Wednesday, July 13, 2011



3 September, 1996

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Annalease Halvorsen was born 18 May, 1897.  Her parents were Niels Halvorsen and Ann Beck.  Her sister, Hanna was born 17 September, 1893, and her brother, Joseph Ellison, was born 17 April, 1901.  They were all born in Spanish Fork, Utah.  A stillborn baby was born in Ivins, Idaho and is buried in the little pioneer cemetery there. 

Hanna and Joseph were given family names. Annalease' name was chosen by her father.  It seems that he had been reading a novel, saw the name, liked it, and the new baby received her name from a character in a story. 

The Family lived in Utah until 1902.  At that time, Niels moved his family to Way, (later named Ivins) Idaho.   Homesteading was popular at that time and Niels was eager to take advantage of that opportunity.  Niels received 160 acres of land from the government on the condition he live there and farm the property.  He built two log cabins, each with a dirt floor and sod roof.  As I recall, my mother, Annalease, said that one cabin was used for cooking the other for sleeping.  She remembered waking in the morning, being extremely cold as she was dressing, and the dashing for the other cabin which was warmer because of the stove. 

The Halvorsen family lived in this area for several years.  Times were hard.  They raised or traded goods and services for the food they ate and whatever else they needed.  They made good and life-long
friends while living in Ivins.  They attended church services on Sunday.  Their social life consisted of friends and neighbors gathering for a picnic, which included races, games and visiting.  They also liked to get together for singing, dancing, story telling and eating the good food that the women prepared. 

The mode of travel at this time was riding horseback, riding in a wagon (buckboard) or sleigh in the winter, pulled by a team of horses, or walking.  The men took great pride in their teams.  The mother of a friend of mine told me that the first time she saw the Halvorsens.  The family was riding in a wagon and she asked someone who the attractive girls were.   The girls, of course, were Hanna and Annalease.  They were wearing beautiful dresses and lovely hats.  Ann always dressed the girls nicely.  In later years, I remember seeing them, Grandma included, wearing hats often. 

Annalease loved her brother dearly, but she often said that her mother catered to his every whim and spoiled him badly.  As a child he was quite bratty.  

At this point , my knowledge of Hanna and Joseph is limited.  I do, however, have a great deal of knowledge about Annalease, 

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It was common in the early 1900s for young people to stop attending school before they graduated from high school.  Many stopped going because they were needed at home to help with the work.  This was especially true in the farming communities where families depended on the young men to help with the farm work.  Annalease graduated from the eighth grade.  I don't know about Hanna and Joseph.  After eighth grade, Annalease attended a school in Pocatello, Idaho.  For some reason that I'm not aware of, she wasn't there long enough to complete another year.  Annalease was a good speller, and was always one of the last in a spelling bee to miss her word and be eliminated.  It is my opinion that it wasn't evident that her education was not more extensive.  
As a teenager, Annalease secured a position in a general merchandise store in Alexander, about ten miles from Ivins.  The couple who owned this store were friends of her parents and Annalease lived in her home and ate meals with them.  They could never understand why Annalease had no appetite and ate very little of her dinner.  I have no idea if the couple knew of her good feelings toward them, that she enjoyed working in the store and that she really loved the candy barsIn fact she ate so much candy in the afternoon that she had no desire for dinner. 

Annalease was a pretty girl and she had several boy friends.  It was about this time that a few people were getting cars.  Joe Holbrook (her oldest son) remembers that she knew how to drive and suggested that a boy friend might have taught her. 

Annalease moved to Bancroft to work in the store there.  Her room mate was Hattie Loveland.  Hattie's date came by for her one evening.  The next time he came calling, it was to see Annalease.  His name was Lafayette Holbrook and they were married 30 August, 1919.   She later told me that they rode the train to Pocatello, Idaho to be married.  Hattie married Charlie Shanklin, and they were good friends to Annalease throughout their lives.  Lafe's father owned land in Chesterfield, eleven miles north of Bancroft.  Lafe and Annalease moved there and spent their married lives in that area. 

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My impression of the Niels Halvorsen family is that they were genuinely fond of each other.  They were loving toward on another and liked to be together whenever they could.  Grandpa Halvorsen passed away when I was five years old, therefore I have few memories of him.  I remember Grandma Halvorsen very well.  She lived with us most of the time while I was growing up. 

Uncle Joe and Aunt Hanna came to Idaho to visit often.  Joe and Faye came from California many times for Christmas.  They looked forward to a "White Christmas" because they lived where it never snowed.  Joe also liked to be in Idaho for the fishing season.  He went, yearly or more often, to Southern Utah to hunt and fish.  Faye traveled with him some of the time.  Hanna and Annalease would meet them there when they were invited.  Joe was fond of fishing the Tin Cup Lake in Idaho.  The ladies would arrive in time to eat trout, pan fried over an out-door fire. 

Uncle Joe was married twice.  His first wife was Harriet Richie and they were divorced after only a few years.  He married Faye Blanch Long after he moved to Imperial Valley.  They lived in Holtville, California where he was a field manager for the Holly Sugar Company.  I believe he grew sugar beets on the land he owned as well.  He took pride in his yard and fruit trees. 

There were no children from the Niels Halvorsen line to carry on the family name since Joe had no children.  He was a successful businessman and actively involved in local organizations.  He and Faye liked square dancing, went dancing often, and even wore western clothes.

Joe had a good life, monetarily speaking.  Southern California was good to him, and he prospered.  He drove a Lincoln and also had a nice truck as well.  He was always generous with his parents and helped financially, with their care as they became older.  He gave Grandma some pretty gifts, including some pieces of jewelry. 

Joe and Faye always had a dog, a Dalmatian that they called Snuffy.   Aunt Faye once told me that the name was taken from the cartoon character, Snuffy Smith.  Joe always took Snuffy with him when he went to check the fields.  Joe also liked to take visitors to see the beets.  Annalease told of going to the fields and sitting in the back seat with Snuffy.  He was a huge dog.  He wagged his tail non stop, jumped from window to window across the back seat with his mouth open, saliva dripping, and he had dog order.  Needless to say, my mother made the most of the situation and quietly endured. 

Joe wasn't an active church member.  However, his funeral was held at the L.D.S. Chapel.  He had pre-arranged with Annalease to be buried in her plot in the Chesterfield, Idaho Cemetery. 

Aunt Hanna married John Crookston, Jr.  He was called Jack most often, but Aunt Hanna called him Johnnie.  They were parents of three daughters;  Vera, Norma and Marjorie, who passed away at the age of  twelve, according to Norma, and a stillborn boy.  They lived in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Hanna and Annalease were great friends.  Hanna called Annalease,  "Sis", and Hanna's daughters called her  "Auntie".  Aunt Hanna was a real lady.  She was polite, thoughtful of others, compassionate and had a pleasant disposition.  She was comfortable in all kinds of social gatherings.  Hanna worked in the down town area of Salt Lake City at the courthouse as well as in the Church offices.  She knew well, many of the local dignitaries both in the church and the government. 

Hanna had a wide variety of interests.  I suspect that she may have been an intelligent person.  In addition to her interest in politics, she kept aware of what was going on around her.  She subscribed to a local newspaper and like to work the crossword puzzle in which she was particularly adept at solving it. 

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Hanna and Annalease were a contrast in many ways.  Hanna was quite short, and Annalease was much taller.  Hanna lived in the City, while Annalease lived on the farm.  Hanna raised two children, Annalease
raised eight.  Hanna was a fastidious housekeeper, and like her mother, Annalease took a more relaxed attitude toward that part of life.  Having eight children might have been the determining factor in that. 

Hanna and Annalease both like lovely things in their homes.  They also liked pretty clothes, hats, their flower gardens and working in their yards. 

Annalease liked cars, and she even owned a couple that could be considered flashy because of the red color and the fins.   I don't recall that Hanna drove.  I had numerous opportunities to drive them were they wanted to go.  We went to a downtown Salt Lake City movie theater to see "Mary Popins" in the early 1960's.  Near this same time, the three of us had lunch at the downtown Z.C.M.I.  We laughed until we cried when Aunt Hanna placed a whole cherry tomato into her mouth, bit down and squirted juice all over the wall.  One other time, Aunt Hanna rode the buss to Idaho.  Mother and I met her at the buss stop in McCammon, Idaho.  Aunt Hanna announced that she had heard the cutest song and wondered if we had heard it.  It was called,  "This Old House", and was sung by Patti Page. 

Grandpa Halvorsen suffered for many years with a condition called "milk leg".  The symptoms were a large section of skin on the leg that didn't heal, sores that oozed fluid and a great deal of pain.  Grandma would bath his leg each morning, apply salve and wrap it with gauze.  I've heard that Uncle Tom Halvorsen had the same or a similar condition, but I can't verify it.  I do know my mother, Annalease had it, but by that time it was known as veracious veins.  I remember that the side of only one leg had an oval shaped spot about six inches long that resembled raw meat.  She suffered with it for years, but was completely healed when her veins were stripped. 

I remembered Grandma.  She lived with us from the time I was five until I was twelve.  She was a sweet, loving person.  She was always thin and ate like a bird.  She had completely white hair and would let me style it, often into a pony tail, which was popular at that time. 

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Grandma and Mother liked to listen to the radio.  We didn't have television and I'm not sure if we had ever seen one.  They were particularly fond of one soap opera and missing the daily episode was a sad situation.  The three of us were avid fans and I even remember that we mourned the end of  "The Romance of Helen Trent". 

Grandma and Mom liked to make jam and bottle fruit.  Mother knew how to cook the jam so no pectin was added and the fruit thickened in combination with the sugar.  They made baking powder biscuits, fried chicken, home-made bread and red currant and gooseberry pies.  Grandma Halvorsen made a special treat from the left over pie crust by putting sugar and cinnamon on the rolled out pieces and baking them. 

Grandma made mud pies with me.  We spent hours making and baking them.  For those of you who have never baked a mud pie, it is simple.  Let them dry out.  The process is even speedier when the item to be baked is placed in direct sunlight.  We were expert cooks, not only making pies, but we made bread, cakes and whatever we could think of. 

We even picked Mom's flowers for decorating the cakes.  Grandma also set apricot pits aside for a few days and then we would crack them with a hammer and eat the almond-like pit or nut inside.  Recently, I decided to eat some apricot pits with my grandchildren.  After eating one, it tasted so bitter that I can't imagine that Grandma and I ate so many of them. 

Grandma had a blue, metal trunk where she kept her treasures.  That's what I called the contents.  It was always a delight when she would open the trunk and we would look at each item.  There was a story for every treasure, and I never grew tired of hearing each one. 

Grandma was kind of sickly at times, but she had some active moments.  I remember her chasing my brother, Pat, (real name Don, but nick named Pat because he was born on Saint Patrick's Day) around the dinning room table, waving a broom at him.  He was faster and always got away, but she always yelled,  "I'll get you , you big "rube".   I recently asked him why he teased her so she would chase him.  He replied,  "I thought she liked it". 

I remember both of us having a race to see who would be the first one dressed in the morning, praying together that the pill she had just swallowed wouldn't get caught in her throat, looking forward to Mom's return at the end of her work day, spending one winter in an apartment in Holtville, California, attending church each Sunday and more.    

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