I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on April 11, 1919. My parents are Grace Elizabeth Howell and Yaro Edward Korous.
Mother’s family was converted to the Church in England. Her father was an English Sailor and her mother worked in well-to-do English homes where she had worked since she was quite young.
After coming to New York by boat, they rode the train to Salt Lake. They had been told that this was a “land of milk and honey”. They arrived here in the winter and the first words she said when she got off the train were, “Milk and honey be damned, it is nothing but mud and slush!” My grandmother had a great sense of humor and also a “saying” for everything.
They settled in a little home on the corner of 3rd West & 4th North and there they raised four children. The last years of their life they spent living with my mother and father and their family in our 3rd East home. My grandmother was a great story teller and her tales about the indians and the early days in Salt Lake were the greatest. I couldn’t get enough of them. I was quite young when they died, so I cannot remember too much about them personally.
Dad’s mother and father and two children came here from old Bohemia (Czechoslovakia) and settled around Riverside and DeMoines, Iowa. There was quite a settlement of Bohemians there at that time and still is. Dad’s family were tall, angular people, or at least the first wife’s children were. My Dad was the oldest child of the second wife; Grandpa’s first wife died not long after they came here. I never did meet my grandparents from Dad’s side. My parents and the three oldest children lived with them in Iowa for about a year, but that was before I was born.
Dad’s brothers and sisters visited us from Iowa quite a few times, and we all loved to hear them sing songs in the Bohemian language. Dad also had a small accordian he played, so things got pretty lively when they visited us. Dad had two sisters living here also; Rose, a nurse who graduated from the St. Marks Hospital, and was a nurse for Granite School District for years. He had another sister, Francis, who was also a nurse, but she died by drowning in the Liberty Park Pond. It was never decided whether it was suicide or murder. My mother always said she was a lovely young woman and so very good to all of us as children.
My Dad was about 17 years old when he came here to work on the railroad, but at the time he met mother they were both working at the old Troy Laundry on 9th South & State Street. He was a mechanic and she ironed shirts. Mother was a very pretty redhead and a hard worker, and Dad was handsome with brown eyes, black hair, and an olive skin. They were married and Dad built a little house on Dexter Street, about 4th North & 7th West. We lived there until I was about 4 years old, around 1924. From there we moved to 3371 So. 3rd East in Salt Lake.
I was the fourth child in a family of seven; Edward Amos, Milton George, Bessie Matilda, Thelma Elizabeth, Howard Charles and Harold James (twins), and the youngest, Arthur Earl who died when he was six weeks old of pneumonia and whooping cough. Our home on 3rd East was a two story one with 20 acres of ground. We raised most of our food on the ground we had, plus raised pork, chickens, and had a milk cow. We raised strawberries on the back acreage which we sold to Hotel Utah plus we had plenty left over for us to bottle. I still love the taste of bottled strawberries. My sister, Bess, and I never had to do outside chores, but we always had to help in the house, especially the dishes were ours to do. I think back about the lines and lines of washing mother did, yard work, housework and cooking, and wonder how she accomplished so much. Mother counted her time by weeks. Everything for the week had to be done from Monday to Saturday. She might stay up half the night, but it had to be done before Sunday. She believed Sunday was the Lord’s day and not for weekly chores.
Relatives stayed with us quite often, and we kids really enjoyed them. The ones who stayed with us the most were mother’s sisters, Aunt Lottie and Aunt Edie. It was a fun time for us when we could visit with our cousins. We also enjoyed Sunday after Sunday playing together as cousins while our mothers visited. My mother was very close to all her family, we have always stayed close to our cousins. Dad’s family were all in Iowa, except Aunt Rose & Uncle Charles, and her one son, Bill. We did visit them quite often also.
Dad and Mother were both hard workers and we always had a nice clean home with plenty of food and clothes that Mother usually made. Mother was a good mother, housekeeper, cook, seamstress, and was certainly kind and thoughtful to Dad. In fact, she was good at everything she did and was a woman of perpetual motion. Dad usually worked at his regular job and then fixed cars and machinery in his off time. He could repair and fix just about anything. Sometimes it had too many nails or an extra section of pipe, but it was fixed for good. We really never had an abundance of money, but through hard work and good managing, we got along well.
I went to Blaine School on the corner of Main Street and 33rd South for nine years, in fact it was ten years. I was sick with pneumonia, whooping cough, chicken pox and measles all in my first year of school. Needless to say, I took the first grade over. My school years were fun years. I loved school, and had many close friends during these years. I loved baseball, the operettas, the Christmas party with Santa Claus and, of course, the brown bag of candy and peanuts.
During these years I went to church at the old Miller Ward, west of the school. I loved attending Sunday School, and religion class during the week. I very seldom missed as mother, even though she did not go, always saw that we attended, and we were never allowed to do anything but visit relatives on Sunday. After Blaine School I attended Granite High School, and graduated from there in 1938. I can’t say that I was the “Belle of the Ball” during my school years, but there could never be a group like the one I was in that had more fun and more life to us than the group I enjoyed in church and school.
Most of my activities were centered around church during my high school years. We had firesides every month at someone’s home, and every Sunday night we would rush to one of the closest homes from church so not to miss the radio show “The Inner Sanctum”. The Worthington family played a big part in my life during this time. They always picked me up for church, and, in fact, all the meetings and activities. Wilma, Lola and I formed a close friendship during these years that will last the rest of our lives. I cannot remember us ever doing anything we needed to be ashamed of, but we did not miss many activities that went on around the area or in Salt Lake. We were the leaders in our Mutual groups and with them we planned much of our activities; swimming at Great Salt Lake, canyon parties, hay rides, sleigh riding down Millcreek Canyon, sleigh riding behind horses or cars, and ice skating or roller skating. It was such a fun time in my life.
During my high school years I was also a Girl Scout Leader. Being only a few years older than the girls I was teaching, we were a bunch of kids having fun and learning. We all have fond memories of this time even today when we see each other. My mother enjoyed this and helped me greatly as she did in everything I accomplished. She always talked about the girls in our troop in her later years, as it was a bright time in her life also.
I used to baby tend a lot in junior high and high school, and I also had a small apartment I cleaned each Saturday for about a year. I liked to work because I always liked to have my own money.
I loaned money to my brothers, but the best way to loan money to brothers, I learned, is for them to put up collateral. I ended up with quite a few of their treasures. As I have given them back to them over the years we have gotten quite a laugh over it.
After graduating in 1938 from Granite High School, I attended LDS Business College for about six months. I then went to work for Dr. Pepper Bottling Co., then Deseret Newspaper in the bookkeeping department. It was from here I left to go in the Navy. After returning from the Navy in 1945, I worked for the Veterans Administration for a service lawyer. I left there to get married, and when Connie was 10 months old I went to work for Lowes Pharmacy in Auerbachs on 3rd South and State Street. From there to the 1st So. Lowes, then I moved over to the Bryner Clinic Lowes where I work for two of the nicest people in the world. I am planning on retiring on April 11, 1984.
Sunday was always the day for our family to come home for dinner. ham, roast pork, chicken, and mother’s home canned vegetables and homemade bread were plentiful. It was fun for me to watch the grand children grow up, as I was the last one to leave home.
Every Christmas we traveled to each other’s home, and of course, came back home for a big dinner. Christmas to me when I was little was saying prayers on mother’s knee, so excited I could hardly talk and certainly could not sleep. Sitting on the upstairs steps waiting for the rest to get up. Hanging my brown long stocking up and having it filled with nuts, hard candy, and always an orange in the toe. Not a lot of toys, but the ones we got were good ones. The year we got roller skates, we skated around the house for days, in and out each room, what a patient mother! The year we got the table tennis we played for days on the round oak table with the leaves in, only to come down when it was time to eat, then up again.
The boys in our church group were going off to war, so not being the kind that were left out of anything, Wilma Worthington and I joined the Navy in 1943. She went to Kansas and I was sent to Oklahoma AM for schooling and was then sent to Washington D.C. where I worked in the cryptography department helping break the Japanese Code. I was in there 2 years 9 months and 13 days. I traveled quite a bit around the neighboring states, and did a lot of sightseeing in Washington D.C. and made some very nice friends.
When I returned from the Navy, I met the man of my life, Henry, in a bowling alley. My friend Lola and I were waiting for an alley one evening after mutual and we had been watching a couple of young fellows bowl. One of them I especially noticed as it seemed I had known him somewhere before, and there just seemed something special about him for me. Before they finished bowling, they came and asked us if we would like to bowl with them and then we could have the alley when they left. I had done quite a bit of bowling so, of course, I beat him. So Henry, to save face, asked me for a date to bowl to prove he could beat me, which, of course, I let him do. It was a match from then on and is a perfect match to this date. We were married on June 27, 1947. in the Salt Lake Temple. We had six children; Ted, Pauline, Louise, Gerald, Joel and Connie.
When we were first married we lived on Indiana Avenue just east of Redwood Road. We lived there for five years and then moved to 4940 So. Redwood Road where we raised our family. At one time we counted 50 children in about a 3/4 block area. Needless to say, the older ones had plenty of playmates. Redwood Road then became too busy for much “over the street” playing, so when Joel and Connie were small playmates were just not very close, so they spent a lot of time with the older brothers and sisters and were certainly a joy to us all.
Everyone of our children we feel is special in their own way. Ted, the tease with personality; Pauline, our leader; Louise, the creative one: Jerry, the noisy and talkative one; Joel, the quiet adventurous one; and of course Connie, the spoiled one. Together they have made an interesting family for us and have brought us nothing but joy. Not saying they were all perfect as we did have our hard times; but we feel blessed and are proud of the way they are living now and the love they all have for the Gospel and each other. Our new sons and daughters by marriage, Nancy Ann McPheeters, Jill Sartori, Nancy Smith, Craig Elison, Norm Butterfield, and Kevin Reese have added so much stability to our family. We appreciate the love and consideration they show for us.
With six children there was always enough to play games and have a good time, of which we did. Our Christmas’ were always exciting to me. No one got more excited than I did (a hangover from my childhood). Every year I would forget to put out one or two toys that I had bought, but the year I forgot to put out the skating dress for Louise was the worst. After seeing her disappointed face and asking me “why”, I did a quick shuffle and pretended it had gotten lost under some other presents. Never was there a dress that was skated in more.
Our camping, first in a borrowed tent of Jane’s, then our own tent, then our much used tent trailer, and then our step up to our trailer, were happy times and such a wonderful way to keep in touch with cousins. I used to feel like a mother hen when I would have my whole brood tucked in in such a little space each night.
I guess one of the hardest things in my life was when Pauline, the first one to leave, got married. I knew the rest would be following soon and I just didn’t feel ready for that. But I did adjust and would not have wanted any one of them not to have gone on to marriage and their own life.
I feel that life has been good to me, not an especially easy one, but very good. I feel blessed to have found a mate that I love and is so strong in the Gospel, as I knew I would need strength at times to keep me on the right path. I pray that I may never become a burden on my family or on anyone else, and that my health will endure to the end, and that my family will continue to show the love and consideration they do now as we get older and funnier.