I was born July 13, 1916, a daughter of Henry Herriman and Irene Sears Hintze, in a house on 5th East and 8th South in Salt Lake City. This home belonged to Dr. Jane Skofield, a woman doctor. Her daughter, Jennie, was a nurse and assisted her mother with my birth, then helped care for mother and me until mother was strong enough to go home to my father and 3 older brothers, Harold, Eugene and Wayne. Needless to say, I was very welcome in that household of boys. Our home was on 9th East just beyond 21st South. Dad was a streetcar conductor at this time for Salt Lake City lines and the end of the route was 21st South. Mother said she would stand outside and watch for Dad to come home as our home was only about one-half block from the tracks.
When I was between 2 and 3 years old, a man by the name of Mr. Hansen talked Dad into moving to Hinckley, Utah on a farm, with the promises of a new home, wages and many other enticing comforts. After 2 years of hard work, living in a tent, no sign of the promises coming true, we moved back to Salt Lake City to a home on Buen’s lane. Here we lived for awhile while Dad worked for Mutual Creamery delivering eggs, butter and milk. From there Dad went to work for ZCMI Wholesale. At this time in my life I had many happy hours play on my grandparent’s farm in Holladay. Grandpa had a large barn that was built along side the canal that carried irrigation water. He build us a long rope swing with a loop at the end to stand on our feet in. We’d climb up to the hay loft, stand on the rope’s loop and swing clear across the canal, then back to the hay loft. It was real scary but oh so fun. Grandma would bake bread while we were there, then she’d turn the loaf on end and cut us long thick slices of hot bread, spread with butter and honey. Oh so good. She said she had to cut big slices so she could give everyone one before we were through asking for seconds. Grandma was always so sweet and kind to us. We loved her so. I used to feel sorry for her because she had to work so hard. I don’t remember Grandpa being there at all. He was always away on Church business. I only remember seeing him on 2 or 3 occasions before his death. He was a rather stern man. I can never remember him holding me or talking to me alone. In fact, I was rather frightened of him at these times. I know now that he was a fine man and helped many people join the Church. Also, he helped many families who needed financial assistance.
In 1918-19 when the flu epidemic was so wide spread, our whole family was sick. Mother was with her mother in town as she was expecting a baby. Dad and the rest of us were at Grandma’s house. The beds were all full. Somehow, and with the Lord’s help, we all pulled through. Aunt Mary said I slept most of the time with a high fever. I can remember sitting on the “thunder-mug” in the kitchen while Les did some washing and then mopped the kitchen floor. Uncle Lesley said whenever I was asked to do something, I always had a headache.
Dad always longed to be on a farm, so believe it or not, this same Mr. Hansen who sent us to Hinckley, with rosier promises than before convinced Dad to go to Elberta, Utah. He rode in a car to Payson, and from there we traveled the last 15 miles in a wagon to Elberta. It had been raining hard. The roads were deep, muddy ruts, almost up to the axle of the wagon. Mother was crying, but Dad reminded her of the many promises awaiting us, so on we plodded. As before, the promises never materialized, but Dad and Mother pulled together, worked hard, and made a great home for us to grow up in. We were never rich in material things but had an abundance of love and happiness. This was where I lived the rest of my life until I married my sweetheart and moved to Salt Lake City to live.
I had many choice experiences in my early years. In the 1st house we lived in, we had a billygoat. I don’t remember where he came from, but he was there. His favorite place was in the middle of Mother’s bed on her white bedspread. No matter how tight we tied him up, he would get loose, put his head down and come busting right through the door and on mother’s bed. We tried every thing to keep him off, but to no avail. One day my brothers tied him to the back of the wagon, walked him 7 miles up in the hills and that darn goat almost beat them home. I believe we finally gave him to a traveling salesman.
Winters were long and cold. The snow came early in October and covered the ground. Dad would take the wheels off the wagon and put sleigh runners on. It was a fun time for all of us. By this time I had 4 new brothers – Henry, Alan, Keith, Lyle. I was still the queen of the household and I loved every minute of it. Dad and Mother lived the gospel and tried to teach us to work and play together. Once a year between irrigation turns on the farm, they would load food and bedding in the car and take us for a weeks camping (behind Mt. Nebo). Dad would always put a long rope swing up as soon as we got there. We could really fly high. Oh such fun. On one such vacation, at coming home time, we had a flat tire. We had to unload all our camping gear, take the tire off, patch the tube, then put it together, pump the tire up by a hand pump, load all the camping gear, then be on our way. Well, to make a long story short, it was so hot it would melt the patch off, and down would go the tire. Seventeen times later, we finally made it home.
We had one riding pony along with Dad’s work horses. We named her Bess: She had been born and raised in the hills and was really tricky and wild. I loved to ride her, and rode in many 4th of July races, winning some of them. We had to keep her tied up or in a corral because if she got loose, she would head for the hills. Then Dad would have to pay someone to catch her and bring her back. After 3 or 4 times of this trick, we sold her. She got loose from her new owner and I believe he let her stay in the hills.
One summer, when I was 8 years old, I was staying at my cousin Marion Sears home in Salt Lake City for a few days vacation. I fell on some cattle guards across the streetcar tracks and cut my leg right beside my right knee cap. The sore healed up to about the size of a dime, then it began to get redder and swollen. One day it was so sore and swollen and I felt hot and sleepy. Keith was a baby. He was in the yard in a baby-buggy. I took him out and put him on the ground, then I crawled into the buggy and went to sleep. The next I remember was Dad lifting me out and laying me in a bed made on the backseat of our car. Mother was crying and worried about me. They brought me to Salt Lake to Dr. Sherinian. He put me in the hospital where they opened up my leg and found a piece of rust the size of a quarter. Blood poison had set in and my leg was swollen ant turning black. After 2 or 3 days the doctors told Dad and Mother my leg would have to be amputated or I would lose my life. Mother and Dad were horrified and begged the doctor to wait. Dad gave me a blessing that I would be better. The next day no change. Dad refused to sign the papers to let the doctors amputate. The doctor was upset but waited one more day. The next morning my leg looked a little better, and from then on it gradually healed. How grateful I am for the blessing of the Lord, and for parents who had such faith.
My school days were happy days. I liked school from the start. I went to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades in a one-room school house with a pot-bellied stove in the middle of the room to keep us warm. We had one teacher. She taught from the 1st to 8th grades. By the time I was in the 4th grade, we had a brand new 2-room school house with a teacher for each room. For the 7th, 8th and 9th grades we rode the school bus to the neighboring town of Goshen. Here we had 2 teachers to teach us, Mr. Steele and Miss Friel. We changed back and forth from each of their rooms, each teaching us 3 different subjects. When it was time for high school, I came to Salt Lake and went to Granite High, as had my 3 older brothers. I lived part time with my father’s folks in Holladay and part with my mother’s sister, Aunt Afton, who lived in Salt Lake City. While in high school I met my sweetheart Bill. After school, we were married and moved to Salt Lake City to live.
We had two tragic things happen to us while I was growing up. During the time I was recuperating in the hospital from the blood poisoning in my leg, our home burned to the ground – everything we owned was gone, but the Lord was with us as our lives were spared. Dad had left the hospital to go home to the boys after I began to get better, leaving mother to stay with me. He had taken all of the boys with him to work in an orchard pruning trees for a neighbor. When they looked towards home and saw the sky aglow with flames, they were sick. By the time Dad could get home, the whole house was on fire. Nothing could be saved. We never knew what started the fire. Then 8 years to the month later, our second home burned. Dad was Bishop of our Ward at that time. Mother was expecting a baby in 2 weeks. They had been invited to the Church to a family reunion of the Finch family. Before they left, they gave me permission to sleep on a cot with Janis, my 1st and only sister, the cot being out under some trees in our yard. Wayne was sleeping on the sleeping porch with the rest of the boys. He awakened suddenly to a cracking noise and saw our house on fire. He screamed, grabbed the boys and got out of the porch just as the roof caved in. I hadn’t awakened until this time. The whole house was ablaze. The yard was lit up like noon-day. Ducks were swimming on the pond by the side of the house. I’ll never forget that sight. I saddled the horse and rode the 3 miles to the Church house to get Mother and Dad. All I had on was a summer nightie. I was 15 years old at this time, but I was so frightened I hadn’t even thought about not being dressed. One of the men at the Church took his suit coat off and put it on me. By this time friends and neighbors from miles away had seen the flames and were coming to offer help. Once again we didn’t know what started the fire, but were so grateful none of us were burned. Had Janis and I been sleeping in the bedroom in the house our lives would surely have been lost. As Dad and Mom left that night to go to the Church he picked up the broom and hung it on the broom-holder on the side of the house. One of the boy’s pair of shoes was in the yard. He picked them up and put them on the step, so we had nothing left except the clothes we were sleeping in and what Mother and Dad had on. We were able to rent a house about a mile away from this home and began again to start over.
Ray was born in about 3 weeks. He was our last baby, making ten of us still living. We had one brother die at 6 weeks old in this same home that burned. He had the measles, then developed pneumonia and the doctors were unable to save him. We named him Wendel. Mother and Dad never lost their faith in the Lord. They stayed true to their teachings, striving always to do what was right and to teach us, their children, to do likewise.