Saturday, December 7, 2013


There were other kids from my home stake that were going to be freshmen at Brigham University that fall.  But I had arrived a couple of weeks ahead of all of them.  Since I was living with Linda and barely knew my roommates, I was on my own for those few weeks...a little fish in a pond of 25,000 students and basically a nobody.  This was long before cell phones, email and texting.  I didn't know if I was ever going to connect with anyone from home. I clearly remember sitting on the steps of the Wilkinson Center one afternoon and seeing Kent Miller, a boy from home, walking towards the building.  Kent had dated a good friend of mine and we knew each other well.  I jumped up and ran toward him.  It was great to see a familiar face from home.  We spent a lot of time together during the first months of school.  He knew that I was "waiting" for a missionary who was his former girlfriend's brother.  We never officially date, but we did go to a lot of dances together especially the socials that were held in his dorm just off campus and down the street from where I lived.  I eventually connected with Norene.  But didn't see her often because her dorm was on the opposite side of campus from I lived.  I think that we may have had a Book of Mormon class together that first semester.

Thanks goodness for student wards.  They provided a way to meet people and have some connections in a smaller environment.  Most of the freshman classes were required courses and were huge.  Most of them were held in the large auditoriums through out campus.  They didn't provide much of an opportunity to meet people.


In late summer of 1964, I headed off to Provo, Utah and BYU.  I don't remember why the decision was made that I would make the trip west, by car, with my mother's adult, married, cousin, Bill Farnsworth.  I suppose it was a matter of expense and convenience.  Bill and I basically drove straight through from Virginia.  He would pull over to the side of the road when he was tired and sleep. It seems that we took Highway 40 most of the way because I remember being excited about coming in to Denver from the east.  I think that it was in Denver that he finally stopped and got a motel room for the night.

I got in to Provo several weeks before school started because I was on Bill's time schedule.  My sister, Linda, was already in Provo and had a place for me in her basement apartment.  I had originally planned to share a room in Helaman Halls with my friend, Norene Shurtleff.  But for reasons I can't remember, I ended up in an apartment with Linda.  I wasn't in that apartment long.  I came home one day to be met by Linda who told me that the apartment had flooded and she had found us a new place to live.  However, we wouldn't be together.  She could only find two openings in one apartment in the new complex for her and her roommate.  She got me a place in another unit in the same building.  I was thrown in with four complete strangers.  I did have my own room which was an improvement over the top bunk in a room shared with Linda and her roommate.

The apartment was two stories with a living room and kitchen on the main floor and three bedrooms and one bathroom upstairs. It was one of about six apartments in a building on 800 North, across the street from the Botony Pond.  The way to campus was up a flight of at least 100 stairs. Yes, that's one bathroom shared by five girls.  I had to figure out the roommate thing pretty quickly.  I only remember the names of three of my roommates,  Cathy, Clydene and Morag.  We all got along pretty well.  We shared the cooking and cleaning with pretty good success. 

Monday, January 30, 2012


My mother, Editha "Dixie" Reid, was born on January 30, 1913 in Manti, Utah and one of three daughters and two sons born to Edgar Thomas Reid and Ida Farnsworth Reid. Her great grandfather on her Dad's side was Frederick Walter Cox.  He was one of the very early settlers of Manti and a polygamist with five wives.  I'm related, some way, to anyone who has Cox ties in Manti.  In fact, a few years ago, I discovered a second cousin once removed quite accidentally.  He was someone that I had known for at least nine years through work situations.  It wasn't until I had an on call assignment to help him organize files when he retired that I learned he was from Manti and descended from Frederick Walter Cox.

The house where my mother grew up on Depot Street in Manti.

Even though the house I grew up in was built in the 1950s and no longer exists, my mother's home from the early 1900s is still standing in Manti.  The above pictures were taken about three years ago.

Dixie Reid, about age 20

Manti was a small, dirt road town when my mother was growing up.  She often said that she was just a nobody from the back water town of Manti, Utah.  But she ended up living in Washington DC where senators, congressmen, high level government people, including the Secretary of Agriculture were counted among her circle of associates.  For being a back water girl, she knew how to entertain at her own dinner parties and hob nob with the big wigs.

My mother was a fastidious homemaker.  Saturday mornings were always spent cleaning the house.  Since she kept things very clean during the week, the kids were given the deep cleaning chores like the bathroom and dusting the dreaded shadowboxes.  She knew how to bake and made wonderful pies, cakes, bread and rolls.  But her day to day family cooking was rather bland.  She was an excellent seamstress who made all of her girls' dresses, our play clothes, shirts, suits, baby clothes and doll clothes.

My mother from cancer in May of 1983.  She was only 70 years old.  I know that there were unfulfilled dreams in her of them being able to travel.  My Dad couldn't see the need to travel and see other places. During her last days, she told me that she was rather angry that she was going to die before my father.  Since she was nine years younger than my Dad, she thought that she'd outlive him and be able to spend time traveling with her sisters.

Happy Birthday, Mother. 


In search for something else, I came across these pictures.  I could go back through earlier posts and add each to the ones that are applicable, but this is easier.  All of these pictures were taken the last time I was in Virginia...I think it was in the late 1990s.  I can't remember the exact year.  Maybe one of my brothers or sisters remember because we were all together on that trip.

Virginia Avenue House  
This is where my parents were living in 1946, the year I was born.  Back then the house had a porch all the way across the front.  The trim was white

View from the side  

6801 29th Street North

This is where I lived for 14 years.  Back then the house didn't have shutters or a red door.  The house was torn down not too many years later and replaced with a big two story McMansion.

Tuckahoe Elementary

I started first grade at Charles A. Stewart Elementary.  Tuckahoe was constructed when I was in the third grade. I attended fourth through sixth grade at Tuckahoe. Back then, Stewart and Tuckahoe operated with one principle and was known as Stewart-Tuckahoe.  At some point in time, Stewart was closed and torn down..

On the steps of the grand, colonial chapel

My sister and I also made a stop by the chapel of our youth at 1600 Inglewood Street.  It was pretty much as I remembered except the front doors are different and there had been some remodeling of the building inside.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Back in my olden days, Mormons in the Washington DC area held fast to their Utah connection.  Most of them had probably been born in Utah and ended up in Washington due to employment. They may have lived in the Washington DC area for decades, but Utah was still home and was the place where they would probably retire. Their ties to "Zion" were strong and deep. There was a Utah State Society in the DC area that was mostly made up of  LDS church member with ties to Utah.  My parents were members.

Back in those days, a common social event for older teenage girls was their debut.  When a girl reached the age of about seventeen or eighteen, her parents presented their daughter, or debutante, to society at a fancy party or ball.  It came from an old custom of letting society know that you had a daughter of marriageable age.  The debutante was "shown off" to society families with the idea that rich parents who had an eligible bachelor son might find her suitable for marrying into their family.  But it was just a fancy way to hopefully get your daughter married off and out of the house.

The Utah State Society had it's own form of a Debutante Ball.  In the winter, a ball was held where all of the girls who were seniors in high school were presented to society.  Along with forty three other girls, I debuted at the Utah Belle Ball in the winter of 1963.  It was held at one of the Marriott hotels in the Washington area.  I remember descended a long flight of stairs into the ballroom as my name was announced as the daughter of Morley and Dixie Christensen and then I had a dance with my father.

 1963, Utah Belles.  I am in the third row, 2nd from the left 

Even though there were plenty of well-to-do society type people in the Utah State Society (government officials, congressmen, the Marriotts and even Ezra Taft Benson) with eligible bachelor sons, my parents were never approached about a marriage proposal...probably because I lived on the wrong side of the Potomac River. But that really wasn't the purpose of the dance anyway.  It was just a night to feel special and be recognized.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Some time in the late winter or early spring of my senior year, I started to make college plans.  Many of my friends were going through the lengthy decision and application process that comes with deciding on where to go to college.  For me, it was pretty simple.  It was always a fore gone conclusion that, if I went to college, I would go to BYU.  That's what most LDS girls living away from "Zion" did.  They went off to BYU, primarily to find a good Mormon boy to marry.  Plus my sister, Linda, and brother, John, were already in Provo attending BYU.

Back then, the requirements to get into BYU were pretty easy.  All you needed was to have at least a "C" average, take the ACT test, have an endorsement from your Bishop and you were accepted.  There wasn't even an application deadline. I'm sure that with the competitive requirements that BYU has today, I would have never gotten in.  I'm smart, but was a lazy student with just average grades. I hadn't really taken college prep classes in high school.  My curriculum was more secretarial/business based. But I filled out the application, took the ACT and got my Bishop's endorsement.  Not long after, I got notice that I was accepted.  My friend, Norene, applied to BYU as well.  We made plans to be roommates on campus.

So, in the fall of 1964, at the age of  seventeen and a half, I would be living far away from home as a freshman at BYU.  I had no idea what I would major in, but looked forward to the new experience.

Friday, August 5, 2011


At JEB Stuart High School, there was an annual Varsity - Faculty basketball game.  It was a pretty big deal. Part of the event included having special cheerleaders chosen from the senior class.  Seniors nominated candidates.  Then those candidates were voted on by only the senior class.  Votes were 10 cents a vote with all the proceeds being donated to the senior class fund.  You could vote as many times as you wanted.

My friend, Cory, nominated me for cheerleader.  I didn't think that I had much of a chance since it was more or less a popularity contest.  I had friends.  But I didn't think that I had enough in the senior class to be chosen as a cheerleader.

Containers were set up in the cafeteria for the week prior to the basketball game.  I was very surprised when the money in each container was counted at the end of the week.  I had made the cheerleading squad!!  Really??

The Varsity/Faculty game cheerleaders had to borrow uniforms from the regular cheerleaders.  I was lucky that one of the girls on the squad was about my size.  Her uniform fit me perfectly.I had a fun time pretending to be a cheerleader at the one and only experience as a cheerleader. 

It was until after the game that I found out how it came to be that I was voted a cheerleader.  My friend, Cory, had stuffed the ballot box!  In addition to the votes that I got from my circle of friends, she had put in $2. Her votes alone represented half of the senior class.

Being a Varsity/Faculty game cheerleader was about my only claim to fame at JEB Stuart High School.  I even had a picture with other cheerleaders in the yearbook for that year.