Monday, December 10, 2012

Remembering my Dad...

I'd like to share some of the life sketch I wrote about my Dad on the remembrance of his 100th birthday - December 8, 2012.

Arnold George Albertson
Remembering him on the 100th anniversary of his birth
December 8, 1912 to December 8, 2012
He died on February 6, 1982 at age 69, almost 31 years ago.

  Daddy, we love you
and we still miss you.

From memory of his daughter, Eileen Albertson Petersen
Written February 6, 2009
We were in Argentina on our third mission together
and I guess I was thinking about my Dad
on the day that made 27 years since he had passed away.

ARNOLD GEORGE ALBERTSON was born December 8, 1912 in Jackson, Cassia County, Idaho to Clarence Albertson from Albion and Blanche Ilene Hartwell, originally from Salt Lake City, then Burley, Idaho. He was the oldest of their 8 children. 

When Arnold was about 10 they moved to Montana, and homesteaded a large ranch until his Dad had a severe head injury in a combine accident at harvest time, and was unconscious for 45 days. Clarence's sister, Salome, was a nurse and took Clarence to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.  After they did all they could, she had her brother and family move to Idaho in the Hagerman valley where she and her husband, Earl Justice, lived, so she could help take care of him.

Arnold, who was 13 at the time of the accident, had hidden all the money earned from the crops in an empty tomato can in their basement. When the authorities foreclosed on their home and ranch in Montana, Arnold was able to pay for the train tickets for his mother and siblings to get to Hagerman.
Arnold said his Dad was tough on them before, but after the accident became even meaner and beat their mother. When Arnold was about 16, he stood up to his Dad and said they weren't going to let their mother be treated that way anymore. He helped his mother get a divorce, and Clarence moved back to Albion where he lived near other Albertson relatives until his death there in Sept 1955. He had had no further contact with his wife and children; never knowing any of his grandchildren.

When I went to his funeral in Albion when I was 16, I couldn't believe I'd had a grandfather living that close to Wendell, where we lived, and I had never known him.

Arnold worked very hard to help his mother...even building a little house for her and the kids, after their little shack burned down. All the family photos and possessions burned in the fire, but the 8 children were okay. 

 Arnold graduated from Hagerman High School when he was older than 18 because he'd not had a chance to go to school regularly from working on the farm so much. During the Depression he worked in the CCC's up in the McCall forest area where they were building roads. He was the cook and one day ate a whole huge #10 can of the canned pineapple, which he'd never had before, but after that he never liked pineapple again.  He sent most of his paycheck home every week to his mother to buy food for the family.

He fell in love with Verna Huffaker from Wendell when he was 23 and she was 15.  He kept trying to get her to drop out of school and marry him but she insisted she wanted to finish school.

Finally, at the start of her senior year, when she was 17, he "dared" her to elope and she "double dared" him back, and they with their best friends, Marie and Ralph, had a double wedding the next day in Hailey.
He worked as a cook and card dealer in Wendell, Hagerman, Ketchum, then as the goal tender at the Guggenheim Gold Mine in Jarbridge, Nevada. When the gold ran out and the mine closed, he had friends in Long Beach, California who convinced him to come to ship fitter school there and then got him a job in the ship yards in October 1941. It took him 3 months to find housing and earn enough money for us to join him.

I was born a year and three months after they married, so got to be in Wendell, Hagerman, Ketchum, Jarbridge, then to California with them.

 That's my first memory, at age 3 riding on the bus with my Mom to California a month after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.  My Mom said I would wink at all the sailors and soldiers on the bus and they winked back.  The day that World War II was over--2 September 1945* (footnote 1)-- we were in downtown Long Beach taking my Grama Huffaker to the Greyhound bus station for her return to Idaho after visiting us.  Confetti and ticker tape were everywhere in the air, horns honking, people crowding in the streets and everyone so happy.

That same month we moved back to Wendell, Idaho, where Daddy began to work as a carpenter and did that for the rest of his life. 

Because of the complications my mother had after my birth, she was told she would never be able to have more children.  However, when I was 10 1/2 my baby sister, Janice was born. Mom told me that Arnold could not wait to get home after work to play with her.  We were all overjoyed to become a family of four.

Mom had gotten her high school diploma while in California through a correspondence course, and when I was a junior and senior she went to night classes at the Twin Falls Business College after working at the Wendell Cleaners all day. She was able to get a great job as secretary to the boss of the Southern Idaho Production Credit Association in Gooding. Daddy didn't want her driving on the roads in the winter, and since he had to drive all over Magic Valley anyway for his carpentry jobs, he said Gooding would be their new hometown.

Right after the war we lived in the old McBurney teacherage school house out in the country near my grandparents.  When it was put up for auction, Daddy bought it, had it moved to town, and built on to it making it into a beautiful home.  [Photo at left; home on Utah St., Gooding, Idaho below 1957-61,]
Then when they moved to Gooding in 1957, right after I had graduated from Wendell High School and gone to business college in Salt Lake City, they rented a tiny house while he built Mom her "dream home."  [Sorry we don’t have a photo. Janice do you have a photo of it?]

However, he sold it before she got to live in it because he was afraid he couldn't make the payments of $120 a month.  Mom made $200 a month at the PCA and I don’t know if he made much more than that in carpentry.  He bought a little 20x28 house on Wyoming Street and kept building on to it until it became a beautiful home for her, which she doesn't want to leave.
My Dad ended his carpenter years as the maintenance man for the new Tupperware plant in Jerome, commuting from Gooding.  He had just retired and was planning to open "Arnold's Antiques" in the big honey shed behind their home that had come with the original purchase. Mom and Dad had collected lots of wonderful antiques from many Saturday auctions all over the Magic Valley. Mom had one more year until her retirement in 1983 after 26 years at her great job with the Southern Idaho PCA.  So Arnold had been looking at trailers for them to do some traveling in.

 He loved to fish, and when I was little I would go with him to the Malad River in Hagerman...until I saw a snake there, and that ended my fishing trips with my Dad.

But his retirement plans never materialized when he was diagnosed with colon cancer in August 1981, and after 4 surgeries, the doctors told him the tumor was growing faster than they could cut it out.

My Daddy was converted and baptized in July 1954. Arnold and Verna were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple the day Walt and I were married there, June 14, 1961. Janice and I were sealed to our parents.

He would call his grandkids "little scaliwags," and it was a joy to me that our boys got to go fishing with him and Grampa Huffaker one time.

He liked to tease and loved baseball. When I was a junior, during the World Series of 1955, he "rented" a TV set. He was so excited to actually see the games that he never took the TV back, arranging to make payments until he owned it. That's why I'm a die-hard Yankee fan to this Daddy loved the Yankees. 

He was quiet, like his mother and never liked to stand out in a crowd, and was a staunch Democrat, which I am not. Mom said they just canceled out each other's vote at election time. He was a union man, believing the unions helped the working man, but the Union didn't come through for him at his death, not giving his widow the right benefits.  However, she has had a good retirement pension from her years with PCA.

His mother, Blanche Ilene Hartwell Albertson, passed away on July 27, 1966, at the age of 72.  She is buried at the Hagerman, Idaho Cemetery

He smoked and drank coffee for many years, and he said Mom learned how to make really good coffee for him, even though she never drank it.  I heard him occasionally cuss a little when he hit his finger with the hammer.  But I never heard him take the Lord's name in vain.  Two weeks before he died I heard him say: 'Damn cancer!" 

I look forward to seeing him again in the Spirit World. I pray each day that he is happy and successful in his missionary work in heaven.   I wish he could come get Mom soon.

      End of this life sketch I wrote in 2009 from memory because I had none of our family histories with me in Argentina.  I have just added the photos for this 2012 update.

Arnold & Verna have 2 children, 11 grandchildren, and 45 great-grandchildren with 1 more due in March 2014.   I hope to post some photos of his posterity, also.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello Eileen:

My name is Sue Simonich and I am the admin. for the George Morris web site. I was wondering if you would contact me at Please put Morris family in the subject line. Thanks for getting back to me.

Sue Simonich