Adam’s Missionary Letters #20

Sept 23-24, 1999


Another week gone at the MTC, I love this place the Spirit is every where. I finished with the third principle and started on the 4th. My method now is to record my voice speaking the charla about 7 times. Then I listen to it all day between classes and at lunch, sometimes at night too. Then when I start memorizing it, it takes only about 2 hours depending on the length. If I keep it going I should get the entire charlas done before I go. It will help so much, I already have noticed an increase in my speaking ability. The thought I had today was just “love one another” despite any way others might treat you.

Buenos Noches



Wow what a night. I just got done with district interviews. The interviews went awesome this week. I spoke with an Elder in the district who I have been praying for. I shared a scripture with him. I found the scripture during my personal study and felt prompted to share it. I bore him my testimony and shared an experience. He has been having a tough time; his girlfriend lives about 5 blocks away. But I think he will be okay.

Another missionary in the district was having a tough time and crying because he hasn’t heard from his girlfriend. He thinks she is dead. We gave him an awesome blessing. Girlfriends before a mission are a big mistake! I am glad I have no serious feelings or relationship to hold me back from the work. But I can sympathize. We are all young naïve boys.

Another elder came in and we had a good talk. I shared a scripture with him, about him, and how grateful we are for him to serve with us. He came back and shared an excerpt from his patriarchal blessing about himself and told me his feelings and testimony. He told me how he had received a letter from his parents with their testimony and how his father had said, “Now we are both servants in the gospel.” The spirit was quite strong tonight. I can’t believe how great a part the gospel is in my life.

Memories of Mother: Margaret Clark, Part 2

Mom taught us how to work!

When it came to discipline Mom wasn’t one to wait for Dad to come home. She took things into her own hands. I recall several spankings, the ones given with a willow stick hurt the most. I know Mother must have felt overwhelmed by all of her responsibilities, and especially when Clark, Kenny and I would fight with one another. Sometimes it made her cry and then we felt awful. We were exasperating kids at times, Mom would call to us, absently we would continue with what we were doing until she finally yelled to get our attention.

Mother insisted that her children learn how to perform household chores. We were taught to fold the laundry, vacuum, dust, clean the bathrooms, make a proper bed, do the dishes, clean the kitchen, mop the floors, and on occasion we even washed walls. When I finished a task, mom would check it out. It seemed that no matter how hard I tried, she always found something I could improve upon.

We had a large family of nine so there was always plenty that needed to be done. Each of us had Saturday chores we were expected to do. She would often repeat, “A job worth doing, is worth doing well.”

Occasionally, in the summer Dad would pile all of us in the station wagon and take us over to Grandpa Hutchings farm where we would help weed the huge vegetable garden. That was back breaking work. I remember my brother Kenny complaining about all the jobs he had to do. Once he told Mom the only reason she had kids was to do her work. That comment didn’t go over too well!

When we were older, our parents determined to expand our responsibilities. I guess they thought we were too lazy. They decided we could all clean Dad’s office on the weekends, instead of hiring someone. Oh my, did we groan and complain. I remember scrubbing those old tile floors on our hands and knees, Mom and Dad working right along side us.

Mom always liked it when we worked together to clean and didn’t complain. She often said that was the best gift we could give her.

I know I took for granted the fact that Mother was always there when I came home from school. I would call to her as I came in the front door, “I’m home Mom.”

She would answer back, “How was school today?” It was comforting to know she was close by.

Mother was a tireless worker; she insisted that we all help her in the kitchen with the cooking. We also had a weekly dish night. I usually helped prepare dinner if I didn’t have too much homework. I think I peeled a pan full of potatoes every night. My Dad was a “meat and potato” guy, no casseroles for him. It took me awhile to catch on to the peeling process. In the meantime, I cut the skin on my thumb more than once. I recall how it stung and bled all over the potatoes. I have the scars to prove it.

Oh how well, we all remember the days of canning peaches and pears. All hands were enlisted to help prepare the six bushels of peaches and later six bushels of pears. We spent long, tedious days in the kitchen peeling, cutting and filling jars until the last quart was processed and stored on the shelf. Of course, we loved eating the delicious fruit.

Mom taught me how to make an angel-food cake, first whipping the egg whites into stiff peaks and then gently folding in the dry ingredients. Under Mother’s tutelage I learned to make different kinds of salads, cakes, cookies, and candy. She taught me the art of making perfect gravy and white sauce.

Mom made her wonderful cinnamon rolls for trips and outings to lagoon. She covered the kitchen table with the delicate rolls, their aroma filling the house. I can taste them now, so soft and delicious with cinnamon sugar, raisins, and icing. I would pull them apart and plop chunks into my mouth. How I wish I had one right now. Umm!

When tacos became popular that became one of our favorite meals. Eventually we converted Dad too. Always diligent and concerned about our health, Mom prepared three meals a day. She adamantly insisted, even when we were in high school, that we eat breakfast before we left for school. At dinnertime we always sat down together as a family I remember it being a special time of the day. But even then Mom was always up and down from the table seeing to our needs.

I don’t recall doing a lot of yard work. Occasionally we weeded the flower beds for Mom, but no matter how often she tried to teach us, we continually pulled up flowers with the weeds, I think she finally decided against our help. When my brothers got big enough they started to mow the lawn for Dad. We also swept the large patio and driveway. During the summertime Mom was up early in the morning watering her flowerbeds. Once in awhile we would sneak up and squirt her with our water pistols. She would return fire with the hose, then we would run to the front yard and get the other hose. War was on. We always enjoyed it when Mom would play with us. She was always so busy taking care of her house and big family.

It seemed to me that Mom never stopped. When it was evening and we were all on the couch relaxing, she was still going. I asked her once if she ever got tired? She said, “Sure, but it needs to be done.” I didn’t understand at the time, but I do now.

One of the few times I remember seeing her relax was when we went on vacation.


Getting ready for a vacation was an exciting time. I always enjoyed going on these wonderful jaunts, even when I was older and in high school. Of course, Mom bore the brunt of the preparations. First, there were clothes for nine people to wash and pack, often a quick trip to Salt Lake to purchase a couple of new outfits for each of us. At the same time mother was preparing food to take. When every last item on Mom’s list was finally packed and ready, we squeezed into the car, body to body, with nary an inch to spare. With our luggage stacked and tied on top of the car, we were quite a site. We made many a trip to California and Disneyland in the wagon.

I have vivid memories of traveling down the road, while Mom, in the front seat passed out the tiny boxes of cold cereal for our breakfast or put together sandwiches and snacks for us to nibble on.

In later years, on boating trips, she would make us huge Hoagy sandwiches with lots of meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato and mustard. They were the best. Of course we were hungry teenagers then. I have never seen Mom so happy as when she was away from home on a trip and she could finally relax.

After we bought the camper, Mom was in heaven! Mother would stock the cubbies so full of can goods, that Dad was afraid we would have a flat tire from the weight, and we did on occasion.

To a kid, eager to go on a trip, it seemed to take Mom forever to get everything in readiness. The only thing I can compare it with, is waiting for Christmas Day. I was the oldest and so I tried to help Mother as much as I could, but no matter how much I did, there was always twenty things more that needed doing. The evening before we left, Mom was up most of the night packing and finishing up last minute details. We all breathed a sigh of relief as, jam-packed, we finally backed out of the driveway and off to our adventure destination.


Memories of Mother: Margaret Clark

By Karen Hutchings Weber

“Why do I have to wear leggings?” I asked sourly.

“So your legs will stay warm in this cold weather I don’t want you getting sick.” My mother retorted.

“They take too much time to get on and off. Did your mom make you wear leggings to school?” I continued.

“Yes, she did and long stockings too just like yours.” Mom answered.

I hated to wear leggings, but when it came to discussing how we should dress when going out of doors, Mom always won. There was no sense fighting it, she persisted until you gave in. Mom had an over active sense of what it took to keep us healthy. She was positive that if you didn’t dress warm enough you were destined to be sick. Maybe that came from having a father who was a doctor or maybe her mother was the same way. Whatever, it really bugged us kids. I can still hear her say:

“You had better put a scarf on your head, the wind is blowing and you don’t want to get an earache.” She would chime.

The funny thing was Mom was usually right. Once when I didn’t wear a scarf, I did get an earache and had to go to bed.

The winter boot ordeal went right along with the rest. No matter how hard I pushed and pulled I couldn’t get my heel to go down into the boot. It was frustrating. Mom’s answer was to use plastic bread sacks. I put a bag on each foot. It worked wonderfully, holding the back of my boot and giving a little push, my foot slipped right in.

Now I was ready to head out the door dressed in long socks, leggings, plastic bread sacks, boots, sweater, coat, hat and mittens. I was a sight to behold. At school I had to struggle in and out of this cumbersome winter paraphernalia at recess time. Most of the other school kids were in the same boat I was, but not all of them had to wear leggings. I let Mom hear about that too, but it did no good. She stuck stubbornly to her guns. Mom didn’t relent even when I was older. It was always,

“If you’re going outside put on your coat, hat, and gloves!” She called from the other room. I swear she had eyes in the back of her head.

One night I was heading out the door to attend Mutual. There was a dance that night and I was anxious to be on my way.   She took one look at me and said, “You’re not going anywhere, you have the measles!” She exclaimed.

“What!” I retorted in shock. I ran to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. Sure enough, I had red spots all over my face. I was miserably disappointed.

Regardless of how well Mom cared for us, we had the normal number of colds and childhood illnesses. When we were ill, Mom always knew the right thing to do. If we had a cough or cold, she rubbed a healthy layer of Bengay on our chest. Whew, it had a strong smell and a burning, tingling sensation. Depending on the severity of our cold, Mom might even set up the hot steam vaporizer and add a strong smelling medicine. She said the steam would break up our cough and help us to breathe easier.

Mother insisted we stay under the covers even if we were burning up with a fevor, but as soon as she was out of sight, I would throw back the covers. That didn’t work for long because she was always running in to check on us.

If we had a prolonged illness, Mom made a bed for us on the couch in the living room or down the basement, where we could watch television. When we suffered from tummy ailments, Mom prepared ample amounts of gelatin and applesauce for us to eat.

There were times when our illnesses required a visit from Dr. Wright. When Mom announced his visit, we children went into a panic of tears and fussing; this of course didn’t help our cause. A visit always meant a shot from the doctor or Aunt Velma who was a nurse.

At our home when one of us children came down with a bug, it wasn’t long before we all had it, and poor Mom, here she was home with a bunch of sick kids. I’m sure she felt like pulling her hair out some days. She was a devoted nurse and always took such good care of us.

The Meeting: Cal and Margaret

Calvin Hutchings was attending BYU, majoring in pre-dent when he met Margaret Clark. He was living with the Hansen family in Pleasant View; this was close to where the BYU stadium stands today. Three young men had lived with the Hansens, but they liked Cal the best. Brother Hansen was a geology professor at the university. He had a daughter named Carol who was a good friend of Margaret’s younger sister, Bobby.

One evening Bobby went to stay overnight with Carol; together they plotted how to get Cal and Margaret together. Carol had a crush on Cal and was always sneaking friends in to see this good-looking guy. The girls told Cal that Bobby had a cute older sister and he should consider taking her out. Cal seemed willing, but wondered how to go about meeting her. They told him Margaret was a clerk at Firmage’s department store in downtown Provo, and set him up to go there. In the meantime, Bobby and Carol had been telling Margaret about this cute guy staying at the Hansen’s house. They kept encouraging her to meet him and Margaret was interested.

Calvin went to Firmages to check out this girl he had heard so much about. He followed Margaret around for a while and then finally introduced himself. Cal asked her to go out with him. Margaret was a junior in high school at the time. When her Mother found out she said, “You can’t go out with him, you don’t know anything about him.”   Margaret replied, “He’s staying at the Hansen’s house, you can call and ask Mrs. Hansen all about him.”   Her Mother did just that and was given a beaming report on Calvin.

Cal and Margaret dated for two years. Calvin had previously enlisted in the V-1 Naval program in 1942 following graduation from High School. This program allowed him to continue his education without being drafted. After he finished his pre-dental courses at BYU, he was called up to report for duty to the naval base in Seattle, Washington. While there, he met Margaret’s brother, Grant, also in the navy, and they became good friends.

During this time, Margaret graduated from high school and went to work at the telephone company. Cal was in Washington at the naval hospital for nine months waiting to get into dental school. During this time, he and Margaret corresponded frequently. When fall came, he was sent to the University of Iowa.

It was a lonely time for Calvin who was far away from home and his girl. Just before Christmas, he called and proposed to Margaret over the telephone. Margaret hesitated, she wanted to wait until spring, but Cal said, “Now or never!” So she said, “Yes.”Calvin & Margaret

Calvin flew into Salt Lake the day before Christmas, his parents picked him up at the airport and took him home. On Christmas day he drove to Margaret’s home in Provo and they immediately began making wedding plans. They decided to be married on Thursday December 28th, that day the Salt Lake temple was having a special session for servicemen home on leave. Margaret recalls it being a busy, but exciting time. The day after Christmas they rushed around, first they went to get their blood tests and then a marriage license. This was followed by an interview with the bishop for a temple recommend. With so little time to prepare, Margaret’s Mother, Laura, called the Dixon-Taylor department store and arranged for someone to open up that evening just for Margaret and her mother. That night the two of them went shopping for some of the necessary items Margaret would need to set up housekeeping.

The big day arrived: December 28, 1944, Calvin and Margaret were married in the Salt Lake temple surrounded by loved ones from the Clark and the Hutchings families.

The ceremony was beautiful. Margaret wore a white skirt and blouse she had purchased for the temple. She recalls that the sleeves were short, so the sisters at the temple put something over her arms. She tells how her dear sister, Cecil, had stayed up the night before, sewing her a burgundy skirt and top for the wedding breakfast that would follow the temple ceremony, and then she drove to Salt Lake the next day.

DaCosta, the only one of her brothers home at the time, arranged for a wedding luncheon at Hotel Utah for the two families. Mother remembers the lunch being very lovely. She said, the wedding cake, which was made in the hotel bakery, was beautiful and had a lovely taffy candy ribbon around it.

That evening, Calvin and Margaret returned to Provo and stayed at the Clark home. Margaret recalls, “We had just fallen to sleep when the furnace started smoking. The snow had been falling all day and water seeped into the coal causing it to stick together. I had to get out of bed, go down to the basement and stoke the furnace to get it going again.”

Their was no time for a honeymoon for the very next day Margaret and Calvin took a train back to Iowa City. The cars were packed full of servicemen traveling to the east coast where they would be shipped overseas to the war front. Margaret was the only woman onboard and even though she had paid for a ticket, the train conductor said all the seats were for servicemen. During the trip, Dad or one of the other men would let her take their seat for a time, but when the conductor came around she had to sit on her suitcase. The trip took two days and a night. There were no sleeping cars open so they sat up all night.








Pearl Harbor

“Elizabeth and Nephi were very concerned. German warplanes were bombarding the southern portion of England. Germany was trying to blockade England’s ports in hopes of starving the country into submission. German U Boats were raiding cargo vessels in the Atlantic and Caribbean.” Elizabeth was naturally concerned about her family members in England.

Many changes were happening in our country as factories geared up to produce war materials. “Our battleships were convoying fleets of cargo across the Atlantic with orders to fire upon enemy vessels that interfered.” The United States was in an undeclared war.

JN,Elizabeth,&Calvin Hutchings
Calvin in his naval uniform with his mother, Elizabeth Bird, and father, Joseph Nephi Hutchings

“Stanley and Velma moved to Downey, Idaho where Stanley had secured employment at the high school to teach aeronautics and other subjects. They were expecting their first child. Calvin was a senior at Jordan High. He was 18 years of age. In the event of war both Stanley and Calvin would be subject to the first draft. ..”

“On October 17th German torpedoes sank the destroyer Kearney; two weeks later they sank the ship Reuben James. A total of 115 lives were lost. On December 7, 1941 at 7:49 a.m. Japanese warplanes bombed Pearl Harbor. Seven battleships were damaged or sunk. One hundred and eighty eight aircraft were destroyed; 2,403 lives were lost and 1,178 people were wounded in the attack. America was shocked. Roosevelt asked congress to declare war against Japan. He said, ‘Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy…’ Then he rallied the nation with these words, ‘With confidence in our armed forces, with the undoubting determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. So help us God.’ On this dark and gloomy day, Velma gave birth to Dennis.”

As the armed forces recruited men, Stanley was deferred since he was teaching aeronautics. Calvin enlisted in the V-1 Naval program, which permitted him to continue his education. He graduated from Jordan High School in 1942 and entered Brigham Young University in June. He chose to study pre-med which would qualify him for entrance into dental school. When he finished his studies at Brigham Young in the summer of 1943, he was ordered to go to Portland, Oregon to attend dental school. He and the other midshipmen had to find their own living quarters as the navy had no facilities in Portland. After six months Calvin was transferred to the University of Iowa in Iowa City. He was on the V-12 program as well as a dental student…”

Read about how World War II affected Calvin’s future wife, Margaret Clark.

Shadows of War

Pretty girl, Maggie Clark
Margaret Clark

Mary Margaret Clark was a lovely, brown-eyed brunette, barely sixteen and a sophomore in high school. She was good natured, easy going and dependable. Her mother had come to rely heavily on her following her father’s death four years earlier. Besides Margaret, their were five older brothers, DaCosta, RG, Kyle, Albert and Grant, and three sisters, Cecile, Edith and Bobby. DaCosta, RG, and Cecile were married.

Normally Margaret took the day to day happenings of life in stride, but this was to be a day that would change their lives. It was December 7, 1941, when the small city of Provo came alive with news that the naval base, Pearl Harbor had been bombed by the Japanese. So far the United States had managed to stay out of the war begun two years earlier.   What would happen now, would the President declare war? And how would it affect their lives if he did? There was fear and anxiety in every heart.

America’s response was immediate, war came and so did the need for soldiers. Margaret’s brothers R.G., Kyle, Albert, Grant, her brother-in-law, Harry, and her sister Edith’s boyfriend were all drafted. In a matter of weeks everything changed

at home, her brothers left for war, and her older sister, Cecile, moved back in with the family. The household consisted of five women, like many others of the time, they were forced to fend for themselves without male support.

Grant age 18
Grant Clark in his naval uniform

Margaret became the household handy-man. It was her job to keep the huge coal burning furnace operating during the long, winter months; repair broken appliances, faucets etc., along with attending school and working.

The war period was a time of ration books and shortages in almost everything, from tires to gelatin dessert. Every person learned how to make do or do without. Common food at the Clark home included tomato soup, bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, and sometimes bread and milk. A beef roast was purchased once a week and was made to last several days. Not a crust of bread was wasted!

The one constant, they all shared, was the nagging worry for family members overseas. It was especially burdensome for her mother. An activity that helped raise their spirits was preparing packages to be sent to the boys. This was a significant event as candies, steamed puddings and fruit cakes were lovingly created, packed in tin cans and sealed to stay fresh for the long journey.

The Clark family was blessed, with the eventual safe return of all four sons and their son-in-law. Her sister Edith’s boyfriend did not make it back. This had a major impact on her life.

Mother’s memories of circumstances surrounding World War II are some of the first family stories she shared with me as a child. They touched me deeply and I have never forgotten them.

Read about Margaret’s future husband, Calvin’s, memories of World War II.