I was born of goodly parents on 17 October 1927 in the Patton home in Elberta, Utah, my parents being Henry Herriman and Ethel Irene Sears Hintze. I was number 10 of 11 children, 9 boys and 2 girls, with quite a span between my sister and myself. It wasn’t until I was married that I really got to know my sister.
I was christened Janis by my father and lived on a farm in Elberta until I was about 9 years old. The things I remember as a little girl are different from what I hear my older brothers and sister talk about and I wonder if it was the same place. I had several close girl friends there, Florence Jolley, Alice and Afton Jolley, (cousins to Florence), Lois Penrod and Beverly Keith, also cousins. We had a lot of fun in the two-room school house that I went to in the 1st and 2nd grades (maybe 3rd too). Mrs. Stark, and Thelma Hassle were 2 teachers I remember. Then I was bussed to Goshen for the 4th grade. It was that year that we moved to Taylorsville, Utah and I continued at Plymouth school in Mrs. Cook’s class. That was a hard adjustment for me.
My father was Bishop of the Elberta Ward and I remember giving a lot of 2½ minute talks as a little girl. The Church and the Gospel were a major part of our lives and the Lord truly blessed us.
I think that I was about 7 when I tackled my brother playing tag one night and broke my right collarbone. We weren’t near our home and Dad and the boys were unloading hay and doing chores. When Daddy heard me crying he told me to go to the car and wait for them to finish. I walked over to one of the horses and tried to open the door. They all laughed at me and I stopped crying for a minute and laughed too, but it hurt so bad Daddy told me to walk on home. It was dark and no sidewalks, lights or anything. It was a long, painful walk. As I neared the house, Mother heard me crying and came out with a coal-oil lamp to meet me. She said she could tell by the cry that I was hurt. Daddy didn’t know until he came home, then we had to go clear to Payson to the hospital to get it taken care of. It was a compound fracture and the bone, fortunately, had not broken through the skin, but was very visibly sticking up. I couldn’t get into a comfortable position and Daddy was trying to tease me and make me feel better.
We had to wait for the doctor at the hospital so Daddy tried to get me to play with him so he told me to pretend we were playing ball and to throw it to him, so I did. I was trying to be brave and not cry so much and the movement of trying to throw the ball made the collarbone slip back into place. OUCH! When the doctor got there all he had to do was to put a harness on the shoulder and my arm in a sling. I can’t remember who the doctor was for sure. We had a Dr. Curtis and Dr. Oldroyd in Payson that we went to. It seems like it was Dr. Curtis though.
I also remember walking down the streets of Elberta holding hands with my boy friend in the 3rd and 4th grade, Gene Jones. In the times we went back to visit Elberta when Gene was still there, we spent some very special times together as a teen before my marriage.
I was baptized on my 8th birthday, 17 October 1935 in the Warm Springs just outside of Goshen. That was where most of the baptisms were held. Daddy came and got me out of school and baptized me and then took me back.
I remember the move from Elberta to Taylorsville. I was in the 4th grade. The road between Goshen and Santaquin wasn’t paved and our truck got stuck and we were taken to some friends named Miller just outside Payson until they could get it out and then we got on our way again. Our first home was on 4800 South in Taylorsville, the Carter home and then we moved across the fence to the Rawson home. It was there that I first met my husband-to-be, Donald Jack Bishop. I was about 11 at the time and he was 16. He was working for the Wood’s Brothers in their gravel pit as was my father and brother, Alan. He had been left at the pit without a ride home and so Dad brought him to our house and was going to take him on home to Murray. However, Mother always had supper ready for Daddy so Don had to wait. He stayed outside, he was too bashful to come in and eat with us. I thought he was cute so I stayed outside and showed off for him on the tricky-bar and lawn. I guess I was too young for him because he didn’t pay much attention to me.
The years went on and my brother Gene and his wife Jennie bought a little hamburger stand and service station on the corner of 4800 South and Redwood Road, and I went to work for them in the hamburger stand. Don got to be a regular customer for an ice cream cone or milk-nickel on his way home from work almost every week night when I worked. I guess he must of liked me a little because he always came when I was working, but he never really said much. He was really bashful and I was really trying to make him notice me. If he wanted me to know anything special or ask me anything he had his step-brother, Billy Caldwell come in and talk to me. He and Bill were really close. This contact went on until about 1940 or leap year when I asked Don to a Leap-Year party we were having at Janet Mackay’s house. We had moved from the Rawson home on 4800 South to 3859 South Redwood Road by this time. He told me he couldn’t go because he was going to Ogden to see his brother, Russ. But after the party was over and I was going home, he was waiting outside and took me home. This was the wee hours of morning and we sat in the car and talked for a long time. Then it was quite awhile before I saw Don again, but he did come and ask me to a Granite-Murray basketball game. They were arch-rivals. I went to Granite and he went to Murray. I loved to dance and they always had dances after the games, so I wore heels and red blazer and blue skirt (Granite’s school colors). Boy how wrong I was. Don had never danced but he liked to bowl, so we went bowling. Something I had never done. We doubled with some of his friends, Art Nielsen and Betty Ross. Well, he bowled a beautiful 233 and I kept the gutters cleaned out with a total of 19. But then the evening went from bad to worse. Don and Art had a friend who owned a tavern and they had arranged for him to let them use it after hours and leave a gallon of beer there for them. Well, having been taught not to drink and never really been faced with a situation like that before, I promptly poured the beer down the sink! Needless to say I was taken home mighty fast. I also thought that would end the friendship. That was in 1941. The year Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. It was over a year before I heard from Don again, and then it was through his brother Billy. Don had joined the Navy in September 1942 and asked Bill to get my address for him so he could write to me. I spent my 15th birthday in the LDS hospital with an appendectomy and received my first letter from Don while in there. He was stationed in San Diego at boot camp and was living it up every chance he got, which I didn’t like very much and let him know it. So our correspondence was pretty fiery. Him telling me off for being so goody goody and me telling him off for getting drunk and smoking. Our writing was quite sporadic, but he always seemed to write and apologize and say he wanted to do better. He suffered a great loss when Billy was crushed to death by a dump truck bed that fell on him in 1943. And lost a good friend too. He wasn’t able to come home for his funeral and went to radio school at Madison, Wisconsin and then to Submarine school at New London, Connecticut. This took another year and we had a tentative date for Christmas time in 1943. But he didn’t get a leave and was sent right over-seas. All this time I was going to school and writing his name all over my books and practicing writing Mrs. Donald J. Bishop. Our letters still were not the friendliest. He was still living quite wild but said he had higher goals. I had told him I wanted to be married in the temple, but he hadn’t been active in the Church, he didn’t know too much about it. He was baptized when he was eleven.
He finally came back to the states from Hawaii in May of 1944 and called and asked me to come to Vallejo, California with his sister Betty so we could spend some time together. They had friends down there we could stay with for a couple of weeks. He had to wait for the second leave from the submarine. Mother and Dad weren’t too anxious to have me go. I was only 16 and they could not remember who Don was even though I had a nice picture of him in his uniform. They finally consented. Wayne and Dorothy were living in San Francisco where he was stationed and Henry was stationed in Oakland, so they weren’t very far away. We did go over to see them and I spent a few days with them while Don had duty on the sub USS Spearfish.
It was in Vallejo park that Don proposed to me and I accepted. His story is that I took his sailor hat and wouldn’t give it back until he said he’d marry me. And he only said yes because he didn’t want to get picked up by the Shore Patrol for being out of uniform. Ha Ha. When he finally got his leave, we went by way of Las Vegas to come home because his mother and step-father were living down there, and I had never met his mother. On one occasion I had tried to, but she wouldn’t open the door. She wasn’t in favor of her son marrying a Mormon, especially an active one. Even though she was a member of the Church she was not living her religion and she was afraid I would alienate Don from the family. I found out sometime later that when Don wrote and told his mother he was going to bring me to Las Vegas with him, she wrote and told him she didn’t have room for me, that he’d have to send me home. I knew nothing about this because when we got there she had a motel room ready for Betty and I to stay in. We drove the family car from Las Vegas home to Murray and Don’s mother and step father came up later. It wasn’t until after we were married that I found out about their correspondence and I asked Don how come she had a place for me and he said he had just told her if she didn’t have room for me she didn’t have room for him and she hadn’t seen him for nearly 2 years so she wanted him to come there instead of going straight to Murray. As you guessed, we went to Las Vegas and then home and made preparation for our marriage on the 31st of July 1944. Don had been baptized at the age of 10, but had never been active. We had talked of a temple marriage and he expressed his desire to go to the temple, but knew it was impossible to achieve in the short time we had, but wanted to get married before he went back overseas to finish his navy duty. His serious proposal came under the red light on 4th South and State streets after purchasing the engagement and wedding rings. I’ll bet no one can guess my answer. Ha ha.
We were married 31 July 1944 in my parents home at 4940 South 1700 West by Bishop Abram Barker, a special man in our lives at that time. He had dated Don’s mother in their earlier years. Daddy hid the marriage license and my brothers stood in the door with a shotgun and I said “I do” three times (I wanted to be sure I got him! Ha.) So you see it was a real hilarious occasion. Anyway, they were going to keep us apart all night, but Mother convinced them not to because our time together was going to be short because Don had to report back to Vallejo and his submarine to go back overseas. We had about two weeks before he had to report. He was my sweetheart then and he is more so now after 39 years together. He went back over to the base in Hawaii after six weeks of marriage and I returned home to live with my parents. I wanted to finish my last year of high school, but it was discouraged because they had so many girls that were marrying soldiers, from the Kearns Army base that had been built since the war, and still wanted to come to school. They didn’t think it was a good trend to start so discouraged it. I got a job on the Army base for the year Don was overseas. He was always jealous of “Dogfaces” as the navy called them, but I had many good friends that were stationed out there. Actor John Payne was out there for awhile. I sat by him on the bus. It was quite a thrill. Most of the soldiers treated me like a kid sister and protected me from a lot of the undesirable elements.
Don was overseas for a year before the war ended and he was released from the Navy. Then the trials of our marriage really started. Jobs were hard to find and Don took any kind of work he could find. After a year home he was made an Elder in the Priesthood and we were able to go to the temple on 17 October 1946 and be sealed for time and all eternity. What a special day that was for both of us. But the financial end of our life was bad. We were living with my parents and Don’s parents were living in Vacaville, California. His mother still hadn’t accepted me in the family. This changed after some years until her death in 1975. No money and no work can put quite a strain on a marriage and ours was no different in that respect. Because of this family pressure, Don left me and returned to his parents in California. At this time Bishop Barker was a big help and comfort to me. Don had not told me where he was going when he left and Bishop Barker made several phone calls and located him for me. I was 4 months pregnant at this time. Don had a hard time stopping his smoking habit and I was very guilty of not being very tolerant and helpful to him. So he had a lot of pressure from several directions. I went to California to be with him, but jobs weren’t any more plentiful there so he couldn’t find work and his mother had another girl picked out for him but he wasn’t interested in anyone else. He still loved me and we eventually came back to Murray and lived in a sheepcamp trailer. I lost the baby boy I was carrying at seven months in 1946 as I did another boy a year later at 7 months. The reason was unexplained medically.