That's Just How It Was
Based on an interview of Rhoda Johnson Winkel
Rhoda Johnson Winkel had a normal family life growing up in Sevier County. She remembers happiness as a child and later as a teenager, and also that the Great Depression wasn't really a depression at all. It was more of a way of life accepted by everyone, and the things she learned while growing up were the things she taught her own children.
I was born in Elsinore, Utah on February the twenty-fourth, nineteen twelve. The circumstances under which I lived were good. We were not poor, that's for sure. Probably not wealthy either, but my father had a good living as a farmer and I thought that he was a good farmer. He had about sixty acres. He grew hay and potatoes and beets. We had a good living.
I was always happy. I had three brothers and one sister. Two older brothers, one younger, and then my older sister. We were taught to be a happy and close family We stayed close and we have always been. My three brothers have all passed away, and my sister is still living in Richfield. She's been there for a little over a year.
Mother had a garden and she used to can vegetables. I can't remember what was from her garden. The peddler at that time would come from up north such as Logan and that area selling peaches, pears, apples and she just bottled those things. Always lots of fruit.
I don't remember really going without anything, but, you know, a nickel in those days was like a couple of dollars now. We had a nickel on Sunday or something; you could get a nut sundae for fifteen cents and a banana split for twenty-five cents. Of course, that was just a Fourth of July celebration. Usually the nickels we had, we'd put them together and buy gas. Gas was twenty-five cents a gallon.
There were a lot of us girls, about twelve of us, and we used to have a lot of fun playing. We had a Model-T Ford and we used to go all over in it. We'd ride to Monroe and sing. We used to sing . . . I can't remember now, but it was lots of fun. We laughed and giggled a lot.
We didn't learn as much about things as you are now, but we were taught honesty and health. We were taught LDS values, but we were not taught the scriptures; which I regret because I do not have the background information. We did have Seminary in our school.
I received both a high school and a college education. At that time, one could teach school with two years of college; during the summer I went to summer school and took some correspondence courses up at the University of Utah. After I graduated, I taught fourth grade in Elsinore and junior high in Richfield. Then I went to Salt Lake to teach junior high.
My husband and I were married in Las Vegas on the twenty-seventh, nineteen forty-eight. Then in sixty-three, we went through the temple and were sealed.
We had a ranch in Monroe called Brooklyn where we raised turkeys and chickens, so we really didn't have any problems as far as finance was concerned. It gave the boys something to do also, and both Cory and Bryce were so grateful that daddy had that ranch where they learned to work. Many boys came from cities where their fathers were doctors and they never had an opportunity to work. We were appreciative of that.
John and I both taught them about love. The most important thing in our home was to love one another and to be close, even when Mary Jan and Bryce were in college, and Jack was married. I always said that I knew the least of any of them.
If I could have changed anything, I would have had John stay a little longer. John passed away in '71. That's quite young. We had a good marriage. When he died, the bottom dropped out on my world.
The best advice I have for young people today is graduate from high school and college.