Personal History Website

Sunday, January 2, 2011

June 20, 1968

Dear Family,

I think that we have received some sort of communication from each of you since my last decker.
Although when I wrote, Mother was still in the Hospital.

It seemed as though the anesthetist who was to assist the Doctor in operating on Mother on
Monday the 17th of June, was called away on an emergency. The Doctor refused to operate with
another, so he postponed the operation for a week, which would have made it to-day. Then mother
cried on his shoulder about twenty additional x-rays, with weights on her leg, studying these, he and his
conference concluded that the activity of the “vile spot” would not preclude delaying the operation until
1 July, so , Saturday evening a small voice on the telephone said; “Come get me Daddy”.

It was a very nice Father’s Day present- the best I could have asked for! Then I received calls
from most of you. The Stobbes, Wilsons and McKays gathered around two telephones, singing happy
Fathers Day, was quite a thrill. Marta said they had to expel the little ones because they all wanted to
talk to Grandpa.

I was quite surprised to receive a Father’s Day Letter from David. His ship is conducting trials
north of Seattle. He is crying for the flesh pots of Long Beach, so he must be loaded. He gets the cast off
his hand tomorrow.

The “Buckaroo” McKays are always a little late, but we did get a letter from Fran yesterday. Bill
is working in the timber. The twins had a Birthday, their sixth. Fran concluded with a mysterious note
about something happening in October. 21?

The Stobbes arrive tomorrow. They should feel right at home in this weather. It was 109
yesterday and they say there is no relief in sight. It broke some kind of a record. We are going some
where in the mountains with them. It will be a chore keeping Grandma quiet, but it would be just as bad
if we stayed at home. At least she lets me cook in the field.

I will stop now as I have to go to Nogales this P.M. I would sooner take a whipping becaiso while
it is only 10:00 A.M. and is 100 degrees,

Again, I thank of all of you for cards, calls and letters. Marta, yours made me blush! I hope you
will always feel that way.

Vaya Con Dios,


Tucson June 12, 1968

Dear Family,

Today was to have been the day they operated on Mother. I ordered her a bouquet of roses
with a happy Anniversary tag, to be delivered about the time she came out of surgery. She got the
flowers, but she was not operated on. Something made her very ill yesterday, she did not know what,
but attributed it to some of the stuff they injected into her arm for allergy tests. Her heart was acting up
also, which was the reason the Dr. did not want to operate on her to-day. In as much as much as they
had postponed the operation one day, we propositioned the Dr. to postpone it until the Stobbes left, but
he quickly put thumbs down. He said the operation should be performed as soon as possible.

June 13th

I am writing on my anniversary-Father’s Day present and so far I have not learned all the quirks.
Bear with me and some day you will get a nice copy.

I have saved the Anniversary cards you sent and will take them to her today. The nurse told me
last night that Mother is not scheduled for surgery today. Mother called me last night and told me that
she was feeling much better, had eaten for the first time in two days.

I enclosed this effort in my card to Mother;


We have done many things on this our day

As we journeyed down the years

Although most were done with laughter

A few were done with tears

From Mexico’s Secret fastness

To Hawaii’s pearly strand

We have done the things we loved to do

As we have done them hand in hand

We have always splurged on this our day

Although sometimes in the red

I never thought at this late date

You would spend our day in bed.

June 14, 1968

I am a bit discouraged. The skin pop that caused Mother’s upset was the one for TB, now the Doctor
thinks she might possibly have TB of the bone. I talked to him last night. He is not positive of his
diagnosis, but has delayed operating on her until Monday at the earliest. I have to go to Nogales
Saturday. I have asked the Relief Society to visit her then. I wish some of you would call her Sunday.
Just ask the Operator to get her in room 5 at the Davis Monthan Hospital. She is very cheerful about
the whole thing, but I know she would like to hear from you.

Vaya Con Dios,


Sunday, December 26, 2010

June 5, 1968

Dear Family,

Mother goes into the Hospital on Sunday, the ninth and will be operated on, on the 12th. Recent
X-rays of her knee have shown a spot on the bone that the Doctors cannot identify. At first they thought
it came from the injections of cortisone they had given her, but it is on the opposite side of her knee and
is the only spot that is painful, becoming progressively worse. The pain killer gives her very short relief
now. Before deciding to operate, the Doctors at D.M. consulted a civilian specialist.

I am writing this while she is in Relief Society as she gave me strict orders not to say anything to
you. She is fighting very hard to postpone the operation till after the Stobbe’s visit, even though the Dr.
told her she would be able to go fishing, if we all take care of her – this she hates. We have an
appointment with the Dr. this afternoon when she will make her last effort for postponement. I don’t
think she will get it. I am going against her wishes in telling you this, because I would like all of you to
remember her in your prayers when she goes under the knife a week from to-day.

Bill, I have come to the conclusion that you and Fran cannot tell the twins apart. You sent us a
picture of the other twin, but kept both of the first pictures that were alike. Send one of them back and
indicate on the back which of them it is – if you dare.

Everything depends on the outcome of Mother’s operation, as to when we can go your way, but
I do hope we can get there before your garden is all gone.

We finally got a letter from David with some corrections. He fell off the mast! His home Station
will be long Beach not Venice however letters will still reach him through the FPO San Francisco Zip
96601 to USS Somers.

The Stobbes should be airborne to day and can read this letter today at Marta’s”.

No letters from the rest of you. Tell my Granddaughters that the Granddaughter decker just went out
of circulation---no subscriptions!

Vaya Con Dios,


Tucson, May 16, 1968

Dear Family,

We have the chickenpox in El Monte, (Rinda and Wendy now) and David is in the hospital, (ships?
) with a broken wrist, bruises and contusions. He fell off scaffold, or the scaffold collapsed with him
while painting aboard ship. Mother talked to him so I did not get many details.

Mother had quite a nice Mother’s Day. Most of you called. The cards were all late but Rina’s
and that went by way of Manila. Bill and Fran’s card was, “par for the course”, three days late, but it was
worth waiting for. They enclosed beautiful color pictures of all the kids. Lloyd is almost as big as the
twins and looks very McKayish. He must be a well behaved child. My contribution to Mother’s Day was
to get her a corsage and take her to dinner.

You “Smog Smelling “ McKays will get this one more issue because of your phone call, but this is
the last! From the cooing and aahing when she opened your present I gathered she was quite happy
with it. She will undoubtedly write and thank you for it.

Betty you are no help! Just when Mother was getting reconciled to her new job you write
something like that! The other day I picked her up at Relief Society and she came out crying; “I’ll never
get relieved of that job now.” she boo hooed. When I asked her what had happened she said that all the
mothers of the girls in her Primary class had come to her individually and had thanked her and told her
how much more interest the girls were taking in Primary. I think that she too is becoming attached to
her 11 year olds. Last Sunday they sang a Mother’s Day song and you should have seen the look of pride
and affection on her face.

We got a letter from Julie and she says in affect; We are leaving on the 5th of June, on the 5th of
June we are leaving. They expect to stay a few days in Hawaii and visit with and Marta, so it will be
toward the 1st of July when they get here.

I have a talk on Sunday in commemoration of the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood so I had
better get with it.


Vaya Con Dios,


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tucson, April 30, 1968


Dear Grandsons,

I wrote a “Granddaughter Decker” not long ago and I guess they did not like it as no one
answered. So now I write to the boys to see if I have better luck.

I am working on my life story. As I complete each page I give it to your Grandmother to read and
correct. Yesterday I completed an episode about my experiences in the Horse Cavalry and passed it on
to Grandma. She read for a while and burst out laughing. “What’s the matter?” I asked, I did not
remember writing anything funny in that page. “Do you mean that you were in “F Troop?” She
answered and laughed all the harder. She was thinking of that goofy “F Troop” on TV, which is an insult
to a good Trooper.

As I wrote of my Cavalry experiences I was reminded of many experiences I did not write about.
My horse was a little red mare. She was as sleek as a race horse and could jump like a bird flying.
Everyone was armed with a saber, not a curved sword as you usually picture a saber, but a long straight
double edged blade. To stab the “heads” as our horse jumped the wall. “Red” as I called my horse, went
over the jumps so smoothly that it was no trouble for me to get a hundred percent hits with my saber.
Well, one day she got careless and skimmed the wall too close. A protruding rock caught her front legs
and tore the skin form them. I never rode her again.

I was leading Red to the vets, heartsick because of her injury, when I passed a group of Officers.
I kept turning to watch Red and paid no attention to them. A captain rode over to me and started to
bawl me out for not saluting. Then I heard a deep voice shout, “Leave that Sergeant alone Captain!
Can’t you see his horse is hurt!” I looked up and saw that the man talking was the Commanding General.

I received a letter from Steven McKay not long ago. I would like to hear from the rest of you,
especially you Bob , John and Mike. Did you have fun at Disneyland? Mark, we would like very much to
hear from you. What are your plans for this summer. Tell your Mother and Dad that their subscription
to the “old Folks” Decker just expired and the only way they can get it started again is to write.

Scot, you owe me two or three letters.

Grandma sends her love and joins me in hoping and praying that those of you who go to church
will continue to do so and those of you who don’t will start going. In this day and age there isn’t much
that is stable to tie to. The older I get the more I realize that Education is a must – it is no longer the
same as when I was a boy. All you needed then was a strong back and a weak mind.

Vaya Con Dios


Tucson, April 23, 1968

Dear Family,

We have received a couple of letters since my last “decker”, from Rina and Marta. Rina’s letter
was a tale of woe. It reminded me about the story of the Farmer, whose best mule broke her leg etc,
etc. She had a week when everything went wrong. You did not say anything about Lane, Rina. I trust he
has recovered from his illness. You must have been hard to get along with about then, with the Bazaar
toping everything off. I sympathized with Frank.

Marta too had her troubles. Wendy was quite ill, then Candy got the Chicken Pox. We, talked to
the Wilsons Sunday. The Meeker family came to L.A. Easter and it seemed like they had a really good

Wow, you two think you got troubles, let me tell you mine! A couple of weeks ago, the First
Counselor of our Ward, (whose wife is Stake Primary President) came to our house and asked Mother to
teach a class in Primary- the 11 year old girls. She accepted, with a lot of reservations, but she did
accept. After her first Primary meeting she was ready to throw in the sponge, because she found out
that she not only had to teach but to deep records, make reports, take ‘em camping and what have you.
Between us both we have more books than a C.P.A. She has been trying to resign ever since, but the
trouble is, that the girls all like her and some of them have taken an active interest who were dragging
their feet before. SO, she takes it out on me! She has nightmares, because none of the Church
Authorities will accept her resignation or at least they talk her out of resigning every time she tries. She
even had a special Tutor to-day. I wish that some of you girls who have been in her spot would write to
her and offer her advice and or commiseration. EVEN MY TYPING HAS DEVELOPED AN ABRRATION AND

I wrote a “Granddaughter Decker” right after Easter, in which I included other family news which
you must have read. I don’t think this effort was very well received, because I received no comment or
letter from any of the girls.

Vaya Con Dios,


April 17, 1968

Dear Family,

We enjoyed our stay with the Wilsons and the McKays, but our trip home was quite hectic. We
hit high winds most of the way home and at one point West of Indio, we drove for miles, (or so it
seemed), through a blinding dust cloud. We could not see the road, so we got behind a vehicle with a
tall silhouette and stayed on his tail until we emerged.

It seems lately we have been experiencing a number of firsts, besides driving in a dust cloud.
Most of these firsts happened in the Temple. There was another one when we went with Lloyd and
Carol. It seems there were too many people going through the marriage and sealing session, so they
pulled all those who were not close relatives of the bride and groom and formed another group. Even So
the room was full with those of us who were left. We did not get out of the temple until two o’clock.
There were quite a few of Carol’s relatives as well as friends from the Ward. Brian has penchant for
flipping light switches on and off. A few weeks past, the McKays attended Sacrament meeting in the
Wilson’s Ward. Somehow, they haven’t quite figured out how, Brian found the switch and left the
Sacrament meeting in darkness. When they brought him into the sealing room, which is illuminated by
beautiful crystal chandeliers, he looked up and said: “Ah, lights, lights!” I immediately checked the walls
to see if any switches were in his reach. He was very much a gentleman during the ceremony.

We found letters from Betty, Rina and David when we returned home. We were indeed pleased
to hear that David had received a promotion. We realize that the navy gives only earned promotions,
and he had to be on the ball and do a lot of studying to get it. His ship is presently in San Diego where is
will undergo a further course of training. His grade is now ETR2 and his address is the same. Why don’t
you drop him a line?

Rina was taking Scot to school when someone ran into her. The reason she had been taking him
to school is because the school bus had been in an accident. Scot should be getting gun shy soon and be
riding his bike to school. Congratulations on you’re pitching in the little league Scot. Your “Hole-in-one
and not hitters make you the only claim for fame this family has sports wise speaking that is.

Betty loaded up her “Bevy of Beauties” and paid Grandma Rice a visit in concord. She has a pool
and Betty said the girls really had a ball. They are so used to swimming in Tahoe snow water that I
wonder how they could stand that warm pool. Betty has promised Marta that she will let Robin visit her
for a while after school is out. Even though it puts my nose out of joint, (she would not let Robin visit us
last year). Marta has developed a bad knee; something like Mother’s and is having a hard time getting
around. Her own girls help her a lot, but there are a lot of things she can’t do.

Marion, we are still waiting for a letter from you. I told Mimi in my last letter to her that we
were tentatively planning on going to your house, if it is all right with you.

Vaya Con Dios,


Tucson, April 9, 1968

Dear Family,

We have heard from several of you since my last Decker, Bill, Betty, Marion, Rina, and David.
While I have written to some of you under separate cover, I feel that I actually owe a letter this time.

Bill’s family is fine. Lloyd is beginning to have some of the twin’s tendencies of getting into
trouble. I am sorry about that. I thought, with that name he will be a model child- like his name sake.
Bill has been doing work on the McKay line. He has shook more relatives out of the bushes than I had
ever heard of. Two Aunts, Mary J. and Judy, the first born of David, (your great Grandfather), I had not
even heard mentioned. Bill, your Great Grandfather, Alexander, is supposed to have been born in
Scotland; consequently, he may not have been listed in that Tenn. Census, because he was dead or out
of the State at that time. Anyway it is very interesting. I have passed your findings on to Ruth for her
comment. Maybe we are descendents of Abraham McKay, (One of the early settlers in Tenn., and
a “Hard Shelled” Baptist). Maybe that is where we get our Yiddish snozzle.

Betty’s family also got the San Francisco bug, but they recovered much more promptly than I.
She was quite pleased because the girl’s report cards were so good. We did enjoy your long newsy letter
Betty, even though you did write it over a period of several weeks.

The Wilsons and McKays went to some Church sponsored program, a week ago. Wendy’s
babysitter let her get chilled and she caught a cold. Let’s don’t use that Sitter again Marta. Call me I will
Baby sit for you. We had hoped that the Wilsons might join us for Easter, but they can’t get away.
Marion, we sent three jackets for the boys and still have $10.00 left. Does Mimi still want the squaw
boots? If so send the size. If the coats don’t fit the boys, maybe you can sell them to someone there.
Don’t let them throw the coats in the washer or adios.

David says he has been so busy aboard ship that his extra-curricular activities have been badly
curtailed. He is going on another shakedown cruise soon.

I just realized Lloyd, that you are the only one we have not heard from. What is the matter? Has
Martin Luther King got you down?

Mother and I are contemplating hiding our over Easter week end. It makes us too homesick for
our grandchildren, to watch the Easter Program.

Mother was called by the Bishopric to be a teacher in Primary. She will have the 11 year old
girls, but she has lots of doubts about the whole thing.



IT COULD HAPPEN (A bad dream by L.J. McKay)

We had been on vacation in the mountains for several weeks. We camped in a deep canyon,
where radio reception was nil. We had been completely out of touch with our ever worsening world and
had enjoyed it. When our mountain road joined the Freeway, on our way home, I drove for about an
hour before it occurred to me that something was different- something was wrong. I thought about
commenting to my wife, but she was dozing and I did not want to disturb her. I drove another thirty
minutes before it occurred to me that my perturbation was caused by the absence of trucks from the
freeway traffic, neither had we met or passed a train on the track that paralleled the Freeway. Now, for
the first time I turned on the radio and heard the frightening news that a strike had not only tied up all
trucking, but had curtailed rail shipments also.

I awakened my wife and gave her the bad news. We discussed the strike and its probable effect
on us. We now realized just why Church Authorities had been hammering at us for years to accumulate
a year’s supply of food. We had not done it. We are old, in retired status. We had concluded that we
would probably be dead before any emergency arose, necessitating the consumption of the year’s
supply. Now we had been caught with our procrastination showing. We had a small savings account.
We decided that we would use this money to accumulate all the food stuffs it would buy.

When we came into our Home town, we stopped at the first Supermarket we encountered. We
were confronted by a large sign as we entered the door; “ONLY ONE STAPLE TO A CUSTOMER. Two LBS
OF PRODUCE TO A CUSTOMER”. The shelves had a leprous appearance. Many were empty and others
badly depleted with large bare spots. Pushing through the crowded aisles we finally managed to
partially fill one cart. A can of this and a can of that. We got the last sack of flour, but the sugar supply
was exhausted. The produce notice was a laugh. There was none. Meat seemed to be in plentiful
supply, but our freezing compart would only hold so much. We dropped everything and shopped until
padlocks appeared on market doors with a sigh; “CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE”. We still had money
to spend, but no food was available. We did manage to buy a quarter of beef from a meat market, which
we cut in thin strips and hung on the clothes line to dry. We prayed that it would not rain and took turns
standing guard to fight off stray dogs, who had been released by their owners and were now half wild
and starving.

When we were force to stop buying, we took inventory. We concluded that we had enough food
stuff to last us several weeks, maybe, three or four months if we went on short rations. My wife
sighed; “Well” she said, “I hope the strike is over before we run out of food.” Then she brightened; “but
we can always drive to one of our children in California or Utah”. They have a year’s supply and they all
want us to live with them.” “You forget one thing darling” I answered

“What is that?”

“No gasoline”

Monday, December 6, 2010

From Bill, March 1968

Dear Lloyd,

We were really tickled to get your letter and couldn’t have been more pleased over the news.
I’m sure that this is a decision that you will never regret. I know from experience that there is nothing
that will bring more permanence and stability into your marriage than being sealed to each other. Or for
that matter nothing that will bring more joy into your family union. My only regret is that we probably
won’t be able to take advantage of your invitation. Fran wouldn’t leave the two little ones and I’m afraid
that to make the trip in two days would be a little bit too hectic. It’s too bad that you didn’t pick the
week end before (Conference weekend) we get our Easter Vacation then and get off the 4th 5th 6th and
7th. This would have given us four days which would have ment that we could have brought the whole

I know that you have probably chosen the date after much deliberation and that there are a lot
of folks there to consider so we wouldn’t ask you to change it for our sake but it sure would nice if you
could without a lot of trouble. We would very much like to be there. This would also give us time to
spend more than just a couple of hours with you.

What ever the case we are very happy for you and Carol and know that you will not regret your

Even if we are not able to attend your sealing we will be looking forward with anticipation to
your trip here this summer.

Make sure you take advantage of having Dad and Mom in the Temple with you and get sealed to
them. Usually you have to make arrangements ahead of time with the Temple.

Bill, Fran and Family