This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
HINCKLEY DECEMBER 25, 1992
Krista Newman Utah Studies Period 2 January 8, 1992
INTERVIEW OF SHERMAN B. HINCKLEY December 25, 1992 Krista Newman
Krista: What was your family background? Grampa: Well, I grew up at 840 East 700 South, Salt Lake City, Utah. We lived there in the winter times and in the summer we went out to the farm, out where you live now. Krista: How long have you lived in Utah? Grampa: I’ve lived off and on in Utah for 81 years. I was away about 15 years. Krista: What other states or countries have you lived in? Grampa: I’ve lived in Nevada. I’ve lived in Montana. I’ve lived in Colorado. Krista: Where and when were you born? Grampa: I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on October 20, 1911. Krista: What nationality were your parents? Grampa: Americans. Krista: What type of jobs did your father have? Grampa: He was the manager of the Deseret Gym. Krista: What was the first home you remember? Grampa: It was a big two story house with four big bedrooms, only one bathroom, a kitchen, a dining room, a library, and a parlor. The bedrooms occupied the second floor. And, the rest was downstairs. We also had a big pantry and two back porches.
Krista: Is it still standing? Grampa: Yes. Krista: Where was it located? Grampa: 840 East 700 South Krista: Did it have plumbing and electricity? Gramps: It had plumbing and electricity. Krista: How did your family heat the house? Grampa: We started out heating it with coal stoves and then we got a hot water furnace, a coal-fired furnace. Krista: How did you keep the food cool? Grampa: We had a refrigerator after so long, but the ice man used to come and he would fill the top part of the refrigerator with ice two or three times a week. They got the ice by cutting it somewhere or making it. Krista: Did your family have a telephone? Grampa: Yes. Krista: What was your favorite childhood memory? Grampa: Eating ice cream. We used to have a cow and we would take the cream and the milk from this cow and make homemade ice cream. We didn’t do it too often. We would have the ice which would be in the ice box and chop it and then put salt with it in the freezer and turn the crank and you would end up with delicious homemade ice cream. We made it when the ice man was still delivering. You could also make it in the winter by taking the icicles and using them. Icicles were better than snow. Krista: How did children dress when you were a child?
Grampa: Just like people dress now. They wore clothes. Little boys wore knickers sometimes. They were all natural fibers, cotton, wool, and linen handkerchiefs. We couldn’t afford any silk. Krista: Did you have to do chores? Grampa: Yes. We had chickens for a while. They had to be fed and watered. We kept a cow in town for a while. That had to be fed and watered. Then we had to get up and make the fires every morning. Krista: What did you do for fun? Grampa: Kick the can. Play under the arc light. The arc light was on Windsor Street. All the kids played there at night. There was very little traffic on Windsor Street. The arc light was the king of street light that it was. Krista: Did you have any special traditions for birthdays or holidays? Grampa: No, we just had Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Fourth of July and the 24th. We had a turkey and all the fixings for Thanksgiving. Usually, it was just the immediate family, not too many invites. We had rather meager Christmases, but we did not know any different. Mother used to make candy, chocolates, dipped chocolates, fruitcake, plum puddings, all that stuff before Christmas. Krista: What were the schools like? Gramps: Well, I went to the Hamilton School for the first six years which was on the corner of 800 South and 800 East, about a block and a half from our house. And they were typical schools. Hamilton was a big school in a building that would now be condemned for fire reasons I’m sure if it were still standing. It was three stories. There were 30 to 40 kids in a classroom. Krista: What subjects did you have to study? Grampa: Reading, writing, arithmetic, all that stuff. Krista: What about junior high? Grampa: Well, I went to the Hamilton School for six years and then in the seventh grade I went to the Webster School. Hamilton was too crowded and the junior high was
not ready yet. It was on 800 East and 400 South. That was a three and a half block walk to Webster. Then, we went to Junior High the first year it opened to the Roosevelt Junior High on 800 South between 900 and 1000 East. It is now Rowland Hall School. The city school district sold it to a private set-up. Then, I went to the LDS High School after Junior High. Krista: How did you get to school? Grampa: We walked most of the time. The LDS was downtown, located where the Relief Society Building now is, east of Temple Square. Krista: What subjects did you have to take in high school? Grampa: What subjects? Well, we took algebra and geometry and college algebra. I took Latin and German and they had history. Our physical education classes where held in the old gym, the Deseret Gym, which was right next to the school. The school cafeteria was the Lion House. It was downstairs in the Lion House. A lot of kids would go to Scram Johnson’s to get their lunch or the Grabeteria which used to be on Main Street. Scram Johnson’s was a drug store on the corner of South Temple and Main, on the southwest corner. It was a little over a two mile walk to high school. We often walked, back and forth. Krista: What type of movies did you see? Grampa: Very few. The only movies we really saw were those the came to the movie nights at the Ward. They had movie nights at the Ward once a week. I remember going to one Vaudeville show at the Pantages Theater. It was on Main Street. I don’t know what is there now. Krista: What was the first car like that you remember? Grampa: The first car we had was a Model T Ford. I was four or five when we got it. Krista: What radio stations did you listen to? Grampa: The first radio stations that we listened to were in 1929 and we got a crystal set with head phones. The first you listened to most was KSL and then KDYL came in. Only one person at a time could listen to it or you split the headphones and two people could listen. This crystal set had a piece of Galena and a whisker that you poked the
Galena with until you got a good signal. A whisker was a piece of wire that came down and made contact with the crystal. It took no electricity. And, you had a resistance coil which you would move back and forth to tune it into the station. Krista: What programs did you like to listen to? Grampa: I can’t tell you what they were. I was 17 years old when we got the radio. I hadn’t graduated from high school. You had to spend time with the radio to get it to work right. Krista: What problems were there in America that you can remember? Grampa: One of my earliest recollections is when they put out an “extra” in 1914 saying war had been declared. That would be the beginning of World War I. Krista: What wars do you remember? Grampa: World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War. You might state here that our oldest brother died in France during World War I, in 1918. He had been there about a year. Krista: What major changes have taken place in the world? Grampa: A good many of them. For instance, there was no television when we were kids. The airplanes were very rare; you didn’t see much of them. There were very few automobiles. There were horse and wagons, horse and buggies, and saddle horses on the streets all the time. Policemen downtown used to ride around on horseback. Airplanes were quite a sight to begin with. People would go look at them. I remember when they had parades to raise money during World War I. Soldiers, I guess new recruits, would parade on Main Street and they would have a big flag that you would throw your money on as they walked down the street with their bands blaring. They were trying to get people to buy war bonds as well as contribute what cash they had. I well remember the Armistice at the end of World War I. They had a big parade down Main Street. Everyone in town went to see the parade. They had some guy that ran a steam engine over onto the car tracks and about ruined them. But they ran this steam engine up and down Main Street with its whistle shouting. We did not know that Stan (brother) had died until after the Armistice had been signed. Probably not until a week after the parade. The family didn’t know about Stan. You didn’t hear much from them.
Krista: What other things have changed since you were young? Grampa: Well, television. We had no television when we were kids. We used to have a phonograph that you would wind up and play records on. Automobiles were kind of rare and they were very different. They were not comfortable at all unless you compare them to a horse and buggy. Krista: Tell us about your trip to Yellowstone. Grampa: We had had our Model T car for a little. It took us two weeks, traveling all the time. The first day we got to Brigham City. The second day we got to Pocatello. The third day we got up around Idaho Falls or maybe a little further. It seems to me it was about the fourth day before we got to the park. There were no paved roads at all. They were just gravel, dirty, dusty roads. And, we went through the Park and there weren’t very many visitors. There were roads in the Park but they weren’t paved. But, they had those big hotels in the Park. We didn’t stay in them. We camped out all the way. Everyone slept out except for Gord and me and we slept in the car. One of us slept on the front seat and one on the back seat. There were maybe five of us. We saw a lot of bears, a lot of elk, and a lot of buffalo. We saw all the geysers, clear up to Mammoth and back around. Gord and I were sleeping in this old Model T and I heard my parents say that a big bear came into camp and put both his paws on the Model T and looked at both of us. He could have just grabbed us and pulled us out. It was an open car. It had an old canvas top that you could pull down or put up with effort. It was cold in winter, but no colder than an old buggy except that you were going faster. We had this old Model T for quite some time and then we got another Model T and then we finally got a Model T pick-up, one of their later ones. We were driving it. We put a door on part of the old shed in back of the house and made a garage out of it. It was a mess of a garage, but it kept the car out of the weather. Father would park this vehicle outside of the garage and Gord or I would drive it in. That’s how we learned to drive was to drive this old Model T into the garage and take it out in the morning before he was ready to go to work. I remember one time when we first go the Model T. Father was going to take us for a ride. We were going up by the east field, which is where Wasatch Junior High is. The water used to come across the road in a ditch. Father was just beginning to learn to drive and couldn’t see where the water was until you got right up to it. He pulled back on the steering wheel and said, “Whoa.” He just plowed through the ditch. Another time, we were going to church around the bend there. The road was gravel. This old Model T, if you didn’t hang onto the steering wheel, would cramp
around if you hit something funny. And this thing hit that gravel and we just about tipped over. We went up on the side and were so close to tipping over you couldn’t believe it. It would have probably killed us. Krista: What trip did you go on that you drove a lot? Grampa: O.K. We went down to Bryce Canyon, I guess it was. We took two cars. Gord and I were in this old pick-up and Father and whoever else went were in the car. And, we drove along with them. But, it was amazing. This pick-up we drove about 55 miles an hour most of the way, which was something. It could have been in the mid20’s. They were improving the roads all the time. But, I don’t think there were many paved roads when we went down there. They were just gravel roads. Krista: Give me a little more information about your family background. Grampa: Father’s first wife died in 1908. There were four boys and four girls in that family. That makes eight. In addition, there had been two that had died. Then, he married our mother and there are five of us, two boys and three girls, of which three are still alive and the other two have passed on. Of the older family, there is only one alive and she is no going on 91. Krista: When you were young and had scarlet fever, tell me about that. Grampa: I was in the fifth grade when I had scarlet fever. The teacher’s name was Miss Riley. But, it happened in the early spring, way early spring. I just got sick and finally called the doctor and he diagnosed it as scarlet fever. Then I went to bed for six weeks. When I got up I had to learn to walk all over again. But, I missed that part of school but they passed me in the grade so I wasn’t held back. The house was quarantined. The kids that were in school and Father went to East Millcreek and lived in that house which was practically nothing but a summer house. And, Mother and Ramona and Sylvia stayed in the house there at 840 East. In those days they put a big yellow sign on your house, two of them, front door and back door, “Quarantined, Scarlet Fever, Keep Out.” Father did not come upstairs to visit me during this time. The only visitors I had were Mother who was the nurse, so to speak, and the doctor. Scarlet Fever, it was a bad case, and all your skin peeled off, so you got a whole new hide out of it. My little sisters would talk to me from the bottom of the stairs. It was a big question how I got it. There were only three cases in all of Salt Lake at that time and I was one of the three. I had a sore throat and a high fever and it just knocked me
out. I must have had a high fever for a long time because many of my teeth ended up decayed after that. I had a rash with it. (Gord had diphtheria one winter when we were older. I slept in the same room with him and didn’t get it. We always had single beds, I’m sure that helped.) Anything I had at home from the school they wanted to be burned and any of the books I used around the house from our library they wanted to be burned. So, there would be no contagion going around. All the kids at school used to write me letters from my class. Of course, they would have to be burned after I read them. They fumigated the house when all was done. They closed up the house and everybody moved out and they burned sulfur candles. I guess they filled the house full of SO2. I think they burned my clothes. They didn’t know much about it then. It had some possibilities of a serious disease. The doctor had to report the disease to the Board of Health and they came and nailed the signs up. Krista: Tell me about your jobs that you have had. Grampa: O.K. I went to the University and graduated in Mining Engineering. The first job I got after finishing school was out at Lark, working for the U.S. Smelting in the mine at Lark. And from there I went to a place west of Delta out in the Drum Mountains and worked there for close to two years. And then I went up to Park City and worked in Park City for a short period of time. From there I went to Eureka, Nevada. From Eureka, I came back to Salt Lake and worked for the Gallagher Company for a relatively short time, six months or so. Then went for them up into Montana and supervised the building of a mill at Silver Star, Montana. I originally went up to spend six months or so there and ended up spending over eight years in Montana. From Montana, I went to Eureka, Nevada and then to Rico, Colorado. All of this was in the mining industry. Krista: What was your very first job you had in your whole life? Grampa: Selling ice cream from a cart. I think the bars sold for a nickel. You just went everywhere. You just pushed a cart. You got a commission on how much you sold. It was a lot of work, trying to sell it. Krista: How much would you guess that your father made for a living at the Deseret Gym? Grampa: I would guess about $250 a month. He had a big family. Maybe that was at the end. I don’t know how much he made. He had taught school before. He went to
the Deseret Gym when it first opened. He was the first manager and was there for about 25 years or more.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.