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Voice from the Past

Mark is from Utah. He is married and has 3 children. He is a graduate of the University of Utah.


How would you feel if someone smeared soap all over your windows?

“That’s what trick or treaters did when I was young,” my grandma said,”…and if they thought they didn’t get enough candy, they would play dirty tricks on that house on Halloween night. For example, they would tip over people’s outhouses or tear down their gates and put them somewhere it would be hard to get to. There would be more tricks than treats,” she had concluded.

This was one of many interesting stories my grandma told me when I interviewed her at her house on November 13th, 1992. She did not mind being interviewed and maybe even liked it. Her name was Lois Hortense Thorup Fowler. She was my mom’s mother. Born on October 18th, 1918, she was 74 years old at the time that I had interviewed her. She had a big family, with nine sisters and two brothers. She had six children, with 34 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren at the time.

Here life at a glance: She was my age at the time in 1932. She graduated from high school in 1936. She was married in 1941. Had her first child in 1944, second child in 1945, 3rd in 1947, 4th in 1948, 5th child in 1953, and 6th was in 1955.

As this time line shows, she lived through the Great Depression when she was my age. She was born less than a month after World War One ended. She was in her early twenties during World War Two, when food was rationed.

She went to Lincoln Elementary, Granite Junior High and Granite High School. She also went to night school at a business college for six months.

She lived in the same house with her parents until she got married. Her family lived on a two and a half acre farm. They used coal stoves instead of furnaces. Herbert Hoover was president when she was my age at the time. Her mother’s name was Esther Elizabeth Nordberg, and her father’s name was William Wilford Thorup.

Flappers, which where women who had short hair, short dresses, and high heels were popular in the twenties. In cars, people had to signal with their arms instead of blinkers on their cars if they wanted to turn or to stop. The police cars had to use spotlights instead of lights and sirens on top of their cars to stop someone who was breaking the law when she was young.

Here are some events and stories:

I asked her what she did for recreation when she was my age.

“We didn’t have television sets when I was a young girl. There were movies in the theaters, but they were all in black and white. They costed fifteen cents to watch,” she said.

She also liked to go to road shows, plays, county fairs, Lagoon, Liberty Park, Saltair, and to the canyon. She was in a family orchestra. She played the violin.

“During World War Two, my brother-in-law’s elbow was shot off while he was fighting,” she said.

“In those days, we didn’t have inflation like we do now,” she said. “ I got my first job when I was 11. I picked beans at the Murray cannery. I got paid 30 dollars for 6 weeks of work. I started early in the morning and worked until 4 o’clock in the afternoon.”

I have told you a lot about my interview and what information I had learned. I learned a lot about her from this interview.

She was very nice. She was serious most of the time. She was very conscientious. My mom would visit her every Friday. I would typically go with her, at least until I started dating. We would usually spend Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve with her and the rest of my relatives.

I liked talking to her because she was very smart and wise. She would never get mad. She had been through 7 hip replacements. In the summer, my mom would take me and my brother to mow her lawn about once a month. For each of her grandchildren’s birthdays, she would send money through the mail.

Creative writing (From her perspective)

Dar Diary,

I got my first job today! I’m only 11. I pick beans at the Murray cannery. I get paid thirty dollars for 6 weeks of work. I start early in the morning and finish at about 4 o’clock in the afternoon.


She passed away peacefully in her sleep at the home of her daughter on Sunday, March 13, 2005. She had been suffering from Alzheimer’s and had complications due to issues after her hip replacements.