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Life Story Of Richard Huldrich Durtschi

MY LIFE HISTORY By Richard Huldrich Durtschi

Copyright 2006 by the Durtschi Family

        I was born on April 2, 1892, in Faulensee bei Spietz, Canton Bern, Switzerland, of religious parents being the 10th of 12 children. I think my parents were of the Lutheran faith. They attended their church on Sundays. As far as I know they had no bad habits other than drinking coffee made out of milk instead of water and most of the time they used chicory. On special occasions father and the boys smoked cigars. John finally used a pipe but not habitually. On Christmas they celebrated by purchasing red wine. They would put sugar in the glass of wine for us children. They would order a large, long loaf of bread that was extra fine called Azupfa that women made with butter, eggs, etc. They also had something like large cookies called Alabchucha, as I would write it. As I remember we always had a tree for Christmas. It seemed that they had a female instead of Santa. As close as I can remember, they called it AWinacht Chinkli, and she was dressed in white.
        Father was a cabinetmaker by trade. Fred, my oldest brother, and Ernest, the third son, were carpenters. They built a barn on the little farm outside of town. When they had finished a building, they always had a hammering song in rhythm. I also took part in it with a hammer. (I must have been about 10 years of age.) Then I was in line to hand up the tile to cover the roof. They made a rather large floor to thresh wheat on. I used to flail with several others pounding the wheat in rhythm. When the wheat was thrashed; we would make bundles of straw and tie them with willows. The short stuff they made into a bundle which they called Achutzli.
        When they broke up a piece of sod to plant potatoes in, they used rounding hoes. They cut under the sod an inch or two deep and turned it over; then spread manure on the land. When potato planting time came as many persons as were available lined up and used implements with heavy tines on the end of a hoe handle, drove them into the ground and turned the ground over making a furrow. Someone else pulled the manure into the furrow and the potatoes were planted on the manure, and then covered up by the same method as the furrow was made. It was a slow process but it did a good Job. No irrigating had to be done there. In that vicinity all farming was done by hand. Most people hauled their hay in on their backs. They used hay nets and filled them with hay; tied them up and got under them to carry it to the barn. We had a two-wheeled cart and hauled our produce. One would get in between the shaves and hold them up. Others attached ropes at the side and helped pull.
        I used to go to the field with father and my brothers. One night we were coming home from the field after dark; it was very dark. On the way two fiery objects appeared in our way. As we came close to then, they growled. I at once thought we were being attacked by a lion. I fell to my knees from fright. I was relieved when we found out it was two men each with a lighted cigar. It really looked like two eyes.
        One day we were coming from the field and passing by a drain ditch, I stopped to look at the minnows in the water. I got overbalanced and my arm went into the water, and I was there too far down the bank to get back up. I looked for my brothers to help me out. Instead they just stood there and laughed. When they had their fun, they helped me out.
        I was barefoot most of the time during summer. My feet were so tough on the bottom that when it rained, I could skate on the road barefoot.
        In those days cigarettes were not made as far as I can remember. Men smoked cigars and pipes. When the cigars got too short, they were thrown to the side of the road and we little fellows gathered then up. We would hide someplace and smoke them. It made us dizzy but we thought it was big to smoke cigars. Sometimes three or four of us little boys would get in our cellar to sing and yodel.
        I remember at least one year a tailor was hired to come to our house and make a brown broadcloth suit for all the men folk.
        When we killed a pig in the fall, a butcher was hired to kill it, cut it up, and to make sausage. We had a place in the chimney to hang the meat and smoke it.
        One night after dark, Fred took us younger boys on a hike up into the Alps where we had some cattle. We walked all night and arrived there at about 4 o'clock. We lay on the floor of the cow stalls, and went to sleep. When we woke up, our feet were frozen. That day we went up higher where we found what they called Aalpa rose and Aedelweiss, a rare flower found only in the alps. My nose started to bleed because of the high altitude and bled until we got down to a lower altitude.
        Once a year the men of the town went up into the woods and cut down trees, and then cut them up into stove wood. The small limbs were cut into about 18 inches long and put in a rack made for them. Then when they had a bundle, they tied it up with willows and in the winter they used them for heating purposes.
        Alfred, the ninth child, and I were usually together. Alfred, being older by 1 1/2 years, usually took the lead. One day we were just leaving the house going up the street and three Italian boys were going to fight us for some unknown reason. Alfred took one by one and sent them sprawling into the gutter. That ended the fight. We went out into the fields and gleaned fruits and nuts to store for the winter.
        When the bakery (which was next door to us) needed flour, they sent for it in a big wagon with six dapple grey horses pulling it. They watered the horses in the water trough on the other side of the street from our home. The water ran continually in this trough.
        We had a cabbage patch up where there were several small vineyards. We made a small barrel of sauerkraut every fall. One day mother and I went up to hoe it. There was another lady next to our patch. The two women got together to talk. There was a rumor that Switzerland and Italy were going to have war. They were quite concerned but there was never any war.
        I remember many more instances while still In Switzerland but there are too many to mention here.
        We were a happy family until the 6th of July 1901 when my sister, Frieda, died. She was a lovable girl. We all loved her so much.
        Then the Elders came, Alma A. Burgener and Conrad Gertsch, who brought us the gospel, which gave us new life and help. The missionaries were from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We all accepted their message.
        On the 30th of November, 1902, before mother was baptized, she passed away, which nearly upset the family, but father was a strong man and kept the family together and we all learned of the gospel and began preparing to immigrate to Utah. Father, Fred, and Ernest made several trunks with metal corners to take with us the bedding and all the household goods that we could. They made the trunks in father's cabinet shop under our house.
        On May 4, 1904, we arrived in New York after spending approximately ten days on the ocean in a White Star Line boat. They put us in a room in the hotel next to an elevated street car line. We did not sleep much that night because the cars came past our window every few minutes.
        Ernest had gone to Utah before us and had prepared a home for us in Midway, Utah, near the Burgeners. After sometime, father bought a 30 acre farm down in Stringtown, two miles south of town.
        Alfred and I started school the next winter. We had to start at the very beginning because we had to learn the language and the lessons too. We were soon advanced, however. When Alfred graduated, he went to high school in Heber. There he played a tuba in the band. In Midway we walked most of the time to school. Sometimes we rode horses and in the winter sometimes were taken on sleds.
        At first, we lived in the old house which was in the south corner of the lot. Later, we built a new white brick house up in the northern part next to my brother Fred's home. After that we built a new barn. Adolph came from Salt Lake City to do the building. He and Ernest moved to Salt Lake soon after our arrival in Midway. They were builders of homes. Lina and Elise were home until Lina got married to Alma A. Burgener on the 9th of October, 1907. Elise was married to Conrad Gertsch on 7 June, 1907. My two sisters married the elders who gave the gospel to us in Switzerland. After the girls were married, John took over the cooking and housework.
        The first job I had was with an old German couple for $8.00 a month. After that I worked for a Mr. Jacobs herding sheep and doing farm work for Clayburn brothers and Mr. Tate hauling hay The Jacobs woman was a school teacher.
        In the spring of 1908 Alma and Lina moved out to Midview, Utah, on the Indian reservation. I went with them by team and wagon. I stayed with them all summer digging post holes, irrigating, taking care of their cows, etc. Many times I went to the river and got a line, and the next morning I would have a good size fish. I took the 22 rifle with me and shot rabbits on the way. We lived on rabbits and fish a lot. Lina bore a baby and before it was many months old, it died.
        In the fall I came home to go to school. After school was out the next spring, I worked on the farm and did other jobs. The next March I went with Adolph to work out his assessment on the canal in Roosevelt, Utah, on the Indian reservation. Adolph was homesteading a farm. We started out with a wagon of provisions and a sled on top. When we got up quite a ways on Daniel's canyon we had to change over to the sled and put the wagon on top. When we proceeded down Strawberry valley we came to a place where the water had melted the snow and made a deep ditch which we had to cross. The horses lunged forward and when the front runner hit the other side, the load being top-heavy, turned over scattering everything in the grub-box upon the snow. It started to snow and we wanted to get through the valley before it snowed too much to obliterate the road so we got behind it and lifted the whole load upon its runners. When we got out of the valley, we camped for the night sleeping on top of the load. It was cold to be sure. In the morning the road was frozen but later the snow started to melt and when the horses pulled sometimes they would slip to one side and fall down in the loose snow so they could not pull, and we would have to unhook them and push the load up on them, hook them up again, and move on. When we got out where the snow was gone, we had to transfer onto the wagon again. When we got back home, we had snow blindness. There was still snow almost as much as when we went out but the sun shone bright and warm which was hard on our eyes.
        I went to school until I was in the eighth grade. When spring came and people started to work on their farms, I got the spring fever and went to work on the farm. By fall I was talked into going to school in the Logan Agricultural College. I went there until Christmas and then went home for the holidays and didnít go back.
        The next fall, in 1913, I received a call to go on a mission to Switzerland, my birthplace. Not having been naturalized in the United States; however, I could not get a passport so they changed my call to the Northern States Mission. I was mostly in Wisconsin. The cities that I labored in most were Milwaukee, Racine, Madison, Fondulac, and some in the country. I was gone for 27 months. I sang many times in the missionary quartet.
        When I came home that first summer in 1916, I went to American Fork to take care of a farm that my brother, Ernest, had on the Highland bench near the Highland school house, west down by the canal, and north of the lane. It was planted in wheat and a few potatoes. Being low of finances, I went to work for a Mr. Kleghorn in a prospect tunnel up in the canyon. All that summer I dated a girl named Arfila Zabrishi. While I was there I took the part of "Carl, the huntsman", in the ward play of Snow White. From there I went to milk cows for the "Cloverleaf Dairy" milking 20 cows morning and night.
        Then I went to Salt Lake City to look for my fortune. There I worked in many occupations. I started working at the Studebaker garage. I did not like that and went from one job to another; i.e. meter reading, candy factory, house cleaning, and finally I landed a job as motorman on the streetcar. While I was there the draft registration was on and they gave us a certain day to do it in. That day my job didnít send me a relief and I could not leave the car sitting someplace, so I ran it all day until night when the office closed. The next day I went to register. They said I was technically arrested. That's the way they had it in the newspaper. All they did was to withhold a button they ordinarily gave.
        In the fall of 1917, Bill, my youngest brother, and I went to Idaho intending to work in the wheat fields. We stopped at Walter Burgener's home, he being my cousin and teaching in Ricks Academy. They had a car accident and Nora, his wife, was badly injured so they sent for her sister, Lydia, who was a widow with 6 children. She had the two youngest ones with her, Verl and Nora. The rest of the children were home in Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.
        I got a job in Flamm's store, and in about one month time, Lydia and I decided to get married. One night as we were playing cards with the Burgeners, their son, Lewis, was having a hard time with my name, Huldrich, so he suggested that they call me Richard instead, and so from that day on I was called Richard H. Durtschi.
        Lydia and I planned to be married in the temple but I could not be sealed to her for she was sealed to her first husband, George E. Redd. Lydia had a dead sister that died before she was married, and I was going to be sealed to her but it did not turn out that way. We were married in the Salt Lake Temple on September 28, 1917, for time until death did us part.
        Lydia had a return ticket which was about to run out so we had very little time left but we did stay for the state fair and a trip to Midway to see my folks. I did not have enough money saved for my ticket on the train to El Paso, Texas, so I borrowed $30.00 from Bill which I sent back to him from Mexico. Lydia had an orchard up the river in Colonia Juarez which had been rented, I think to Lester Farnsworth. There were some small apples left in Lydia's mother's cellar which we sold to the Villa army who were camped there. We sold them for 25 cents a Kilo which was a good price in those days.
        When we arrived in El Paso, we went to a hotel, then the 'Arndorf Hotel' across Mills Street from the southeast corner of the plaza. As we entered the lobby, Harvey Taylor was sitting there on a bench. The Taylor brothers had the hotel leased at that time. From El Paso we went to Pearson on the train. Alma P. Spilsbury carried the mail from Pearson to Colonia Juarez and we rode with him to our destination. He had made a new route and we arrived after dark and it was hard to see the new road. The horses went too close to a wash and almost tipped us over. When we arrived at Lydia's mother's place, we were informed that her father was very ill. He was in the little bedroom in the house that we bought years later. It belonged to Zilly, as they called her, his last wife. Lydia and I stayed up with him at nights. Zilly claimed she was too sick to stay up with him at nights, and she needed the rest. We stayed up nights with him until he passed away on November 7, 1917. We stayed with Mary Taylor, his other wife, Lydia's mother, who lived across the side street. She was good to him during the day. She was a good old soul.
        Lydia's brother, Alonzo, furnished us with a team and wagon. I did a lot of freighting with that outfit. I made many a trip to the mountains for lumber. Lester Farnsworth had a sawmill in Garcia. It took 2 1/2 or 3 days to make a trip up and back. I also made several trips to the mountains for wood. When the MIA had an outing up in the mountains, we took our team and wagon and hauled everyone's luggage while they all rode horseback. We went up to the San Diego Canyon where I first saw the big high mountain bluffs. Then we went on to Garcia and close to the Cavilan where we went fishing.
        In the fall I was invited by Alonzo Taylor to go deer hunting. We left early and went to their ranch in his car and then we rode horses. We went up behind the square-top mountain to what they call white rock. Then we separated. He went to the left and I went to the right on the upper side. After a while I heard a shot. I stopped and listened. I heard a deer racing up through the brush. There was a small clearing out a way in front of me. I cocked my gun and was ready for him as he entered the clearing. I pulled the trigger and then I did not see him anymore. I went over where he was running and found him dead in the brush. The bullet had entered one eye and out of the other. Alonzo came up there and cleaned it with his good pocketknife. He laid the knife on a rock and then forgot to pick it up again.
        We were told that the Taylor brothers bought the Meachum place for Lydia which was across the Street from Zilly's place. We moved into it and on June 30, 1919, our first child, Herman, was born. After living there some time we were told that the place was not paid for. Leander Taylor, Alonzo'a son, owned the place across the lane after Loren Taylor moved to Dublan, but Leander lived in Chichupa at the time, and so I went up there on horse back to see if I could make a deal to buy the house. We came to an agreement and on the way back from Chuichupa I shot a deer and took it home. We then moved into the house.
        That same Alma Spilsbury that brought us up from Pearson when I first came to Mexico went up into the mountains to haul down a load of wood. He had a big hay rack on a wagon with four horses pulling it. As he was coming down the grade on the north side of the mountain there was a little drop off on the lower side and the load being high and top-heavy, tipped over and rolled down the mountain killing him and the horses. I think the lead horse came loose. Brother Spilsbury was riding the left wheeler and had no chance to get off.
        Late in the spring of 1919, Mary was in school and must not have had much to do so she took a hairpin and was cleaning out what she thought was a 22 shell. She got it out of one of the boy's pockets. He got it from where the Villa army had been stationed. It was a blasting cap and went off. The class all thought that they were being attacked by the Villaistas and made quite a commotion. They brought Mary home all splattered with blood. They called Folly Sloan, the nurse, and after she did what she could, Brother Claud Bowman took us to Pearson where Doctor Gay had a hospital. He wanted to take her hand off but we would not allow that so he sawed off parts of two fingers and one thumb, and the rest healed up.
        One winter around 1919 or 1920, I went with the Robinsons to Moran, Texas, to freight casings to the oilfields in Brekenridge. It was terribly muddy and when a northern cold spell overtook us, the traces or tugs would be frozen on the single-trees so we could hardly unhitch. They used horses, mules, and wagons.
        On 4th of February, 1920, my brother Adolph died.
        Lydia was stricken with the flu and being very sick, she had a miscarriage on March 19, 1922. The baby boy lived long enough for me to bless him and give him a name. I named him William Alfred. Not having much time to pick a name, I thought of the names of my two brothers. Sister Laura Meachum delivered the baby. She was the only doctor in town. She was doctor, nurse, midwife, housewife and workman all in one. We used to hear her rolling rocks down the hill to make terraces below. They lived against the hill about two blocks from us. Her husband was a cripple.
        Sometime after that, Ole Bluth married Zilly's daughter, Agnes, and moved to Dublan. There was a big barn on the place down toward the river which he tore down, and moved to Dublan. He sold the place to Dave Hays, and he in turn sold it to Daniel Skousen. Lydia's mother wanted us to buy it so bad so we would be a little closer to her. To make her happy, we bought it. There were two houses on the lot.
        In 1923, on November 20, our last child was born. She was a pretty little girl, and we named her Ethel. As she grew, she got to be very chubby for a few years, and then she grew up to be a beautiful woman. We love her very much as we do all of the children.
        The first few years I lived in Colonia Juarez, we did not have boxes to pick our apples in. In apple picking time I went to the field with a double bed on the wagon and picked it full, brought it home and unloaded the apples into mother Taylor's cellar which was just across the Street from our place. Sometimes we would all go to the field and take a nice lunch with us. One day I went to the field to get a load of chopped wood. I took Herman with me. He was somewhere around three years old. While we were up at the field, the river came up considerably. As we entered the water it came over the horses back. It scared me but the wood and us on the top of the spring seat kept the box from floating off the wagon. I was relieved when we got on higher ground.
        Years after, when we had boxes to ship the fruit in, I was busy hauling apples to Pearson. One trip I took Herman with me. He was in his teens. Coming back I let him take the lines to drive the horses. As we drove through the street on the west side of the river, Herman was not looking where he was going and the light poles being in the middle of the street, the horses straddled a pole and the tongue of the wagon hit square on the pole and knocked it part way over. There was no real damage done but it woke me up as I lay in the wagon box half asleep having been hauling day and night.
        I had various activities in the ward: Ward teaching, chairman of the genealogy society, president of the Elder's group, head of the deacons quorum, in the Sunday School Superintendency, and water boss in the 3rd district of the east canal.
        Alvin Coon was superintendent of the Sunday School, Arson Hawkins was the first assistant and I was the second assistant. Alvin worked in the harness shop and in 1926 moved it to Colonia Dublan, leaving Arson and me to take care of the Sunday School. In those days they used a water glass to pass the water for the sacrament and each person took a sip. We did not like that so Arson and I went to Bishop Walser to see if we could change it to a set of individual cups. He said, "Oh, the glass is good enough for me." We were not satisfied with that so we put on plays and did what we could toward purchasing a set of cups. To begin with, the cups were glass and had to be washed every week which was a job so we changed over later to disposable cups.
        Miles A. Romney put on the play AIngamar" in which I took part. Miles was a natural actor.
        In the fall of 1927 I went to work digging mesquite roots out of a road bed out from Douglas, Arizona. One day a federal agent came out there and asked for me. He did not explain anything but he told me to go with him. He said, "You better take your belongings with you." He took me to the jail. I spent the night there. The next morning he took me out east of Douglas where the army was stationed and into the General's office without telling me why. They thought I was a slacker out from Mexico. When I produced my classification card I had from Salt Lake City, they let me go. Lydia's second son, Kenneth, lived in Douglas then, and I went to his place. I did not go back to the road. I obtained a job in the C.Q. Smelter where I worked almost three years. I went home to Colonia Juarez and on July 21, 1938, my father passed away. He was living with Lina and Alma Burgener in Salt Lake City.
        In 1934 and 1935, early in the spring, Van Macdonald took me to Delicious to plant trees for General Quevedo where we planted several thousand trees. In 1936, Mom, as I often called Lydia, went with me. We went down in our Buick and stayed with the Macdonalds. That year I went down to prune the trees.
        In June of 1940 we were getting ready to go to Mexico City. Lydia's youngest daughter, Nora, had finished her two-year mission, and we were going after her in our four-door, black, Chevrolet. We were told we would not even get to El Paso with the tires we had. One of the tires was worn down to the fabric. We took the chance and came through with one flat. We had to go by El Paso, Texas, as there was no paved highway south to Mexico City. We traveled through Texas to Laredo. We crossed the line there and went as far as Monterrey where Ken and Rella were living. Kenneth was working in the refinery there. Mom, Ethel, Herman, and I went on the trip. On June 12, 1940, we arrived in Pachuca where Nora was ironing and packing to go home. We knocked on the door and when she opened it she found us all standing there. You can imagine the thrill it gave her. That night brother Roy Rios, owner and teacher in a business college, gave Nora a farewell program and party. He spoke and among his remarks he said (he spoke in Spanish) "Es como un Angel", which means "She is like an angel".
        On June 13 we drove to Mexico City. Nora's companion, Rinda Anderson, and Jack Davis also went with us to Mexico City from Pachuca. We stayed with the Meeker family while in Mexico City. Roy Hatch was in Mexico City going to school for his doctor's degree and he drove us around the city in our car to see some of the interesting places such as Chapultapec Castle, Arbol de la Noche Triste, Belles Artes, Xchocheinilko (floating gardens), etc.
        We left Mexico City on June 18, 1940. We stopped for the night at a little town of Valles. Next day we drove over the beautiful high mountains above the clouds and arrived in Monterrey at about 4 pm. On Thursday, June 20th, I baptized Kenneth's daughter, Nora, in a canyon stream. We enjoyed a nice visit with Ken, Rella and family until June 24th when we left Monterrey and drove as far as Sanderson, Texas, where we stayed in a motel for the night. The next day we arrived in El Paso at 1:30 pm in time to do a little shopping and drive on to Las Cruces which was our last stop for the night before we arrived home in Colonia Juarez at 4 pm, June 26. Being weary from a long trip, we were very grateful to be home again without accident or trouble.
        My sister, Elise, died on October 15, 1942 of pneumonia in Midway, Utah. Fred died on the 19th of January 1946.
        In December of 1942 I worked for the International Laundry and then for the railroad. About this time people in Mexico were starting to go into the poultry business and I returned to Colonia Juarez and started to build a good size two-story chicken coop. A Poultry Association was organized which handled our eggs. Walter Shupe sold the mash and corn. Ethel's husband, Robert Romp, lived in Douglas, Arizona, and sent me money to help build the coop.
        On the 7th of May, 1943, Lydia and I went to the courthouse in Bisbee, Arizona, where we both received our naturalization papers. My name was then legally changed to Richard H. Durtschi. Lydia was born in the United States in Lee Valley, Arizona, but was requested to be naturalized also because she had married a foreigner.
        In the fall of 1946, LaMar and Mom took Herman to Douglas where they put him in the hospital. He had a rheumatic heart. Bob and Ethel lived in a home that belonged to a Mr. Fish. One day LaMar came home and told me if I wanted to see Herman alive that I should get myself out there. I left at night about 9 pm and drove all night and before I got there my pickup stopped and I had to come into Douglas on a lumber truck. Mom and I stayed with Herman in the hospital for a few days and nights. One night Verl said we better get some rest. So we went to Ethel's home and slept. That night Herman died which was the 2nd of January, 1947. We buried him in the Douglas Cemetery. At that time, it was terribly cold with snow on the ground.
        On Feb. 11, 1947, Ernest died from a heart attack. We were in Colonia Juarez, Mexico, at the time and could not get out to his burial.
        About that time, LaMar Redd, Clarence Turley, Manly Elliot and myself formed a quartet. One Friday night there was a stake contest for quartets and we won over Dublan. Then we had a dancing contest and Lydia's sister, Flora, and I happened to be dancing together and we won.
        Mom and I took Betty Jorgenson, Anna Lou and Carolyn Redd to Torreon for Christmas in 1948. They were staying with us going to school in the Juarez Stake Academy. LaMar Redd was working in the smelter there. We expected to stay the first night with the Doty's in Chihuahua. Mr. Doty was working in the smelter there. For some reason we were not invited to stay there. They lived in the smelter colony which was quite a ways the other side of Chihuahua, and rather than go back to get a room, we decided to drive on. We arrived in Delicious too late in the night to get a room so we slept in the car. When we arrived in Torreon, it was very warm. We sat out on the porch in the evening without a coat on and it was the latter part of December.
        On our way back home, when we got to the Galiana River, it was so high we could not cross it. We had to be pulled across by team when we left home but we thought the water would recede by the time we would return. But instead it came up higher so we could not cross. There was a big wagon drawn by horses that was crossing so I sent Mom and the girls across the river on that wagon and a big truck was on the other side in which they rode on home. I stayed with the car that night by the river. I could see that it would be several days before a car could cross so I left the car at a farm house and got a ride home. In about a week, I went back to get the car but I still could not cross there. I was told they were pulling cars across by horses up at El Valle. I drove up there. They hooked four mules on the car and started across. When we got about half way across the water, the mules stopped. They could not get them to pull. I could feel the water washing the gravel from under the wheels. Then the water came in the window and I just noticed in time the suitcase floating and about to go out on the other side. A horseman came out to get me out of the car to safety. They finally got the car out and I had to sleep in a wet car that night. I unpacked everything and hung the clothes on a fence to dry. The next day, after things were quite dry, to my astonishment, I started the car and started for home. When I got to Achocolate pass there was a lot of shale in the road which punctured a tire. When I got the tire fixed, I could not get the car started again. An American came along and pulled me into Casas Grandes, where I found out that the coil was burned out. I got a new coil put in and finally drove home.
        In 1949 or 1950, we were on our way to Cananea but when we presented our passports, they noticed that it had not been marked out so they would not let us go on. They took my passport away and I could not go to Mexico until I got the pass back which was some time. In the meantime, I worked on Rey Taylor's place making stalls for his lumber. He had started a lumber yard from hauling lumber from Mexico. I lived in a tent he had on the place. The yard was on the west edge of Douglas on the Bisbee highway. Then I built a little room in which Mom and I lived until we left when my passport came back. I built quite a large warehouse there out of cement blocks.
        We went to California for Christmas in 1956 to take Ethel's daughters who had been living with us in Mexico and going to school. Nora and Ethel both lived in California. Later Ethel and Bob moved to Colonia Juarez to help me with the chickens and the orchard work. They fixed up the second home on our lot and lived right close, to us.
        In about 1962 or 1963, Mom and I went to Ontario, California. Nora Perdue, Lydia's youngest daughter, wrote and said there was a job coming up on the welfare farm. We went out to work for a quarter as I lacked that much to be eligible to draw social security. When we got there we found that the man did not quit the job after all so I got a job here and there and finally we got disgusted and went back home to Mexico. In the meantime, Bob, with the help of his girls, planted between 400 and 500 fruit trees up in the pasture above the canal.
        Around 1965, Bob and Ethel moved to El Paso, after Bob had worked on the new Academy gym and was out of a job. We lived close together in the same yard and Ethel did most of the cooking, and when dinner was ready she always called us over. When they left it sort of knocked the props from under Mom. She enjoyed so much having them so close. She depended on them a lot. We visited them in El Paso several times, and on September 8, 1970, Mary and her daughter, Louise, brought Mom and me out to El Paso to see what could be done about Mom's foot as it was cold all the time. We found Dr. Wade, who operated on her leg. She got well from that and then she developed bladder trouble, and by and by she got weaker so we took her home to Colonia Juarez on May 31, 1971. And on July 21, she passed away. All of the children were there for the funeral except Nora. She had been with Mom awhile before that and could not get back for the funeral as she lived so far away. The funeral was July 23 in Colonia Juarez. The next day Bob and Ethel brought me to El Paso to live with them, and they have taken good care of me.

        Additional information given by Freda Durtschi Baker.

        Uncle Bill suffered a heart attack and died on 29 May, 1973. On 31 May, 1973, Freda called Mrs. Robert Comp to tell Uncle Richard of his death. Uncle Richard lived in El Paso, Texas. He and his grandson, Robert, came to Salt Lake for the funeral which was held on 1 June, 1973. At that time Uncle Richard was not feeling very well. He was quite dizzy.
        On 8 June, 1973, Freda picked up Uncle Richard and Uncle Alfred and they went to the Salt Lake City Cemetery where they put flowers on the graves of Grandpa Durtschi and Uncle Adolph. Richard was very happy to be able to do that. They drove around the city and Richard and Alfred showed them several homes that they had helped Uncle Ernest build. He told about how much he enjoyed the building he did with his brother Ernest.
        One other thing he told Freda that startled her was that he had had his feelings hurt because no one had paid any attention when his wife died. Freda told him that as far as she knew no one knew about it at the time and that she was sorry that she hadn't sent a note of condolence to him. He was happy to know that we didnít just ignore him.
        They also had lunch together.
        The next day he went back to El Paso saying that this would be his last trip, he was sure.
        He had a few illnesses after that and was in the hospital once.
        He died 6 July, 1978. Marjorie, Hulda, Lucy and Leona went to El Paso for the funeral. The family treated them so very well while they were there. It was a very special trip for them.
        All of the step children spoke very highly of Richard and did not consider themselves as step children, saying that he had been a great dad to them.

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Page Updated: 22 Aug 06