Life in Missoula - #3
While we were living on Cherry Street an elderly man on
a bicycle stopped at our house. He introduced himself as
Rev. Bennett of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He had seen
me playing in the street and knew we were new residents so
wanted to enroll me in his Church School. My parents took
me the following Sunday and from then on I attended that
church, later becoming a member and singing in the choir.
As in all churches at that time, there was a program and
Christmas tree at Christmas. We even had Santa Claus there
to deliver gifts. He was a very real person to me and not
until I found some of his costume did I realize that it had
been Dad all along.
When I was in high school I taught a class of girls and
loved it and them. Once a month we had a party and in the
spring and summer often went on hikes on the weekends. In
1928, shortly before I was married, I visited Missoula on
my vacation and the girls who were still there entertained
I also sang in the choir. One Sunday while walking to church
a grasshopper got inside my white organdy dress but I didn't
know it until I felt it crawling on my back after church
had started. Nothing could make me get up in front of the
and leave so I leaned back against the seat as hard as I
could and squashed it. That was one day I thought church
would never end.
As in all churches, we had chicken dinners, not fried, but
chicken and noodles. Even now I dislike the odor of chicken
stewing. My best friend and I thought we were very daring
by eating dill pickles with our ice cream at these dinners.
One Sunday night the church was packed waiting for the minister
to demonstrate his radio. We were going to hear a sermon
broadcast from another state. However, all we heard was static
-squeaks and squawks
Rev. Lacklin was very well liked. Back then I thought ministers
and teachers were
very superior human beings. How shocked
I was when Rev. Lacklin said, "Damn" when a tire
blew out on the way from Glacier Park! I can remember that,
but not any of his sermons.
The Sunday School Superintendent, Tom Layfield, was our
meatman and his wife, Eileen, the teacher of the H.S. girls,
a class of twenty-five or thirty. 'Whenever I went to the
market to buy meat he would always hand me a wiener. Years
later I visited this couple when they moved to Yakima and
she and I walked to his meat market there. As he did when
I was a little girl he handed me a wiener.
In 1923 or 1924 we had movies at the church on Sunday night.
Herbert Inch, a boy whom I had known all my life, and I took
turns playing for the films. One of the films was "The
Courtship of Miles Standish", and after I married Wilbur
I found out that the star was married to his aunt. After
I left Missoula I next heard of Herbert Inch when he composed
a piece for the Montana Centennial. A friend wrote me that
he was living in La Jolla and gave me his address when she
knew I would be visiting Wilbur's relatives there. I had
no intention of visiting him but one day we were parked at
the beach and as I looked at the street sign it rang a bell.
I found that Herbert lived just across the street from where
we parked. So I called on him. Imagine my embarrassment when
he had no recollection of me at all!
When I was old enough, probably in high school, I joined
the youth group called the Epworth League. At one time I
was vice-president in charge of hospital visiting and taking
magazines to the jail. One young man I visited, Ernest Johnson,
had his leg crushed when he fell off the train he was riding
and had to have it amputated. He was from Black Diamond,
Washington, a place I had never heard of nor ever expected
to see. This summer (1988) I thought of him when I was having
dinner in Black Diamond and wondered what became of him.
Looking back I think I must have made a pest of myself collecting
magazines and urging my friends to make calls so I could
report them to the state organization. Our group was first
in the number of calls for the state.
1988/89 Life Story Class
Life in MissoulaCont.txt Page 2 of 2 01/18/01 11:44 PM