Written and Copyright by Lucinda Jensen
John Lundin was the son of Andrew Lundin and Brita Nilsson. John's
parents came to Heber from Sweden after being converted to the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. John was born 22 February 1874, shortly
after they arrived in Heber. They later moved to Park City where he and
his father prospected and had many exciting experiences, one of which was
the discovery of the famous Silver King Mine. They were finally rooked out
of it by smart lawyers. Feel no regret: it was a blessing because wealth
never made a man of anyone, but more often made fools of them. They later
bought the farm in Midway.
Dad and Mother had ten children, John being the oldest. He was a sweet sensitive little boy with curly hair and very talented in music. During his high school years he competed in many contests and could have really excelled if he had been fortunate enough to have had a better instrucment. How well I remember the night he came home from the contest feeling very frusterated and defeated because his instrument was far inferior to the one the girl played that won. The judges told him that if he had had a better instrument he would have taken first place. He had worked hard and felt very deeply his loss. He also played the piano, spent many lonely hours playing. I can hear his music still ringing in my ears. He had a very different style of his own. He never had lessons to learn time and proper procedure but his music had a sad appeal that showed the longings of this very talented boy. His life held many sad, tragic experiences that I will not go into detail here. He passed away at the tender age of 42, never having had the privilege of marriage and children.
Emma was the next child born to this fine couple. She was a beautiful little girl with blonde hair and big blue eyes. She too was very talented in music and art. When she was about eight years old, she almost died during the Flu in 1918. All her hair fell out and it was a long time before she was well and strong again. I can imagine the worry and anxiety my parents experienced during this terrible time. Everyone in the family was very ill with the flu. I was only a year old at this time, but I can remember everyone in bed. Dad was the only one well enough to attend the sick. It was not possible to get medical gelp of any kind, but God was kind and all were spared at this time. Emma was a very brilliant young girl and of all the children, she was the most talented. If she could have had just a little encouragement and opportunity for higher education, she could have really excelled. But as it was, she was very shy and life carried its share of loneliness for her, also.
Anton was their next child and here once more was a very brilliant boy. His teachers said of him, "He was a genius". How well I remember in the eighth grade the teacher was not able to solve a problem and Anton went to the board and worked the problem for him. I can imagine the teacher's embarrassment. Anton was the one child of John Lundin's that had what I will call spunk. He was always outspoken and said what he believed. It always amazed me that he dared voice his opinion so bravely. Again, this boy was stopped short of his potential because of lack of money and opportunity to go on and show ability. My one recollection of him and his frustration in being poor was at the time of his graduation from high school. He didn't get anything new to wear and felt so badly because he had to go in bib overalls. I can see him walking down the road and I can remember so well how sad I felt for him.
The next child was Anna. I don't want to sound repetitious but here again was a very brilliant girl. She was valedictorian of her graduating class. She was the best typist in the school and I can still see her and hear her voice as she delivered her graduation speech. She looked like an angel up above me on the stand. She made her own dress. It was a light cream silk and, indeed, she looked like an angel as she stood there. Her life has been one of the privileged. She has gone to business college and become successful in the field of business. Her life also carried much sorrow and sadness along with the success.
Then along came another girl, "Me" (Lucinda). May it suffice here to say that she too had her share of brains but was too sensitive and frusterated all through school to do much more than squeak by. My sweetest recollection as a young girl was sitting on my mother's lap behind the little pot-bellied stove in the front room, she helping me to read. I never had any trouble with reading and I will always attribute it to that sweet closeness I had the privilege of having with my mother during my learning time when attitude is so vital.
Eighteen months later came the next child, another girl, Laura. I am sure she was as intelligent as the rest but like me, she didn't do much more than squeak by. She was our mouth piece. If we wanted anyone hollered at or called a name, she was the one elected to deliver the message. She was not a strong child and as a result was babied and the rest of us gave her a pretty rough time because we thought she was the favored one in the nest. Every night we would have a kicking match and when you sleep four in a bed, two at each end, the eight husky legs really created a scene and Mother always had to come up and straighten us out.
Next in line was Vera. She was a shy, sweet girl, too sensitive, and as a result was hurt many times, I'm sure. She was like Mother, long suffering and patient. Being older, I do not have too clear of a recollection of her school days and her life in general.
Julia was the next girl born. I always felt she had the loveliest of names. Julia was a friendly, outgoing person and had many friends during her school years. Her life knew more of the happiness of friends and happy natural school experiences. By the time she came along the sentiment of the people had softened in its persecution of this poor family, so she faired much better. Of course, as I have said her outgoing friendly personality did a great deal to break down this barrier.
Now mother got a change in this long line of girls and the next baby born was a big boy, 9 pounds, and all boy. How well I remember the midwife talking to Dad. She said, "I feel so sorry for her. This was a hard birth." I still see this little baby boy as they brought him into the kitchen. I can remember I was impressed with his big frame and especially his big knees. Yes, he was to be a big "Andrew Lundin", the second. Andrew started playing football when he was very young. My only recollection of him at school was one day when I came out of the school and the eighth grade was playing football. A big dust clowd was rolling over the field and when it cleared who was in the middle of it all, but little Andrew Lundin. At that time he was only in the fifth grade, but he was in there giving the game all he had. He loved the game all of his life and if life had been a little kinder to him he could have gone to college and found success in this field. He joined the Marine Corps and was wounded and nearly lost leg and his life when he was only nineteen years old.
Last, but not least, was born another sweet little girl, Mayme. She was the pride and joy of all of us. We loved her dearly. We carried her tirelessly on our backs wherever we went. She was worshipped by all her older brothers and sisters. Her school days were happy and filled with friends and fun. She was very young though when Mother passed away and I'm sure this made a great difference in the happiness that was no doubt interrupted pretty rudely. This was something none of us were prepared to accept and life took a definite change for all the children who were left alone to take over the responsibilities that Mother had carried so long, so well.
Here I shall go back and relate some of the experiences that we all shared together as a big, close-knit family.
This family was born and reared on a big beautiful farm in the foothills of Midway. I shall attempt to describe it, but mere words can never do justice to so wonderful a place as was our home on the farm. There was a large apple orchard up along the hillside with delicious wonderful apples. In the spring after a long hard winter, what a thrill to dig around in the straw and find a big red juicy apple that had escaped the hard frosts of winter. During the cold winter nights we would devour one bushel of apples each night, between supper and bedtime. Ten growing children can get away with alot of food, believe me. My first recollection of life and home was the day Dad moved the house. He put it on large logs and then hooked a team of horses on it and pulled it about three of four hundred feet to the east. To my very young eyes it seemed the house was as big as a mountain and it was very exciting. The reason it had to be moved was because it was sinking into the ground. We had an indoor swimming pool, because the house was placed near a hot spring and we had a building on the back of the two-story home which housed the pool. Steam and water rotted the boards and so the move.
Many shade trees were everywhere, for Grandfather planted well. The road leading from the gate was lined on both sides with trees. In front of the house was a line of old-fashoned yellow roses, called Mother of Millions, which has an odor which to this day holds a magic spell for me. I can still remember, oh so clearly, looking for chicken nests among those rose bushes and my mind's eye can still see those nests which I found nestled in those fragrant little Mother of Millions. Then, too, there was a large patch of horse radish, growing in abundance. I shall deal with those and the part they played in our life later in my story. There were two trees in the orchard called Green Gages, the preserves of which no words can describe. Angels food, golden in color, had a flavor to be remembered forever, once tasted. There were cherries, Italian prunes, Blue Damson plums, Potowatomee plums, pears of different assortments -- oh indeed it was a heaven, especially in the spring at blossom time. I can remember lying on the grass looking up into the trees loaded with blossoms and bees, millions upon millions of honey bees buzzing in pure delight. This picture is so clear in my mind that I can almost smell that glorious aroma now. The first fruit ripe in the spring was the cherries. It is said you can't raise cherries in Heber Valley, but John and Emma Lundin could and did and it was a bitter contest between his ten children and the robins each spring when they began to ripen. As we climbed the trees to get the first delicious fruit, those birds would go wild, chirping and flaping their wings, trying to frighten us away.
There was an orchard northeast of the house which we called the Little Orchard. This was a very special orchard because it contained the most delicious apples -- Red Astrickens. To reach down in the spearment and find a red, striped ripe apple, well here again I must confess no words are adequate to describe the delicious flavor and aroma. Then behind the cellar another kind of apple grew. We called these "Back-of-the-Cellar Apples." The biggest tree hung over the roof of the cellar and we would climb up in the tree from the roof and enjoy such fruit, the sweetness of which once again words escape me for describing. To the west of the house was another small orchard. This contained big, redish purple plums. Also in the area was where we kept a herd of pigs and it was a scarry thing to slip into the pen and climb a tree before the pigs came grunting after you to see if you had something to eat. Of course, the best fruit is always on the highest limbs and it was really a challenge to get those big red juicy plums. Needless to say, the pigs got their share. In this same area there were two large trees and we had a swing that you could go up so high your head would touch the limbs. As if all this wasn't enough there was another lovely orchard of Wealthy, Yellow Transparent, Astrickens, Satsuma Plums, Blue Damson and Potowatomee Plums along with Bartlet, Winter Pears and a sprinkling of seedling apples which were strangely sweet and different tasting. When a very small child walking from school, it was pure joy to go into that wonderful orchard and eat my full of all these precious fruits. This place was called "The Lower Place." It was situated on the southeast corner of the farm, down by the road. This held a special fascination for us children. We were very shy, like wild untamed humans we loved to go down to a vacant house and play and watch the people passing on the road. The Ernest Kohler family lived across the road and we always tried to be very careful that they didn't see us because if they did they would come over. If we saw them coming first there was a wild scramble of lively bodies and out the back window we flew and up into the tall grass we escaped to hide and then send back our incediary bombs "via Laura." We thought up the names and she delivered them without fear. Sometimes we would be so engrossed in our play that the Kohlers would sneak up on us and surprise us. Oh, the awful fear when this happened. There was a place under the stairs we would hide and when they found us they would surround us and torment us with "has the cat got your tongue?" How I hated that expression. They seemed so big and fearful to our small frightened little minds. There was a large tree by the front porch that we played in. We would lead our horses up to it and climb up into its big inviting branches and then we would play circus and as the horse went around we would jump out of the tree onto the horse's back. This play, of course, was enjoyed when we were certain the Kohlers were not at home. One sad experience remains fresh in my memory of these happy days. Our little dog ran out in the road and was run over by a car. I can still see Dad pick it up and so very clearly I can see its little head drop from side to side, signifying a broken neck.
Back to the orchards on this lovely farm. In the fall after school started, then started the long hours and days of picking apples. This in my childhood memory wasn't such a pleasant thing. We would come home and kick off our new hot shoes and change our one and only dress and then dive into the large plates of sour krout and delicious boiled potatoes with butter, salt, and pepper. My, what wonderful flavor! This was enjoyed, then came the work. All had to go up into the orchard and pick apples, hundreds of bushels of apples. It seemed like there was a never-ending supply of apples. We were all very agile and could climb trees like monkeys, filling picking sacks. Our feet, sore from being in those new shoes all day, felt a relief to be out of their prison, clinging to the smooth bark of the trees. Yes, there was joy in this work, of seeing trees bare and stripped of their fruit. I remember counting and keeping mental notation of how many more to go and how many bushels had been taken down to the grainery, where they were stored for the winter. Then came the cidar making. Hundreds of gallons of cidar were made. Some we hardened into vinegar and some hept until it was hard and sparkly, as such it stung its way down the throat. We had a little siphon hose that could be inserted into the hole in the wooden barrel and all sucked to their heart's content of the tangy cidar. My mother was the one who enjoyed this the most. My mind's eye can see her yet leaning over the barrel, enjoying the sweet refreshment. Having been born in Switzerland, she was accustomed to a cellar filled with red wine. Many times she referred to this delicacy and found cidar a substitute for it. Then there was the making of plum preserves. They were cooked on an open fire out in the yard in a big copper kettle, which would hold about twenty-five gallons of preserves. The plums were cooked and stirred and sweetened and when they had been boiled down sufficiently, were carried into the house and poured into a big fifty-gallon wooden barrel. In the winter what a joy to have fresh baked bread and this fost delicious plum preserve, mixed with thick cow's cream--mousse, we called it. To top that off, many times in the summer we would take our hot bread and jam out to the barn and would bury our noses in the foam and drink and eat to our heart's content. Yes, we were so poor but so rich.
As I said before, our farm was more than the usual farm. It had everything; cattle, horses, dogs, cats, pigs, chickens, a big garden, potato patch, orchards filled with every kind of fruit imaginable, springs that came out of the hillside, uneven terrain that could be turned into anything your imagination could conjure up, dusty trails for kids to walk bare footed on, swamps and mud holes galore, two big canals running thru the farm from north to south, lined with big Balm-of-Gilead trees, all kinds of interesting herbs and brush, yes, and all kinds of snakes, squirrels, badgers chipmunks, weasels and many more animals.
There was a big long shop full of all kinds of machinery; mowing machine, knife sharpener wheel that was run by water to grind grain for the chickens. Our big, beautiful farm had everything for making growing children happy. We could hardly wait to get home from school so we could get back to exploring all the many mysteries that our own little world had an abundance of.
There was a swamp above the lower canal where we spent many happy hours playing in mud holes. With a little work -- stomping and mixing -- we made the most wonderful mud bath you could ever imagine. We also made a mud slide by carrying mud up onto the grass to make it slippery so we could slide down. All clothing was removed, of course. What a picture we made, like otters at play. When we got tired of playing in the mud we washed ourselves off in the canal, which was full of crystal clear icy cold water. Many happy hours were spent floating down this canal. Then Dad could see the need of a place for us to swim so he got busy and he and the boys proceeded to dig a swimming pool. How well I remember the blasting rocks flying high over the house. Then after the smoke cleared we would all rush up to see what damage had been done. Then the horse and scoop shovel were taken down in the hole and the loose dirt and rocks were dragged up and so on until it was completed. That old swimming pool proved to be a boon to hot, tired bodies at the close of a hard, hot, dusty day in the hay field. Oh, the many hours of joy we all spent in the good old swimming pool. We used to swim in a small pool east of the little brick house where Grandfather and Grandmother Lundin lived until their death. This was small -- just about a foot deep, eight feet long, and three feet across. Many happy hours were spent in this little pool splashing and letting the water run over the edges and down over the hill. Very precious are these memories. We must have been very small children when we played there. We'd climb the tree by the shop and go up on the roof and dry off and play. This same shop roof is where in later years we dried many, many bushels of apples, pears, and plums for winter. Mother used to sit hours peeling and preparing this fruit and it leaves a very depressing memory for me. As we children grew older we had to sit and peel apples until one or two o'clock in the morning. How I dreaded those sessions. Each bushel seemed to hold at least a million apples. How tired and miserable I remember feeling before the last apple was peeled.
It is impossible to put all the wonderful memories into any kind of order so I'll tell them just as they come to my mind. One joy, I remember, is the squirrels Dad used to catch. He made cages for them that turned when the squirrels walked on the side. They soon discovered that their weight made the wheel turn, and they would get into the wheel and run for hours. When they got tired, they knew just how to get out of the wheel and into the cozy box where they ate and slept. Many times the "Town Kids" and their parents came to see the cute squirrels perform. This was quite an occasion because it was an unusual experience to have anyone come to the Lundin Farm.
I enjoyed going after the cows that we kept in the pasture behind the pots. It gave me a chance to get out from the confines of the farm without having to go to school. I was always thrilled when it was my turn. I'd get the horse and choose with secret delight which road I would take. Whether to go down past Biglers to the road and on up over the "Pots", or out the other end of the orchard. There was a thrill and a certain dred connected with this experience. If Emery Buehler came along, it gave him great joy to scare us by riding his horse swiftly up the sloping road, shouting remarks at us. How well I remember riding swiftly along by the line of trees and as the sun flashed between the trees it would make a flashing pattern that almost blinded one. Then to go and open the gate, call the cows and start home with them was something of a great adventure for me. There was always, as I said, a certain dred, yet this made it the great adventure it was. If a care came along, the horse was always jumpy and the cows wouldn't move out of th road fast enough. Then to bring them through the orchard and see them file into the clean stable -- each knowing exactly which place was hers. Many times I would hurry into the house and get the buckdts and start to milk. I'd work as fast as I could to see how many cows I could milk before the rest of my brothers and sisters came.
Yes, there are many choice memories of our life on the farm. Every fall the cabbage we raised was picked and piled in a big pile by the cellar. Then one of the family, usually the smallest one, had to go down to the ditch and scrub their feet. This was not such an easy task after running free as the wind bare foot all summer song. Sometimes the feet had become chapped from repeated wading in the streams and mud baths. Time was not wasted on baths and scrubing feet. That was bad enough during the months we had to spend in school. Someone was sent over to Maria Mitchell's to borrow the cabbage cutter. Then the fun began as the cabbage was shredded and dumped into a large fifty-gallon wooden barrel. The one with the clean feet stomped it. Salt was added according to the need and so the process went on until the cabbage was all snugly pounded into the barrel. The ones who were not actively involved in making it had the fun of tasting as it went along to see that just the right amount of salt was added. Of course, Mother was the official taster.
Another old-fashoned custom that facinated me was making cheese. Milk was heated in this same big copper kettle. When it was just the right temperature -- luke warm -- rennet would be added and then it was stirred again. It was then allowed to stand until the milk was a big chunk of curd. Then Mother took a big knife and cut through it many times. It was then slowly stirred and heated once more until the whey separated. This was then drained off. The curd was placed on a mold with cheese cloth lining it. A press was placed on top and the pressure slowly drained off all the whey and you had a big, beautiful cheese. These were covered with wax and placed in the cheese cupboard to age. Before the wax was applied the cheese was rubbed with salt to preserve it. How clearly I remember slicing cheese off the big round cheese, melting it in the frying pan, and eating to our heart's content. Yes, life on the farm was a happy, glorious adventure. If we hadn't had to go out into the world and face school and people, life would have been a happy dream indeed.
Another experience I remember so clearly is digging, planting, and watering potatoes. They were usually planted up above the canal and the ground was very steep. I remember when the potato patch was up above and south of the "Little Oak Brush." It was steep and I used to love the challenge of watering it. I took a small stream of water out of the upper canal. It was very facinating to me to put just a very small stream of water in each row so it wouldn't flood. Then I'd sit and watch these little streams creep down the steep rows until they reached the bottom. It seemed like a wonderful adventure to me to get the water set just right. I felt such a sense of accomplishment. Then over in the other end of the field by Kuhni Gertsch's fence we had a patch of Irish Cobblers. I remember digging them, some were as big as a squash, about eight or ten inches long. We took one to school to show. I thought this was the biggest potato in the world. It was always fun to dig the potatoes in the fall, to see the potato digger clap, clap along and the beautiful potatoes fall onto the newly dug earth. The only thing I didn't like was the digging of the dirt on eigher side to find any hidden potatoes. I always liked the hauling of the potatoes. The wagon was backed up to the back of the brick house and then they were pushed out of the wagon and they would run down the shoot and into the tunnel cellar like a stream of water. Many wagon loads of potatoes were harvested each year. They were needed to feed this large family of ten children.
There are many more wonderful experiences that could be written but enough has been written to paint the picture of life of the farm. Time passes and children grow up and the story of their lives after they were grown to adults is another story. We have a rich heritage and these experiences will remain part of us as long as we live.
Dad and Mother have both passed away and the old home is deserted and tumbled down but deep in our hearts we will always live again these wonderful childhood days. The clean, warm kitchen with a fire crackling in the stove, the smell of fresh baked bread, nights when we were all sitting around the table with a coal oil lamp in the center of the table to furnish the light for studying lessons and reading. These memories will live on as long as we live. The older we get the more these cherished memories will live again in our hearts. And we express our gratitude to our dear parents who gave their all that we might have a happy care-free childhood on the greatest farm in the whole world.
--Lucinda Lundin Jensen
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Page Updated: 11 Feb 01