needed to move on to Nauvoo. 

One of the memorable and spiritual experiences for us was in the 
Kirtland Temple where the sacrament was administered and passed 
to us by the General Authorities. 

Ticks : Colette and I took a couple of hours between days of Zone 
conferences in April of 2001 and had a hike in a very large park 
area called The Land Between the Lakes. It was beautiful country 
that lies between the Cumberland River and the Tennessee River, 
just before each of them flows into the Ohio River. The 
Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers had both been dammed to 
create two long lakes on either side of the park. 

That evening after our hike Colette helped remove 26 sticks that 
were all over my body. I had picked them up along the trail that 
went through the tall grass. 

Family Reunion : We planned a get together of the entire family 
midway through our mission, at the Montgomery Bell State Park 
near Nashville. The date was set for the second week of September 
2001. Then just before anyone could travel to be with us the World 
Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon were attacked on 9/11 
and all air traffic was stopped. We had reserved the Park which 
had an excellent lodge with very nice rooms. They graciously 
allowed us to cancel and reschedule into March 2002 because of 
the national travel disruption. 


Tennessee Nashville Mission 

When the family finally did make their way to Nashville, we had 
a wonderful time showing them the homes of Jackson and Polk, 
the Rattle & Snap Plantation, toured the Saturn auto manufacturing 
plant and visited many famous civil war sites and other points of 
local interest. We had a family seminar to cover business and 
discussed the importance of member missionary work. One day of 
rain dampened the tennis, but not our spirits. It was great to see 
everyone and learn in detail how they were doing. 

On September 11, 2001 we were in a Zone Conference meeting at 
the Waverly Tennessee Branch building. We were in the first hour 
of the conference when one of the Senior couples came in and gave 
us a report on the coordinated attacks on the World Trade Center 
buildings and the Pentagon. The news hit all of us very hard and a 
spirit of soberness descended on the conference. Our special 
music, fittingly, included the Battle Hymn of the Republic and we 
sang My Country Tis of Thee together. All the prayers were 
directed toward those who had sustained such great loss. 

Our granddaughter Rachel and her husband Brad Edgren were in 
NYC at that time and Colette called Denise, Rachel’s mom, to see 
if the kids were okay. We learned that Brad was very close to the 
first twin tower when it came down, and was miraculously saved 
on the street along with some missionaries he met when the second 
town came down. 

In October 2001, just a month after the attack, we attended a 
stake correlation meeting in the Hopkinsville Stake. It was 
shocking. Almost all their Bishops were gone, the High Council 
was wiped out and two of the stake presidency were gone. Fort 
Campbell is right in the center of the Hopkinsville Stake. That Fort 
is the base for the 101 Airborne and they had all been deployed. I 
knew the base was in that Stake, but it was the first time I had been 
fully aware that such a high percent of their Stake leadership and 
population were military personnel. 

Airline Security Changed : As a result of the 9/11 airline attacks, 
airline travel became much more security conscious. We could no 
longer meet new missionaries at the arrival gate, or see departing 
missionaries to their departure gates. Up until this time at plane 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

boarding Colette could finally give the departing Elders a hug and 
I could give the sisters a goodbye hug. 

One departure day, before restrictions, the departing missionaries 
had flights out of two different gates and Colette got to the second 
group after they had already boarded their plan. She marched right 
up the jetway and told the attendant that she was going on board to 
give her boys their farewell hug. The attendant looked puzzled, but 
said okay and Colette boarded the plane and walked down the aisle 
to give those departing their last hugs. Those were the last goodbye 
hugs we got in the gate area. 

Restriction on the items that could no longer be in your carry-on 
bag seemed to catch everyone off guard for a while. I was 
returning from an Area Conference and Colette was waiting for me 
on a row of airport seats just outside of the secured area. While 
there, a man had approached her and asked if she would excuse 
him for just a moment. He took his newspaper and shoved it under 
the feet of her seat row. Out from under a leg plate popped a large 
folding knife. He picked it up and said, “Thank you very much.” 
He had cleverly saved it from TSA. 

This example helped me to save my very small pocket knife 
several times when I had forgotten to put it in a checked bag. I hid 
it in bushes and under seat cushions to pick up on my return. I also 
carried a stamped envelope in my briefcase and had to mail it 
home a few times. 

My biggest problem in getting through security was bringing a 
native spear home from Africa. It was for Tim, who loved weapons 
of all types. It took some careful breaking down and packing 
wrapped with underwear in my suitcase to get it home. 

Tennessee Navigation and Directions : At one of our Mission¬ 
wide sister's conferences two missionary sisters from out by the 
Mississippi River had gotten a ride with a very nice member sister. 
This member had never been out of her hometown. This was not 
uncommon for people in some of our smaller towns. The 
missionary sisters guided the good member into the mission home 
where they were dropped off. Then while the missionary sisters 
were in their conference, the member sister took this opportunity to 


Tennessee Nashville Mission 

go to the Temple, which was nearby. The plan was to pick up the 
sister missionaries at the mission home after temple sessions. 

Long after all the other sisters had connected with their ride and 
had departed for home, the two sisters who were headed back to 
the Mississippi had not been picked up. There was no way to reach 
the member sister who was to drive them. The temple had long ago 
finished the last sessions for the day. After several hours of waiting 
we got a phone call at the mission home from the sister who had 
been lost all of the later afternoon. We asked her to tell us where 
she was and stay right there and we would come to her. She was 
relieved and said that she was at McDonald’s and would be 
grateful for us to meet her. Nashville is large and spread-out. It has 
possibly 30 McDonald’s scattered over its large area. We asked 
which one she was at and she had no idea. Finally, we had her put 
on one of the employees who eventually told us where they were. 

We drove to meet her. She was about 20 miles off course, and 
was very happy to see us. We bought her and the sister 
missionaries a McDonald’s meal. When they were ready to leave 
we could see Interstate Highway 40 about three-tenths of a mile 
away. We instructed her very carefully to drive to the freeway, go 
over it and turn left, to the west and this would take them home. 
We bid them farewell and headed home as they went to the 

About midnight we got a call from the traveling sisters. They 
were in Knoxville in the Appalachian Mountains. This was 
completely the wrong end of Tennessee. They had been happily 
singing songs and didn’t notice that they were going in the wrong 
direction for several hours. 

We asked the missionary sisters if they could turn around and 
find their way back to the mission home. They thought they could. 
We told them we would have beds for them and they could try 
again in the morning. 

After 2:00 AM they arrived at the mission home, where we gave 
them each a bed. The next day we gave them breakfast and drew a 
simple map that would get them on their way. Later that day they 
did make it home. 

We were surprised that in Tennessee and Kentucky that most 
people did not read maps or bother with street names, or highway 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

numbers. Instructions tended to be, “Go to the BP station and turn 
left, or continue down the road a far piece and turn right past the 
com field, or when you see the big trees on the left you are almost 
there.” Surprisingly enough this works for them. 

33. Teaching the Gospel in the South. 

Anti-Church Efforts : We found the people of the south to be 
wonderfully hospitable, deeply religious and very familiar with 
Bible teachings. Probably half of them could embrace the gospel 
and come straight into the church if it were not for the tremendous 
opposition of the local ministers and pastors. 

Book Burning : One college coed had been converted and was 
prepared for baptism when the leader of the local church appeared 
with 15 college friends. They stood in a circle around her and 
made her bum her Triple Combination and other LDS materials. 
She survived this treatment and was eventually baptized. 

In the River : Another young college student who was prepared for 
baptism had similar treatment and felt forced to back out of her 
baptism date. A month or so later she was talking to Elder Mack, 
the Zone Leader, about baptism, but couldn't set a date. Finally, he 
had the impression that she wanted to be baptized right now and he 
asked her if this was the case. She said, "Yes." It was about 9 PM 
when Elder Mack called me and asked if it would be OK to baptize 
her that night in the Ohio River. I asked him to include the Ward 
Mission Leader, or appropriate ward representatives and it would 
be permissible, even after mission hours. Her great fear was that 
she would be descended upon again by her “friends” who would 
seek to destroy her faith and commitment to the Lord. She was 
baptized in the river later that night. 

Intimidation : Colette and I were invited to the home of an 
investigator, who was ready for baptism. Her minister wanted to 
visit her and she wanted us to be there. Once there, we talked about 
the usual Evangelical criticisms of the church with a reasonable 
give and take, plus our testimony. The minister said, “I would like 

Tennessee Nashville Mission 

to bear my testimony that the Book of Mormon is not true.” His 
comments did not move the feelings of the Sister who was to be 
baptized; she was still ready to go. 

While I visited with the minister, his wife took our good sister 
aside, but where Colette could hear and she said, ‘We have made 
contact with attorneys and judges and if you join the Mormon 
church we will arrange for your children (three of them) to be 
taken away. Your estranged husband will legally cut off all support 
to you, and end any support for your children through you." 
Shortly after that the minister and his wife left. The sister was 
devastated and said she was sure they had the power and influence 
in their community to make their threats a real. She was not 
baptized, at least at that time. 

Anti-Mormon Training : Jim, was a young man chosen from his 
Baptist congregation to receive some special training about the 
Mormon Church. He went to a seminar to fill him in on all the 
errors and evils of Mormonism. He studied hard, preparing for a 
summer mission in Utah. At the last minute he was sent to Texas 
instead. But somewhat later, after his summer mission, several 
local congregations were sponsoring a retreat seminar with a 
variety of instruction areas. They needed someone to teach the 
anti-Mormon section and they decided that Jim was the best 
prepared to lead this discussion. Sometime after his presentation he 
decided, out of curiosity, to read the Book of Mormon. The book 
struck him as an excellent source of the word of God and he 
prayed about its truthfulness. His answer was crystal clear and a 
short time later he was baptized. That was one of the rare times the 
anti-Mormon training worked in a good direction. 

Criminal Records : On numerous occasions I needed to interview 
someone with a serious law violation before they could be 
baptized. After a careful review of the problem, if it still looked 
like the candidate should be baptized, I had to write a letter to 
President Hinckley for permission to go ahead. Generally my 
recommendations were accepted. In one case we were asked to 
wait. The man had been involved with some very bad people and 
in preemptive self-defense he had stabbed a man. The man had 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

probably died, but the knife-wielder was not sure what the 
outcome had been as he moved away from the area. Many years 
passed, before he met the Elders and was converted to the gospel. 
President Hinckley asked us to wait. After a year of church 
attendance and service, the man received permission to be 

It was a short while later that President Hinckley was speaking in 
general conference and said, “The police can’t find them, the FBI 
can’t find them, but our missionaries can find them and want to 
baptize them.” It looked like we were not the only ones writing 
letters asking for that kind of permission. 

Billy Strange was a successful songwriter who lived in Nashville 
with his church member wife. He had a good number of hit songs. 
“These Boots are Made for Walking" sung by Nancy Sinatra and 
some of the James Bond music were among the many he had 
written. Over the years he had countless sets of missionaries teach 
him the discussions. I was surprised one day to learn that he 
wanted to be baptized and that he needed an interview with me. 

When we talked I asked him how it was that after all these years 
and after numerous sets of missionaries had taught him, that he 
finally wanted to be baptized. He said, “The last two Elders that 
taught me were the first to bear their testimonies to me repeatedly 
and I knew that what they said was true, so here I am.” 

Wonderful Change of Perspective : I interviewed Sister Robinson 
for baptism. She had come from a troubled teenage marriage where 
extremely difficult experiences made a mission president's 
interview necessary. She had no children from this first marriage 
and it ended in divorce. She was now remarried and had two 
children. Her husband was a less-active member and had benefitted 
from missionary discussions in their home. 

The miracle is the dramatic change in perspective that had come 
to her life. Her hope for the future had immensely expanded and 
her concern for her family had become her paramount focus. She 
had a keen desire for them all to understand the Lord’s 
commandments and the teachings of the prophets. Establishing a 
regular home evening to teach these things was a high priority for 


Tennessee Nashville Mission 

her. It was thrilling to talk to her and witness the changes wrought 
in her life by the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Noble Patton bore his testimony at his baptismal service. He 
traveled a great deal in his work and no matter where he went he 
saw and recognized the missionaries. He felt that they had 
something special. They were out riding their bikes and knocking 
doors and this example of dedication is what drew him to the 

Southern Speech : I was interviewing a very nice southern woman 
for baptism. Partway into the interview she got a quizzical look. 
After a pause she smiled and said, “Oh maa, you put endins on all 
yo words.” 

On a similar note the Franklin Stake President’s wife and a friend 
made a trip to New York City. They caught a cab while they were 
there and gave the destination address to the cabbie and asked what 
it would cost. The cabbie looked at them and said, “It’s very close 
and I won’t charge you anything if you will say a few more 5 s and 
9s for me. So they did say, “faaa’-ev and naa’-yen” for the cabbie. 

In Tennessee, Nashville becomes Nashvul. Shelbyville becomes 
Shovul, rights becomes rats, fire becomes far, and many many 
other interesting variations. 

Blessings Come to Missionaries’ Families : We often hear that 
the cost burden of supporting a missionary is made light by the 
Lord and the family is blessed financially. That has been true for 
dozens of our missionaries. For example Elder Tibbits said that his 
mom lost an important income source of about $700 per month and 
was getting concerned that she was going to have to dip into the 
money he had saved for his mission to sustain herself. Out of the 
blue she got an offer for a better job with an increase in pay that 
completely covered her shortfall. She knew it was an answer to her 

More than financially it was remarkable how many young 
missionaries reported significant spiritual blessings that came to 
their families at home while they were serving. Here are just a few 
of those reported: 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Elder Brad Thomas reported, “Things back home are going very 
well. My older sister, who was not active, or sealed in the Temple 
to her husband is now both active and sealed in the Temple. My 
older brother was also less active and not sealed in the Temple to 
his wife now holds the Melchizedek Priesthood and is working 
toward being sealed to his wife and children. There is nothing like 
seeing people become converted to the gospel and at the same 
time, see my family become truly converted.” 

Elder Adair had a sister-in-law and a girlfriend join the church 
while he has been on his mission. 

Sister O’Leary was the only member of the church in her family. 
Her father and mother were divorced some time ago and were 
living in New Mexico and Florida respectively. Her mother 
softened noticeably during her daughter’s mission and took 
missionary discussions in Florida. While serving, Sister O’Leary 
learned that her father and mother were planning to be remarried. 

Years ago Elder Watts’ father left the family and was 
excommunicated. His mother raised the family. While Elder Watts 
was serving in the mission field, his father remarried his mother. 
Just about a month before he returned home, he learned that his 
father had been re-baptized into the church. Elder Watts with the 
letter in his hand and tears of joy in his eyes came into my office to 
show me. He said this never could have happened if he had not 
been serving faithfully in the mission field. 


Part Nine 

Mission Governance 

Initiatives of the Tennessee Nashville Mission 

Ten Steps Then Breathe 

34. Initiatives and Activities 

We tried a number of things to see if we could help missionaries 
grow stronger and help the church grow in the mission area. Here 
are a few of those efforts and activities. 

Outlying Member Groups : Church membership was sparse in 
our mission. We had a number of smaller branches that covered 
very large geographical areas. Quite often there would be a cluster 
of less active members some distance from the branch meeting 
house. We offered to all five of the stake presidents in our mission 
the possibility of starting a group in these clusters. We would then 
have missionaries work in these small outlying areas with a 
primary goal of reactivation and teaching the gospel to the friends 
and relations of these folks with the hope of starting a Home 
Sunday School and working toward a new branch. If we could 
make it work, the effort would have the effect of reducing travel 
for members and also provide some new leadership opportunities. 

Carmi, IL, Our first effort was in the Eldorado Branch of the 
Paducah Stake. That branch had a cluster of 10 or 11 less-active 
families in Carmi, IL, over 30 miles northeast of the Eldorado 
meeting house. Working with the Stake President, Larry Watkins, 
and the Eldorado Branch President we started a little group in 
Carmi to the northeast of Eldorado. The Harris family there agreed 
to have Sunday School meetings in their home. The missionaries 
visited all of the church families in Carmi and had a very good 
response about the possibility of local meetings. 

This effort lasted about two months. At first, the effort looked 
promising with members attending who had not come to the 
Eldorado Branch and some investigators, but as time went on the 
Elders had no luck in finding investigators who progressed and 
attendance dwindled. In October the mission, the stake and the 
branch decided to abandon the effort in Carmi. What we learned 
from this effort was 1) We needed resident missionaries—the 
Elders commuting from Eldorado was not good enough. 2) We 
needed at least one stalwart family in the group. 3) Consistent local 
leadership was needed, not a rotating slate of leaders. One positive 


Mission Governance 

result from the Carmi effort was that the Harris family’s activity 
was strengthened. 

Leitchfield, KY The Hopkinsville Stake Presidency suggested 
that we try a Home Sunday School service in the small town of 
Leitchfield which was 32 miles from its Morgantown branch 
building. In November 1999 attendance at this Home Sunday 
School averaged around 16. This time we had missionaries move 
to and reside in Leitchfield. The second month was similar and 
there appeared to be several progressing investigators. January 
2000 was stable with about 15 attending, and the group started a 
Primary program. The fourth month attendance averaged 18, and 
the missionaries had a baptism. Attendance in April was 18 to 20. 
In July the attendance was as high as 25. 

Trezavant, TN The Paducah Stake indicated that they wished to 
start a group meeting in a small group of the Paris, TN Branch in 
the McKenzie/Trezavant area. This group was about 30 minutes 
away from the Paris chapel. We assigned resident missionaries 
there and attendance in September 2000 averaged between 12 and 
20 . 

Spanish: There was a significant Spanish speaking population in 
our mission. To start with we had just six to eight Spanish 
speaking Elders and just two sisters. We asked to have our Spanish 
complement increased and over time that complement was 
increased to about 30 missionaries, six to eight of them were 
Sisters. We created a Spanish Speaking Zone for training purposes 
and the spirit of the Spanish speaking missionaries improved 
remarkably. My counselor, John Rappleye and his wife Nancy, 
were fluent in Spanish and helped immensely in this effort. 

We also invited the three stakes with the greatest Spanish 
speaking populations, Franklin Stake, McMinnville Stake and 
Nashville Stake to create Spanish groups where appropriate. One 
Spanish Branch already existed in the Nashville Stake and was 
doing quite well. Five new Spanish groups were created in these 
three stakes around Nashville and our overall Spanish attendance 
in all these groups began to grow from about 150 in early 2000. 
Over the next year seven groups were operating and the Franklin 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Stake upgraded one of their groups into a branch as attendance 

The Denneys were a very strong office couple. Additionally, they 
were fluent in Spanish from prior missions. They were 
instrumental in helping the Franklin Stake create their first Spanish 
Branch. When this was done I asked them to move their effort to 
the Shelbyville Branch where there was a newly started Spanish 
group of about seven people. The Denneys established regular 
Spanish language meetings and two Spanish speaking sisters 
worked with them. They brought the regular group attendance up 
to more than 30 and began forming an organization structure, 
working toward a branch. 

In the Mission we established three Spanish Speaking Zones, one 
in each stake that had a reasonable Spanish population. By mid- 
2002 the total attendance of the Spanish units was over 300. 

We held a Spanish Fireside for all the Spanish speaking members 
and investigators in all three stakes. President Rappleye, my 
counselor in the Mission Presidency, conducted this meeting and 
over 200 attended. The Spanish Elders wrote out a phonetic three 
or four sentence talk in Spanish for me which I stumbled through. 
The members said that they didn’t know President Taylor spoke 

Sister’s Dress Standards : Standards for Elders clothing were very 
clear and well established. The Elders met this standard with a very 
positive attitude. They dressed like missionaries and carried that 
spirit with them. The Sister missionaries had pictorial standards, 
but the interpretation of those standards, once you got beyond a 
dress or a skirt, varied all over the map. We had about 30 
wonderful Sister missionaries, but a lot of them looked downright 
frumpy. On July 24, 2000, we talked about these standards and 
decided that we could do better and meet a standard closer to the 
Elders. We chose to have a solid color dark skirt, a white blouse, 
with a dark solid color blazer or vest. Colette found a store that had 
received a large shipment of nice heavy white cotton blouses and 
they had them on sale at a deep discount to clear their stock. They 
thought they would never sell them. The blouses were all sizes and 
Colette bought them all. The store was thrilled and so were we. 


Mission Governance 

These were soon distributed to the sisters and the varied sizes 
worked out remarkably well. 

When the word got to the parents there was some grumbling. The 
Church Missionary Department called me and asked what in the 
world I was doing. I think that parents had called SLC to complain. 
When I explained, the Missionary Department was supportive, so 
we forged ahead. One mother wrote to me saying that she had been 
a Catholic nun before she was converted and said that she was very 
supportive and understood the need for the right attire. New Sisters 
receiving calls to our mission received information about our 
standards well before they came into the mission field. 

We had allowed three months for Sisters currently in the field to 
make the change over in their wardrobe. To my great surprise two 
weeks later in a full series of Zone Conferences over 3 A of the 
sisters in the mission had made the change. The difference in 
appearance was incredibly positive. In 4 more weeks every sister 
had made the wardrobe conversion. Their appearance was that of 
outstanding missionaries, which they truly were. Ward and Branch 
members throughout the mission noticed and commented on the 
difference. It was a subtle thing, but members were more 
comfortable now in giving referrals to the Sisters. 

Two Sisters in their new attire were walking down the street in a 
small western Tennessee town and a young boy came running up 
to them and said, “Church ladies, church ladies, my mother needs 
to see you. Will you come with me?” Without the apparel change 
the young boy could not have spotted the Sister Missionaries so 
easily and they would have missed the contact. 

Presidency : When I came into the mission the practice was to hold 
mission presidency meetings almost monthly. I continued this 
practice for a number of months and concluded that these good 
men had very little chance to contribute to the work of the mission. 

We switched to weekly meetings, held early every Sunday 
morning and began to get much better counsel from them and 
could have them take assignments. They represented the Mission 
in speaking at Stake and Ward Meetings. President John Rappleye 
could conduct training in our Spanish Zones in Spanish and speak 
to member groups. With a few native Spanish speaking 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

missionaries, he helped me with personal interviews where English 
was less effective. John and Nancy later served in Chile as mission 
president. Before their mission they took us on our fabulous tour of 
Peru. A few years after their mission in Chile they were called to 
be president and matron of the Temple in the Dominican Republic. 

President Sid Sandstrom was a CES director in the area and he 
was an excellent speaker and scriptorian. He was most helpful in 
his missionary training presentations. His work took him over 
much the same territory that the mission covered, so his help was 

President Norman Tolk was a Vanderbilt University Professor of 
Physics and a fine musician. He and his wife Marilyn, a concert 
pianist, entertained non-members in their home with musical 
programs. They also hosted an annual multi-faith choir/orchestra 
concert at Christmas time where large community audiences 
attended. Marilyn and Colette were both Canadian bom, and we 
became fast friends with them. 

Departure Meetings : When a group of missionaries completed an 
honorable mission we held a meeting at the mission home where 
those missionaries could bear their departing testimonies. A few 
friends from the mission and sometimes a family member or two 
joined us for this wonderful experience. We decided that the 
mission home setting was too small and crowded for those who 
expressed interest in coming, so we moved this departing 
testimony meeting to the Franklin Stake Center near the Mission 
Home. In March of 2000, we held our first open farewell meeting 
at the chapel and about 30 guests and friends attended. The next 
month we had about 45 guests. In May about 150 guests attended. 
After this meeting in May, a member sister came to me and said, 
"Why have I been missing these meetings over the years. These are 
the best meetings in the church." I reassured her that so far she had 
only missed two. This parting tradition continued until the end of 
our mission in June of 2002, and perhaps beyond. 

Housekeeping Help : Early on we found that missionaries were not 
fastidious housekeepers. In many cases, they simply didn’t know 
how to do common household chores, such as clean dishes, 


Mission Governance 

counters and sinks. Nor did they have much experience with floor 
cleaning, replacing light bulbs, toilet paper, or cleaning out 
refrigerators. Garbage management was a mystery to many. Some 
Elders had used bleach to clean carpets and found that instead of 
cleaning spots on the carpet, they left great patches of discolored 

During our time in the mission we had wealth of wonderful 
couples. We had two couples in the office. There were six to eight 
proselyting couples helping small branches. We had four to six 
couples who were working on family history record preservation in 
court houses and government buildings. Another couple served as 
Church Education Missionaries, plus we had a missionary couple 
as supervisors for the temple construction and an employment 
consulting couple. I talked to a half a dozen of these couples who 
were geographically spread in the mission and asked if they would 
be willing to be housekeeping coaches to the missionaries in their 
areas. They were very willing to help and enjoyed the contract with 
the young elders and sisters. These housekeeping couples met with 
me every two months to share their results, ideas and hair raising 

They did a marvelous work to teach, train, encourage and check 
up on progress. The mission standards improved a thousand 

Couples Zone : With the wealth of wonderful couples in our 
mission, we felt they needed better connection to each other with 
chances to share experiences. They already attended the regular 
mission Zone Conferences, but these were focused on the needs 
and training of young missionaries. 

After prayerful consideration I had the clear impression that we 
should create a "Couples Zone" with a Senior Couple called to be 
the Zone Leaders. The Couples Zone met monthly at various 
locations in the mission to make the travel as fair as possible. The 
morning was spent in gospel training and sharing positive 
approaches that had been used in their work. They had a lunch 
together, sometimes potluck and sometimes prepared by a host 
branch, or ward. Then in the afternoon they planned an activity 
which might be a tour of a local point of interest, or a program, or 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

some other uplifting activity. This turned out to be just what they 
needed to get and keep the spirit of their work high. The couples 
continued to be a part of our regular zone meetings as well. 

Sister’s Leadership : Similarly we had 30 wonderful young sister 
missionaries and felt that they were somewhat short changed in our 
normal mission leadership structure and training. As a result we 
organized a mission-wide sisters group and appointed a strong 
sister to be the group leader. Quarterly we had a sister’s conference 
where all the sisters could come together from all over the mission, 
had a beautiful luncheon in the Mission Home prepared by Colette, 
and shared training and instruction. 

Music Standards : The Mission Presidents before me had 
approved a good number of musical artists who recorded numbers 
that were generally not detrimental to the missionary spirit. 
Requests came in regularly to expand the approved list of artists 
and numbers. Because we had missionaries from all parts of the 
US and Canada, Pacific Island and Latin America, the requests 
were widely varied and well beyond my musical understanding. 
Also, with the approved artist list, a fair amount of inappropriate 
music was creeping in. 

We talked about this in our leadership meetings and finally 
decided that the only acceptable music would be: recorded LDS 
hymns, Tabernacle Choir recordings, and EFY music. This gave 
some variety, but kept the focus on gospel principles. This was not 
a universally popular move, but it did really help the missionaries 
to center their thoughts on the Savior and His mission. 

Learning Discussions : When we started our mission less than a 
third of our missionaries had learned all six discussions well 
enough to teach the gospel to non-members. We made that a focus 
and soon over 80% of the mission force had mastered all six 
discussions and the new missionaries were getting fully prepared 
to teach all six discussions in as little as six weeks after their 
arrival. This made a huge difference in the teaching skills of the 
entire mission. 


Mission Governance 

Fax Machines & Teleconferencing : It was taking a fair amount 
of time for District Leaders and Zone Leaders throughout the 
mission to collect information from each pair of missionaries by 
telephone each week. The APs also spent a good deal of time 
getting the collected data from the Zone Leaders. In July 2001, to 
streamline the whole process we found some inexpensive FAX 
machines and started transmitting the information. This was much 
faster and resulted in higher quality reporting. (Now that the 
internet and electronic communication are used in missions around 
the world, these processes can and should be streamlined even 

A thoughtful church member in the Nashville area used a 
telephone bridge in his business. It was rarely used in the evenings 
or on weekends and he offered it to me for mission use. Because 
we were so geographically spread out in our mission this was a 
great blessing. I could use it for meetings with all the ward and 
branch mission leaders and none had to travel. From their homes 
they called an 800 number and I could talk to them as a group and 
before we concluded they could ask questions and get answers that 
benefitted the whole group. I used this often for meetings with 
stake presidencies, bishops, and Ward Mission Leaders. These 
telephone meetings were efficient and very well attended. Our 
Area President, Sheldon Child, was able to join us on some 
occasions to add his encouragement and inspiration. 

Elder Jolley of the Quorum of 70 was in our area to select and 
call a new President for the Paducah Stake. This gave him a very 
limited time for Missionary contact, so we arranged to have him 
give a 20 minute instruction session for all of our missionaries 
through this telephone bridge. 

Convert Tally and Ward Mission Leaders : In April of 2000 we 
received word from the church that we would no longer count 
baptisms to measure the number of new converts, but rather would 
count new members only after they were confirmed: a very good 
decision. It was also about this same time that Stake Missions were 
discontinued and Ward Missions were established in the church. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

35. Temple in Nashville Area 

One Temple Becomes Three : We were present in May of 2000 
when the “small” Temple was completed in Franklin Tennessee. It 
was a beautiful structure on the grounds of the Franklin Stake 
Center. It had been planned to be a large Temple on a beautiful 
wooded hillside that the church owned. The site was about ten 
miles north and west of the Franklin Stake Center. Local 
opposition prevented the Church from getting permission to build 
on this site. The dominant evangelical population in Tennessee felt 
that the construction of a full sized temple in Tennessee was a 
powerful symbol of the permanent establishment of the church 
here and they didn't want that visible symbol. After numerous 
attempts the Church made a decision to build three smaller temples 
to serve the same geographical area, one in Nashville, TN, one in 
Huntsville, AL and one in Memphis, TN. I believe this was a 
greater blessing to the saints than one large temple would have 
been. It also greatly simplified member support and staffing 

Temple Excavation : When they were about to excavate for the 
Temple in Franklin at the last minute they decided to move the 
temple forward on the property. This made it more visible from the 
main access Highway 431 and allowed it to fit better on the 
property. When they started excavation on the new forward spot, 
they found the usual heavy layer of limestone was missing directly 
under the baptismal font site. It was the only possible placement of 
the temple that didn’t require blasting stone to dig lower for the 
font. The temple placement move was inspired and put it right 
where the Lord wanted it. 

Open House : In early May, we had a Sister’s Conference at the 
mission home. The sisters received instructions on the Temple 
Open House and did some planning of their shift coverage. We 
also developed some Family History Cards which the sisters had 
helped design. These cards offered to an investigator the possibility 
of finding more information about their ancestors, giving the 
missionaries another avenue to find investigators of the gospel. 


Mission Governance 

During the next two days we helped set up an information booth, 
with decorated tables and choir music in the background. 

The local press was friendly and produced a number of very nice 
Temple articles. Placement of the Angel Moroni made the front 
page of the Nashville Tennessean newspaper in full color. 

Invitations : In passing out 15,000 invitations to the Temple Open 
House there were many heartwarming experiences for the 
missionaries. Almost all who were invited accepted. Typical was 
the experience of two of our elders who talked to a man working in 
his yard. He got quite exercised and ran through all the standard 
false beliefs and evil practices of our church. The elders were 
instinctively ready to counter all of his comments with good 
scriptures and logical arguments, but the spirit restrained them. 
They just let him wind down and then they bore their testimonies 
to him. The man softened before their eyes and said that he was a 
minister in the Church of Christ. He said that he had never met a 
member of the LDS Church that he didn’t like and respect. He 
went on to say that he wished he could get his church members to 
respond in religious discussions the way the Elders had. And then 
he accepted an invitation to the Temple Open House. 

The Open House ran for seven days. There was a steady flow of 
more than 24,000 people who had a wonderful exposure to our 
church teachings. The sisters in our booth did a masterful job of 
answering questions and sharing materials about the church and 
temples. Those who attended said that it was an extraordinary 
experience and most felt they had come closer to God. 

Dedication : The Temple was dedicated on May 21, 2000, by 
President Faust. Elder Nelson of the Quorum of the 12 and Elder 
Loren Dunn of the Seventy were also in attendance. 

Temple Days : The Nashville Temple was placed into operation 
just a few days after it was dedicated and became a great blessing 
to the mission. We made arrangements for missionaries to go to the 
temple at least twice per year on a preparation day. Also, we 
arranged a chance for each group of missionaries, as they were 
departing for home, to go to the temple. Occasionally missionaries 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

were able to escort converts who were ready for their own 
endowments or sealing through the temple 

36. Raising Standards 

Letter to Parents : Most parents are wonderfully supportive of 
their missionary sons and daughters, but there were a few who 
were amazingly unhelpful or neglectful or sometimes overly 
protective of their missionary. I finally wrote a letter to all parents 
with these suggestions: 

Write weekly to your missionary. (A few missionaries got no 
letters at all, and some got too many.) 

Don’t call your missionary. On the two days when calls are 
allowed, Mother’s Day and Christmas, it is best for your 
missionary if the call stays well under 1 hour. (Some calls went on 
for 6 to 8 hours and left the missionary hopelessly homesick for 
more than a week.) Urgent communication to your missionary is 
best done through the mission office. 

Don’t send money, or provide an emergency credit card. Inform 
the broader family not to as well. If there is a financial emergency 
parents will receive notice through the mission president. Living 
within the missionary budget will be a blessing to your missionary. 
Most parents already know and have the judgment to live by these 
rules, but surprisingly some don't. 

Zion Mission : On July 5, 2000, after June had disappointing 
conversion results (just 10 Baptisms/Confirmations), we launched 
a “Zion” mission initiative. Counsel was taken from APs and Zone 
Leaders on an approach for this major undertaking. All the young 
leaders were very supportive and indicated that they would work 
with their zones. A letter was prepared for every missionary asking 
them to make a commitment to be perfectly obedient and to work 
at the highest level, with faith that they could qualify for the Lord’s 
blessings. Missionaries were asked to make their local ward and 
branch members aware of the commitment they were making. 

In the Zone Conference interviews that were held at the 
beginning of this initiative, each missionary cleared the record of 
anything that might be holding him or her back and made a 

Mission Governance 

commitment to be pure in heart and diligent. Colette had to smile 
when Elder Holbrock, the senior Assistant, selected a closing 
hymn for the conference as I was doing interviews with 
missionaries, one at a time. He chose “The Wintry Day 
Descending to its Close.” 

In the months that followed the missionary responses were very 
positive. Here are a just of few of the scores and scores of 
comments that came in from our missionaries: 

The Lord promises that if we will establish Zion He will pour out 
his blessings. He has just been waiting for us to prepare. 

I love all the changes I’ve seen in this mission and I’m so 
thankful to be a part of this great work. 

My testimony of the gospel is growing stronger every day. 
Thanks for everything and making this mission Zion. 

I know the Lord is pouring His blessings out; this is what it’s all 
about. I love it! 

We’ve picked up much more member support. The mission is 
awesome. I hope I can improve and become everything the Lord 
would want me to be. 

Things are falling into place so easily. I know it is through God’s 

I’m realizing more and more that it’s attitude that makes, or 
breaks a mission. 

Our zone has had three baptisms so far this month and we are 
looking forward to at least three more. That's blessings (sic) if I've 
ever seen them. 

As we strive to be Zion missionaries we have seen the blessings 
come forth. 

Things are really starting to happen because of our obedience 
and hard work. 

We are really seeing the blessings. It feels like Christmas time 
with all the gifts the Lord is giving us. 

We had five investigators at church this Sunday. With hard work 
the Lord is blessing us. 

I’m so excited to be part of the Zion Mission! It has been great 
over the last month and I know it will be a blessing over the last 
half of my mission. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

I know what Zion is like. Our week was the best of my mission. 
(10 investigators at our fireside) 

Zion effort is changing our mission for the better. 

1 love being a Zion missionary. The Lord has rich blessing just 
waiting for us. 

I’m glad to be in this mission—an obedient one. 

On October 11, 2000, the Assistants, Zone Leaders and District 
Leaders joined me on the grounds of the Temple. There we re¬ 
dedicated the Mission territory to the saving of souls, asking for a 
special blessing for the mission in this effort. We felt that with the 
Zion Mission effort that we were more prepared than we had been 
to receive the Lord’s help. 

From this point on the missionaries began to report some 
exciting experiences and the baptism/confirmation rate more than 
tripled. The Lord did pour out a blessing on our Zion missionaries. 

Lost Sheep : Periodically the Membership Department of the 
Church in Salt Lake would send us large computer listings with the 
names and last known addresses of church members for whom 
they had no current address. The list also included unbaptized 
children over the age of 9. These lists were organized by ward 
where the person or family last resided. The elders and sisters of 
our mission took the primary responsibility for finding these "lost 
sheep" and were successful in finding 25 to 30% of them; some 
with very positive results. Sister Kennedy, one of our excellent 
Sisters, reported, "We are teaching a lost sheep and her family. 
Somehow a mistake was made and she was put in the ‘lost’ status 
instead of taking her name off the records of the church, as she had 
requested. After an exciting visit she wants to learn more and so do 
her husband and her son." 

Auto Accidents : The Church provided our mission with about 40 
cars because the population of our mission was spread so widely 
over the countryside; the cars were an important missionary tool. 
The downside of these cars being used by young missionaries was 
that we had far too many accidents, in spite of extensive training in 
all our Zone Meetings. In December of 2000 we had very cold 
weather and roads were icy. We had four fairly serious accidents. 


Mission Governance 

Two cars were completely destroyed and the others sustained 
significant damage. Fortunately, the Lord protected the Elders 
involved and none was seriously hurt. During this same period 
with icy roads local church members were having accidents also. 

From September to mid-October of 2001 we had seven 
automobile accidents in mission cars, most of which were 
preventable. On October 15,1 asked all missionaries in the field to 
suspend all driving for this day and contemplate prayerfully, while 
they walked or rode bikes, how we can drive more safely. And 
further that if we had one more preventable accident the mission 
would stop driving for a week and if we had one more beyond that 
we would stop driving for the balance of the year. 

The next accident on November 13,2001, almost makes you cry. 
A new elder took his assigned position as a backing up helper for 
his companion who was behind the wheel. The backer pointed to 
his right and the driver backed in that direction. They had not 
coordinated hand signals in advance, but the driver was sure he 
should back to his right as he thought he was directed. What the 
backer meant was that there was a car coming from his right where 
he was pointing. The collision was perfectly executed. The driving 
suspension for the mission lasted until November 20 th . 

On December 27, 2001, two otherwise great elders had a 
preventable auto accident and as promised all mission driving was 
suspended until the end of the year. All the missionaries were 
asked to evaluate all of their driving practices and focus on safer 
driving. We were greatly blessed that there were no major injuries 
to any of our missionaries with all of these accidents. It also looked 
like the Lord approved of our driving suspension until year's end, 
but let it be just 3 days. 

I’d like to report that we had no more accidents after the 
suspensions, but unfortunately that wouldn’t be true. However, the 
frequency did go down. 

New Move-in List : We soon learned that people who had been 
long established in their communities and church congregations 
had a much harder time to listen to the message of the gospel. 
When I learned that there was a service where you could buy 
listings of families that had recently moved in. It seemed like these 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

new families might be more receptive to our message than those 
who were deeply established. 

The new move-in lists had to be purchased and the listings were 
sold by county. We worked with one county as a trial and got the 
wards and branches in that county to work with us in approaching 
the new families to the area. We worked at this for a couple of 
months and it did have some potential, but there were two major 
problems. First, the families on the listing were not as new as we 
had hoped they would be. Secondly, a single county list was quite 
expensive and if we tried to do this in the 20 to 40 counties that we 
needed it would be way too expensive. So after the trial period we 
let this project lapse. If we had found a few realtors who were 
church members, or friends who could access this information for 
us with no charge the idea still has possibilities. 

Transfers and Companionship Assignments of missionaries are 
among the most critically important things a mission president 
must plan. Our planning was done on a large whiteboard which 
held missionary photos in magnetic plastic holders. The board 
showed all the working areas of the mission. The pictures of 
missionaries were placed on the board in their assigned areas so 
that in one glance you could see the whole mission geography and 
who was serving with whom in each area and what ward or branch 
those areas were in. 

About a week before new missionaries arrived in our mission 
and before older missionaries were released, a plan was worked 
out on the board. There are a huge number of factors to consider as 
the plans for new assignments and transfers are prepared. Among 
the things to consider are: 

• the number of missionaries arriving and departing, 

• the strength of the branch or ward where missionaries 
would serve, 

• the area terrain, hilly, flat, mountainous, 

• physical strengths or health limitations of the new 

• is a car to be available or will it be a bicycle or walking 


Mission Governance 

• experienced missionary’s ability to train new a missionary, 

• past experience and locations already served in the mission, 

• leadership skills and replacement needs, 

• special personality traits that could affect a companionship 

• work ethic of the missionary, 

• need to open or close areas, 

• housing needed or houses to be closed 

• stability of assignments in wards and branches 

• and the list goes on. 

For the first half of our mission new missionaries arrived and 
releases came every month and then in the last half it was 
mercifully changed to a 6-week interval. With every new arrival 
and departure time, the entire mission organization and 
companionship pairings must be redone to fill gaps and place new 
missionaries with trainers. Ninety percent of these revisions and 
transfers could be done very smoothly with a strong confirmation 
of the spirit, but the last 10% could be very difficult. 

I remember late one night, after working on the transfer board 
planning for a week, fighting to put the last pieces of the puzzle in 
place. Everything finally worked very well except for one last 
elder. I had tried 20 to 30 different adjustments to work him in so 
that it felt right. Many of the attempts required reworking the 
whole board. Every combination I could think of just didn’t feel 
right. Finally, in despair, I threw his plastic holder and photo at the 
wall across the office and went home to bed. 

The next day I retrieved his photo from behind a potted plant and 
with one last try did find a home for him without ruining the entire 

Occasionally we had unexpected arrivals like the group of about 
10 missionaries waiting for visas so that they could go to Peru 
where they had been called. Quick adjustments were made to the 
whole mission to work them in. One of the sisters in this group had 
a gender neutral first name and I assumed that she was an elder. 
When we met the plane I was shocked to find a she was a sister. So 
while the assistants were doing some orientation and training, I 
redid the transfer board and assignments. These elders and sisters 
waiting for visas were great missionaries and we were glad to have 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

them. Gradually visas began to come in for them and we lost them, 
one or two at a time. One Elder never got his visa and he finished a 
wonderful mission in Tennessee with us. 

In August of 2000,1 had completed all the planning for transfers 
a few days earlier, but had the lingering impression that the 
assignments were not right. I asked the assistants to join me at the 
office to redo the entire board. The fundamental adjustment that I 
felt compelled to make was to give higher priority to strong 
leadership throughout the mission. In the current plan I had given 
the highest priority to companionship pairings, having left 
leadership choices until after the companionships were in place. 
After working for some time all the adjustments were made and we 
felt much more at peace with the adjusted plan. Sometimes the 
Lord won’t let you rest with the wrong plan. 

A Righteous Prayer : We were very fortunate to have Temple 
Square Missionaries come to our mission for a three to four month 
“field” experience. They were excellent and we were fortunate to 
have them, even if their time was short. Sister Littlefield was one 
of these sisters. In one of her early weekly letters she bore her 
testimony of the power of prayer. She wrote, “It breaks my heart to 
know that I will have to leave. This truly is a Zion Mission. I have 
been blessed beyond anything I could have imagined. Everything I 
prayed for, right down to the smallest request has come to pass. 
Just to name a few: I wanted to be called to the ‘country’ in the 
South. (And she was.) I asked for a companion who knew 
American Sign Language. (Her companion, Sister Williams did 
know and use ASL.) I wanted to open a new area. (She did.) I 
wanted a companion who had trained before so that I can start here 
with the best teacher. (Sister Williams fit this profile very well.) I 
even prayed for someone who jogs. (Yes again.) I wanted to have 
investigators at church on my first Sunday and we had two. It is 
incredible how prayers can be answered right down to the smallest 

[Note: I’m very glad that I didn’t know any of Sister Littlefield’s 
petitions to the Lord. In making up companionship assignments, a 
mission president has to pray really hard and do the best he can. If 


Mission Governance 

I had been aware of her list, I’m sure I would have done it all 
wrong. It was clearly best that the Lord took care of it.] 

Elder Shakespear stopped at our home in Palo Alto, California 
several years after we had been released. We had a wonderful visit. 
Before he left he asked if I remembered his companionship 
assignments. I confessed that I didn’t. He quickly ran through the 
list. Oh my goodness, he had been given some serious challenges. I 
could say to him in all honesty that the Lord really trusted him and 
knew he could be fully counted on regardless of the difficulty. 

Ten days after arriving in the mission Elder Doty told me he was 
going home. This was just a few months before our release. Elder 
Doty’s arrival had been delayed for a few weeks because he and 
another Elder had shaved their heads in the MTC. Now that he was 
here he felt ill prepared to serve a mission and he had a girlfriend 
he was eager to be with back home. I arranged a conference call 
with his parents, his Stake President, the Elder and me. All advised 
him to stay and go to work. After the phone call, he told me he 
would give some consideration to staying. The next day he said he 
was still going home. I asked where he would stay when he got 
home and he said with his parents. 

I knew he had some difficulty with his parents before he arrived 
in the mission and that his parents had said they would not have 
him in the home if he quit. He said in that case, he had a less-active 
friend that he could stay with, so I suggested that he call the friend 
and see if that was an option. When he talked to his friend, the 
friend told him that he was crazy to leave! That turned the tide and 
he stayed. I hope and trust the Lord did Elder Doty and President 
Sorber (my successor) a favor. 

Moose Riders : Elder Barton was a capable and effective 
missionary. He had taught a number of people who had come into 
the church and had the respect of many members where he had 
served. He was a Zone Leader when we arrived and he had a 
special relationship with President Bray before me. His transition 
to a new mission president was not easy. He asked me to come to 
his apartment to meet with him, which I did. He explained that 
there were several helpful things that President Bray had done with 
him. He had especially appreciated one-on-one sessions with him 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

where scriptures were interpreted. In his view I was falling short of 
what a mission president should be. I understood he didn’t like 
earning his status again with a new leader. 

I believe his sense of my shortfall lead him to create an 
underground organization which was called “The Moose Riders.” 
He was persuasive and gathered into the group some loyal 
followers most of whom had zone or district leadership 
assignments. At leadership meetings the group found times to go to 
an unused room in the building and initiate new members. They 
especially sought new young leaders who seemed to have potential 
for greater leadership in the future. They had a ceremony for new 
recruits that included a simulated moose ride. Their objective was 
to motivate these Elders to be hardworking and effective. 

In addition to the initiation they had a telephone tree that spread 
news and rumors throughout the mission, especially projected 
leadership changes and worked as best they could to influence 
those choices. Elder White, one of my assistants made me aware of 
the group and their somewhat undercover effort to steer the 
mission. To determine who were the members of the group I asked 
Colette to take all of the mission telephone records and see if she 
could identify the inner circle of the group from the call patterns. 
This was a huge task, but she charted out the heavy traffic 
pathways that seemed to go beyond the normal need to 
communicate. About 10 elders had unusually high traffic with each 
other where the calls lay outside their own zone or district. 

I started interviewing a few of the 10 elders; beginning with ones 
that had the best spirit in their work and were probably least 
entrenched in the Moose Riders. They very quickly felt 
embarrassed to be asked about their involvement and willingly 
committed to cease their activity with the group. They helped fill 
in some of the names and pieces that I needed. After talking to all 
probable members it was clear that Elder Barton was the leader. I 
called President Bray to see if he could give any helpful 
perspective into the Elder or his work. President Bray gave me a 
very neutral recollection of Elder Barton but there was a little 
indication that he might be a bit prideful. After all the research and 
interviews I asked Elder Barton to come in to talk to me and had 


Mission Governance 

my two counselors join me. I asked John Rappleye to take Elder 
Barton’s part to assure that he was treated fairly. 

Elder Barton didn’t talk very easily about his part in the Moose 
Riders but finally indicated that he wanted to motivate elders and 
improve the mission. I was not sure his effort had the effect that he 
professed to want and I was very uncomfortable with the way it 
was being done. I thought it might be best for our mission if he 
were transferred to a different mission, as he had become the 
center of a distinct underground group within TNM. He stoutly 
protested any attempt that might be made to move him out of the 
mission and that if he were asked to transfer he would just go 

I asked him to wait in the foyer while I talked with my 
counselors. I was ready to send him home, but my counselors both 
felt he should just be released from all leadership and transferred to 
a quiet part of the mission. The Lord gives you counselors for a 
reason, so I took their counsel. I transferred Elder Barton to the 
Sulphur Well Branch in a remote mission comer and we restricted 
mission phones to calls within their local area. 

The Moose Riders died away quickly and Elder Barton finished 
his mission, but I think we lost some momentum from this episode. 
Certainly the spirit of Elder Barton and probably one other elder 
were down a quart. It was not good, but it could have been much 

I’ve often felt that I might have done better by Elder Barton in 
the very early months of my mission. He was very ambitious and 
thrived on praise and recognition. I had not been in the mission to 
see his strong performance so I’m sure that I left him feeling 

In My Mission Experience I saw again and again that a 
missionary’s own personal spirit and attitude makes all the 
difference in how he or she will perform in the mission field to 
bless the lives of others and how they feel about the experience 
afterward. Even further, those personal characteristics seem to 
carry into the rest of his or her life and probably into the eternities. 


Part Ten 

Recent Years 

Random Stories and Thoughts 

Recent Years 

37. The Millennial War 

The trouble started long before the war began. Things began to 
disappear. First, it was all the Apricots from our tree, just before 
they were fully ripe. Then the pineapple guavas vanished without a 
trace. Green apples were knocked off our tree with one or two 
small bites out of each. Next the olives began to go. Tomatoes 
from the garden began to be missing. Oranges on our tree did not 
disappear, but when we picked them they were completely 
hollowed out. Things had reached an extreme level when our 
lemons were picked and discarded with bites taken only from the 
skins. Some were completely peeled. 

My life as a gentleman farmer was completely disrupted. If this 
wasn’t bad enough, troubles were compounded when our phone 
service started to fail. Whenever it rained our phone line would go 
dead and our internet service failed, but recovered a day or so after 
the rain stopped. AT&T searched to solve the problem for months 
before they discovered the insulation had been eaten off the phone 
lines to our home. 

Pesky squirrels in ever increasing numbers were ravaging our 
yard. They have no natural predator in our animal-friendly city. 
Squirrels eat and breed happily in a natural DMZ, unencumbered 
by any responsibility except to forage for food and leave droppings 
about the yard. They take short cuts from one side of the yard to 
the other by cutting across our roof and are getting so chubby they 
sound like thunder and the house shakes as they speed across the 
shakes. If they take the route across our front balcony it is even 
worse, because the balcony provides sounding a board effect 
throughout the whole house. This was when the war began. 

I decided enough was enough and bought some high powered rat 
poison in little square cubes that had wires embedded which could 
be twisted around apricot branches. Apricots were our first crop of 
spring and were of great interest to the squirrels. I started here and 
put a dozen rat poison cubes in our tree where this fruit is always 
first to go. In two days the cubes were completely gone. Only the 
twisted wires remained. The squirrels thought it was delicious and 
felt no ill effects. 


Ten Steps & Breathe 

I thought of getting a good rifle and had visions of picking them 
off one at a time from our upstairs windows, but I knew the 
neighbors would never tolerate this. I asked friends for advice. A1 
Jensen said he traps them and cooks them into a delicious stew. I 
wasn’t sure about the stew, but I did borrow his old trap. A1 said to 
use English walnuts, so I went to the store where they explained 
that these are only available in season and it wasn't the season. I 
waited until late fall then bought the nuts. I baited the trap with a 
beautiful walnut. The whole floor of the trap was the release or trip 
lever so that when a squirrel (especially my fat ones) stepped on it 
should release a spring which would snap the door closed and the 
enemy would be trapped. 

I was excited to see what I got the next morning. When I went 
out there was the undisturbed cage trap. It was not sprung, but the 
nut was gone. I tried two more nuts with the same result. George, 
our son, was visiting and heard my groans. He suggested using 
peanut butter, “it sticks, so it’s harder to get off the trip plate.” 
Next morning the peanut butter was gone, the trip plate was clean 
and the trap door was not triggered; the cage was empty. At that 
point I lost heart and just left the cage-trap as it sat and forgot 
about it. 

Almost two weeks later I came out into the back yard ignoring 
the cage when I heard clunking on metal. When I looked, there was 
a black squirrel, trapped! Only about 10% of our squirrels are 
black; the majority are gray. He looked up at me as if to say, 
"What happened? This trap never goes off." I excitedly reported to 
Colette that we caught our first squirrel with no bait. She coolly 
responded, “What are you going to do with him now?” I hadn’t 
thought too much about that. I didn’t want to eat squirrel stew. 
Lynn Bradshaw had suggested filling a garbage container with 
water, putting the whole cage in and see if the black squirrel would 
sink or swim. Really I had no plan. 

Later that day we had our son, George, with Marian and the 
family, over for a swim and a barbecue. This was while they lived 
in Palo Alto. The children were fascinated with the caged squirrel 
and spent much of their time feeding him carefully through the 
bars and talking to him. Seeing this warm relationship building, I 


Recent Years 

knew that drowning was not going to be an option. I can't be 
known as Grandpa, the executioner of little black squirrels. 

So about the only option left was to deport him. The question 
was where to go for the release. Palo Alto is densely built up, and 
no one wants more squirrels. The best place I could think of was 
on Stanford University raw land with oaks and lots of acorns. Note 
that when Leland and Jane Stanford established the University, 
they gifted thousands of acres of open land with a stipulation that it 
could never be sold. Far into the foothills of the Santa Cruz 
Mountain are miles of undeveloped land with oaks, bays, 
manzanitas, and native grasses that belong to Stanford. This could 
provide the ideal new home for my furry enemy. 

The trap/cage fit into the trunk of our car so I loaded him in as he 
stared at me through the bars with shiny angry black eyes. We set 
out for the Stanford foothills, 3 to 4 miles away. We were a little 
surprised to find the entry to the open land had a guard posted at 
the gateway. When I asked if we could drop off a live squirrel to 
make a home in the oaks further up the hill, the guard looked 
startled and said “Whoa! I don’t know about that.” After 
explaining what a great place this would be for a squirrel to live, he 
said, “Just a minute,” pulled out his cell phone and called his boss. 
The guard stated the problem and said, “Yeah, it's a live squirrel." 
When the call ended he said, "I guess it would be OK.” 

I pulled the cage out of the trunk, went through the gate and 
proceeded 15 yards up the hill. The guard followed with interest. 
He hadn’t had this much excitement in weeks. I pointed the cage 
door up the hill toward a generous cluster of oak trees full of 
acorns. I put my hand on the cage door. The guard took 3 steps 
back and put his hand on his service revolver. I threw the trap door 
open. My black squirrel came out of the cage as if shot from a gun, 
went 10 yards further up the hill toward the oaks, then made a tight 
180 degree U-turn, dipping dust as he turned, and sped back past 
us both, and across the road, disappearing into a University 
housing neighborhood, all as if to say, "I, sir, am an urban squirrel, 
as were my forefathers before me." 

Well I don't know if he beat us home, but I do know that our 
huge population of squirrels has not diminished at all. I've lost all 
the early battles, but I have not yet surrendered. In fact, I dropped 


Ten Steps & Breathe 

broad hints that for Father’s day or a birthday I would like my own 
trap that isn’t all rusty. I feel sure that the next battle in this war 
can be mine. 

38. The Great Recession of 2008 

It started quietly, virtually unnoticed, but it grew into a global 
financial meltdown with very high unemployment and joblessness. 
Its effects are still being felt by almost everyone on the planet as 
late as 2016. How did it all begin? I think I have the answer. It 
can all be explained by a couple of key events that affected our 
family, starting more than a decade ago. 

Visiting with friends and associates at work I learned that they 
were all enjoying free airline tickets. They were using points they 
accumulated from their credit card charges. I thought, wow if it's 
that easy I'd better get one of those. In short order I made out an 
application and sent it off with high hopes. Several months went 
by with no response, so I called the credit card company and asked 
if they had received my application. After several minutes on 
hold, the answer came back, "yes we have it, but I'm sorry you 
were turned down." I was startled and asked if they could tell me 
why. The agent said, "I believe it was your bad credit rating." 
This was unexpected news, so I asked the agent if he could access 
my credit rating while I was on-line with him. He said, “Sure, just 
a minute.” Tap, tap, tap, tap, click, tap, tap, tap, and click. He 
said, “Just a moment it’s coming up now. Hummmm. Whoa! 
That’s a pretty good credit rating!” 

I said, “So that may not be the problem?” He responded, “No. I 
wouldn’t think so.” I asked. “Then could we find out what’s 
wrong?” He replied, “Let me get my supervisor.” 

The supervisor came on line and said, “Give me a couple of 
minutes.” When he came back on the line again, he said, “I see 
now. Sir, you have a very unfortunate ZEP code.” 

Unfortunate ZIP code!? How can that be possible? A ZIP code 
is just a number, how can it be good or bad? Then in a flash it 
occurred to me that a ZIP number is geographical and our 03 
ending is in the south part of Palo Alto, which is full of electrical 
and mechanical engineers and programmers and young guys 

Recent Years 

struggling to launch new little start-up companies, hoping to be the 
next Apple, Google, Linkedln, Cisco, or Facebook. 

The north part of the city ZIP code ends in 01. It is very well 
established, full of Stanford professor and powerful business 
leaders who live in grand homes and commute on the train to San 
Francisco every day. Those living in the 01 zip code think of those 
in 03 as mechanics and welders. But does the credit card company 
know all of this; how could they? So I asked, “What do you mean 

“Well sir, we have a very high default rate in your ZIP code.” 
Then the real problem hit me. Our ZIP code crosses the freeway to 
include another city which in those days was the drug and murder 
capital of the free world, second only to Washington, DC. "OK, I 
understand. What do I have to do now if I'm to get one of your 
credit cards?" “Let’s see; long pause... Send me two years of 
complete tax returns, schedules and all. I’ll need a copy of your W- 
2 forms for two years. Have your employer send me a letter stating 
how long you have been employed and what the chances are that 
your employment will continue. Send me ownership proof for all 
the assets you claim on your application. Also give me recent 
copies of all your debt and liability statements. Then have your 
bank give us a letter describing your account activity.” 

I asked, “Will that do it?” 

“No sir. We’ll also need a signed, notarized pledge from you 
and your wife that you will put your first born son into indentured 
servitude to us for 10 years if you should default on any 
payments.” I thought about that and concluded, “That’s reasonable 
enough. Probably all first sons need this kind of experience. Will 
that be all you need?” 

“Yes sir, I think that would be all.” 

So I set to work and in a few short months I had everything 
collected, packaged up and sent off to them. About one month 
after that I received an envelope in the mail from the credit card 
company and inside was the coveted card. They had given me the 
expansive credit limit of $3,000. With the new card, we were able 
to get one or two free flights over the next several years. The free 
airline tickets made Colette take notice. She said, “You got these 
free, just from using a credit card?" I said, "Yes." With firm 


Ten Steps & Breathe 

resolve, she said, "Well then I'll get one too." And she got an 
application form and mailed it off. 

In a week or so she got a phone call from the credit card 
company, and the agent said, "Mrs. Taylor we notice that you 
didn't enter the amount of your annual income on your application. 
Can you tell us what it is?" At this point you have to understand 
that Colette is a financial genius. She balances her checkbook to 
the penny every month. She keeps an accurate running total of her 
credit card charges in her head. She keeps the paper currency in 
her wallet in denomination order with largest in back and always 
with faces up and those that are crumpled and dog-eared are at the 
front so that they can be spent first. She is not compulsive about 
this; they are not in serial number order. She budgets very 
carefully and pays bills promptly — but there is a deep line in the 
financial sand that she will not cross. On the other side of that line 
are things like health insurance, savings and investment accounts, 
income tax, life insurance, property taxes, estate planning, wills, 
and so forth. On most of those matters her eyes glaze over during 
explanations and she says simply, “Just show me where to sign, if I 

So with the question,” what is your annual income?” still 
hanging in the air, she replied very honestly, “I have no idea.” 

There was a long silence from the other end, “Well ma’am how 
do you live?” She replied cheerily, “We have some stocks, or 
bonds, or something and when we need money we just go get it.” 

Silence. Then slowly he said, “I see. . .” Then a long pause and 
then “Thank you Ma’am.” 

In two weeks Colette had her new credit card with a $33,000 
credit limit. 

You might ask how that explains the world's financial crash. 
Well, that slight adjustment in credit standards around the world 
made all the difference. Can you imagine a billion credit 
applications that followed this later pattern? Not everyone is as 
skilled as Colette with bill payment so the next thing you know we 
are in a global crash with a very, very slow recovery in most areas. 

39. Random Thoughts on Language 


Recent Years 

Have you ever stopped to think about the wonder of language? 
With a series of sounds, ideas and information are passed from one 
person to another. When you look at multiple languages, there are 
virtually an infinite variety of sounds that convey meaning. Each 
of us, even language scholars, can understand only a limited 
number of these strange sounds and their combinations. It is 
overwhelming to contemplate all of the language variations in 
today’s world. 

Think about Adam and Eve. In the Garden, they walked and 
talked with God. They were using God's language and could have 
a two way conversation with no problem. Adam could have said 
to the Lord, “I love all the fruits and veggies, but I would really 
like a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich on toasted sourdough 
bread. The response might have been, "I'm not really 
recommending bacon and toasters aren't invented yet. Tell you 
what, you swear off bacon and other pork products, and you'll live 
to be nine hundred and thirty years old." 

In the days of Adam and Eve and all their children spoke just one 
language on the whole earth and it was the Lord’s language. That 
must have been really nice. But then one day some the boys got 
together in the local Jamba Juice parlor. Back then Jamba Juice 
had no ice, or refrigeration and their fruit juices had probably gone 
a bit over the hill. Some feel they let this happen on purpose. 

At any rate, there was spirited conversation about the difficulty 
of getting to heaven; there were all the commandments you had to 
keep, plus service hours and sacrifice. It was tough work and very 
inconvenient. One of the brethren said he had the solution. He 
proposed making very strong brick and mortar structure so tall it 
could reach heaven. One really long stair way and there you 
would be. I feel like it might not have been a tower at all, but 
rather a gateway to heaven. Or in other words, an unauthorized 
temple, pretending to be the Lord’s House. Getting in then was 
virtually heaven. Well, the tower or false temple got pretty far 
along when the Lord came down and saw what they were doing. 
He was angry at the plan to cut comers that way. He said, “It is 
time to scatter you people about and mix up your languages so that 
the whole population of the earth doesn’t get together to make 
stupid plans like this again.” So the people were scattered, and the 


Ten Steps & Breathe 

world's languages went crazy. It has been tough ever since to 
understand one another. 

Just to illustrate: our friend Fran Brian had gone into a fast food 
restaurant. She realized that she had a language barrier with the 
young woman behind the counter, so she spoke very slowly and 
distinctly, “I could like a Big Mac and a McFlurry." There was 
very blank stare from behind the counter, and there was no 
movement to record the order. She tried it again, this time even 
slower and louder. People in the room stopped their conversations 
to look at the developing problem. There was still no sign of 
recognition from behind the counter. Just as Fran was starting her 
third try, the fellow behind her tapped her on the shoulder and said 
to her, "You’re in Jack-in-the-Box, not McDonald's." 

All of this shows that not only words and sounds are a problem; 
if you don't stay in context, understanding is lost. 

Compounding our problems is the modem notion that clear 
language will be offensive to some segments of the population so 
we are making great strides at making our language less clear in an 
attempt to avoid hurt feelings. For example: 

• We would no longer say to a dolt, “You idiot.” We might 
say instead, “You appear to be a person of impaired 
learning ability with very low information comprehension.” 

• We shouldn't say, "You are an Illegal Alien." Better to say, 
"You are an undocumented person.” 

• "Homosexual" is out. "Gay" is in. Lots of girls have had to 
change their name because of this, and we can no longer be 
happy and gay without serious misunderstanding. 

• Oriental is out. Asian is in. 

• “Midget” is out. “Little people” is in. Or perhaps we could 
just say he’s vertically challenged. 

• The word “niggardly,” meaning ungenerous, can no longer 
be used because learning impaired people consider that to 
be a racial slur. 

• A radio announcer was suspended for an April Fool’s Day 
announcement saying that we should be careful because di¬ 
hydrogen monoxide is coming out of our taps this morning. 
The station management had probably failed chemistry. 


Recent Years 

• "Indian" is a bad word and you must change your team's 
name unless of course you happen to have a team from 
India and there aren’t too many of those. The once proud 
Stanford Indians are gone, and now we have the Stanford 
Cardinal. And no, Cardinal doesn’t mean a church leader, 
it’s not a red bird, it doesn’t mean basic, or key, it is just a 
color. How exciting is that for the name of your mascot. 
The Stanford students decided to pick something more 
tangible and chose a tree for their mascot and their current 
war cry is, “Fear the Tree.” 

• I was renting an art studio to a woman who paid her rent 
with $100 bills. I asked if she could make a check for 
future payments and she explained that her husband would 
not let her have a checking account. So we finally agreed 
that she would use postal money orders or cashier’s checks 
to pay rent. As the conversation went on I learned that her 
"husband" was another woman. Well, that's just not a clear 
use of the language. 

• Negro is out and African American is in. This is a small 
problem as I’m an absolutely an authentic African 
American. My great grandfather, Henry, was bom in and 
grew up in South Africa and immigrated to the U.S. as a 
young man. Tim says, “I'm not an African-American. 
None of my ancestors that I know of came from Africa." 
Yet we must call him African-American, but not me. 

In a world where it is already very difficult to communicate clearly 
why do we work so hard at making our own language more picky 
and less clear? That old tower still haunts us. 

40. I’m Labeled a Racist 

Racial distinctions have never meant much to me. Probably it’s 
because I’m so unobservant. It is true that many of the countries 
that I have worked in have developed a kind of national 
personality. I liked the observations that someone made which 
said: Heaven is where the cooks are French, the German are the 
auto mechanics, the British are the policemen, the lovers are Italian 


Ten Steps & Breathe 

and it is all organized by the Swiss. Then Hell is where the cooks 
are British, the auto mechanics are French, the policemen are 
German, the lovers are the Swiss, and it is all organized by the 

Despite some charming geographical characteristic and interests, 
I feel race makes no difference. It is some who seek to preserve 
racial labels brand me a racist. I had an ongoing struggle on this 
issue with some our Human Resources folks at Hewlett-Packard 

The equal opportunities laws of the country forced every HP 
manager to count all his people by race. In the latter decades with 
HP, I had to account for as many as 600 people working for me. 
To turn in our annual affirmative action report, I'd have to go 
through the full list. I'd identify a handful that I could categorize 
and then would give the list to my secretary to turn in. She would 
return the list to me shaking her head. She'd say don't you know 
that Michael Moy is Chinese, Luis Hurtado-Sanchez is Hispanic, 
Ramesh Gupta is Indian(Asian), Sally Jones is black, Norman 
Tam is Korean (Asian) and so on. She went through the list, and 
I'd missed almost everyone of a different "race." My defective 
reporting was embarrassing because many of these people were 
close associates and direct reports. On the other hand, perhaps it 
was a positive indication that race makes no difference. 
Categorizing people by race was useless in the overall success of 
our group. The laws that required this detailing of race had 
questionable value in the improvement of the county’s race 
relations. It was certainly a task I detested. 

I felt that what really mattered to me, as a supervisor, was the 
person's work ethic, judgment, and integrity and if a person had 
these you could give him or her to me in any ethnic flavor you 

When I was called to be Bishop of the Palo Alto 2 Ward in 1967 
I told the Stake President that I wanted Walter Gong to be my 
counselor. The Stake President was a very careful man. He raised 
his eyebrows and said to me, “Walter is Chinese, you know. Do 
you think that the ward members will accept him?” I told him that 
I hadn’t noticed the Chinese thing, but what I did know was that he 
is a noble, spiritual giant of a man and the ward members all love 


Recent Years 

him. He was sustained enthusiastically by the ward and served 
with distinction. 

Tim came to our home in 1993, finished high school, served a 
successful mission, finished university, married in the Temple and 
has become a pillar of moral and ethical integrity. My gut instinct 
that race just doesn’t matter was fully confirmed in my association 
with him. 

I believe there are better tests than race to sort things out. I guess 
by today's standards that I'm a racist because a good non-racist 
works very hard to keep races and perceived differences alive. 

41. Thoughts on Government 

Why do we need any government at all? Can't everyone just find 
a little space on the earth, plant a few seeds and raise some 
chickens and forego government completely? 

Well, there are probably a few basic reasons to justify the 
development and existence of some form of government. 

Protection: There are always bad people who will rob, rape and 
kill, so all through recorded history people have tended to live 
together and built real or virtual walls around their community and 
sponsored guards and stored weapons to protect themselves. 

We need a few rules for living together peacefully that can be 
enforced collectively. The alternative is just to let the strongest 
men have what they want. 

Sometimes a community can complete Projects collectively that 
would be hard to do as an individual; such as a water system, 
roads, and bridges, and so forth. 

Even though some form of government seems essential to do 
these very basic things, throughout history most men with power 
over groups of people become evil. Truly good kings and rulers 
who sought the well-being of their constituents rather than their 
own power is a rare commodity. The founding fathers of this 
country intentionally tried to limit the power of government 
leaders specifically for that reason. A free people should not cede 
their power to rulers who can and probably will become evil. 


Ten Steps & Breathe 

Today most disputes and disagreements about government 
systems and political parties arise from government activities that 
go well beyond these basics. 

42. The Woman in the Hardware Store 

I needed some caulk to fill small cracks in an exterior wall, so I 
went to Orchard Supply & Hardware to see what I could find. 
They had an aisle with 40 varieties of caulk. There was silicone 
base, acrylic base, clear, white, brown, rain-ready in 30 minutes, 
cures in 24 hours, extra flexible, 10 year guarantee and so on in 
seemingly endless variety. 

As I was reading the microscopic labels and pondering my needs 
when I heard chuckles from behind and to the right. When I 
looked, there was a well-dressed, stately woman who seemed out 
of place in a hardware store. I had on grubby pants with paint 
stains like most people in the store, and she looked quite elegant. 

While she was chuckling, she caught my eye and said, "Luke at 
dis." She was Eastern European, probably Russian. She pointed to 
a 5' x 5' display rack of duct tape. When I looked, there were more 
than 100 kinds of duct tape with checkered patterns, heart shapes, 
polka dots, paisley patterns, red, green, yellow, black and white 
and on and on. 

I said to her, “That’s incredible; it used to be gray or nothing.” 
She grinned at me and said one word: “Capitalism.” I was left to 
wonder what she meant. Did she mean that with capitalism we get 
too many choices and resources are wasted? Or was it that in a 
competitive, capitalistic system there are hardworking 
entrepreneurs trying to create a product that will entice you to buy 
from them instead of a competitor. While in a centrally controlled, 
communist country like Russia if any store even had duct tape to 
sell there would have been one type; it would have been gray and 
the adhesive would be defective. In capitalism the consumer gets 
variety, and the supplier and maker get the reward if you choose 

I’ll bet her thoughts were on the advantages of competition 
because she picked a brightly colored roll of duct tape, not the 
gray, and went to check out still smiling. 


Recent Years 

Eventually, I chose the white, extra flexible silicone base, 30 
minute rain ready, highly waterproof, long life caulk and checked 
out smiling, but not quite as broadly as she had been. 

43. Coins 

I loved U.S. coins in my childhood years. They were beautiful. 
The dimes, quarters, half dollars and dollars were all made of solid, 
brilliant, shiny silver. When they spilled onto a hard surface, they 
made a delightful musical ring. Even as the coins got older and 
worn, they still kept a lovely dull luster. A silver dollar was 
enormous. It was nearly an inch and a half in diameter and had a 
substantial thickness of solid silver. To a child, a silver dollar was 
very heavy. If you carried one around in your pocket, you 
consciously knew that you had it, just from the weight. Half 
dollars and quarters were very solid also. Pennies were made of 
solid copper and had a nice reddish-brown sheen. I knew people 
who would, in a pinch to restore power, insert a penny into a fuse 
slot to replace a blown fuse. Pennies were an excellent conductor 
of electricity, but eliminated all the protection that a real fuse had 
given. Nickels were made of a nice bright nickel alloy and had a 
solid, substantial feel in your pocket. 

For me as a child, all of these coins had enormous value. For a 
penny, you could buy two small individually wrapped Tootsie 
rolls, two root beer barrel candies, or a full sized all-day sucker 
that was actually large enough to last most of the day, or two 
jawbreakers, or two double bubble chewing gum pieces, wrapped 
in a small waxed paper cartoon strips. For a nickel, you could buy 
a full sized Hershey, Snicker, O Henry, or Butterfinger candy bar. 
Also for a nickel, you could buy a full box of caps for your cap 
gun. A box had five rolls, and each roll had about 50 shots. The 
possibilities with a nickel were almost endless. There were whole 
stores like Kress and Woolworth that were called "five and dime 
stores." They had counters and counters of almost everything in 
the world that you might want mostly priced at a nickel or a dime. 

For a nickel and an Arden's milk bottle cap, you could buy 
admission to the Saturday afternoon movie matinee. The Uinta or 


Ten Steps & Breathe 

Paramount theaters on Center Street would generally have a double 
feature, often showing cowboy movies, or a WWII war story, or a 
dog story or horse story, or a jungle adventure. There would also 
be a newsreel giving footage of important happening around the 
world, especially reporting what was happening with our soldiers 
and sailors in Europe and the Pacific. Then there would also be a 
“short subject” feature which was 10 to 15 minutes in length. 
These were wonderful adventures which continued from week to 
week. At the end of each episode the hero or heroine would be 
caught in a burning building, or about to be killed by a large group 
of Indians, or carried away by aliens in a spacecraft, or pushed off 
a cliff with his horse, or trapped in a cave with no air, or nearly 
squeezed to death by a large python. In the next episode, it would 
show how he or she miraculously escaped and went on with the 
quest, only to end up in big trouble again at the end of this 
installment. These were just great fun and brought you back next 
week for the rescue and more. What a marvelous afternoon and 
what an incredible bargain for a nickel! 

For a very meaningful Christmas bonus, Dixon Taylor Russell 
home furnishing store gave each employee one silver dollar for 
each year of employment. The Christmas party or meeting was 
held on the main floor of the furniture store. The party might 
include some music; there was a brief report on the year just 
completed and some prospects or hopes for the year ahead. Then 
there were awards and recognition of longevity. It was exciting to 
see the table in front all set up with the silver dollars in neat stacks 
which were to be distributed in the meeting. Because I started 
emptying wastebaskets and sweeping the office after grade school, 
by the time I was 12 or 13 I was called to the front of the 
Christmas gathering and received five silver dollars for five years 
of service. And it was more in later years. Receiving this award 
was always a great moment. 

In 1964 all U.S. coins were converted to cheaper laminated 
metals because the silver nickel and copper were worth well more 
than the face value of their coins. These new coins were ugly but 
functional in coin operated machines which had formerly required 
silver coins. The ugly coins gradually eroded in value, buying less 
and less. Sadly, by the early 2000’s, I came to the realization that 


Recent Years 

coins no longer have any value, except to weigh you down and pay 
sales tax, or to use in obsolete parking meters. A few remaining 
snack vending machines still took coins but required so many that 
you never had enough. Most machines are now altered to take bills 
and credit cards. So by the turn of the millennium year U.S. coins 
no longer had any useful purpose. This is too bad because their 
lifespan may be a 100 times longer than paper money. 

This realization was cemented one evening when Colette and I 
met Dixon, Denise, and family in San Francisco for a dance recital 
at the Saint Francis Hotel featuring little Nicole. As Dixon and I 
walked across the street to a little deli to get drinks for the family 
we were approached by a homeless man asking if we would give 
him some help. Dixon quickly reached into his pocket and pulled 
out a heaping handful of coins (maybe $4 to $6) and put the coins 
in the man’s hand. About 5 minutes later the homeless man came 
into the Deli where we were buying drinks and returned all of 
Dixon’s money as he said “I don’t take coins anymore” and then 
shuffled out. 

The homeless man was right; I decided that life is too short to 
carry useless coins anymore. So now at the end of the day, if I 
have collected any coins, I toss them into a cup and periodically a 
charity comes along that specialized in taking your unwanted 

When I was in high school, I could buy a gallon of gasoline for 
my Model A Ford for $0.11, a dime and a penny. No one ever 
laughed at you if you pulled into a station and bought 17 cents 
worth of gasoline. The other day I was buying gasoline for $3.70 
per gallon and begrudging the high price of fuel. Then the thought 
occurred to me that if I still had my silver dime and one copper 
penny I could still buy a gallon of gas with it, as the silver and 
copper value is just about equal to the current cost of a gallon of 
gas at $3.70. 

Government leaders love inflation, if it is reasonable and steady 
(3% or less). It does several things they like: 

• It gives citizens a sense of progress on their income year 
after year. It is a false sense, like minimum wage increases, 
but most people don’t notice that. 


Ten Steps & Breathe 

• It makes the government's bond redemptions easier to pay 
because repayment dollars are cheaper. A $10,000 
government bond bought in 1995, would be paid back 20 
years later, when it was due, with 2015 dollars’ worth just 
over 50 cents. The buyer only receives $6,000 in 1995 

• It increases tax revenue by taxing working citizens on 
inflation. On the average, capital gains tax can be totally on 
inflationary gains and regular income taxes gets higher 
because brackets don’t change with inflation. 

Following are pages from the 1934 Montgomery Ward 
Catalogue. I was three years old in that year. By the time I was 
five years old in 1936 I understood the value of pennies and 
nickels. Notice in the catalog pages the prices and the number of 
items that could be purchased for a few coins. A loaf of bread was 
5 cents. It is sad now that coins no longer matter as they once did. 


Recent Years 

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Ten Steps & Breathe 

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Part Eleven 


Family Experiences and Personal Outlook 

Ten Steps & Breathe 

There is an Eternal Spirit : God given, in all of us which is 
independent of our mortal body. It existed before we were bom 
and carries on after we die, and awaits the time of resurrection. The 
two family stories that follow for JR and Brian illustrate the 
independence and purposefulness of the spirit. Both stories make 
clear the strong linkage of family ties beyond this mortal life. They 
point to the time of the spirit reuniting, through resurrection, with a 
perfect eternal body. This resurrection is made possible through the 
atonement of Christ just as the scriptures affirm. 

44. JR’s Experience 

John Robert Ricks (JR) Collapsed in the shower On Thursday, 
August 26, 2004, in the early morning. Nicole found him on the 
shower floor and called their neighbor, who was the chief ER 
doctor at the hospital. Both the doctor and the paramedics found no 
vital signs. Several attempts to revive him failed. It was 20 minutes 
later in the ambulance that they made one more attempt and that 
did restore a heartbeat. 

There were some amazing spiritual insights stemming from JR‘s 
ordeal. While he was under some residual sedation and just 
regaining consciousness Nicole asked him if he had a choice to 
come back from a “clinical death.” His reply was: “I needed no 
choice; I wasn’t going anywhere; I was sticking with the family — 
they come first.” 

Later when he was asked what he recalled during the day when 
he was flat-line, he said that he remembered joining Nicole, Julia 
and Emma for a prayer in the Bonus Room above the garage. The 
paramedics had asked Nicole to take the children from the master 
bedroom where they were working unsuccessfully to revive JR’s 
heart. JR recalled being with the family for the prayer, he later 
asked Nicole “where were Jordan and Riley.” Both of them had 
slept over with friends and were not home that morning, but his 
spirit could see that they were not home for the prayer. 

When he arrived at the hospital, he had a machine driven 
heartbeat though his body was still completely comatose. In this 
state, he saw the men who administered to him. He named three of 
the four people who blessed him and couldn’t recall the fourth, but 


he noted that there was a fifth person who left the room before the 
administration. His spirit’s view of this event was exactly right. 
The four people laying hands on his head were Bruce Holt, Mark 
Huber, David Hilbum and Brad Lund. The fifth person who left 
the room was Jim Mamone who was separated from his wife and 
felt he should not join the others in the blessing. 

That same Thursday evening after JR had been unresponsive in 
the hospital about 12 hours the doctor supervising his case came to 
the waiting area and said to the family that they should prepare for 
the worst. JR had shown no life signs except a heartbeat and was 
being sustained by life support equipment. There was no breathing 
on his own, no muscle movement, nothing. 

When the doctor left, the Ricks and Taylor families and ward 
members who were anxiously waiting at the hospital decided they 
would start a fast for JR. All assembled knelt in the waiting room 
and had a prayer asking the Lord for his recovery. JR recalled 
details from being present with us at that family prayer. 

Just as JR had first said, “There was no choice; I was sticking 
with my family” it seems that his spirit did just that. 

Late Thursday night or early Friday morning the intensive care 
night nurse reported that JR had tried a couple of breaths on his 
own and made some small movements. Later Friday morning he 
blinked his eyes as a response to a question from his brother David 
and moved his legs on his own. However when they further 
lightened his intravenous sedation he went into seizures, so they 
resumed the sedation. 

It was Saturday morning when the sedation was lightened again 
and on request of a doctor friend, JR made the peace sign with his 
right and left hands and focused his eyes on David and others as he 
was directed to do so. Later this day they removed the respirator 
tubes that were down his throat, and he breathed on his own. When 
the tubes came out his first words were "how is Nicole?" This was 
a good question as she had been with him day and night since his 
collapse. From this point forward his recovery moved steadily 
forward and the prayers and fasting of friends and family had been 


Ten Steps & Breathe 

He had some pretty loopy comments in his recovery. One was as 
he looked at Nicole who was at his hospital bedside, “Did you 
marry me?” When she said yes he said, “Oh good.” 

He was not remembering many, many things during his recovery, 
but one thing that was clearly anchored in his brain was a planned 
fishing trip to Alaska with some of his family and friends. He 
invited his doctor to go with him. The doctor smiled at this because 
it was pretty optimistic for a guy to look forward to this trip in a 
few weeks when he was barely back from the dead and still flat in 
his hospital bed. 

When he was released from the hospital I drove him home while 
all the women went shopping to buy medical supplies. As we were 
going through the streets of Roseville, JR said to me emphatically, 
“This is the wrong way!” I tried to assure him that it was the way, 
but when we got to his home, he said, “That’s not my house!” and 
I couldn’t convince him otherwise. I decided to take him to his old 
house which was not too far away and when he saw it from the 
street he said, “Yes, that’s it.” 

I explained to him that he had moved and took him back to his 
current home and toured him around and he was still shaking his 
head. As he looked around more he began to recognize a few small 
things and was willing to stay in this strange place. It just took a 
while for his short term memory to come back. He fortunately had 
a friend who worked with him on his business to help put those 
pieces back together. 

In a few months, he made a full recovery. What a marvelous 
blessing it was for the whole family. 

The experience of both JR (above) and Brian (below) reinforce 
my strong feelings about the continuation and purposefulness life 
eternal that Heavenly Father has given to us. 

45. Brian 

Brian Bennion Taylor was a radiant spirit. He was my best home 
teaching companion. On the spur of the moment, he could give a 
succinct inspiring lesson. He was well liked in school and was a 
good older brother to his eight younger siblings. He was a good 



high school student and met the challenging entrance requirements 
for BYU, where he was accepted. It was during his freshman year 
in Provo that things quickly fell apart. His ability to concentrate 
and organize failed him and he began to hear voices with 
extremely negative messages. He had to drop out of school and go 
home to Loomis, California to be with his family. His bright 
personality and steady behavior were mostly gone. He was not the 
same person he had been. On his return, things did not go well at 
home either. 

After Brian’s tragic mental collapse, with the onset of 
schizophrenia, he could no longer live at home because of concern 
for the safety of his younger brothers and sisters. We were grateful 
for the opportunity to have him come to Palo Alto and live with us. 
It was while he was in Palo Alto that he took his own life. Brian 
understood the huge deficit the illness had created in his life and 
was very discouraged about the precipitous drop in his abilities and 
the grim prospects of never being better. 

After Brian’s death George came to understand that in many 
ways this was a blessing for Brian and also for their family and 
that he was now in a far better place. Marian also understood this, 
but her heart was wounded with the loss and it did not quickly 

Over the period of a few years, there were three remarkable 
communications that were shared with Marian, George and family. 
They are recorded here. 

Lucy was Brian’s cousin who lived in Minnesota. On the early 
morning that Brian died Lucy reported a dream that was much 
more vivid than usual. This is her account of the dream. "All the 
cousins were sitting around a long table together laughing and 
chatting and just having a good time. Brian was at the head, 
leaning back in his chair with his baseball hat backward. I saw him 
and said, ‘Brian! You’re back!!’ He answered, ‘Yeah! I'm back; 
I'm all better now.'" The dream impressed Lucy so much that she 
mentioned it to her parents that morning. It was several hours later 
that they learned that Brian had died in California just shortly 
before the dream. 

Cynthia Cox Burraston from Alpine, Utah wrote the following 
shortly after Brian’s death: 


Ten Steps & Breathe 

Marian, you don't know me. This is rather an odd thing to do, but 
for some reason I have felt very strongly I am supposed to write to 
you and those feelings will not go away. I ran across Brian's 
obituary picture in the Provo Herald and it caught my attention. I 
saw it online and read it and looked at his pictures I set it aside and 
went on with my day. Several times that day I thought of him and I 
thought of you. 

As the week went on I would say my prayers in the morning and 
at night and I would have thoughts about contacting you and there 
were words that kept coming to my mind during my prayers. At 
first, I dismissed them because I thought of how weird it would be 
to contact a complete stranger going through such unbearable grief 
and share thoughts I had in my prayers about her son, a young man 
I never knew. 

As time went on last week the feelings of contacting you became 
overwhelming. Those thoughts absolutely drove me to tears 
because it seemed so inappropriate for me to contact you. I fought 
those feelings for several days. It soon became apparent to me that 
I needed to be obedient. I absolutely could not deny that I was to 
contact you. The words I was to write became louder and louder in 
my prayers. I found myself on my knees for greater periods of time 
during my prayers hearing those words repeated to me. But I was 
still conflicted because I have never done anything like this before. 
I kept putting it off because I was embarrassed to write to you. 

We are going out of town this coming weekend so I thought I 
would write you when I got back into town. Last night, before we 
got away, I had the same experience when I knelt down to say my 
prayers. Thoughts and words about Brian overtook my prayers. 
But like every night before, I climbed into bed and started to let 
myself drift off to sleep. Out of the blue and clear as day the 
thought "Now!" came into my head. I sat up, got out of bed, and 
wrote to you. Actually, I typed, but the letter wrote itself. It was a 
very spiritual experience like I have never experienced before. 

After I had written the overwhelming feelings I had been feeling 
all week left me. Peace replaced the overwhelming feelings I had 
been experiencing. I have never done anything like this before. I 
am just a married mother of four from Alpine, UT. But here is a 
message I was supposed to convey to you about Brian: 



• The first is that Brian is truly a celestial spirit. He was 
loaned to this earth for a given time and then he was called 

• I would just like to tell you what I have come to believe 
about Brian since I first read his story. I believe he is one of 
the great, few, chosen that came to this earth for a short 
time to prepare for the great things he is now doing on the 
other side. There was a light in Brian in every picture that I 
saw of him. It is unmistakable. That kind of light is 
destined for greatness. I am sure of it. 

It is very rarely in a person's life when they can look into the 
eyes of one of Heavenly Father's chosen sons and get a glimpse of 
all things celestial. I hope I have not crossed any lines in 
contacting you. I sincerely apologize if I made the wrong decision 
in writing to you during this very tender and sorrowful time in your 
life. My prayers are with you daily. 

Cynthia: February 8,2010 

[I have abridged and combined two letters from Cynthia, but 
have kept all of her words and meaning unchanged. - HDT] 

Marian in early 2016 (six years after Brian’s death) wrote, “A 
few days before Alexa wrote the following message to me, I had 
prayed explaining to God, that I feel Brian watches over us. I'm 
sure he is doing good things, but I really miss never knowing who 
he is helping and what he is doing. I was not upset about it, just 
sad that I can't get a letter. I never expected a letter, but God sent 
one anyway.” 

Alexa: "Dear Ms. Marian, you don't know me and I don't know 
you but sometimes God works in mysterious ways and I feel as if 
this is one of those times. I had a very vivid dream where a friend 
of mine who recently passed away showed me a picture of your 
son and showed me his full name, Brian Bennion Taylor, and 
mentioned calling his mother. Since she cannot call you because 
she has passed, I feel she wanted me to contact you. Because I had 
no idea who he was I googled his name, honestly expecting to find 
nothing, and was able to find a story on him and his death, I 
instantly recognized him from the picture in the dream. And I feel 


Ten Steps & Breathe 

like I'm supposed to deliver you a message and let you know that 
your oldest son, Brian, is ok and wherever they are, they are 
together and not alone. Before my dream I never knew of you or 
him and sometimes God works in ways I'd never imagine, and I 
feel absolutely obligated to deliver this message to you, I don't 
know why you needed this message. And I promise my typing this 
feels just as weird as you reading but please know this is legitimate 
and if I didn't contact you I would regret it the rest of my life. 

I hope the message gives you some sort of peace. Have a good 
day and God bless you and your family." 

She added this. "My friend Lindey seemed to be very peaceful 
and OK with the fact she is no longer on Earth, and I feel your son 
feels the same way, and that they are together and she's found a 
friend in her new life. And I'm so thankful of that because she was 
so young I was worried about her being alone, and I now know she 
found a friend in your son and he's found a friend in her." 

Alexa Wright, Fayetteville, Tennessee 

Marian: I asked Alexa more about her friend. Her name was 
Lindey Jane Gifford and she died in a car accident on December 
29, 2015, about a month ago. She said Lindy was happy, fun- 
loving and she would always help others through their trials. She 
sent me her photo. 

Marian Taylor - January 2016 

Alexa Second Note: “When I found Brian on Google, I instantly 
recognized him from my dream and yes Lindey said she had to call 
you for memories and I don't know what she meant by that. But I 
feel like part of my dream was for me and part was for you because 
you were directly mentioned. Lindey and I had been really close 
through parts of high school, but since I had my daughter we hadn't 
been as close. Her grandmother is actually my neighbor and she 
lived next to me a few months ago but I was in nursing school and 
we didn't have much contact. And know my delivering this 
message to you was absolutely meant to be because not only was I 
able to find Brian on Google, I was able to find you on Facebook, 
and you received my message. 



Lindey was a VERY happy girl; she had a free spirit and was 
pretty much the definition of youth. She always tried to help others 
and wouldn't harm a fly. She was a great friend. She worked at 
Cheeseburger in Huntsville, Alabama. She graduated from high 
school last May. She was a very kind person and always helped 
others get through trials and tribulations in life. She was always 
laughing or smiling.” 

Alexa - January 2016 

46. My View of Eternity 

Intelligences: There must be a nearly infinite number of pre¬ 
spirit beings. These beings are called "intelligences" by Abraham 
and Joseph Smith. They are eternal with no beginning and no end 
and that would make them co-eternal with God. They vary in 
abilities, and I assume they have a range of interests and 
personalities. This Intelligence contains a core personality that 
makes each one unique. Heavenly Father had the supreme wisdom 
and process knowledge to be able to organize them into beings of 
spirit, with a spirit body like Jehovah had before his mortal birth. 
By bringing intelligences into spirit bodies, God became the literal 
father of our spirits and Jehovah was the firstborn of all the spirits. 

So we have Heavenly Father to thank for a spirit body and all the 
opportunities we had in that pre-earth spirit world. Nevertheless, 
there is a part of our spirit personage that was not created by Him. 
Our core essence (intelligence) came with us into our spirit body. 
All of mankind who have come into this Earth, including you and 
me, were Intelligences bom into spirit bodies before the Earth was 
ever created. Abraham 3:18-28 

Earth, one of Many: In a vision, Moses saw all of God’s 
creations and then communicated with Him face to face. These are 
God’s words: “Worlds without number have I created: and I 
created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, 
which is mine Only Begotten [in the flesh]...But only an account of 
this earth and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For there are 
many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And 
there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; 


Ten Steps & Breathe 

but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know 
them.” Moses 1:30-38 

And by vision Moses “beheld also the inhabitants of the earth 
and there was not a soul which he beheld not; and he discerned 
them by the Spirit of God; and their numbers were great, even 
numberless as the sand upon the seashore.” Moses 1:27-28 

As the heavens were opened to Moses, he concludes “Now for 
this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I had not 
supposed. Now my own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, 
but my spiritual eyes.” Moses 1:6-11 

Eternal Life: In spite of Moses feeling that man seems like 
“nothing,” or as grain of sand on the sea shore, God tells Moses 
“Behold this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the 
immortality and eternal life of man.” So He helped Intelligences be 
bom into spirit bodies and outlined the next step of moving the 
spirit on into a physical body. The earth was created as a place 
where spirits could be bom into a physical body and leam to walk 
by faith, away from the presence of God; a place of trial, testing 
and proving. Moses 1:39-41 

How long it took to create the earth, or exactly how it was done 
isn’t really much of an issue. It was done to function fully, in the 
way that God normally creates worlds. If scientists have correctly 
deduced some of the creative process and call it the big bang, or 
something else that may be helpful to astrophysicists, just as 
“evolution” may be quite helpful to geologists, life scientists and 
others in finding order in their work. But time may not be an 
important dimension for God; for sure it is critical to us mortals 
whose days are numbered. So the seven days of the creation are 
simply creative steps in the process and men ascribe years to them 
from a mortal and scientific perspective. 

Adam with Eve became the first to be called “man and woman” 
by God and He placed their pre-earth spirits into their physical 
bodies. These bodies, by their conscious choice in the Garden, 
became mortal with no recollection of their prior life as a spirit. 
They with their offspring were appropriately empowered to bear 
children who created mortal bodies to house spirits waiting their 
turn for the earthly experience. 



Man’s freedom of choice to enter mortality was critical if the 
earthly experience was to serve God and mankind's purposes. But 
with that freedom, we will all make mistakes. Jesus volunteered to 
make up for our errors with His atoning sacrifice and thus open the 
door to resurrection. This sacrifice was the critical step that made 
this earthly experience and resurrection work. It benefits all who 
have and will come to earth, both before and after His sacrificial 

To make His gift fully effective in our earthly and eternal life 
Christ asks us to accept his mission in full faith, follow his 
teachings, make covenants with him through baptism and temple 
ordinances. If we do this, His Spirit will guide us and the marriage 
and family we form on earth will continue with us in the eternities. 

Because of Christ’s atonement all spirits who have come to earth 
will be resurrected (or saved) which means after death and a period 
of waiting, our mortal body will be exchanged for a perfect, 
immortal body. There is a judgment process based on our faith and 
deeds to determine where in the spectrum of possibilities each 
resurrected person should end up. In 1 Corinthians chapter 15 Paul 
speaks of the resurrection of the dead into bodies of different 
glories, likened to the glory of the sun, moon, and stars. Those who 
live closest to God’s principles are judged then are directed to the 
brightest glory. Those who most aggressively disregard God’s 
commandments are directed to the least bright glory. 

As resurrected persons our purposes will be to help God help 
others who are still coming along. Those in the brightest glory will 
be the greatest help to God; because of their consistent life choices. 
They will be closer to what God needs to help in his work. Maybe 
some who are resurrected will help launch new solar systems with 
new worlds; some may teach and encourage. The arts, music, 
medicine, engineering, leadership, historical understanding and 
even more will all be welcomed skills in God’s plan. It seems to 
me that wondrous opportunities lie before us. 

I’m grateful for and folly committed to the concept of a God whose 
primary purpose is to help all mankind, well beyond our small 
planet and provide each of us with challenges and opportunities on 
an eternal scale. 


Ten Steps & Breathe 

The restoration of this knowledge came from a true prophet of 
the Lord and is sustained by the prophets who have followed. 
There is no other source for this perspective on earth. I bear my 
witness of the immense value of these true prophets, and the verity 
of the mission our atoning Savior, Jesus Christ. 

47. Thoughts Regarding Blacks and the 

Since the restoration of the Lord’s Church in 1830, the 
withholding of the priesthood from the blacks (Negroes) has been 
the subject of much speculation in the Church. 1 Joseph Smith 
indicated that the Negroes were the descendants of Cain. He also 
says in the History of the Church. Vol. 5 Ch. 12. p.217: “At five [I] 
went to Mr. Sollars’ with Elders Hyde and Richards. Elder Hyde 
inquired the situation of the Negro. I replied they came into the 
world slaves, mentally and physically. Change their situation with 
the whites, and they would be like them. They have souls, and are 
subjects of salvation. Go into Cincinnati or any city, and find an 
educated Negro, who rides in his carriage, and you will see a man 
who has risen by the power of his own mind to his exalted state of 
respectability. The slaves in Washington are more refined than 
many in high places, and the black boys will take the shine off 
many of those they brush and wait on.” 

Other than these two general thoughts and the Pearl of Great 
Price, of course, Joseph left very little that is recorded. Brigham 
Young and other early Church leaders as well, likely with Joseph’s 
concurrence, were instructed by the Lord not to give the priesthood 
to the blacks because of lineage. The instruction was 
supplemented with this scriptural rational: Cain killed Abel and 
swore allegiance to Satan. Specifically, his curse was that his land 
would not yield and he would become a fugitive and a vagabond. 
Further that he would be known and spoken of as the father of lies 

1 Actually some blacks were ordained early in the Church's history before the 
Lord's instruction became clear. Also, Elijah Abel, a black convert, and all his 
descendants were exempted from this restriction, because of his extreme 



and perdition. He pled for relief from God because the general 
populace would not like his job description and would try to kill 
him. Out of compassion, God gave him a distinguishing mark as a 
protection. Moses 5:25-40 or Gen 4:11-15. 

In a vision, Enoch saw the "seed of Cain" and stated that they 
were black. Moses 7:21-22. Many people have assumed the 
blackness was the distinguishing mark. 

Abraham 1:20-27 says that Noah’s son. Ham and his wife, bore a 
daughter, Egyptus, and that from her sprang the “race which 
preserved the curse in the land.” Her son, a Pharaoh, had the 
blessings of the earth and wisdom, but could not have the 
priesthood. This is the first indication that denying the priesthood 
was part of Cain’s curse and that it would apply to his lineage. 

Brigham Young and other leaders alluded to the time when the 
curse could be lifted by the Lord. Brigham’s comments in the 
Journal of Discourses were in large measure trying to explain this 
withholding of the priesthood. I believe that Prophets get the right 
message, or course of action, from the Lord, but can’t always 
express the clear reason. 2 As a result when they start explaining 
why we run into some personal and sometimes unusual statements 
even though they are honest expressions of opinion at the time. 

We now have the benefit of the past 100 year history which 
Brigham Young didn't have at the time of his statements. As a 
result of this history, I have a little different feeling about what has 
been going on. It is a little like being a Monday morning 
quarterback, but here is my perspective: 

The most likely reason for denying the priesthood was not just 
the curse of Cain, but likely included also very practical issues. 
The Lord may have seen that it would be very difficult for white 
people in the 1800's to accept slaves as their church leaders. Even 
the black freemen needed to get better established in society, or 
Euro-American culture, to fully function. Inability to function in 
society wasn't for lack of skill, but rather because of the oppression 
and restriction of others. 

2 The classic is Adam when asked why sacrifice? He answered, “I know not, 
save the Lord commanded me.” Moses 5:6. 


Ten Steps & Breathe 

Also, the Lord has almost never worked with a people who did 
not have a written language. 3 At that time black populations in 
most countries and the U.S. slave culture generally had none and 
were restricted by slave owners from learning. The Civil War, 
emancipation, educational reforms, lifting of literacy prohibitions 
and the freeing of many African countries from colonial 
domination, followed by a black revolution in this and other 
countries were all necessary reformation steps needed to begin 
preparation of the way for the blacks to receive the priesthood. 
This all happened within 100 years; which, historically speaking, is 
a very short time. This remarkable liberation appears to me to 
have been orchestrated by the Lord. 

When these preparations were far enough along, the Lord told 
His prophet to open the door to the priesthood, and President 
Kimball promptly did so with the full support of the Quorums of 
12 and the 70 and the sustaining vote of the whole Church. 

My sincere conclusion is that the Lord was waiting for Caucasian 
and non-black people to shape up. For this reason, the wait for 
respect levels to rise among non-blacks for the Negro was 
appropriate and necessary. 

The timing for this change was near perfect. Black people were 
broadly prepared. Most Church members were ready and even 
anxious for the change. New black nations were also clearly 
prepared by the Lord, and there were conversions in African 
countries en masse. Imagine how the priesthood change would 
have gone even 50 years earlier. 

It is interesting to note during this preparatory period, under 
Joseph Smith’s leadership, that LDS Church members were 
opposed to slavery. One of the key reasons Mormons were 
persecuted, killed and driven from Missouri, a slave state, was that 
the Saints were abolitionist and it worried the locals as they saw 
the Church begin to grow and prosper all without slaves. 

3 Note Moses 6:46 and the entire Book of Mormon repeatedly illustrates the 
critical issue of writing, language and written records. 



48. Thoughts on God’s Curses 

The primary foundation of Christ’s gospel is that each of us will 
be punished for our own sins and not for Adam’s [or anyone 
else’s] transgressions. Articles of Faith - 2. But the “curse of the 
Lord is in the house of the wicked.” Prov3:33. The bottom line is 
that lineal curses and blessings set a pattern for those who follow, 
but continuation depends on personal merit or demerit of the 
individual or group. 

We all come from the lineage of some curse or other. There 
were just plenty of curses to go around and more to come I'm sure. 
For example Lamanites were cursed for transgression and whoever 
persisted in transgression, or joined them, shared the curse. Alma 
3:7-11. Note that this is a reversible condition [v. 11 and also see 
Jacob 2:25-35 and 3:2-6]. 

Half of the Church members today (Latin American) have traces 
of black blood lines and now they are the fastest growing part of 
the Church. Curses and blessings by lineage are clearly altered by 
adherence to, or denial of gospel principles. 

My ancestors were gentiles (non-Israelites) and were cursed from 
the time of Abraham. The Savior wouldn’t generally teach the 
gospel, or minister to gentiles. Matt. 15:24. 

The Jews were cursed and conquered for breaking the 
commandments and again for not accepting the Savior and then 
killing Him (and remember they were the “chosen people”). After 
this great transgression they were told they would become a “hiss 
and a by-word.” 3 Ne. 16:9. 

Note that some of Cain's descendants were pretty good people; 
city builders, cattlemen, musicians and artisans of brass and iron. 
They seemed not to share Cain's original curse at all (which 
included poor land, being fugitives, vagabonds, and liars). Gen. 
4:17-22. The only ones who shared the curse were those who 
murdered and conspired in secret combination as Cain had done. 
These did not need to be blood lineage to get the curse of Cain. 
Gen 4:23-24. The Lord cursed a fig tree because it didn’t bear fruit. 


Ten Steps & Breathe 

It didn't meet its purpose in life. Mk 11:21. I think that Jesus was 
illustrating that this is the basis of all curses that befall mankind. 

Finally, I think that as we withdraw and separate ourselves from 
God we earn a curse, not the other way around. Isa. 59:2 

The point that I am trying to make is that curses and blessings are 
given to lineal descendants, but whether it holds up over 
generations is dependent upon the behavior of the descendants. 

It is pretty clear that those who accept the gospel message and 
covenant with the Lord through baptism come into the household 
of God and are fellow citizens with the saints. Eph 2:19. If ye be 
Christ’s, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the 
promise. Gal 3:29. The Book of Mormon is replete with 
illustrations that those cursed, who accept Christ, are the ones who 
become heirs to God's promise. Prior lineage in any gospel sense 
has no relevance when the gospel of Christ is accepted; we all 
become the blessed descendants of Abraham. 

I personally know a number of black church members who, as a 
result of good choices, were declared by a patriarch of the Lord to 
be of the lineage and blessings of Ephraim. This is a premium 
lineage of Abraham’s descendants. 

In summary let me share a quote from Aaron Johnson who is a 
black civic leader who joined the church here in Palo Alto. He 
says "There is no organization on earth that can as effectively raise 
the blacks to leadership and FULL fellowship, in an ideally 
integrated world, as well as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- 
day Saints. The Church will succeed where others have given lip 
service and failed." 



• Importance of the Temple A 

• Marriage Preparation B 

• Health Summary C 

• Hansen Family Longevity D 

• Taylor Family Longevity E 

Ten Steps Then Breathe 

A. Importance of the Temple 

Two Saving Ordinances : In a broad sense there are two “saving 
ordinances” specified by the Lord for our blessing. One is baptism 
and confirmation and the other is the temple endowment and 
sealing. A saving ordinance is one that changes your status 
hereafter, throughout the eternities. For example, the complete 
baptism ordinance provides entry into the Kingdom of Heaven, or 
the Celestial Kingdom and companionship of the Spirit. The 
ordinance of Endowment and Sealing provides entry into the 
highest level of the Celestial Kingdom and access to the Father and 
the Son. These two saving ordinances have remarkable shared 

• Preparation required 

• Interview ■*> Recommend needed 

• All white clothing for the ordinance 

• Fixed wording and ritual- do it right or do it over 

• Each has very tangible symbolism: 

Baptism=New beginning & Temple=Our Eternal Journey 

• Covenants made 

• Major Gifts Given 

• Forgiveness of sin and cleansing 

• Both ordinances give you a new name 

• Only these two ordinances invoke the Father, Son & Holy 

• Both are specific gateways to a heavenly status 

• Both have a required covenant reminder and renewal 
Because of these similarities the Temple endowment and sealing 

should seem more familiar to us than you would expect at first 
sitting. Further, we need to understand that these are the two 

Other ordinances are very important, but pertain mostly to this 
earthly life, e.g. Blessing a child, healing the sick, a father’s 
blessing, Patriarchal blessing, grave dedication, etc. Ordinations to 
the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods are an integral part of 
the of Baptism and Temple ordinances described above and bless 
men and women equally. 



Symbols : 

• Value of Symbols - they are important shortcut reminders 
of something more complex. For example, we all readily 
understand these symbols: 

V A red cross 

V Star of David 

V The Stars and Stripes flag 

V Statue of Liberty 

V The shape and color of a stop sign or a triangle of 

• A Few Key Symbols from the Temple 

V Moroni on the temple spire - symbol gospel restoration 

V Wash - symbolically cleansed of sin 

V Anoint - very specific personal gifts (this is the crux of 
the endowment or the gift given to us) 

V Endowment ceremony gives a symbolic journey from 
Pre-existence through to the Celestial Kingdom, (see 
Plan of Salvation) 

V Garment is a symbolic reminder of temple covenants 
and a protection from sin and more 

V Tokens 

o Aaronic - temporal, fraternal, social, personal 
connection to fellow saints over generations; 
o Melchizedek - Spiritual, Atonement, personal 
connection to Savior and blessings from God 

V Veil of the Temple - symbolic place of judgment and 
entry point to a celestial resurrection 

V Celestial Room symbolic of our eternal destination, 
beautiful, quiet and now more self-directed 

V White clothing - purity — equality 

V Apron - Symbol of the fall from innocence 

V And many, many more. 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

The Plan of Salvation: 


We existed as an Intelligence 

1 st birth of Intelligence into a spirit body 

Plan & Dispute 

Creation of the Earth. And why. 

Room 1 

Birth of spirit body into an earthly body 

Garden and Fall. Bless Eve for a wise choice. 

Room 2 

Move into the mortal world 

Earthly experience - time of testing 

Room 3 

Death and place of spirit waiting 

The great gift of the Atonement 

Room 4 

Resurrection to appropriate responsibilities 
Celestial Kingdom is the goal. 

Room 5 

The room progression above refers to the Salt Lake City Temple 
where live temple workers enact the ceremony and the company of 
patrons moves from room to room. In some ways this process is a 
clearer representation of our eternal progression than the film 
presentation. The rooms are painted with murals or decorated to 
depict the following: 

Room 1 - The time before the world was created 
Room 2 - The Garden of Eden 
Room 3 - The world after the Fall - Satan’s power 
Room 4 - Place of spirit waiting. Very plain in SLC 
Room 5 - Through the vail to the Celestial world 

Newer Temples : 

• To make temple experience more broadly available film 
was required 

• Less expensive to build temples, fewer rooms. Handles 
progression with lighting and film. 

• Film simplifies training of workers and operation of the 

How important is it to understand the Plan of Salvation ? The 

plan gives us a clear picture of God’s work and magnificence and 
our potential. It is the key message of the restoration. 



God feels that it is important for us to know and understand the 
plan. He has assured that the plan was clearly disclosed to each 
major prophet: 

Abraham, Enoch - Pearl of Great Price 

Jacob, Moses, Isaiah, John - Bible 

Lehi - Nephi - Brother of Jared - Book of Mormon 

Joseph Smith - Church History 

Why the emphasis on the Fall in the Endowment ? From the 
beginning, God's plan has been to lift us and bring us steadily to a 
higher level. As Abraham describes, we are ‘added upon' at each 

Mortal life and its testing, was essential for our eternal progress, 
development and our eventual judgment, but it was a step 
backward from life in the Garden and God wanted that drop and its 
consequences to be man’s choice and responsibility. 

He assured our recovery from the fall with His Son’s atoning 

Understanding the plan gives us a sense of purpose, optimism, 
and deep gratitude for God’s design and atonement which makes 
possible our freedom of choice with a chance to repent of errors 
made. The Plan of Salvation is the central message that our 
missionaries teach throughout the world because it makes clear 
that the true Gospel of Jesus Christ is restored. 

Wit & Wisdom of the Temple Endowment : Temple Covenants 
if obeyed are the antidote to marital breakup and are preparation 
for an eternal sealing. Listed below are the most frequent causes 
of failure in a marriage. Note how the covenants of the temple 
address these very directly. 

Major Causes of Marital Break-up-Temple Covenants 

Lack of common goals 




Financial stresses 





Ten Steps Then Breathe 

Garment to remind us of our covenants 

There is much wisdom to be gleaned the Temple ceremony that 
applies to this life. Here are just a few: 

• Portrayal of the Plan of Salvation 

• Relationship between the Father and the Son 

• Return and Report is a good pattern for leadership in the church, 
work and family 

• We should create with beauty and variety as God did when He 
created the earth. 

• Blame passing is human 

• Makes Clear the Fall from the garden state is a critical step in 
our forward progress. Thank you Eve. 

• Satan, when cursed, responds “I will use that enmity” and he has 
with crusades, inquisitions, Jihad 

• Satan lies. He talks about his priesthoods, but has none. He also 
uses half-truths to deceive even more effectively and completely. 

• Idea’s for parenting. (The idea list from the temple can be much 
longer than this) 

S Teach Children to work hard and follow directions 
meticulously. Assign clearly and get a report afterward. 
S Provide opportunities for sacrifice 
S Ask why. “Why do you offer sacrifices?” 

S Follow the Lord and prophets even when you don’t 
know why. As Adam replies “I don’t know why, except 
the Lord commanded me.” 

S Welcome children into your presence—as you are 
welcomed to the Temple 
S Use a soft voice 
S Give blessings and promises 
S Teach that our bodies are in the image of God. 

Appreciate the creation of this earth that was made for 

v' Train children in the “garden of innocence” before 
sending them into the world. 

• And much more for us to observe over time 



Step by Step Through of the Temple Processes : 

• Washing and Anointing (This is not usually repeated when 
we go through for the dead. It is vital that we periodically 
schedule a time to do this for the dead to refresh our 
memory. It is the CRUX of the endowment, or gift that we 

S Blessed to become a king or a queen to the Most 

S Cleansed from the sins of our generation 
S Blessed with clarity of intellect 
S Gift of Discernment 
S Strength to bear burdens 
S Ability to control of your language 
S Blessed with fertility and a posterity 
S And more! 

• Garment given as a reminder of Covenants and as a shield 
and protection. 

• White clothes are then worn as a symbol of purity. 

• New name given to us just as Isaac was given name of 
Israel and Abram to Abraham when they made covenants 
with the Lord. 

• Covenants and Tokens of the Priesthood scattered through 
the ceremony. 

• Prayer Circle - names submitted for sick or afflicted & 
blessed - missionaries blessed - Prophet blessed—other 
things as the spirit dictates—(because its sacred nature 
tradition says Mary was only willing to reveal her story of 
being chosen to bear the Savior by being voice in a Prayer 
Circle and our prophets are set apart in a prayer circle 


Ten Steps Then Breathe 

• Testing at the veil, Worker standing by is symbolic of a 
ministering angel prompting us, or of the Holy Ghost 
bringing all things to our remembrance. Worker behind the 
veil is symbolic of God. 

• Pass through the veil into the Celestial Room is symbolic of 
a resurrection. Then in the Celestial Room we find 
symbolic characteristics of the Celestial Kingdom: 

S Beauty and peace 
S Closeness to God 
S Still learning and seeking there 
S We’re not directed in this room as we were in the 
other rooms. Just you with the Spirit of Lord. 

S Spirit of closeness to others there 
S Time there is open ended (until the world pulls you 

A Second Endowment : We are told at the time of our first 
endowment session, and then again when we go through for the 
dead, that there is a second endowment. The phrase mentioned 
early in the ceremony, when all are assembled, is approximately as 
follows: The time may come when, through your faithfulness, you 
may be called up to be made a King and Queen to God. In this 
endowment, you have now been anointed only to become such. 

I know very little about this Second Endowment ordinance, but 
here are some observations and some questions to ponder that may 
be relevant to this ordinance: 

• Acts 3:21, In the Last Days a “Restitution of all things” is 

• Ephesians 1:10 The Lord will “Gather together all things” 
for the latter-day restoration of the gospel. 

• If all things are promised to be gathered together and 
restored in the last days, are we missing the ordinance in 
John 13:5-10 or is this still an active ordinance? Washing 
of Feet - To make us “clean every whit." (whit = smallest 



imaginable amount or degree). I believe this was restored 
and is an active ordinance in the church today. 

• 2 Peter 1:10-11 talks of your “Calling and election made 
sure.” Does this mean that your ticket to the highest level of 
the Celestial Kingdom can be punched? Probably.