Lila June Mitchell Rookstool
Colaborador: trishkovach Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
I’M SPECIAL. In all the world, there’s nobody like me. Since the beginning of time there has never been another person like me. Nobody has my smile. Nobody has my eyes, my nose, my hair, my voice. I’m special.
No one can be found who has my handwriting. Nobody anywhere has my tastes—for food or music or art. No one sees things just as I do. In all of time there’s been no one who laughs like me, no one who cries like me. And what makes me laugh or cry will never provoke identical laughter and tears from anybody else, never.
No one reacts to any situation just as I would react. I’m special. I’m the only one in all creation who has my set of abilities. Oh, there will always be someone better at one of the things I’m good at, but no one in the universe can reach the quality of my combination of talents, ideas, abilities and feelings. Like a room full of musical instruments, some may excel alone, but none can match the symphony sounds when all are played together. I’m a symphony.
Through all of eternity no one will ever look, talk, think, or do like me. I’m special. I’m rare. And in all rarity there is great value. Because of my rare value, I need not attempt to imitate others. I will accept—yet, celebrate—my differences.
I’m special. And I’m beginning to realize it’s no accident that I’m special. I’m beginning to see that God made me special for a very special purpose. He must have a job for me that no one else can do as well as I. Out of all the billions of applicants, only one is qualified. Only one has the right combination of what it takes.
That one is me. Because…I’m special.
Have you looked in the mirror lately and said, “I’m special, there is no one else quite like me, and I like me!”
LILA JUNE MITCHELL ROOKSTOOL
1 June 1923-3 September 1994
I like to think that we pick the time to be born and I picked the month of June. To me, June is the most beautiful month of the year and I arrived on the very first day, June 1, 1923 to Alfred Lockiel Mitchell and Lila Moon. They lived on a farm at Upalco, Utah. Alfred was feeding cattle for a farmer and they lived in a one room log cabin, and this is where I was born. My folks were expecting me to arrive in the month of May, but I am glad that I held out for June.
My folks moved to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1924 or 1925. I can remember a few things that happened while living there. My folks were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple. I remember they left me with a woman. She took me to Mom and Dad. It seemed like it was a very large room but they would not let me stay with my folks so I did a lot of crying.
My playmate was a boy who lived next door. His name was Leo Reynolds. It seemed like we were always in trouble. Then there was the time my great grandparents came for a visit and my folks were going to take them some place special. Mother dressed me in my best clothes. Then while they got ready, I went outside. There was an old run down vacant store on the corner of the block where we lived. I crawled down under the store to what used to be the basement and sat on a rock. Soon I could hear my folks calling me. I did nothing. I just sat there keeping quiet. I don’t know how long they looked for me. My dad was the one that found me. Years later my mom told me they were ready to call the police. They thought I had been kidnapped.
In 1927 we moved back to Upalco and my brother Alfred Val was born September 20, 1927. My dad bought a farm and moved a one room house on to the farm. When they were moving the house, I went down the road a ways to watch them. When I heard the men shouting at the horses and making all kinds of noise, I got scared and ran back to the house that we were living in and crawled under the bed. I was so scared mother had a hard time getting me to come out from under the bed.
I started school when I was six years old. My dad helped to build the two-story school house. The first three grades were in one room on the first floor. The fourth to the eighth grades were on the second floor. Most of the time I walked to school. Once in a while, I would get to ride the horse. One time I got kicked by the horse and I landed over the plow and cut my head. I don’t know what I did to make the horse kick. It seems I was always getting hurt.
One time I had some pigeons and they made their home on top of the chicken coop. I would climb up the side of the coop to feed them. There were big long spike nails sticking out and I would climb up on the nails to get to the top of the building. One day my dad saw me on the coop and he told me not to climb up there. I might fall. I waited until he was gone. Then I proceeded to climb up using the nail to step on. As I reached for the top nail, my foot slipped and a nail went into my leg tearing my leg open about four inches and about one inch deep. My dad took care of it. He poured hot Lysol water in the cut to wash it out then he pulled it together and taped it closed, then made me stay in bed it seemed like forever. Then another time I was told not to swing on the barb wire fence and I didn’t listen and I cut a big gash in my right upper arm.
About a mile above the town of Upalco was a canal that carried the water for the farmers. It was called “The Class Sea”. It was in this canal that I was baptized August 15, 1931 by Paul Murphy. As soon as I was baptized they lifted me up onto the ditch bank. There was a chair there, you sat down dripping wet and were confirmed. Emanuel Murphy confirmed me.
The Upalco school always put on a big Christmas play and party. They would have a big Christmas tree and lots of presents. Just before Santa came, I would recite the poem “It Was the Night Before Christmas” then Santa would come in and give out the gifts.
I remember one Christmas, Santa didn’t come to our house. Christmas morning I wanted to get up early but Dad wouldn’t let me. When he did let us up, there was just a few things under the tree. Mom and Dad told us kids that Santa got held up somewhere. I couldn’t figure that out because he came to everyone else’s place. A couple days after that, we were all going to my Grandma’s place. Dad had to go back to the house. Then he came to Grandma’s later. When we got home that evening, Santa had been there and left a big Christmas under the tree.
My Grandma and Grandpa Moon lived close to the school house. One day mother told me that I was going to stay with Grandma Moon for a few days and go to school. This was a real treat for me. I loved staying with Grandma. I had been there a few days. One morning when I was getting ready for school, Grandma told me that I had a new baby brother. He was born March 8, 1930. They named him Don Jarvis.
Not far from our house there was a range of hills. Huge rocks formed steep cliffs. The face of the rocks were smooth and flat. You could see a lot of Indian writing and drawings. I would sometimes find arrow heads. In the foot hills grew cedar trees, greasewood, sagebrush and a lot of wild grass. This is where I would herd Dad’s sheep in the summer time. I was ten or eleven years old at that time.
In 1934, Dad bought a forty-acre farm in eastern Oregon on the Owyhee project. In October, 1935 my folks loaded up their belongings and left for their new home. They stopped at Riverton, Utah and visited mother’s folks. We stayed there about a week. Then we started out for Oregon. It took us three days to get to Nyssa, Oregon. We arrived there November 5, 1935. Sue Orr is Dad’s sister. She and her husband Bill moved to Oregon about a year before 1935. It was at their place we stayed while Dad built a two-room house on his farm. We moved into our new home around December 10th or 12th. We were all excited. It was so different than we had in Utah. Dad had big dreams for his farm. He started right in clearing the land of sage brush. He would make huge piles of the brush, then at night all the family would go and help burn the brush.
I started school at Nyssa in the sixth grade. I had to walk two miles to catch a bus. The bus was so old. It rattled and banged as it went down the road and there was no heat in it. There was quite a bit of snow that winter. I would be so cold by the time I got to school, I couldn’t do any studying. The year I was in the eighth grade, the bus came by our house and picked us up and it was a lot better bus.
In the spring of 1936, a bunch of us girls decided it was too nice a day to stay in school so we skipped the last class and started to walk home. We walked quite a ways, then we saw this pickup coming so we formed a line across the road and made the driver stop. Then all of us girls climbed on the pickup. Where this farmer lived, he had to turn off the main road and go through a field. It was a sharp turn and there was a pile of rocks right by the turn. I don’t know what happened, but I fell off into the rocks and hurt my right arm at the elbow. My dad didn’t think it was broke but he kept me home for a few days from school. The day I went back to school, the teacher looked at my arm then she had the principal look at it. He sent me to the doctor. This was the first time I had ever been to a doctor and I was scared. His name was Dr. Sarzain. He became our family doctor. He x-rayed my arm and told me I had broken it. Then he put my arm across my chest so my hand touched my left shoulder and taped it right to my body with wide tape.
The year of 1938 was a very sad and trying year. On January 5, my Dad passed away. He was sick just a week. He had dust Pneumonia. He was buried at the Owyhee Cemetery. My mother kept the farm and made a home for us kids. Money was something we didn’t have so I went to work doing house work for different families. Also, I cooked for hay crews. The spring of 1939, I worked thinning sugar beets. I got so I could thin ½ acre in a day. One year mom, my two brothers and me, thinned lettuce and we took some of the money and we went to Utah. Mom drove the car. This was the first we had been back since we moved from there.
I don’t know when or how I met Harold. I knew his sisters Mary June and Betty. They went to school and rode the same bus I did. Harold worked for a farmer that lived not very far from where I lived. I had to go by that farm when I would go after the mail. If he was working along the road, he would always tease me. He had a date with my girlfriend and I had a date with her brother, so we went to the movies together. After that we had a few dates. One time we had a date, he came to pick me up. It was so cold, we decided not to go anywhere. He stayed and we did a lot of talking. When he got ready to go home, he went out to start his car and it was froze up. He stayed the night.
When World War II was declared, Harold enlisted in the navy reserves. Then we wrote to each other.
I graduated from high school the last of May 1942. I worked that summer in the fields thinning sugar beets. That fall I went to work at a nursing home as a Nurse’s Aide. I got me a room at an old hotel and it didn’t have any heat in it. The owners of the hotel put a kerosene stove in the room. That night I got real sick. Mom came and took me home. My boss was real unhappy with me but she let me come back to work and my landlady gave me another room with a wood burning stove. A Mrs. Page owned the nursing home. I worked about a year for her then she sold it to Mrs. Bessie McIntosh and I worked for her until June 21, 1944. We became very good friends. Bessie’s daughter Norvelene also worked at the nursing home. She was my age. We had a lot of fun working together. We took our vacation together at Shady Beach Camp at McCall, Idaho. We stayed the first day and night at Boise, Idaho. We had a great time. I will never forget some of the things we did.
We went to Nyssa for all our church meetings. Sometimes it was real hard to go the 12 miles into Nyssa. The summer of 1938, a dependent branch of the Nyssa ward was formed at Sunset Valley. Sunday School was held in an old house at Truely Camp. It was about 1 ½ miles from where we lived. They put me in as a teacher in Sunday School. I taught the three, four and five-year old’s.
During World War II there were a lot of things you would not get or buy and a lot was rationed. You had to have ration stamps to get things like gas, shoes, sugar, meat, coffee and cigarettes. Nylon-we never heard of it. Sometimes you would trade stamps with someone else in order to get what you wanted or needed. New cars? You were lucky if you could get new tires to put on your old car.
Harold came home on a six day leave in December 1943. The ship he was on (Aircraft Carrier Saratoga) came to San Francisco for repairs. The third day he was home, he gave me an engagement ring. His mother had Christmas early and she gave a big dinner and invited all of Harold’s relatives and friends. I’d never seen so many people and kids. They were everywhere. When Harold had to leave, my mother, and his Mom, of course, and me, took him to the train. It was hard to say good-bye for I didn’t know when I would see him again.
June 1944, Norvelene and I were on our vacation. June 18, we got a call from Bessie (our boss) telling me that Harold had called and he would be in Nyssa on June 19th. So we left early that morning. We got a bus to Ontario, then a train to Nyssa. Harold was waiting at the station for me.
We were married June 23rd around 10:00 a.m. at my mother’s home. Norvelene was my maid of honor, Val was Harold’s best man. Harold borrowed Roland Whittman’s car and we left to go on our honeymoon. We went to McCall, Idaho for a week.
The ship that Harold was serving on was at the Bremerton Navy yard getting repaired. He had to report back there. Our first home was at a Navy housing project at Bremerton. We stayed there about three weeks then found a little house at Cottage Grove. It was real nice there. I made a mistake. The Navy housing was at Port Orchard, not Bremerton. Harold put in for a transfer off the Saratoga. So while he waited, they gave him a month’s leave. We decided to go back to Nyssa, but first we went to Seaside for a few days. When we got back to my mother’s place, she wanted us to take her to Utah to see her Dad and Sisters. So Harold went to the rationing board and got some gas stamps. Then we left for Riverton, Utah. We were there about two weeks.
Harold wanted me to stay with him as long as possible, so I went back to Bremerton with him. He was told that he was going to be transferred to Philadelphia and to the ship U.S.S. Chicago. Harold found out what train they were going to put him on and he bought my ticket for the same train. We got to travel together to Chicago, Illinois. Then Harold had to take a troop train on to Philadelphia, so I was on my own to get on the right train. Me, who had never done any traveling on my own. I didn’t know up from down and here I was in a big city all alone and hundreds of miles from home. Well, I got on the right train and to Philadelphia. Before Harold left me, we figured out how we would find each other. I was to call the Red Cross and tell them where I was, then Harold was to call them, and it worked. I came into Philadelphia to the North station and Harold went to another one. I didn’t know there was more than one station and I thought Harold would come to the same station that I did so I was going to wait for him and I waited about four hours!! When he finally came, I was so glad to see him. He took me to the station where he came in on the train. Then he had to leave me to go to the Navy base, so there I was all alone again. A lady helped me find a hotel room. Then I took a taxi to the hotel. I stayed in the hotel three long days before Harold came. It took us a week to find an apartment and move in. Harold would get off the base every night and the weekends. We were able to see Philadelphia and all the historic places. We did a lot of walking and riding the subways. We also went to New York City for a weekend. We went up to the top floor of the Empire State Building and looked out at the city of New York. We tried to visit and see all the sites and places of interest. We went out to the Statue of Liberty. I walked up the stairs half way and I gave out. Harold went up to her arm. It was a fun weekend.
The U.S.S. Chicago was commissioned January 10, 1945 and I was lucky enough to attend the ceremony. After the luncheon, Harold took me on a tour of the ship.
On V.E. day, 8th of May 1945, the U.S.S. Chicago set sail for the Pacific Ocean and Japan. This day was the most heartbreaking thing I had to do—saying good-bye to Harold, not knowing when I would see him again, if ever.
To me, there is nothing more awesome and thrilling than when your first child is born. I had no one to share my happiness and joy with when my first baby was born. My land lady drove me to the hospital and left me at the door. I sure wished my mother could have been with me. Clark was born the 13th of June 1945 at the Navy Hospital. I had to stay two weeks in the hospital. When Clark was four weeks old, I bought a train ticket to Nyssa, Oregon. I went first class from Philadelphia to Chicago. I had what they call a state room. I had to change trains at Chicago and from there to Nyssa, I had a sleeping birth.
I know God answers prayers. I did a lot of praying in those days and my prayers were answered. I had to trust in the Lord. Most of the time I didn’t know what to do or how. Everything worked out!
My mother and two brothers were at the train station when my train arrived. You should have seen my mother. She was so excited over her new grandson. I went home with mother. I stayed with her until Harold came home. It was so good to be back among family and friends.
I would listen to the radio constantly for any war news. I was sitting on the porch when the news came over the radio about the Atom Bomb. The long war was over on September 2, 1945. It was hard to believe Harold would be coming home. He was discharged from the U.S. Navy October 31, 1945 and was home November 2nd at 8:00 p.m. This time when he came home, he was a father. Clark was almost five months old.
Before Harold enlisted in the navy, he farmed his own farm. There was a little two room house that the renters lived in when they ran the farm. Harold dug a basement and moved the house over on it. This is what we moved into and started a life of hard work, happiness, disappointments, and dreams.
To start farming, Harold bought a team of work horses and it seemed like they were thirsty all the time. We had a well but to get the water, you had to pump it by hand and it seemed to take hours and hours before the horses would stop drinking.
I had running water in the house. I would run and bring the water in and run to carry it out. Life was hard for me. There were so many things I had to learn and adjust myself so that I would be a help on the farm.
We bought an old V8 Ford. I don’t remember what year it was. It was hard to start and the two front windows were broken. On a cold February night, Harold was taking me to the hospital at Ontario and the car ran out of gas. The gas gage didn’t work. Harold had a can of gas in the trunk of the car. He put the gas in the car and gave the car a push and we were off. About an hour later, Paul was born around 2:30 on February 10, 1947. I was so happy to have another boy. This is what I wanted. We named him Paul Harold, after his Dad.
Fourteen months later on April 5, 1948, we had another baby boy. We named him Gary Eugene. He was a beautiful baby. I was so proud of the three boys.
I learned to drive the tractor, truck, and how to milk cows. I would drive the tractor and help put up the hay. I did a lot of things on the farm that I thought I would never do.
When Gary was four years old, I went to work at a corn factory in Nyssa. I worked there until the corn season was over, then I went to work at the Nyssa Hospital until the early spring of 1956. When I first started at the hospital, I worked on the Floor taking care of patients, then the nursery. I did a lot of work in central supply and surgery.
Harold hurt his knee and the doctor told him he had to stay off it, so the boys and I were doing the chores. Harold thought we were too slow. It was Paul’s turn to help me with the milking. I said, “Let’s see how fast we can do the chores tonight”. We got through and just had the calves to feed. I was running up a bank that was covered with snow and ice. I slipped and fell and broke my right leg. That wasn’t a fun way to get out of doing the milking.
In February of 1957, I was going to work about 6:30 a.m. It was real foggy and there was ice on the roads. I was following a jeep. First, he would drive real slow, then he would speed up. I did not like driving behind him so when I came to this spot in the road, the fog had lifted and I could see down the road a ways so I pulled out to go around him. Suddenly, I felt and heard this bang and my car started spinning real fast in the middle of the highway. Then it went backwards into the borrow pit. I looked around and the jeep was upside down in the barrow pit on the same side I was on. There was a man and his wife, daughter and grandson. Someone stopped and took them to the hospital. When I got to the hospital, the doctors and nurses teased me, saying I was bringing in my own patients. The people sued me but they didn’t have anything to go on so it was settled out of court.
In 1955, we bought some land in eastern Washington on Royal Slope. In 1957, we were trying to get things arranged so we could move. Things were not working out like we wanted. So, we decided I would come with the boys and get them started in school. Harold would stay and sell the cows and get some other things done, then he would move up. September 1957, we loaded our truck and Harold’s Dad’s truck with household belongings and machinery. We hired someone to milk the cows and take care of things so Harold could drive the truck. I drove the car and pulled a trailer with a milk cow in it. We started out late in the day and had to stay all night in the mountains. The boys liked that. We arrived at the farm around 4:00 p.m. on September 5th. Harold and his dad put up a tent so we would have some place to live. Harold’s dad went home the next morning. We got the boys in school at Royal City. When they unloaded the trucks, they stacked everything on the ground, here, there, everywhere. It was a mess. We found out that we had to haul our water from Royal Camp about six miles. Harold stayed about six days, then he had to go back to Oregon. So here I was with the three boys, no house, no water, just dirt, sage brush, mice and flies. Oh yes, and a cow to milk. The mosquitoes were so bad they just about ate us alive. They would come by the millions at sun down. We would get in the car, roll the windows up and stay until dark. Then we would go to bed and cover up.
In about three weeks, Harold came and he started to build us a place to live. It was a 12 x 20 building. He made three trips to Washington. At last the building was done so we could move into it. This was at Thanksgiving time.
On Christmas day, late in the day, Harold came with the last load of our things. We were so glad to see him. He brought Christmas with him. It was so good to be all together.
In the spring, the boys and I worked in the bean fields hoeing weeds. I also worked cutting potatoes. Then in the Fall I worked on the spud combine.
April 5, 1958, we moved into our new house. I was so thrilled! It was the nicest home I ever had. Right away I started landscaping the yard. I wanted to have the prettiest yard on the slope, and it was! People would stop and take pictures as they drove by. There are several yards here on the slope that I helped plan the landscaping.
I worked in the fields with Harold. I learned to set siphon tubes, drive the tractor with all kinds of machinery and I made a lot of mistakes. Working in the potato processing plants was one job that I didn’t like and I worked at the one in Warden and in Othello. I worked there about eight or nine years.
Days come and go and every day is pretty much the same. Then something happens that sets the day apart from all the rest. That’s what happened on December 6, 1958. Harold was baptized a member of the LDS church. That meant a lot to me. On April 11, 1963, we went to the Cardston Temple and were sealed for time and for all eternity. Our three boys were sealed to us! This was the happiest day of my life! My mother went through the temple with me.
I always enjoyed working in the church. I have been a teacher in Sunday School, Primary, and Relief Society. I have been speech and drama teacher in MIA, and Relief Society visiting teacher, class secretary, chairman arts and crafts and homemaking leader, magazine rep and also a teacher in the Stake Relief Society. My last job was librarian.
I believe in the power of the Priesthood. One time I was real sick and in a lot of pain. The doctor gave me a lot of tests and took a lot of x-rays. They found a large mass of something in my lower abdomen. The doctors said I had to have surgery that night and they were sending me to Spokane. I was in the Othello hospital. We had the elders come and they gave me a blessing. Harold made me a bed in the back of the Station wagon and he took me to Spokane. On the way there the pain went away. The doctor called ahead to the hospital in Spokane and they were ready for me. They took x-rays and tests and they couldn’t find anything. I stayed a week. The doctors watched me real close but they couldn’t find anything. I didn’t have any pain. I know it was the blessing that I had that made me well. I came home and went to work at the hospital. Dr. Pershall told me that he was sure that I had cancer.
The boys grew up. They married and started families. When Paul divorced his wife, we took his two girls, Kim and Annie. Kim stayed with us about three years, then on and off for a few years. Annie was with us about three months the first time, then off and on over the next few years. I loved those girls so much! They were living with us when Mt. Saint Helen’s erupted. They both worked real hard helping us clean the ash off of everything.
July 2, 1981 I went to work as custodian for the L.D.S. church. I worked until June 1, 1988. I retired at age 65. I liked this job and would have liked to work longer.
Well, all good things must come to an end. We sold our farm April 1, 1981 to Mr. Dal Kachn. We still lived in the house until February 28, 1982. We rented a double wide trailer from Charles Kendall at Royal Camp. Friends came and helped us move.
By Karla Moss (granddaughter)
June found out she had Parkinson’s disease in 1986. She was a brave and wonderful soul. She showed great strength and class throughout her ordeal. On July 5, 1994, June and Harold celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. It was a wonderful celebration of 50 years of “Hard work, happiness, disappointments, and dreams”. She passed away in her home in Royal Camp on September 3, 1994. She was a truly great lady. We are all better people for having known her. We will miss her dearly.