in the late 1960’s I was the home teacher of one of the sons of Joseph F.
Smith. He loved his father very much.
He lived in the Salt Lake City avenues at about 5th Avenue and “N” street. I have forgotten his name. Would [anyone] happen to know the name of this man? I would be most appreciative of any help you can give me.
In our modern age of streaming media and scheduled recreation, it’s easy to forget what childhood used to be like—the everyday discoveries and delights, the hilarious catastrophes and small triumphs. No Ordinary Life is a time machine taking us back to Depression-era Salt Lake City, where Helen grew up making wonderful memories: “Spring was here! I coaxed Mama to let me leave my coat home. That way everyone could see my new dress! And that gave me two things to brag about, because most of the children were still cumbered with their winter coats. I was so excited at being center stage, I was talking non-stop as we arrived at school, and opened the doors to the long closet in back to remove our coats. As I sat, I became aware of an unusual silence. Strange. The bell hadn’t rung. I looked around to see what was the matter, and I heard some giggles and whispers, and I saw a girl point at me. I looked at me too. I was sitting there in my petticoat. Instantly I knew what had happened. I had absent-mindedly taken off my button-down-the-front-dress as if it were my coat, and hung it up with everyone else!” Despite poverty and stress, Helen’s stories focus on joy and adventure . . . while providing a poignantly authentic lens on her family and herself. No Ordinary Life is the first book of The Greatest Gamble series, and covers Helen’s life from her earliest memories through junior high.
In the fall of 1847 Mary Fielding
Smith and her brother, Joseph Fielding, made a trip down the Missouri River to
St. Joseph, Mo., for the purpose of obtaining provisions and clothing for the
family, and for the journey across the plains the following spring. Joseph F. Smith was almost nine years of age
at this time and accompanied his mother and uncle on this journey as a
teamster. The following excerpts are
from Life of Joseph F. Smith,” pp. 131-134.
Returning to Winter Quarters, we
camped one evening in an open prairie on the Missouri River bottoms. We usually
unyoked our oxen and turned them loose to feed during our encampments at night,
but this time, on account of the proximity of [a] herd of cattle, fearing that
they might get mixed up and driven off with them, we turned our oxen out to
feed in their yokes. Next morning when
we came to look them up, to our great disappointment our best yoke of oxen was
not to be found. Uncle Fielding and I
spent all the morning, well nigh until noon, hunting for them but without
avail. Tramping through this grass and through the woods and over the bluffs,
we were soaked to the skin, fatigued, disheartened and almost exhausted.
In this pitiable plight I was the
first to return to our wagons, and as I approached I saw my mother kneeling
down in prayer. I halted for a moment
and then drew gently near enough to hear her pleading with the Lord not to
suffer us to be left in this helpless condition, but to lead us to recover our
lost team, that we might continue our travels in safety. When she arose from her knees I was standing
near by. The first expression I caught
upon her precious face was a lovely smile, which, discouraged as I was, gave me
renewed hope and an assurance I had not felt before.
A few moments later Uncle Fielding came to the camp, wet
with the dews, faint, fatigued and thoroughly disheartened. His first words were, “Well, Mary, the cattle
Mother replied in a voice which
fairly rang with cheerfulness, “Never mind, your breakfast has been waiting for
hours; and now, while you and Joseph are eating, I will just take a walk out
and see if I can find the cattle.”
My uncle held up his hands in blank
astonishment, and if the Missouri River had suddenly turned to run up stream,
neither of us could have been much more surprised. “Why, Mary,” he exclaimed, “What do you
mean? We have been all over this
country. . .and our oxen are gone–they are not to be found. I believe they have been driven off, and it
is useless for you to attempt to do such a thing as to hunt for them.”
“Never mind me,” said mother, “get
your breakfast and I will see,” and she started toward the river, following
down spring creek. Before she was out of
speaking distance the man in charge of the herd of beef cattle rode up from the
opposite side of the creek and called out, “Madam, I saw your oxen over in that
direction this morning about daybreak,” pointing in the opposite direction from
that in which mother was going. We heard
plainly what he said, but mother went right on, paid no attention to his remark
and did not even turn her head to look at him.
A moment later the man rode off rapidly toward his herd. and they were
soon under full drive for the road leading toward Savannah. My mother continued straight down the little
stream of water until she stood almost on the bank of the river, and then she
beckoned to us. I outran my uncle and
came first to the spot where my mother stood.
There I saw our oxen fastened to a clump of willows growing in the
bottom of a deep gulch . . . perfectly concealed from view.
Joseph F. Smith later said, “It was
one of the first practical and positive demonstrations of the efficacy of
prayer I had ever witnessed. It made an
indelible impression on my mind, and has been a source of comfort, assurance
and guidance to me throughout all of my life.”
I chose to title this
painting by Emily S. Reynolds of that formative event: “EVER AFTER, I
KNEW.” Joseph knew God answers prayers;
he knew of his mother’s profound faith.
Hi, my name is Lynn Pulsipher, the compiler of A Peculiar People, and I wanted to let you know of it’s availability at Eborn Books @ 254 S. Main in Salt Lake City. It is a printing of 500 copies with 35 leather-bound copies. It is listed at www.ebornbooks.com. Please inquire of Bret Eborn. Thank you and have a nice evening, Lynn Pulsipher