Vera May Kimber Tanner

I was born on November 17, 1905, in Grouse Creek, Utah. I am one of a family of twelve children born to Charles Kimber and Persis Josephine Laird. My father was married twice and during his previous marriage nine children were born making “Dad” the father of twenty-one children. He often said he owed “Two children for tithing.”

In our family we must have thought, “The more the merrier,” because we were a very close, happy family with very little quarreling and lots of fun. If ever any of the boys attempted to do anything to hurt me or tease me I always shouted loudly before I was hurt. This always seemed to work pretty well.

I was born in a log house just south of our new home. Our family moved into this new home while I was still a baby. It was a lovely big green house with an upstairs and a one-room basement.

In our early life we were probably considered poor, but as I remember, we always had plenty to eat as mother was a very good cook and spent most of her time fixing meals. We also had nice clothes, with new outfits for holidays and special occasions.

My pictures show that I was a cute baby. I have red hair and as a child I also had freckles. Until I was about thirteen years old, I was small for my age, but after that I grew tall and now I weigh 145 pounds and I am five foot seven inches tall.

I started school one day when I was five years old and the teacher sent me home because I wasn’t old enough. (My birthday, November 17, 1905 was just past the deadline). This pleased me very much, however, for that day was the longest day of my life. I attended the ten years of school at Grouse Creek and I really enjoyed it, especially history and arithmetic. My first teacher was Zara Sabin, but my favorite teacher was Claude Adams from Thatcher and I will always remember Soren Michleson (Mickey) and the fun we did have the year he taught.

I went to the same schoolhouse as all of my children, so far, have done. It is still being used and is a very nice sandrock building.

My first appearance before the public that I remember is “quite a beginning” according to my girls. It was a dramatization of “Hansel and Gretel.”  (I was the Witch.)

Christmas and Thanksgiving were always exciting holidays at our house. Every year we had a big Thanksgiving dinner with all the family at home. Even after we were all married, we brought our families up until the time Mother moved to Brigham City.

Ella Betteridge and Ev Tanner were my best girlfriends. The three of us were usually together at each others homes, on dates, or into mischief somewhere.

My first date was with “Lois (Lorenzo) Richins” who escorted me to a dance. Dancing has always been fun for me and during my best “dancing” years, there were more fellows than girls and we surely were popular.

Our courting days were different from those of today as most of our dates consisted of walking to or from the church house and dance hall. Very few of the fellows had cars and since the cars had open tops, whenever there was one available, it was loaded to capacity.

I dated Herbert Tanner for nearly two years then we were married on December 17, 1925 in the Salt Lake Temple. Our mothers, Mary Emily Tanner and Persis Josephine Kimber went with us to the Temple. We spent one day in Salt Lake and one in Ogden, then we returned home. Wedding dances or receptions weren’t customary at that time so there wasn’t much excitement, but to me it was the most exciting time of my life.

I worked at the hotel for two years before I was married and for about one year after I was married, so I had bought a nice trousseau. Herb and I went to Lucin and bought our furniture from the agent who was moving away. We lived in part of Herb’s parents’ home for twenty years and during this time seven of our children were born.

Although we were very grateful for Herb’s parents who had shared their home with us, it was a thrilling time for all of us when we moved into our own new home across the street. In moving we had finally fulfilled my desire to have a home of my own. After we moved, four more children were born to complete our happy life. This made eleven children, each one an added joy.

I’ve been lucky to always have good neighbors. When I was young and living at home, some of the older people about Dad’s age used to make a big fuss over me. Some of these were our neighbors,  Mr. and Mrs. Lorenzo Richins, Mrs. and Mrs. Charles Lucas and Mr. George Blanthorn and also Jim Douglas and Ed  Frost. I thought these people were just wonderful.

I have also had sorrow in my life. One of the saddest experiences I had was the death of our twelve-year-old daughter, Shirley. She died with cancer in January 1952. We felt that the Lord blessed us because she wasn’t permitted to suffer long. Though we miss her terribly, my knowledge of the Gospel brings peace of mind to me and I am looking forward  to the day when I will be with Shirley again.

There have been no outstanding miracles happen to me, but I have a strong testimony of the Gospel and have always been a firm believer in prayer.

My church activities have been an interesting and enjoyable work. These are the positions I have held:  Primary Secretary and Treasurer, two years; a primary teacher of 2nd Group, two years; BeeHive Teacher, one year; Relief Society Visiting Teacher, Relief Society Social Science Teacher, seven years; Y.W.MIA President, four years and at present I am the MIA Adult Class Teacher.

Reading used to be my main hobby, but now I read more as a duty to gain information for lesson materials, etc. My only hobby now is my family and it seems I spend most of my time taking care of them, but I wouldn’t trade for anything else for I surely enjoy it.

My greatest desires are ordinary ones. I’d like all my children to at least graduate from high school, be married in the Temple, and as many as possible to fulfill missions. Today four of my children have already graduated, three have been married in the Temple, one plans to be married in the Temple in the near future and the other six are not married. Our oldest son, Floyd, fulfilled a two-year mission to the Northern States in 1950.

As for personal desires, my greatest is to be an active church worker, do temple work and some day go on a mission.

I am thankful for all the blessings that the Lord has given us and for the wonderful family that I have. I only wish to go on living a contented happy life as I have had so far.
My brothers and sisters:  Edith Chloe, Mary Persis, Winfred Charles, Florence Hannah, Raymond Hugh, Joseph Edwin, Vera May (myself), Rollo James, Oren LeGrande, Fern, Elsie, and Charles Jr.

My family:  Marjorie, Audrey, Herbert Floyd, Norma, Merle, Shirley (deceased), Darrell K., Donald LaVarr, Eileen, Allen Gary, Barbara Ann.

(Note)

Our Mother dictated her own history to me up to the year 1957 and now I, her daughter Marjorie, am rushing to complete it so it can go in the Grouse Creek history book.

There are so many good things to say about Mom and so many qualities she possessed that I would like to describe, but I have decided that you would have had to know Mom to truly love her. She was rather reserved in many ways, never physically showing affection, but always demonstrating sincere love. She never had an enemy and seemed to love everyone she knew.

Mom’s greatest pleasures came from her family. Every holiday and many weekends brought lots of family members, their spouses and grandchildren to her home. And actually the home was not a large one, so there was often wall to wall people, with Mom trying to cook and care for everyone. She was always cheerful and pleasant, taking everything in stride and seeming to thoroughly enjoy the crowds. Every grandchild (and there were many) thought “Grandma” always liked them best. She was a wonderful Grandmother as well as a wonderful mother.

Many of Mom’s desires that she stated previously were fulfilled. All ten of her living children graduated from high school and many from college. Floyd and Darrell served missions for the Church and eight of her children have been married in the Temple. Perhaps Mom may be sad that Allen never found the right girl and has never married. He came back to the ranch in Grouse Creek after attending Weber College and seems to be content working with the cattle here.

The tragic death of Don’s wife, Judy, in 1972 and later the sad death of Floyd’s wife, Ruby, in 1976 were heartbreaking times for Mom. Judy was hit by a truck while she was driving a calf across the street, and Ruby died of cancer. (Mom suffered the heartache along with her sons and their children.)

Another sadness came when Darrell and Laura lost their son, Darren. He was an autistic, special child and very lovable, but was unable to talk. He drowned in the river at Idaho Falls at the age of six, and this, too, was very heartbreaking to all our families. There was consolation in knowing that he had gone to a better life with his Heavenly Father.

Besides being a cheerful happy person, Mom was also a very healthy person and was able to stay physically active and church active right up until her death on August 7,1978. She died of a heart attack and thankfully she was not compelled to suffer long. She was buried in the Grouse Creek Cemetery.

The many descendants of Mother were terribly saddened at her passing, knowing how very much she would be missed. At her funeral her sons-in-law all paid loving tributes to her as a Mother.

Mom lived her entire seventy-three years in Grouse Creek in her peaceful, happy and contented surroundings. She loved her home and large family, the Lord and His Church, her friends and neighbors, and she was grateful to the Lord for all the ways she had been blessed.