Missionary Journal


of


L. Ira and Rhoda J. P. Wakefield


1944-1945


Zuni Indian Mission





June 1944     This little book has been so neatly kept by our dear son Melvin before he was called into the service of his country (April 6, 1943) and had no further need for it as a cash and expense account, so I have decided to use it as a diary for our missionary work.  My husband and I were called and set apart May 14, 1944 at Snowflake, Arizona by our Arizona Apostle Spencer W. Kimball.  We were not only willing to accept this Mission call but were happy and thankful for the privilege of performing the same.  When we came so near our death in the dreadful car accident, that took the life of my Mother and which has caused me much suffering, I have wondered “What was I spared for?"  Surely it was this.  Do my Father & Mother know?  Yes, I think they do.  It has been almost three and a half years since this accident happened.  For more than two years I was almost bed-ridden.  The third winter we went to Mesa and worked in the Temple.  Rented a room at the Jarvis's just across the street south.  I couldn't get around much, had to go into the hospital with my leg.  Didn't let the children know I was there...


Sat. 17     We left our home in Taylor and started on our Mission to the Navajo-Zuni Indians.  Though we feel weak in this undertaking, like Nephi of old, we have faith that surely the Lord God will require nothing at our hands save he will open the way for us to accomplish the same.  It is of no little significance to us that Ira's Father, Joseph B. Wakefield, filled a mission to these same people as early as 1877, in connection with Ira Hatch, for whom L. Ira was named in the fall of 1878.  Also, my Grandfather, Mother's Father, came on trips with Jacob Hamblin sometime in the 1860's.  This man was Mosiah L. Hancock, son of Levi W. Hancock.  Also two of my Uncles, my Father's brothers, John H. and Brigham Young Perkins filled missions to these same people, laboring as far as Zuni, N.M.  So, for this reason, we believe this was our heritage, bequeathed us by our Fathers before us.


Upon reaching Crystal, N. M. which consists of an Indian School and Trading Post, we had not the least idea where to inquire or who to ask for, but happened to stop at the very house where hospitable friends said, "We have been looking for you.  Your house is practically ready, but you must stay with us tonight and we will make everything ready for your comfort tomorrow."


Sun. 18      We came in too late Sat. to make any preparation for Sunday.  So when our friends, who are not members of our Church, were going out to one of the little streams to see if they could find some fish and asked us to go along so they could show us the way to Howela Polacca's, a member, we decided to go that far and stay until the party came back.  This we did and had a most enjoyable visit with this family.  We found his good wife a most capable and intelligent woman.  We set out our lunch with the dinner they prepared and ate with them.  She had baked fresh yeast-bread, which was very good.  We enjoyed the meal and our visit as well.  We find them very faithful members and, as Sister Polacca speaks very good English, she is very valuable as an interpreter.  Upon returning home, which is a part of the trading post with two rooms fixed for us, we were visited by three members of the Church; Imelda Nez & Mr. and Mrs. Tom Moore, also several children.  This made us seem welcome.


Mon. 19      Two men called in to have us read their letters.  One from his boy in the service and one from a sister working in Gallup, N.M. whose sister had been taken to Ft. Defiance for an appendicitis operation.


Tue. 20       Worked most of the day putting up curtains and making other arrangements for housekeeping, also wrote some letters to the children.


Thur. 22, June 1944      Wrote some more letters to let our friends know of our whereabouts and got them on their way in Friday's mail.  There are only two mail deliveries a week.  At home I could not wait for the mail to come everyday.  I'm afraid it will sometimes seem long between letters and, no doubt, will be.


Fri. 23 No mail yet.  Today was our dear Grace's birthday.  So far Grace has not had an easy life.  I hope there is plenty of joy for her in the future.  She deserves more.


Sat. 24The young couple who were keeping the store at the old trading post, once a somewhat pretentious dude ranch, left

Friday evening for Farmington to take a sister of theirs who had been visiting them for a week or two.  This lady, Mrs. Swanson, had

three lovely children.  Her husband is in the Navy so Ira has been keeping the store in their absence.  It has been filled with natives all

day.  A good way to meet and get acquainted.


Sun. 25 Today has been a spiritual feast.  Brother Ralph Wm. Evans, our Mission President, came from Shiprock, N.M., to get us started in our work in this little branch.  His wife and three lovely children were with him.  We held our meeting at 2 PM.  There were 5 present, which was a great satisfaction to us when we had been working here such a short time.  We carried out the suggested program on the Martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum Smith.  Sister Evans told the story beautifully of Joseph’s first vision, interpreted by Sis. Nez.  President Evans, Bro. Wakefield, and I spoke and our remarks were interpreted by John Damon, non-member, but his family belongs...  I trust that we will be able to go forth in our new work in the spirit that our brethren have bestowed through their blessings and that, with the help of the Lord, we will be able to do the work.


Tues. 27      Some little girls came and brought me a lovely bouquet of wild flowers.  The little folks are shy but friendly, they like to be noticed and made over.


Wed. 28      I have been laid up today with my foot which has bothered me ever since my accident.  I feel that I must have this

trouble healed.  We want to get on our way and visit the people and I cannot afford to be crippled.


Sun.  July 2     This was testimony day.  Our meeting was not so large as last Sunday, but a good spirit prevailed.  The plans were made to meet with other branches of the Navajo Mission at a certain point on the mountain.  Howela & Mrs. Polacca spent a good share of the day with us.  The air is heavy, threatens to rain.  It seems rather lonely off here alone when the sky is dark & thundering.


Mon. 3      We had a young soldier boy, home on furlough, call on us today.  Said he wants to be baptized.  Has been in the service for four year.  Has been quite severely wounded while in Hawaii, but seems well and fine now.  Also another young man wanted some of our literature.  Pretty good when they come to the house for what we can give them.


Tues. 4      Independence Day, but how different from what I have known since a little girl when I used to love so much to see the old red white and blue unfurled.  I held my first Relief Society today.  The Polaccas ate dinner with us.  She is a most intelligent woman and will help me ever so much with my work.  Mrs. Elizabeth Hamstreet, mother of five little children, and whose husband is in the army, called on me and brought me some flowers.  Everybody seems so kind and thoughtful.  I think we can really be happy in our work.  The War is the cause of any unrest.  A card from Leland with change of address—New York City, shows his departure for overseas.  May our Heavenly Father guard always is our prayer.


Sat. 8      Have only done a little house work so far.  Ira washed the noon dishes.  He is so good.  Now I want to prepare something for tomorrow to give some Book of Mormon talk.  The truck has just come in from Farmington.  Droves of Indians have come in too.  They are buying the store out.  Here come two gaily dressed squaws driving a covered wagon.  Several drive cars.  They have been branding stock close by.  One would almost think it was a rodeo celebration there is so much excitement going on.  Don Hanson, of one of the old pioneer families of Lakeside, is stock overseer of Crystal and Fort Defiance.


Wed. 12, July 1944    Took the washing up.  The Indians dipping sheep.  Mr. Collyer went to Gallup and brought the mail back.  A

number of letters for us, including one from Maurice in Alaska & one from Leland already somewhere in the Mediterranean area.  He

had flown across and did the navigation himself.  It was a relief to know he was across, but still a great anxiety to know he was going

in farther to the terrible battlefield.


Sun. 16      Held a meeting today.  The Polaccas ate dinner again with us today.  Most everybody went to the rodeo at the sawmill so our meeting was not large.


Tues. 18      Today I think was spent profitably.  I had asked some of the families to come today and I would help them fix up their family records.  We spent at least three hours talking and explaining the gospel to Mr. John Damon.  The news says this has been one of the biggest days in the war.  Russia has taken 600 towns in a very few days.  The Americans have launched a big air offensive.  The troops have made a big headway...


Wed. 19     Back to our old tricks.  Ira has spent the day working on a kitchen work table and small cupboard above it.  I just can't

seem to get along without doing a little building up, improving I call it, wherever I am.  Received a letter from Leland too. 

He says he is in Italy, has been in Africa.  There has been some kind of a big international disturbance in Japan.  Tojo has resigned,

been fired or something.  The news continues to sound good, generally.  The day has been filled with Democratic Convention in

Chicago and selecting FDR for a 4th term.  He seems to be the only man for the place at present with the war on.


Sun. 23      We held a small Sunday School with just the Lee Children.  In the afternoon we devoted our Services to the exodus of the pioneers from Nauvoo and some of the hardships they endured.


Mon. 24      Mail day again and a goodly supply of letters.  One from Leland in Italy says he has already had seven flying missions, has been wonderfully protected so far.  Father in Heaven, please continue to protect him is his Mother's prayer.  This is Pioneer Day.  In many of our communities they are paying honor to our noble parents and grand parents who faced the dangers of the desert, and braved everything for the glorious gospel and freedom we enjoy.  I have felt rather sad today, but thankful.


Tues. 25      Went to Fort Defiance to get our brakes fixed, but were unable to get it done.  In the evening we drove up to the Indian school.  Dad hoed some in the garden that the people who had kept the store planted before they went back to Farmington.  Told us we might have anything there.  I had a long conversation with Mrs. Keseeker, wife of the teacher of the school here at Crystal.  We find they are people of the highest class.  Do not believe in drinking or smoking.  We left some tracts with them.


Wed. 26      Another idle day so far as preaching the gospel goes.  I go into the store sometimes to meet and get acquainted with

the Indians, but most of then don't speak English so we don't get far.  It is evening now.  Dozens of women & children are going in

and out of the store.  They all seem to have plenty of money now to get along.  The women mostly hang to a native costume, which is

not at all unbecoming, long full skirts with a wide ruffle and a brightly colored blouse adorned, part way down the front, with costly

silver ornaments.  Sometimes they wear great heavy belts made of medallions of silver.


Sat. 29     This is the day we are to depart for our Conference in the mountains.  Bro. & Sis. Wilkins, also Elder Johnston from Zuni

drove in...  what an afternoon it has been.  Car trouble, that is with our car, all the way.  If they could push or pull it enough to get it

to the top of the hill it would run fine till it came to another hill, then it just would not climb it.  As the entire distance was a climb,

we didn't make any progress without pushing and pulling.  We have decided to abandon the task for the present.


Sun. 30      It was decided at the end of a hard day that I would get in the Wilkin's car and go on to conference.  If I could get a pickup over there I would send it back to help Ira.  There was no pickup in camp when we arrived there at midnight.  After wandering all over creation looking for our bunch, we were finally directed by a young Navajo they call Clyde, interpreter for the Conference.  I met the missionaries, Elder & Sister Robert E. Lyman, their daughter, now Mrs. McQueen, also Elder and Sister Barton, the missionaries who had just left Crystal before we came in...  Our meetings were good.  In the morning Sister Polacca gave her testimony.  She told a wonderful manifestation given her that the Book of Mormon was true.  Anyone hearing her relate it knows she spoke the truth.  Our friend John Damon was there but intended going home the way he had come.  I told him how Ira had been forced to remain in the Canyon.  He said he would go back that way and help him out.  We found him where we had left him, the car headed for home.  We had no trouble starting it and being down hill it almost coasted itself to our door.


Tues.  Aug. 1     Yesterday's mail brought another letter from Leland.  He has never had any mail from home although he left the states the latter part of June.  The letters we have written, although via airmail, have never reached him.  I hope the dear boy has received it by now.  Ira is helping John Damon haul hay. It will partly compensate for the good turn he did us Sunday.  The war news: The old city Warsaw, Capitol of Poland, so old nobody knows when it was built is tottering under allied blows.  It will be in their hands soon.


Wed. 2      How terrible, they continue to fight.  The allies continue to make successful advances on all fronts but the Germans also send out destructive bombs over England.


Thurs. 3      Planes from Italy out everyday, RAF English out every night.  Russians are on German soil.  Turkey broke relations with Germany.  Finland seeks separate peace.


Fri. 4      More mail, among which was another letter from Leland.  Says he has already flown 1/4 th of his missions since being there

a little over two weeks.  Says they are planning on celebrating the 24th of July, or Pioneer Day.  Is still with Elder Cannon, Pres.

Heber J.Grant’s grandson.  Our dear faithful LDS Elders strive to live their religion wherever they are.  There are many fine

musicians too among them...  How I pray in my heart always for his safety.


Sat. 5      I have been sick since yesterday and all night.  My back has broken down so that I could hardly move or turn in my bed.  I had Ira administer to me and I feel much better.  I do not like to mention being sick at any time, but often feel quite bad until I sometimes wonder just how everything will be with me...  But I should not think of such small troubles or afflictions as these.  When Elder Kimball set me apart he prayed for my health to improve so I would be able to fill my mission, and I have faith it will be so.


Sun. 12      Even if most of the people did go away (to an Indian celebration in Gallup) we had a nice meeting after all.  Ten of us were present, three investigators who seemed interested, one, Mrs. Harry Arthur.  I commenced at the first of the Book of Mormon...  Mrs. May Francisco, who has two sons in the army overseas, said the story I told was like the Navajo legends.  She believed it was true.  She felt cheered up to come and hear good things.  Her boys had been baptized.  She was lonely, did not hear from one anymore.  She liked to come to Church but was afraid to be baptized.  The water was cold, she was not used to it, and was getting old and sometimes sick...


Sat. 19     The Indians are moving their camp to another location.  Some are in wagons loaded with food and bedding, some on

horseback.  They make their camping grounds their home.  Some are driving back herds of sheep they took along for safe keeping.


Sun. 20      Only had a small meeting today.  Those who came had been out celebrating and could not stay awake.


Mon. 21      We left for home (Taylor) to attend Conference and the dedication of our new Chapel.  We took our friends, the Polaccas, with us.  Thought they might want to stop with the people they knew in Snowflake, but they seemed to want to go on up and see our house.  Grace and Clyde made them welcome.  They slept on the lawn and enjoyed it very much.


Sun.  Sept 3, 1944      Held no meeting today (members have gone to another rodeo or celebration) so decided to go to the other church as we had not ever attended it.  They have quite a large congregation. Their Elders all speak Navajo, giving them the advantage in some ways.  I wanted them to mention to us a portion of their text.  Felt I could help them out very much, but nothing was said to us, even a civil greeting wasn’t given.  After church we took one of their members, Mrs. Watchman, home four miles out.  I talked with her of the Book of Mormon.  She seemed much interested and said she would like to read it.  Hope to be able to see and talk to her again.


Sun. 10      Our meeting was small today.  We had no one to interpret for us so we had to give what we had for them in English.  Oh, I wish we could talk directly to them.  Feel sure we could accomplish more good.  I am doing some work in a missionary line, writing letters to some non-members.  My cousin, in Chicago, says she is ready for baptism.  I truly hope she understands what she is doing.  Our allies have gone onto German soil today according to the news received by radio.  No doubt the fighting will be more bitter now.  Proud old Germany will not give up as long as she can make a stand, but will fight to the last drop of blood.  Her poor people.


Mon. 11     This is our dear Melvin's birthday.  How is it possible that dear one in 23, one of the last two we always called our "little

boys", sometimes the "Wakefield Twins."  How sweetly he and Leland used to sing together.  Melvin carried the alto.  The mail came

today carrying many letters from the children.  How happy it makes us to hear from any of them.  Ira took an Indian couple one.  She

is just out of the hospital with a new baby, cute, just about the cutest thing I've seen.  I said I would like so much to have it and send it

to Gerald and Zelda for a present.  Wonder what they'd think of that?


Tue. 12      We held our first Primary today in the Library room of the day school building.  Our attendance was small, only eight including the Lee children.  We are told that many of our children will start to school later.  The other churches, Catholic and Protestants, have the majority of the people.  That is one of the problems we are faced with How we can over come these conditions remains to be seen.  We truly need divine aid and assistance.


Sun. 17      We brought our people to the house yesterday and had a nice meeting.  They were slow gathering, but by the time they were all there we had a house full and a splendid time.  This is also dear Geraldine's birthday.  Like other things that have happened, it does not seem possible that 15 years have gone since the dear little thing came to our house, for that is where she was born.  Our 3rd grandchild.  She was only a month old when her little brother just older, called "Bubby" took seriously ill end on the last day of Nov. passed away, also at our home.  It was a severe trial to all the family.  He was such a beautiful child and was dearly loved by all of us.  Many things have happened since but still we struggle on knowing our trials are sometimes our greatest blessings.


Sun. 24     Another day we were unable to hold Church.  Nobody came but Clara and Rose. We entertained them at the house for two

hours, but could not do much talking with then.  In the evening we went up to the Keseeker’s and talked for an hour or two with

them.


Wed. 27      A busy day for traders & sheep men.  They buy the Indian's sheep and let them have credit for months ahead.  Also buy their blankets and take jewelry, which they pawn, sometimes $75-$100 worth.  They (the Indians) buy fine velvet plush shirt patterns, shoes, all kinds of men’s and children’s clothing, and fruits and vegetables, which Jim Collyer brings from Farmington.  Most of the women keep quite generally to their native costumes of velvet shirts and full, bright colored skirts, though they are wearing them considerably shorter than a few years ago.


Thur. 28      Rain, rain constantly for four days.  Not much chance to get out and visit.  Spent most of the day writing letters as tomorrow is mail day again.  The Indians are still bringing in their lambs.  I think mostly to pay Collyer for their living through the past year.  Another letter from Leland.  He has had a short vacation in Rome.  Only three day off and back he goes into those terrible bombing raids over an unknown country.  May Heaven have pity on our poor boys.  The radio last night reported 49 bombers failing to return.


Sat. 30 Sept. 1944      Called on Harry Arthur.  He gave us a book exposing Mormonism.  The Churches here really scatter that stuff

around.


Oct.       All this month we have had trouble getting enough of our people out to hold our Churches.  Since they have moved the

school some are having to go away, or have to herd the sheep, since their children went away.  All of the older ones go away for the

winter, so the parents get no help from them but in the summer.  Last Sat night we had a social in our little hall, played games and

had much fun.  They all seemed to enjoy themselves, said they would come out to Church better, but the next Sunday they had

another fair at Shiprock and a lot of then went there.  The children could not even come to Primary.  This made me feel rather

discouraged but I know there are very few of our people left.  John Damon & his family have moved away.  They said they would try

and come in Sunday but after that they would be too far away.  The Polaccas have not come back.


Tue. 10     Today should have been Relief Society but they do not come.  I decided that anything I could do to help them would be all

I could do at this time.  This morning I wrote two letters for a woman whose two sons are on overseas duty and whose father had just

died.  The children feel very bad.  I talked to them to encourage them.


Wed. 11      About noon we received a message that Gerald, and Zelda were in Taylor and wanted to know if we could come.  Of course we said—Yes.  By one o'clock we were on our way hardly stopping anywhere until we encountered a rainstorm which poured down the windshield for a while until we could hardly see.  However, we made it home a little after dark and were overjoyed to see our children again.  It had been almost four years since Gerald had been called to us when we had met with the terrible accident that had almost been our undoing.


Thur. 12     Another birthday with letters and presents from all the children.   We ate dinner at the old home where Grace and her

family are living at present which made it seem like home sweet home.


Sat. 14      This was my dear Father's birthday.  It seemed fitting that we should be able to meet together at this time. Melva (Rhoda’s

sister) was here to spend the evening while Jim and the children were at the show.


Sun. 15      Another Sunday in the new chapel.  They called on me for the opening prayer.  Ira spoke in the afternoon meeting, and

oh, the sincere sermon our dear son Gerald gave.  No one else could compare.  He is so humble and always gives the credit for any

accomplishment to the Lord.  After meeting we went to Clay Springs where Zoe and I stayed while Dad and Gerald went out with the

hunters till Thursday.  No results, not even a turkey did they get.


Wed. 18     Here came Joe and Marva hunting us.  When they found we were all in Taylor they left Prescott to look us up.


Sun. 22     No meeting today.  A big Fire Dance in progress and everybody is there.  It is only three miles so we decided to attend.

The third day they have been going on.  Just before dark we wound our way among cars, wagons, horses, camps of every kind, with

loads of bedding, apples, sacks of potatoes, mutton, bread, melons, and everything to eat whenever and wherever they got hungry.

The Polaccas were there cooking and serving all hours.  We were told if we wanted to see anything we had better find places inside

the circle.  This was made by pine boughs piled high and so thick they were almost interwoven.  The spaces all around, next to the

circle of limbs, were filled with small fires.  By the side of each lay a huge pile of wood to replenish them as they burned down.  In

the center was one huge pile of wood stacked wigwam fashion, around which the dancers performed.  When this big fire was lighted

from torches and was burning brightly all around, a weird chant, or wail, was heard outside and in marched eleven men in all, ten in

what is commonly known as their birthday suits, considerably lightened by a coat of chalk or some native white wash.  This was

absolutely all except some be jeweled, or befringed fancy breech-clothes.  This group, led by our friend Obery Francisco, their big

Medicine Chief and Tribal Council member, he being dressed in fringed buckskin coat, led then around and around the large fire

which was so hot the crowd was forced back as the heat become so intense one wondered why they did not blister or draw up like so

many bacon rinds.  They hopped in and out to the measured beat of time pounded out on the braided straw plaque.  Not much for

music but. perfect time is kept.  They appeared to be trying to light their torches but, apparently, they could not bear the torture of

those hot flames.  So, after darting hither and yon, like so many scorched-winged butterflies, they made a none-too-graceful exit

which ended the first act.  Prolonged mournful wails and weird songs continued all through the acts.  Some of these were very

interesting, especially some young dancers, a young woman, the rest were boys and young men.  At about 1 o'clock, with difficulty,

we wound our way from among the mass of sleeping children and weary old folks who never thought of leaving until sunup the next

day.


Mon. 30 Oct 1944      Enjoyed our day with a visit from the Poloccas.  Celebrated her birthday with another Relief Society meeting.  Plans for a Christmas fund were discussed.  The Church has sent some clothing to distribute.  As soon as some of our people were seen coming out with their coats and shoes Indians swarmed the rest of the day carrying off most everything.  The Polaccas stayed that night.


Tue. 31      Until a late hour we sat and listened to Bro. and Sis.  Polacca tell Indian legends and relate testimonies in answer to prayer.  The Hopis have four altars, typical perhaps of altars built by the Nephites when they arrived at the land Bountiful before leaving the Red Sea.  They claim they were in the forks of two rivers called Red River.  They built one after they arrived in the Promised Land.  If a Hopi should die away from his family, he could not be buried in the sacred clothing provided the worthy of his tribe.  As a consequence, after he was buried and his spirit started for the Happy Hunting Grounds, he would have to remain in a valley or certain place until a relative, Uncle or Aunt, or someone provided him with the clothing to go on.  That is so such like our baptism for the dead to redeem them from the prison to which they are confined, until their work is done by some of their relatives, so they can go on in their progression, the same as any other person who has embraced the gospel and is heir to the blessings of Eternity when they can go on forever.


Wed. 1 Nov.     Today has been a busy one for us.  Pres. Evans sent some Church clothing which we have been distributing.  The

Indians were quite amused at some of the things.  They found some good shoes and coats, but laughed at the ample size of most of

the overalls and some other things which they would hardly look at.  They wear good clothes and even for a quarter or a dime they

would not consider anything that would not fit and look well.


Thur. 2     This afternoon we visited the place where they were making the sand paintings. The Medicine Man, Obery Francisco, had

told us we might come and see them at 4 o'clock.  We went inside the hogan where they had smoothed the ground away, then put

sand so neatly laid within two raised trails leading to a round design decorated with colored sand and covered with a white buckskin

where, he told us, a woman would sit for several hours while they prayed for their dead to go on, or rather, live on, forever.  Obery

said, "Like you believe and teach that you will live on and on through all eternity.”  He is a fine old friend.  His boys all belong to our

Church.


Sat. 4      Last night, another letter from Leland, tells us he has flown his 50 missions (over Germany--he was a navigator in a

bomber flying out of Italy) and expects to come back to the States before long.  How I hope and pray for him.


Mon. 6      A bigger houseful than ever.  Today is mail day.  The store has been closed all day, owing to the bad weather, the owner couldn't get over the mountain.  We may have had from 15-20 callers, some waiting for the mail.  I took occasion to talk gospel again.


Wed. 8      The news has begun to come in confirming (FDR's 4th term).  Everything has gone Democratic.  This is also Father Ira's birthday.  He is 64 year old.  His presents from the kids are beginning to come.


Fri. 10      Leland has flown his 50 missions and was in Rome, soon bound for the good old US.  He has filled the required amount of

combat in a remarkably short time, it seems, because many of them are doing, what they call, double-duty, lasting many long hours.

An article in the Holbrook Tribune says he wears the Air Medal, the Three Oak Cluster, and European Theatre Ribbon.  He never

says anything about himself, but says he has met a distant relative from Idaho, from Levi Ward Hancock line, who wears enough

decorations to adorn a Christmas tree.  May the Lord still bless and preserve him.


Sun. 12 Nov 1944      Bro. Polacca was here and ate dinner with us.  Stayed until 2:30.  When no more people showed up (for Church) he decided to go on home.  Just after he left the rest of our congregation came.  We took them to the house, but no regular meeting was held.  Sis. Polacca had not returned from Farmington.  Miss her.


Tue. 14     The Polaccas have been here with us for dinner.  On account of a snow storm she had come all the way from Shiprock on

horseback.  They feel they cannot come over this winter as they had expected.  The man who was going to herd their sheep became

sick, and now they have no one to take things over.  Feel they must stay on their ranch.  We are not exactly discouraged, but are

disappointed not to have them with us to help out in the winter work.


Wed. 15      Mr. Francisco and boys were here, wanted gas stamps to take them to see their brother & son who is over the mountain. Mr. Francisco says if we leave he will give his three sons, belonging to the Church, back to the Catholics.


Dec.      So much has happened since I last wrote.  Leland was with us eight days in Crystal, then we decided to bring him out of that little snowed-in hamlet while we were able to get over the mountain road, and have we had a time ever since.


Dec 6     We arose at 5 o'clock.  Started about daybreak, went about 10 miles and the car commenced sputtering and smoking.  Possibly drove 5 miles farther, but found we could not possibly go any farther.  Leland started out on foot to walk the last 10 miles to Ft. Defiance.  Luckily he was picked up by some Indian boys in a pickup and was not gone long until he returned with help.  They soon found the radiator had frozen and burst, the water pouring out rapidly.  We came on into Defiance, stayed there all night.  Leland entertained all evening playing (the piano) and a singing.


Dec. 7      Next morning we got in with Mr. Hanson who took us as far as Gallup.  Waited there all day for a bus, or train, trying to get one going through to Prescott, where Leland and Zoe and I had decided to go, not trying to go by home.  It was so hard to got transportation.


Dec. 8      Left Gallup at 9:45 PM on Santa Fe bus.  Arrived at Prescott at 5 next morning...  Phoned Joe and he met us at the depot.  Found Marva fairly well, and glad to see us ...


Sun. 24      (After visiting Grant, Florene and family in Clarkdale and returning to Prescott) Christmas Eve.  A pretty tree and a lot of

presents.  Had a nice time.  Still I long for the old home and a Christmas there again.  I know time can't turn backward and the kids be

little any more.  That was the happiest time in our lives.


Mon. 25      A nice turkey dinner and everything to go with it.


Tue. 26      Dad, Zoe and I are at Joe and Marva’s.  Mail keeps coming.  Packages for most all of the children scattered everywhere.

Among the mail this week was an announcement of Vern and Maxine’s baby (Stephen Leroy Nebeker, born Dec 6).  A big fine boy

weighing almost 10 lbs . Vern wrote us such a nice letter and again thanked us for having such a fine daughter as his little wife.  It

has relieved us very much to know she has come safely through and all is well.


Sat. 6 Jan. 1945     Marva was taken to the hospital where a little boy baby was born at 3:30 PM (Richard Lee Kinatedar).  Joe called in the evening very thrilled over baby.


Thur. 11      Left Prescott about sunrise bound for Crystal.  Had been to see Marva at the hospital the night before and had another glimpse of the baby.  I was sorry to leave them so soon, but we're obligated to be elsewhere.  I was glad to be on our way again.  Nothing is enjoyed when we are off duty.  Though sometimes things seem hard we know we cannot expect something for nothing.  Do your duty, that in best; and leave unto the Lord the rest.


Wed. 24     Sad news came over the telephone this AM.  A message to our friends, Polaccas, telling them of the death of their

daughter, Dorothy.  She was a young married woman who left a husband an two little children.  They were good faithful members of

the Church.  It was a bad time to get hold of anyone to carry the message.  They were nine miles out.  The snow is very deep, roads

covered.  As if it were all planned, two of our English speaking friends, Stella & Leona came in, and a few minutes later, a member,

Hahalon Nez, who offered to go if he could have a good fresh horse.  Scarcely had he said this, when another of our members, Rose

Wilson, rode in on a fine horse.  Nez was on his way in a few minutes, and in less than three hours, he was back accompanied by the

father, dear old Howella Polacca.  We induced him to remain with us over night, or at least a part of it, for he was on his way next

morning at 2 o'clock.


Fri. 26      Howella came by today on his way home (from the funeral in Ft. Defiance).  Had left his two little children alone for three days.  This was bad enough in good weather, but now there are drifts of snow three to six feet deep.


Thur. 1 Feb. 1945      Have had several discussions on religion with many people who come in.  Our missionary work is done almost

entirely now in our home, (due to Rhoda's health.)  It is about the only way I can do any, and I enjoy it very much.  Nothing gives me

more pleasure than to get someone to listen to our message.


Mon. 5      Not so many letters again today.  We do miss the paper or a radio.  They are making such rapid advancement, especially in the Pacific side of it.  Everybody is rejoicing over the good news of our boys retaking our prisoners on Luzon and the Philippines.  While a great many will not come back, (they were tortured or killed long before) the good parents of those unfortunate boys are happy that some other parent's sons have been able to return.  Oh, could everyone hear and accept the Savior’s message of love to each other, there would be no more wars or contentions, no desire to kill or cause such suffering.  Until they do, how can there be peace?


Tue. 6      Today I tried to do the part of a good Samaritan.  The old lady, Sister Francisco, came in.  Her face was all swollen up and pulled out of shape from Neuralgia.  I heated oil and camphor rubbed and tied up her face and had her take some aspirin and lie down.  She seemed some better, said she had to go.  Poor old soul.


Sat. 10      Nelle's (Rhoda's sister's) birthday.  How well I remember when she was born.  My dear Mother was very poor in those days, but they never thought of the babies not coming in nature's own way.  Nell was a pretty thing.  I remember when she used to cry some, with what they defined as Colic, but what, I am more inclined now to think was an undernourished fretting.  Our dear kind Father used to bundle her up in an old red shawl, feed her some catnip from a spoon and walk her to sleep.  Bless my Father.


Sun. 11      Our morning was spent mostly in singing and study.  Pa’s getting quite good.  I sometimes think our mission in very odd.  When we started Church there was not an English speaking person present.  We found the pages to the songs, gave them the books and started to sing.  I could hardly keep from laughing out when one old lady sitting by me made several grunts out loud trying to join in.  The amusing thing was, she was holding her book upside down.  After the first two songs and a prayer Stella, Leona and Rose came.  They helped us out as always.  They like to sing so that most of the meeting was singing and more singing.  When we were through they all came over to the house and talked for some time.  Later a young school boy, Leslie Francisco, came in with his Mother, the one I had doctored for toothache.  He seemed to be a nice boy.  I talked to him again on the Book of Mormon, gave him some tracts and servicemen's pamphlets...


Mon. 12      Wash day, and what a merry time we have, poking, sizzling, then letting them drip dry.  That is one of the hardest jobs we have in the way of manual labor.  With a good washer at home, we notice the difference.  It usually puts me in bed for a few days, but I do not want to complain of that if I can only do some good to the people here.  Mail day, too, with letters from most of the children, all but Maurice.  Where is he?


Wed. 14      Had a little Valentine party for some of the children and their mothers and served lunch. Called it both a Primary and R.S.


Thur. 15     Only Stella to visit with today.  She is still making (quilt) blocks and we have some quite interesting conversations.  She told me about her boy friend who was killed in the Pacific area.  His name was Ashley.  Now his cousin has been found to be dead.


Fri. 16     Sent off a number of birthday cards and letters to members of the family.  Last night Mr. Brimhall came up very much

excited, wanted us to hear the news from the war.  We are giving Tokyo some terrific bombings.  A US task force is in easy range.

0h, things are so terrible.  We all pray for peace, and an end of this strife.


Sun. 18      Had quite a Church today.  Only had Obery Francisco for an interpreter, but so far as we could tell, he did good work.  He is the Medicine Man and acquainted with the traditions which are very interesting.  One of their beliefs is that the "Happy Hunting Grounds", or what we call the highest glory, is upon this earth after it is made new.  Another is that Jesus came to their people on this continent and chose twelve apostles, that they never died, but when the Savior left and went to heaven, they went with him and had power to do good wherever they went.


Tue. 20     There in bad news of our poor boys in the Pacific.  Trying to take ________ Island, 2000 of our Marines were killed.  Our

boys are going through so much just for possessions we wouldn't even want.


Sat. 24 Feb. 1945      Our mail driver took a wagon this week.  His daughter, and our friend Stella, went with him.  They are going to Barstow, Cal. to work.  After the young folks get a little schooling, go out in the world and see how other people do, they don't like to stay in an isolated place like this for very long.  I'll miss Stella.  She has been about all the company I have had since we came back.  Others come in sometimes, but not many who can speak English.  Because I have not felt like doing much I have been contented to sit and work on a little silk blanket I’m doing for Melvin and Marie's little one expected in April.


Sun. 25     Another gray, sleety, cold disagreeable day.  No one came to Church but Rose and children.  I have said before, we can't

talk to her so our day didn't seem to be very profitable.  Spent most of the day reading.  In yesterday's mail we received our Holbrook

paper.  It gave another account of Fenwood Wakefield's having been killed in Germany in November.


Thur. 1      March Have been working on a little blue & pink quilt to send to Melvin and Marie for the darling little stranger that is soon to bless their home.  May our Heavenly Father bless those two children, and if it is his will, permit them to stay together till after this blessed event.  Melvin (who was serving in the navy) almost expects to be shipped out.


Sun. 4      No Church nor much of anything.  It is lonesome without the Brimhalls.  We are really the only white family for some distance around.  As I have said before, I never felt safer.


Mon. 12     Our baby boy (Leland) is 22 years old today.  How can it be possible? Yet he has been grown for years.  Was only 16

when he went to Boston for musical training that fall.  Worked to maintain himself ever since.  He has made good in ever way, or at

least his Mother thinks so.  Above all he is loyal to the Church and all its principles and leaders.  He has developed many of the

talents he was blessed with and has done far more, himself, than from any extended training he has received.  For every term of

school, or musical training, has been broken into, even before the war.  He is, at present, in school for an instructor in navigation of

the air at Houston, Texas.  He chose this training when he entered college at BYU, in Provo, two and a half years ago.  Finished the

training in Texas, went over seas last July.  Has spent a nice vacation with us, and has almost finished this school course.  Just where

he will go from here we do not know.  If it is in accordance with the will of our Heavenly Father I hope and pray he will not have to

go over seas any more unless it is on a mission of peace to mankind instead of war.  We sent him a nice Indian ring made especially

for him.


Sat. 17     Mail was way in the night coming.  Not much for us when it did get here.  Just before night the Polaccas drove in on their

sleigh.  Expected us to hold R.S. party, but the snow was so deep no one came.


Mon. 19      A nice letter from Melvin and one from Marie helped cheer us up.  Though she had bad news of her brother in the Armed Service.  He, a flyer, was missing in action in Germany.  Though she was especially fond of this brother, she was very hopeful that all would be well.  They had received the little quilt I made and seemed to like it very much.


March 15 1945

Crystal, N.M.


Dear Children in LaGrande,

That was such a nice letter you wrote Vern.  I actually believe Maxine has fallen into fairly good hands.  That helps her Mother's anxious feelings a lot.  Dad says not to discourage the girls on working in the Church activities, as if I would, even if the men and babies are neglected a little.  It will do them good to be the mom.


That was a lovely blessing the baby received.  How proud Joe would be if he could do that for his baby.  I mean it.  He really would.


Was so glad to get the pictures.  Too bad you couldn't have gotten ours too, Vern.  Can't tell yet whether the little one is going to look like old Uncle Erastus Wakefield or one of the Nebekers.  Dad says he forgot to tell Maxine she had better find a bicycle pump and inflate her legs or that Vern might change his mind about a wife with pretty legs , or conclude he doesn’t like them so well as he once thought he did.  Laying all joking aside, I'm proud of my part in that boy.  Maybe that's who he takes after.  Anyway he looks like he had good long legs.  Whose else could that part be but mine?


I think I told you I'm trying to do something for the 17th too.  Only have one member who speaks English.  She said she wasn't coming if it snowed.  The weather is terrible.  It snowed and blew all day yesterday.  I sing three solos in Church, Primary and Relief Society, sometimes accompanied by Father; write all the minutes afterward. I also have a story or talk in all of them.


I told Dad I was going to tell you to look for us up there next fall.  He said, "Well, I guess it wont hurt them to look, it isn't a promise.”  May you continue to be blessed in your home life.  Mother.



Sun. 25 Mar. 1945      Had a good day after all.  The weather was better and I felt better.  One of our members brought us a nice piece of pork.  She and her husband came into Church which we held in the house.  It is warm and comfortable here and they seem to enjoy it.  Our Church may sometimes be rather disconnected but we get them in someway.  Father and I sing two or three hymns in the morning, then offer a prayer and read some of the Church works.  As people begin to come in, we begin to talk on the gospel if we can make then understand, or get anyone who can tell them, which we may keep up until night.  The snow was so deep that only one of our members could get here.  She couldn't speak English, but along comes Obery Francisco again so we get along nicely.


Mon. 26      The letters have come.  Among then one from Melvin telling of their little son born March 21. (Charles Lansing "Lanny" Wakefield) Wt: 8 lb, 15 oz, not so little either, practically 9 pounds.  He is not quite so large yet as his Daddy, but mighty fine for our little Marie.  It hardly seems possible to me, that our Melvin has grown old enough to marry and become a father so soon.


Sun. 1 April      We have had a very good Easter after all.  Had 52 present at our Church today.  Think some of the people from the other church expected a big feed.  We only passed colored eggs to all the children present.  Our meeting was fine.  I gave a story, the children did some motion songs, then marched round the table where they received their eggs.  Bro. Polacca gave a real sermon—Resurrection.  After church the Polacca family had dinner with us.


Thur. 12     Still stormy and disagreeable.  Very few people are around these days.  War news still seems to be going our way.  Oh,

what surprising news has just come in.  Our beloved President Roosevelt is dead.  Passed away at 3 o'clock this afternoon at Warm

Springs, Ga.  What a shock to our nation and to the entire world that this should happen on the eve of victory, it seems, for our allies

in the European theater of war.  Also just preceding the United Nations Councils at San Francisco April 25.  There is no doubt that

this fine man has given his life for his country, also for the interest of other war-torn countries.  He was signing important documents

in his chair before the fireplace a few minutes before his passing.


Mon. 23     What news our letters brought today.  About the best was from Zelda and Gerald telling us they have adopted two

children, a boy three years old and a baby girl 18 months (Roy and Sharon).  I was so excited, I could hardly sleep last night.  They

seemed to be so proud and happy, and we are so proud and happy for them.  Surely those sweet children will be a blessing.


Wed. 25      How I wish I could have my dear little twins (Maurice & Marva) where I could spend their birthday with them. Why, they're not babies, they're, is it possible, 30 years old!


Fri. 27       Letters from several of the children.  Among them was word that Maurice had gone into training (Navy).  Oh, I did hope this would not have to be, but it has come.  Wish we could have seen him before he left.


Tue. 8 May     Pres. Truman gave the official announcement (of the surrender of Germany) to the world at 7 AM.  We were too late to hear it.  Everyone had known it the day before, and many, like us, had done their celebrating.  However, we continued in the afternoon by going into our little church here and having a program of speeches and songs.  Mr. Hardy, Protestant Elder, led the service.  Most of the speaking was done in Navajo as they speak it fluently.  However, they asked if Mr. Wakefield would like to give a talk, which he did.  A good one.  They afterward served punch and cookies.


Tue. 15 May 1945      Have received word of the passing of our dearly beloved President Heber J. Grant.  It is a shock to receive such word even though he has been in such poor health for some time.  We had grown to think we would always have him with us, that the Church could hardly go on without him.  But the Lord, in His wisdom, has always had another leader raised up to guide his people.


Fri. 18      We started (for a visit home to Taylor) but did not make it the first day.  Just as well record some of the difficulties.  When

we reached the McCarrol ranch our clutch plate went out on us again.  When Manuel fixed it, he only had an old one to put in.  I

think it must have had all the wear it would stand.  Ira had to catch a way to Navajo to have a car from the garage come and trail us

in.  We waited 4 or 5 hours.  The man they sent must have been somewhat of a good Samaritan for he was trailing a car with four

women and four tiny babies.  After we started he stopped to help others, so it was practically night when we reached Holbrook. 

Found we could not get out the next day so I decided to get my hair cut and curled.  We left Holbrook (Sun.) in time to drive to

Snowflake to attend Memorial services in honor of Pres. Grant.  The folks were very much surprised when we finally drove up to

Taylor in the evening.  The old home looked natural, as it always does, and though it seems full with Grace's family, it seems

lonesome and empty for the little ones who left their foot prints on the sands of old memories.  To me they are all still the babies that

played around the door, or watched the bossie cows.  They will bring babies of their own, so much like themselves at their age, that I

shall not try to think they are much different from them 30 years ago.


Sat. 2 June     Among the many letters waiting here was one from Leland and two from Melvin.  Melvin had gone as far as San Diego

on his way out somewhere, presumably to Pearl Harbor first, then somewhere else.  That really hurt.  We had hopes that he would not

have to leave the States, in hope the war would end.  Then Leland tells us he has volunteered to navigate returning ships for war

veterans.  It all seems rather hard, almost too such, but, when those things have to be done, we must be willing to bear our share

without complaint.


Thur 7      We washed.  Dad has to do a good share of that.  It was also our Wedding day, thirty nine years.  What a long time, but only a short eternity.


Wed. 27      Loucie was in today.  Said the meteor, comet or whatever it was that fell a few nights ago, and caused so much talk and conjecture, had fallen in the vicinity of Chin-le and imbedded itself.  Those who saw it said it looked like a great ball of fire with a long tail.


Fri. 29      A letter from Leland and he was leaving Georgia for Panama Canal.  How strange it seems that such things have come to us.  I have seen all kinds of transportation, from ox teams to airplanes, in my short life of 62 years.


Wed. 4 July     Not a note of music, not even a firecracker, Dad says, to remind us of Independence Day.  Only just a small flag, the dear old Stars and Stripes, to show we are still on the land of the free.  Oh, thus may it ever be, I humbly pray.


Sat. 7      Next comes packing our duds, food and dishes and leaving for our camping grounds (for a Church Conference.)  Oh, what a beautiful location we find, a perfect grove of oaks, cottonwoods and pines, with a little stream of sparkling cold water from a spring flowing languidly by, and a profusion of lovely wild flowers everywhere.  This could well be paradise...  In the evening we spent most of our time singing around he camp fire.  Just a hint of rain sent us to our cars and tents.  Some anxiety was manifest for Elder Young, a missionary from Ft. Wingate, who disappeared somewhere with a single blanket with which to spend the night.  However, that was all turned to merriment the next morning when he returned the blanket and said he was feeling fit as a fiddle.


Sun. 8 July 1945      What a beautiful forenoon session we had, good speaking, good singing, a sweet peaceful spirit was felt everywhere.  Then word was passed around that another car had just arrived; it is the children of the Wakefields. 

Imagine our surprise and joy to see Joe's nice car with Marva and the children, then our dear Navy boy, Maurice.  Were we happy!  Almost felt the day was made for us.  They ate most of what remained of our lunch.  Stayed for most of the afternoon meeting, which they enjoyed.  When baby Ricky began teasing for his bottle they had to come back to where they had left it.  I was excused by Pres. Evans so I could come back with them.  They had such a short time to stay and only a brief overnight visit.  When Brother Wakefield and the other missionaries came they reported a very fine finish to Conference.  Three children baptized by Brother Wakefield.  Some children blessed and a blessing given for the health of others who report wanting to be baptized soon.


Mon. 9      They've gone.  Such a short visit after a three and a half year separation.  Maurice just got to stay over night.  It was too short, yet we enjoyed it while it lasted, one short night.  Marva too decide to go back.  It is quite lonesome here now.  We received several letters today.  One from Melvin in Guam, one from Marie, still in Salt Lake with her Mother, one from dear Maxine.  We have seen all of them now since her, our baby girl.  How do families ever got so far apart?  Leland has been to Panama Canal and back to Tennessee.


Tue. 24     Pioneer Day, but a dull one for us.  Sometimes I wonder how much good we are doing away off here from civilization.  I

did give poor Magdalene, who was suffering with a headache, 1/2 dozen aspirin.  Not to be all taken at once, however.  Then Roy

came in to get help reading his letters.  We gave him a few lessons on spelling and pronunciation; he tries to learn.  We're just about

breaking even with what our Stake Pres. D. A. Butler told us when he called us here.  He said if we just held the Branch together and

made friends by setting a good example, we would have filled a good mission.


Fri. 10 Aug     Our Pres. told us at Conference we could go away for a while, at least until later developments, maybe after the war. 

We intend to go home, at present, and look after things there.  If our health and other things will permit we may be able to do a little

work later, perhaps closer home.


Sat. 11      Ever since yesterday morning the radio news has been entirely centered around Japan.  Since the two terrible bombs have been exploded on two of their largest cities, it looks as if their goose was cooked.  At 6 o'clock yesterday morning, Aug 10, the Japanese had given out word that they would surrender providing their Emperor, Hirohito, could remain a Sovereign on the throne.  Claim they desire to put an end to the terrible conflict that has been waging for years.  It is not yet known just what the answer of the United Nations will be.  The Atlantic Charter called for a trial of all Japanese traitors, that she disarm, and that she give up all conquests since 1895.  That includes a lot of things.  Later today we got the word that the United Nations will accept, providing they turn all the government management over to be controlled by vote according to the voice of the people.  People stand by with bated breath wondering what Japan's answer will be to that.


Sun. 12      For two weeks the Indians have been preparing for a dance, hauling wagon loads of green boughs to pile around for shelter for their camp.  Perhaps it is more because it has been the custom for so long to do so.  So many preparations must be made.  There is not much change for the new, although Mr. Parker tells us these so called Squaw Dances, were once Rain Dances, or really prayers for rain.  I had not dreamed that these were of so much importance as they seem to be.  All day Sat. and today they are assembling wagons, cars, men and women on horseback, children driving herds of sheep, for they too must go, nobody left at home to herd them.  Every vehicle in full.  They stop at the store for groceries, buy flour, yeast for fried bread, take mutton to roast, melons and pop... hundreds of bottles of pop.  Every old Grandmother on the Reservation is there drinking pop.  Perhaps, if it were possible to purchase anything stronger, they would probably drink that.  No need to try to hold a Church today, even our own members will be at the dance.  Still no answer from Japan.  The whole world in on a nervous strain waiting.  25 or 30 young men, mounted on horseback, rode by, going to dance with the dusky queens on top of the mountain.  All day long they have been stringing back ready for the evening pow-wow.  About  dark we decided to go watch them for awhile.  Drove about a half mile, found a place to park and waited and waited.  About 9 o'clock a high toned drum began beating a weird te-too-tum-tum to the accompaniment of the chorus singing the same identical preludes, I guess you'd call them, that we have heard before at the fire dance, or Yobachi.  There were times when I fancied I could detect just a slight difference in the notes to anything I had ever heard, but Father said he could tell no difference.  This mournful chant lasted an hour with no interlude except an occasional solo, you might call it, connecting and sustaining the whole grand chorus.  Ira said that it was as tiresome as a fiddler tuning up.


Tue. 14  Aug 1945      Today has been one of the most important perhaps among any that has come to our war-torn world.  While out

at Hardy’s doing missionary work, and in the middle of a gospel conversation, Paul turned on the radio.  Of all the cheering and

hilarity you ever heard, they were doing it over every station.  The Japanese officials had accepted the terms offered by the United

Nations, that of unconditional surrender.  Everyone was in a state of excitement, so much so that the police could do nothing, nor did

they even try.  People were laughing, singing and crying.  Soldiers were too happy for words.  All together, it was a very happy time

for all of us, and one to thank the Lord with all our hearts.


Wed. 15      All of our Indian friends met to celebrate at Obery Francisco's about three miles up on the mountain.  Even had a processional march with flag unfurled.  Very impressive against a beautiful background scenery of flowers, trees and grass.


Thur. 16      This morning early we started home.  Several of our friends were there to see us off.  We went around by Window Rock to see Catherine, but everyone was celebrating V. J. Day.  We took it rather slow all day and quite enjoyed our trip.  Decided to stop early and got a room in Chambers, where we enjoyed a good night's rest.  Came on next day in time for dinner.


Mon. 20      Went to Clay Springs and stayed all night.  Persuaded Ben (Perkins) to go and take us to the Snake Dances.  Daddy and I came down ahead, then an hour or two later Ben followed with thirty passengers.  We reached 2nd Mesa (on the Hopi reservation) that evening, made our beds on the ground in spite of snakes.  Had a good night’s rest under the stars.


Wed. 22      Saw the famous old dance with the serpents.  One I have wanted to see for years.  The way I interpreted it, from all I could hear and see, was that the young men were, according to their tradition, receiving the priesthood.  While those young fellows were carrying snakes in their mouths, the older ones kept their arms around their young shoulders and guarded the snake’s heads from (the boy’s) faces while they danced in a circle; thirteen of them, eleven others swaying back and forth singing in monotone.


Thur. 23      We have had quite a nice experience in our trip to the 1st Mesa, to the ancient Oraibi.  All the little dwellings are of rock, hundred of years old, so old that some of them are crumbling until they are having to be reinforced with a coat of plaster.  In front of several of the little huts, one or two women would be spreading on plaster with their hands.  Some were finishing in white, others in red.  All used the native clay in natural colors.  Many homes we entered were very clean.  In one especially, a young married couple had dishes, tables, and chairs, or benches.  Their bedding was piled high in a corner, folded neatly along the wall, stove clean and polished.  Another striking thing was the sacks of flour, neatly ricked behind a door, reaching from floor to ceiling.  It is a wonder the place was not swarming with flies, and the narrow streets were their main restrooms, but it was remarkably clean.  You know the streets and walks are solid rock.  The roads where the wagons have gone for centuries are worn inches deep.



Christmas 1945      It has been a long time since I wrote in this little book, (my main companion when I am alone) and a great many things have happened.  This old year has come and gone with all, or at least most, of its strife and bloodshed.  Efforts are made toward establishing peace, but without entire success so far.  Our Christmas season was perhaps a happier one than for years past because so many of our soldier boys are returning from overseas.  Families are reunited again after years of anguish and sorrow, which war, and all that goes with it, brings.  Melvin had only time, after arrival in the U.S., to hitch-hike his way to Salt Lake where his family was.  The weather was cold and disagreeable, and travel so congested, it was almost impossible to get any place.  Leland, off in Boston, decided too, that it would be best for him not to try to make the trip until summer came when school would be out and give him more time.  Consequently last Christmas Eve the night came on early, as it usually does that time of year.  Dad and I were alone in that big old house, with only the memories of other Christmases when our little brood was all at home, well and happy.  So many of the good old times flocked into my mind that I did not want to go to bed, and couldn't go to sleep after I did go.  Even memories can be beautiful.


Sometimes the children would want a tree, sometimes they wanted their stockings hung in a row on the mantel.  Gerald always preferred the latter, somehow he enjoyed the surprise of exploring to the bottom of the longest sock he could find and hauling out the marbles, toys, candy and all the good eats.  If there wasn't a tree, the chairs, table or other places in the room held the toys that wouldn't go in the longest sock. 


Grant liked the tree with all its trimmings.  I well remember one time when we had waited until nearly night on Christmas Eve with no prospect for a tree. Grant and Maurice hitched up the old mules and started out in the hills after one.  They were almost frozen by the time they got back home with their little pinon pine, but they had a certain pride in their accomplishment.  Poor little kids.  I feel like, if I had them home again, I would never neglect anything like that, but I expect my time would be filled to the last as it was then.


We were not always quite so far behind, although Dad usually did make it in from the cattle ranch about dark on Christmas Eve, then would have to go after that to Bro. A. Z. Palmer's and buy presents for the family.  I think they must have kept the store open for him and others just as slow, but it was not too much to their loss to accommodate our Pa in those days, for his bank account wasn't so slim as it has been many times since.  Many hundreds of dollars were traded then for our home use and many more for the ranch use where there were often several hired men to feed.  They had all sorts of things in their store that we seldom find anywhere these times.  One Christmas we got our first phonograph for trading so much (at the store.)  Then, every so often, we earned a record for trading so much more.  We did enjoy our music box, perhaps more then anything since.


Well, this in the way my thoughts had rambled all that evening.  I even wanted to open the packages the children had sent, but Pa said, “Wait until morning.”  I think it must have been midnight before I at last fell asleep.  All at once I was suddenly awakened by a shout, and trying desperately to open my eyes and bring myself together enough to recognize what the disturbance meant, I looked up to find myself looking into the face of, no other than our dear Gerald.  Close behind him came the little son Roy, then Zelda with little Sharon in her arms.  Were we surprised that they, of all the family, had made that long trip in the kind of weather they had encountered.  Sharon was sick, poor little thing.  Had pneumonia when they reached Kanab, and they had laid over there for two days while their baby had gone into the hospital and lived that length of time on sulfa drugs, but now she seemed OK, only a little weak.  So we were not entirely alone on Christmas after all, and there were even two little kids in the house again.  They are both so cute.  Roy has brownish-blue eyes, just like Zelda’s.  Sharon’s eyes are hazel, which Gerald says she takes from her Father too.  We managed Christmas dinner, though a green stick of wood had fallen a while before and knocked another hole in my already bad leg.   I couldn’t get on it without in pained me frightfully, and I really mean pained.  We managed through the week with Dad’s and Gerald’s assistance for even Zelda got sick too. 










The Wakefield Family

Back row from left to right: Gerald, Grant, Leland, Maurice, Melvin

Middle row: Maxine, Zoe, Grace, Marva

Front row: Rhoda & Ira Wakefield


Photo taken at their home in Taylor, AZ on

7 June 1945 -- on the 40th wedding anniversary of Rhoda and Ira.
This was also the last time the entire family was ever together at one time.