We were poor when I was growing up.
So poor that we depended on free lunches at school,WIC food vouchers from the government, and occasional trips to the Church welfare office toeat.
But our daily struggle to survive didn’t keep my mom from stockpiling food in preparation
for the end of days, which we, like most Mormons, believed would occur around the year 2000
give or take a few years.
“A bushel of wheat will be worth a barrel of gold when the Second Coming nears,” she would
say as she stocked up on freeze-dried space food she purchased from a survival store in oursmall Northern Utah town.Our cellar shelves were packed with tins of Spam, cans of tomato paste, and bags of pasta andrice. They also held hundreds of home-bottled jars of fruits and vegetables. Lining the wallswere thr
ee giant aluminum trash cans ―like the one Oscar the Grouch lived in on SesameStreet― which housed our bags of whole wheat and powdered milk.
We collected dozens of plastic milk containers and filled them with tap water to ensure we had plenty to drink. And tokeep our food supply going, Mom dug up our entire half-acre back yard and turned it into agarden.We spent endless summer days weeding, watering and harvesting vegetables. Any free timewas devoted to peeling, slicing, and bottling peaches, apricots, carrots, beets, beans andanything else we could get our hands on.To keep us motivated, Mom talked about the last days. She said our Mormon-dominated valleywould be covered in tents because the gentiles (non-believers) would descend on us for food.We would feed them, of course. But we also needed to save enough for our 1,500 mile trek toJackson County, Missouri.
That’s where we believed the Garden of Eden once stood and where
the Second Coming would occur. Mom said we had to walk because the cost of oil would be
through the roof― if oil was available at all ― making fuel impossible to acquire.