All four of my grandparents were born in the early 1900s. So much has changed since my grandparents were kids. For example, during that time the first passenger flight took place, Theodore Roosevelt won his first presidential election, Cuba gained independence from the United States, Las Vegas was officially formed as a city, and not too long afterward the US Airmail Service was established costing 6 cents per ounce of mail.
My grandparents were all children when the Titanic sunk, the first electric sewing machine was built, the First World War began, and a silent film, The Wizard of Oz was made. When my grandfather was ten years old, the Boy Scouts of America was founded. Idaho had a huge fire known as the Big Burn which killed more than 80 people and was known as the worst fire in US histor during that time. .
In 1911, the first auto electric self start car was invented. Up until then, all cars were started by cranking a handle. By 1913, Ford introduced the continuous moving assembly line which could produce a complete car every two-and-a-half minutes. Workers were paid $5.00 per day.
Stainless steel did not exist before 1913 nor did Income Tax which was imposed on any income above $3,00. I can imagine both of my grandmothers being interested in the Suffrage Movement as women marched for the right to vote. The Rotary Dial Telephone was invented whereas before this every call that was made had to go through an operator.
A flu epidemic killed more than half a million Americans in 1918. It is interested that currently the coronovirus is a real threat to the modern world.
My father interviewed my paternal grandfather in 1964 where my grandpa tells of his childhood and upbringing. His father died when he was only five months old. He was brought up by his mother until she died when he was eight years old. He was raised in a polygamous family so he had several aunties that helped to care for him. Grandpa herded sheep to pay for his tuition.
Meantime, Grandma managed to live most of her young life in a log cabin with no electricity, no telephone, and no running water or indoor plumbing. It is hard to imagine life like that, but she was able to graduate from high school and became an excellent cook and seamstress. Even with the disadvantaged lives both of my paternal grandparents had, they were well educated and raised a fine family.
My maternal grandparents were similar in their upbringing, raised without many worldly goods. They survived by raising some of their own food. Grandpa excelled in school and was often the last one left undefeated in spelling contests. He could recite the time tables from one to twelve in two minutes. He loved participating in drama and choral training. I remember my Grandfather as being a very strict stern man. He went through many years of ill health and was in pain much of the time. He was devoted in his religion and raised four boys and my mother.
My maternal grandmother was one of the youngest of 12 children. I was named after my grandmother, Ruth Zina. They lived in a small town, Moroni, Utah. When she was young she got the flu and was very sick. She had to walk a long way to school. Once at school there was no furnace, but they had a big round stove in the middle of the room. She wore mostly hand me downs or clothes her mother made.
Grandma got baptized in a cold river near town. As a child, she worked in the beet fields. Mostly she played games outside like kick-the-can, hide and seek and others until late in the evening when her mother called for them. She ice skated in the winter. Her Christmas gifts were meager. She took a bath once a week in a round tub which was used to rinse clothes. Her mother washed clothes on a board until they got a wringer washer.
Grandmother tells in her journal how her mother made 12 loaves of bread every day as well as cookies, pies, buns, and cakes which would take her most of the day. My grandmother ended up being an excellent cook. Grandma was active in drama and chorus. She loved going to dances when she was young as well as having candy pulls and popping corn.
As I was reading my grandmother’s journal, I had to chuckle when I read this: Ruth took some classes at the BYU where she met Isileli Tupou Kongaika from Nuku’alofa,Tongatapu, Tonga. He had a musical group at the school and they were always on call for programs. Ruth having a beautiful singing voice was asked to join. This she did, and she and Isi began to sing together and this friendship soon ripened into love, and they were married on the 27th of October 1972 in the Provo Temple. After Isi finished college, they went to Tonga to live. She lived on the island for three years. They loved her as if she was one of their own. They all live as one big happy family. They have three children: Liana Olivia born 29 July 1973 at Provo, Utah, Robert James, born 2 October 1974 at Tofoa, Tongatapu, Joel Aholelei born 4 June 1978 at Provo. They came home from Tonga last spring. He went back to school and received his Masters degree in Manual Arts. He is teaching school in Sandy, Utah. we hope that he will be happy and want to stay in Utah. I would hate to see her and her family go back to Tonga.