Sunday, October 9, 2011


Lee my Brother and Best Friend

By Eugene Halverson

I just came home with my arms full of staves from some large wooden barrel (staves are the wood carved and curved to make a potbellied barrel and held there with a wire hoop).  “What fun”, it was winter and I could make skis.  It was a big barrel, about four feet or so high.  By the time I carried them the ¾ mile home, I seemed to stash a few here and there.  I soon had leather straps nailed to the middle, smoothed up the bottom, waxed them and away I went.  Sometimes I even got to the bottom.  “Make me some’, Lee asked, and I did.  Well eventually we got pretty good.  Then I got another great idea, next thing we knew we were almost down to Lark and it was time to go home.  So, Lee kicked his skis off and down he went clear up to his chin in snow, if he wasn’t standing on an Oak tree, he would have been out of sight.  Skis were lost in the snow, but there was no way to stand up and put them on again.  Somehow we got out of the real soft and deep snow and over to the ridge.  By then we were both tired and had the big stupid mountain to climb.  I was bigger so I broke trail and Lee followed gamely after.  We hardy stopped and eventually, we were nearing the top, and thought we had it made.  As I turned to tell Lee the good news he was quite a little ways away and not moving, and he said, “go ahead, I’m tired and sleepy”.  Well, there was no way I could leave him here.  It was really cold at the top of the mountain, it was almost dark, and the wind was freezing cold.  Our Levis were frozen solid and would not bend at the knees, it felt like wearing stove-pipes.  I began pulling and badgering him until we got over the mountain.  Then he must have known mother and home was now close.  Now, I was really worn out and he was soon leading the way.  When I told him I saved his life, “No”, he said, I almost killed him.”

I have admit, I did kill his dog.  After Tippy got run over Lee came home with a brown and mostly white puppy.  It grew up and was a good little dog.  It was late winter and the snow was deep, so the dog and I went up the road to the US and just before crossing the air-pipe-line, followed the wind-blown ridge from there to the ridge above Silver Shield, stopping just before the ridge got steep and snow-pact.  I dropped off the ridge to get out of the wind and scan the pine trees where the “Giant Red Pine Grove” used to be.  It had been logged out during pioneer times.  It was quite pleasant so I sat down.  The dog got nervous and hunted here and there.  Anyway the dog eventually ended up in the pines.  The snow was also too soft for him too, but in he went.  A few minutes later, he started yipping, then one yap and that was the last I heard or seen of him.  Well, I called, and waited for about an hour.  Then I went home without him.  No one was happy with me.  I knew he was dead the minute he stopped yipping.  I know he was killed by some animal or fell down into an old mine shaft, there were many of them.  We had many hazards too contend with, kids, dogs and even one horse had fallen in to these holes.  Lee and Dad went up there the next day, but I knew the dog was dead.
Panos Apartments  Frog Town
We were both born in Telegraph in the center Apartments.  Lee on the First of August 1930, me, 18 July 1828.  There are pictures of both of us, but neither one of us can remember being there.  Mother from the very beginning made me aware that I was the eldest and would always be responsible for the both of us.  My memories only go back to living in Frog Town, when I was six and Lee four.  We did not live but a few years in the Panos Apartments and we did roam around quite-a-bit for our age.  We had the beach to play on (the white sands of the sewer).
 We crossed the road and went up the a big rock to see my “Lion Cave”, and always brought back “Pinkies” ( flowers) for Mother. 
Then there was the Old Yampa Smelter with its walls, smoke stacks and holes and maybe some machinery. 
R-Apostal store in Frog Town
A hundred or so yards up the bald barren mountain in back of the apartments was a trail heading down the canyon to a big beautiful canyon?  (What we didn’t know was it was a buried water line coming all the way from Dry Fork Canyon that filled a cement underground water tank that fed the houses below) We never did go all the way to the spring because we must have gotten bored, we did look down on English’s Dairy and the Bingham Garbage Dump, that had to be at least two or three miles on the trail.  Then down near the Dump and returned up the road and the  Creek (sewer).  Quit an adventure for two little boys. (about seven miles)  I never thought it was too far and Lee never complained. 
I had another marvelous idea.  Somehow or other we loved Indian stories and Indians ate grasshoppers.  We had lots of them back of the house.  So, we caught some, made a fire and cooked and ate them.  I really can’t say we liked them or even thought about them because we set the whole hill-side on fire.  We did not get to see the fire because we ran away.  The good thing about it was that it burned so fast and clean, no one even knew there was a fire.  We even came back to see if we accidentally roasted some grasshoppers. 
Flood in  Frog Town
Today I did almost kill my brother and me too.  I think it was New Year’s Day 1936.  It had snowed that night and every kid in the neighborhood was out sleigh riding.  The road we were riding on went right on to the Bingham Highway.  There were lookouts to stop us or tell us if it was clear.  We all had taken turn riding as well as lookouts.  This last ride with Lee on top of me ran right into Fred Hoyne’s car.  (he had reputation for speeding and just got to our road faster than the kids expected)  Fred loaded us up in his car and took us right up to Doctor Richard’s Hospital. 
Mother was told that Lee was dead and I had a broken leg.  Lee was hit in the face, above his teeth and below his eye.  To this day his sinuses are a problem.  I really don’t know how long Lee was laid up healing.  But it took over a year to even walk.  My pelvis was crushed and the bone that held the ball joint was broken and setting in my stomach.  Dr. Smirnoff wanted to amputate, Dr. Richards wanted to experiment.  When I woke up I could not move, sand-bags held both legs and body and there was cables stretching my leg to let the ball bone mend.  It worked but that leg now is one inch longer than my left.

Frog Town  with Yampa Smelter
It was a long time before I was able to use crutches and when I couldn’t do what I wanted, Lee complained, that I was mean and threw my crutches at him.  So, he just kept them, until I simmered down.  We were living in Frog Town because Dad was too sick to work in the underground mines.  But Fred Hoyne was the Superintendents son  and an out-door job was made available thinking we had a law-suite in mind. 
Lee and I loved it up in Telegraph.  I carried the water and Lee and I cut the firewood.  There were all kinds of places to explore and see. Grandpa Holmes gave us a dog.  A little Rat Terrier and what a hunter he turned out to be.  All of Grandpa’s dogs were called Prince but we liked “Tippy” better.  Tippy must have liked his new name because he answered to it as soon as we called “Tippy” there he was.
In the old days the creek in Butterfield Canyon had enough water to hold fish and Lee and I were busy clubbing fish and we had a handful of them.  The Warden was coming up fast on a big brown horse; boy did we scatter, straight up the mountain, right into some thick Oak brush.  He hollered and lot cussed even more but his horse refused to follow us.  In the end we put them on a stick and had our fish dinner. 
Mother and Vivian
One day in early spring Lee and I had come to Butterfield and found some friends from Dinkeyville.  We planned to go there and back the same day, but we were having so much fun we didn’t want to go home.  We must have talked the others to stay too.  One of the guys had a blanket and put it over us.  About midnight it started to snow and one of them left, an hour later, another left and when the sun came up, lee and I was alone.  Back home mother had visits and phone calls, asking what to do.  Mother said, “Just go to sleep and they’ll be back tomorrow.”, my boys often go away but they always come home”. 
Lee and I never packed a lunch, we each put a potato in a pocket some matches in another and off we went.  A bird, a squirrel, fish or even a porcupine went well with a potato.  We never worried about water.  We watered here and there if we had too.  Even today we seldom drink much water.  Lee told me that when he was in the Army on these long forced marches all his buddies had completely run out of water and he 
Signe Elizabeth Holmes Halverson

 had hardly touched his canteen.  When Lee was pouring out his left over water they wanted to kill him.  But one day we came to a spring but it was polluted with arsenic.  So, I came up with this great idea.  Let’s cut some of these elderberry stems and suck it through the pith.  So, we did, and did drink a little.  Latter I found out the pith contained a large amount of cyanide.  Lee still believed I was out to kill him. 
Bingham was a wonderful place to live, but times were changing.  The US Mine was closing and moving to Lark.  All the houses in the Us Town were now empty and all kinds of things to do.  Lee said lets go swimming.  Down where, I asked.  The US water tank, he said, and off we went.  The tank was about 25 feet square and 12 feet deep.  The roof was off and it was full of cold clean water.  Did we swim?  I don’t know, probably, if we did, it was very long.  When we finished swimming we stopped to play in the rifle-turret.  (a metal tank to shoot at the striking miners)  It was self-propelled and turned as it went, giving each gunman a chance to shoot somebody.  No one was there but us; you could do all kinds of mischief.  It was truly a Ghost Town now.
Lynn   Gene   Lee   Paul   Viv  Wells
On the way to Aunt Mary’s home in Springville with a $2.00 sign saying the bike was for sail and I had the $2.00, what a buy.  We had the first and only bicycle in town.  The only problem it didn’t have any brakes.  It probably had some but we rode it any way.  Lee being kind of a nut/dare devil crashed it into a couple of cars and everything else.  It was really and an antique bicycle, big wheels and good looking.  I don’t know how Lee ever got to Copperton with it but he did.  Lee was very popular, everybody wanted to ride it, it was neat.
Many times Dad would drop Lee and me off on Utah Lake, either at the Coyote Knolls, west side or Lincoln Beach on the south side of the lake.  We had a cane pole with a string and hook; believe it or not we did catch a lot of cat-fish.  We spent the day all by ourselves and they picked us up just before dark.  Lee said that we were left up Diamond Fork Canyon to fish too.  Well the next morning Lee and I were up and at it.  One of us would gut and the other would cut around the head skin deep hang his head on a nail and pull the skin off, quite a chore.  Now a fillet knife can cut the fillets off without gutting and the skinning is done last, just lay the fillet skin down and in one slash and it is ready for cooking. 
Dad   Marsell Chea
Gene!  Gene! Help me, I cut myself.  He held his arm up and blood was streaming off his arm all over the floor.  We were alone and had no idea what to do.  The cut was  about two inches long and as wide as his finger.  A dish towel was hanging near by all folded up and I wrapped it three or four times around his arm.  The blood was no longer running and scarring us, we needed to find Mother, she would know what to do.  Well we sure learned in a hurry how little a 9 and 7 year old kids knew about our relatives.  We knew they went to visit Edith and Eddie, or maybe Panos’s she was no longer a Swenson, now what was it??? I got on the phone and made a couple of calls, with no success.  The operator was a real live person I told her my problem, and hung up.  Well the opperater found them, somehow and they came home.  Lee was taken to the hospital to get some stitches.  Well I didn’t kill him but I didn’t save his life either.   Mother was home now and all was well.
Lee had allergy problems and he was being taken to the doctors, time and time again.  She didn’t drive back then and it was hard to get the shots he needed.  We lived about three miles away from the hospital.  The doctor wasn’t happy about missing treatments.  Just what am I going to do about that, we just can’t make it.  Well, the shots I been giving him came from bees, have him find a bee every day and make it sting him.  So, there was Lee out looking for a bee, I even helped at times, we did have lots bees in the mountains.  I used to watch him put the bee on his arm and get stung. “I’m sure glad I’m not you”, I said. Well, it doesn’t hurt as much as the shot.  I can’t remember what we he did in the winter. 
We joined the Boy Scouts; Scotty was a great scoutmaster he seemed to understand what a bunch of rowdy kids needed.  We almost killed each other playing “Steal the Bacon” and other rough games.  Lee held his own even though he was one off the younger scouts.  We used to go to Tracy Wigwam for a week every year.  OH, what fun?  We did a lot and learned many things, but the swimming contest was what we all waited and dreamed of. “ Copperfield Troop 112” was us, and we always won, nobody had ever beat us.  Scotty was always taking us somewhere to swim.  We always waited to see if all of us could swim that night.  There was always a big argument when a Mexican with a dark skin tried to enter.  And if they couldn’t go we loaded up and went somewhere else.  People of “Race and Color “were really discriminated against back then, in swimming pools and dancehalls.   Wasatch Hot Springs was the worst, Becks Hot Springs was better.  Many swam in the irrigation canals.  Lee loved swimming and was good at it, under water or on top he was getting good.  He was a better swimmer and  left me in the dust.   Scotty was smarter than I thought, he was training and specializing us for different events, some were divers, some swam the crawl, I was the back-stroke-man.  I could beat everybody with my back-stroke, and most of the average swimmers that used the crawl.  One event Scotty, told me he to back-stroke man in an event that everyone else swam the crawl.  I didn’t do what I was told and I lost, Scotty just asked why?  112 won all the others.  We won all honors that day.  Lee won many honors with swimming, passed life-Guard tests and was a scoutmaster and kept up the Copperfield tradition of winning.
When the Copperton and Bingham troops tried to eliminate us from getting to Tracy Wigwam, Scotty hauled us there in a Garbage Truck.  We may have stunk but we got there.
Korea Lee was a crane operator, today it was pretty slow so he was just sitting and looking.  As far as he could see there was nothing but a sandy beach.  The water and the ships went with the tide, 52 feet high, almost the highest tide in the world.  He was watching the Koreans scavenging the pools or pockets for fish and anything else to eat or sell.  One of his Korean helpers came back with some minnows to eat.  This had Lee’s full attention now; Lee’s eyes became as big as saucers when the Korean showed him a  minnow alive and wiggling.  He held it by the tail dropped it in his mouth and swallowed it  Put a finger in his mouth to push it on down.  He gave Lee one but he chickened out.
As the tide came, in came the ships,  he went to work unloading everything that wasn’t manned and driven off.  One day an operator got the tank got partly on shore, gunned it, and just pushed the barge away.  Well-now, here was a fifty ton tank in fifty feet of mud and water.  They soon had the big Navy crane lying on its side and almost in the ocean with the tank.  So, they called in the Army.  Lee and another crane came to save the day.
Sometimes Lee would unload a jeep, driver and all.  When it came time to unload the beer, coke and other goodies, they picked things over and a lot of things never quite got to where it was supposed go.  They were what is called a “Bustard Outfit”, no one wanted them and they were happy with that until one day they almost lost their happy home. Their home was modern “Quonset hut”.  Poor me I lived it a tent with a canvas cot and two wool blankets. 
I was drafted in 1950, one of the first “Draftees”, well. I had been reading about it in our papers as well as the New Zealand Sunday paper.  Walter Lippmann thought it was a pretty dumb war, while our papers talked about, Communists hiding under every bush and they were terrified.  But it was only an excuse to harass anyone who thought Truman and MacArthur had panicked and got us in a stupid war.
But, I was in a month or
so later and Lee was drafted two years later.  I must say Utah schools must have been pretty good back then.  The testing put most of us into Engineering Schools.  My training was In Marshall Field, Kansas and on too Fort Belvoir, VA. And off to Korea.  My training time was short, I guess to get me off to war.  Lee went off to Fort Belvoir too but his training was extensive; he got the full “Combat Engineers” course, things I never even knew existed.  He had more hikes and bivouacs.  I had rigging and carpentry training but he had more again.   Mine laying and clearing, building fortifications and I had none.  I build one rope bridge and a bridge using whatever was available.  Lee built prebuilt bridges that vehicles could cross on.  He was even placing “dynamite” to blow up enemy bridges.  I never had any of that.  Lee had watched how the powder-monkeys at Utah Copper threw dynamite around and was not afraid of it, and impressed his superiors.  Lee talked about finding and clearing mine fields, did not want anything to do with that. 
We both did quite well with rifles and bazooka, and directing artillery fire.  I did quite well at the 500 yard range, but Lee showed them what real shooting was all about, he shot from the hip at pop-up targets and beat everyone.  Some of it was fun, but when it came to machine-guns I was always in back of the line.  I never even saw a mortar, thank God. 
As soon as I arrived in Korea, I was sent to Taegu where I was given to the Air Force and eventually discharged from them.  They needed to build an airfield, so a whole Army Battalion was transferred to the Air Force.  Lee was sent up to Inchon, after quite a battle and occupied by us. 
Somehow Lee was separated from his battalion and they were sent to the front where most of them were killed.  I spent nine months in Korea and Lee had to spend 12 months due to a rotational point system, just because he was closer to North Korea.  Well crying didn’t help him, the old boys at the top somehow knew about the stress we were under.  The people in South Korea hated our guts so at night we had all kinds of 

people trying to kill us.  I even got shot at one night when I was sent to weld up the pierced planking laid down on the airfield.  Lee it seems was able to leave his work something I could not do.  I see a picture of Lee and Leon Miller sporting around the country in a Jeep and later our cousin, Lynn and him in a barracks in California.  Lynn’s wife had come to meet him and was staying on the base and Lynn was so love-sick, that he and her was talking all day.  He used up all of his money and $20.00 of Lee’s.  Have you got another Quarter he kept asking?  No, no more talking, we are going to see her.  We can’t leave the area; they’ll throw us in the Brig.  You do just what I do and you’ll see her all day, shut-up and be quite.  He said, “We’ll volunteer for “KP”, so they did and stepped in to the line.  When they got to the corner, Lee grabbed Lynn’s arm, stepped smartly straight ahead.  One of the guys said, “Hay”, “You’re going the wrong way.”  “Shut-Up” Lee, told him.  Lynn and Lee came to visit her every-day and they lived happily ever after.  
Five-O’clock Charley  if you listened to “Mash”, they made jokes about the little guy.  He got a n old training plane, with two cock-pits, painted it “Black” and came out just before dark and had his own private war.   He flew here and there dropping mortar shell on anything American.  He dropped them out the side while trying to fly low, his problem he missed more often than he hit.  He was flying so slow and low our airplanes missed him and did so much damage to the cities, they just let him go.  I told Lee about this stupid black plane that all most landed on me while I was welding late one night.  Lee said, “You dummy, that was Charley landing on your field to gas up and come up and drop mortars on me.  I had already told him about all the barrels being rolled away the night I was on guard-duty and as long as nothing came my way, they could have it.
Lee had a house-boy to take care of his Quonset home to keep it clean and warm.  He was a good boy and Lee kept paying his way even after the Army told him to get rid of him.  Mine was shot as well as half my village I was living in, and I am still angry about it. 
Well the war was over and we were home.  One day I watched Lee and Garland trying to hit a big tub hanging on the garage out in our back yard with a couple of bows and arrows.  Sometimes they even missed the garage it was hanging on.  The arrows seemed be sailing off in a big arc.  I had to try my luck out of curiosity and couldn’t even hit the garage.   The eighty and ninety long-bows like the archers in old England used.  They knew they needed some help so off they went to some archery shop in east  SLC with the right splined arrows and actually hit what they were aiming at.   Then when  they brought home some re-curved bows and did even better that’s when I got interested.  Lee and Garland were soon bringing home two bucks apiece for a number of years.  Then I got me a bow.  Lee’s wife Carole killed a monster bigger than any of us ever brought home.  We joined an archery club, the “DATUS” archery club and really done a lot of shooting.  In time we got into some big completion and did pretty good.  I was the Champion Archer in the State, Inter-mountain States and placed in Nationally.  I expected to win the State Indoors on year; “Guess What” Lee stood right next to me and beat me good.   Lee and I competed in many archery tournaments for play and real.  We hunted together until we ruined our shoulders and had to quit.  What a glorious time we’ve had. 
We had many encounters that were quite scary.  It seems like every bear I scared up would run over the top of my brother, Lee.  It had rained for two days down on Elk Ridge and yet Lee could see dust rising from the tracks and seen dry ground where his claws tore the ground up. 
It was still quite dark if it wasn’t for the smell Lee would not have noticed the dead cow and something had been eating on it.  He walked a little farther and found a large rock to sit on.  Something big and brown was coming through the trees, maybe an elk. No, it was a big brown bear; he stopped to sniff and then ran right up to the rock.   Bears have poor eyesight but a wonderful nose.  He knew Lee was there but he must not have known where.  But Lee never thought the stupid bear would rise up on his hind legs and mover closer still.  There he stood just four or five feet away, sniffing.  He stood seven feet high and his head was as high as Lee’s.  Lee sat quite as a mouse.  He could see the new fur was growing through the old dark fur, an old bear but not very pretty and he was very close.  The bear would look at Lee then away, then back to Lee a few more times and then he finally just turned and slowly walked away.
I’ve had some great hunting dog over the years, starting with a Springer Spaniel, Irish Setter, a few English Setters and last of all Britney Spaniels.  After the war when I was able to buy ammunition and gas, there were Pheasants all over.  They hadn’t been hunted for years.  Lee was slow to get interested, but he was more interested in dogs than hunting.  So, we got a couple of English Setters out Magna Way. He called his Bandit, the dog was mostly white with a black mask.   Lee was soon really hooked on Pheasant hunting, Chucker Hunting and Duck hunting.  Lee never went half-way.  He had a double-barreled 12 gauge that he got famous with; just ask Max Ivie and his boy.  We hunted all over the state, from Howell Valley to Caineville, from Delta to Duchesne and everything in between.  In Emery and Huntington we had a choice of pheasants or ducks, can’t beat that.
But of all the birds, Chucker hunting was our favorite.  We just loved that bird and the places it took us.  Lee set his sights even farther West than I.  he was clear out in lakes and mountains from Blue Lake, Deep Creek Mountains, Fish Springs and back to the Thomas Range where I stopped.  Stansbury was without a doubt the best of all.  In some unknown canyon the east side chuckers were so numerous and so  noisy, and loud we just left.  Those chuckers just loved to eat Wild Garlic and they smelled like it, and it never bothered the taste.  These later years he got another dog, he called Copper because of his color. 
Something was happening to Lee and the more doctors and hospitals he went to the worse he got.    He sat around the house doing nothing but falling down and feeling dizzy most of the time.  I’m going to Stansbury Island, come on a ride can’t hurt you, just try it.  He did and it helped. 
One day he was offered a lot of money for his corner lot in West Jordan and built a very big and very beautiful home in Torrey, Utah.  He made friends fast and was quite happy for a while.  But some moved away and a few died.  At winter time, Lee and Carole were back to being “Snow-Birds again until Carol had had enough of that ki Quite a few years later a woman doctor at the VA solved his problem and solved the mystery once and for all. The old doctors just about killed him.  They also caused him retire several years early.  But he’s probably still got the first nickel I ever gave him.  He claims he got all his money in the Stock Market and he always wins when he gambles in Las Vegas.  I wish that I could have learned something about money from either Paul or Lee.
Walking and fishing soon got old, Lee needed people and friends to do things with.  Carole died in Torrey and it was time to sell, so now Lee lives in Hurricane, Utah, he has a Park Model home and loves living there, he has lots of friends that likes to do must of the things he does.  He said, “I take their money playing pool and they take it back playing golf”, sounds fair enough.  He used to come up and stay with me when it got hot and muggy, but he just feels better down there.  He like the warmth down there and just can’t stand to cold up here.  You ought to hear him cry if he gets caught in a snow storm coming or going.  We only get a few games of golf and pool, and away he goes.  I don’t like staying up here without him, but as long as he’s happy, I’ll be happy.  He has lost quite a few good years caused by his fall-downs and now that they are over deserves being healthy and happy again.  

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