Our parents, Paul and Marcelene Gauger, died too early in our lives. We have missed Dad and Mom for several years, and have been saddened that most of our children did not have the blessing of these wonderful grandparents in their lives. We are creating this blog to write some of our memories, organize photos, and share thoughts of our loving parents and their family. In doing so, it is our wish that our children, grandchildren, extended family, and friends may understand our love for our parents and our family. As King Benjamin taught, our parents lived: "...ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another." Mosiah 4:15. This truth, love and service are the legacy of Paul and Marcelene Gauger.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

A Leader of Boys

New Hampton, Iowa Farmhouse

My father, Paul Gauger, was a true scouter. Though he did not know it at the time, growing up in northeast Iowa and spending his youth in the outdoors, established a foundation for a truly great leader of boys. Paul lived on a farm and worked extremely hard year round to help his father and family with the crops and livestock. He mentioned to me later in his life that he never was able to participate in school activities, sports (to the extent that sports were available then) and other outdoor activities other young boys enjoyed. As the oldest of two sons, he was always needed to work on the farm. I believe this commitment to his family and its livelihood also precluded him from completing a full high school education.

Growing up on a farm did afford young Paul with access to the outdoors, and he became an expert fisherman, marksman and hunter. In order to make some extra money, Paul ran a trap line in the woods near the Gauger farm. He described trapping fox, muskrats, and even skunks to save for his dream of owning one of the first Ford Model A cars. The Model A was introduced in 1927 when Paul was 16 years old and cost just under $400 for the basic model with no frills.
I benefit greatly from Dad’s love of fishing and hunting, particularly fishing. Dad lived to fish and introduced this great hobby to our family early in life. When we were not making a long road trip to Iowa, Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon, we were camping at Huntington Canyon and fishing. Dad was a great shot with a shotgun and never used a scope on his hunting rifle because he “did not need it.”

Besides the love for the outdoors and outdoor activities, another talent of Paul’s prepared him to be a great scout leader. He could make, fix or repair anything. Growing up on a farm taught him these valuable talents. He made a camper for our truck that our family used in our fishing trips, kept our home, automobiles and motorized equipment and tools in good condition and repair. One of the biggest regrets of my life is that I did not observe him enough, help him enough or have him teach me enough of these valuable skills. Although he realized this would be of value to me, Dad was content to always give me the time, opportunities and money to participate in the many sports, school and other activities that he did not have the chance to enjoy as a young boy and man.

Dad and Dennis, Highland Farm 1953

When I turned eight years old, I became a Cub Scout. I remembered we had some fine leaders that first year, but the program in our ward really did not get off the ground. The leaders of the ward considered dropping the program, until they made an inspired decision. They called my father to become the Cub Master for the program. This was an interesting calling at the time because Dad was not truly a member in full standing, which generally was the requirement for any man called as a leader of boys. Dad went to Church with his family, served in some “token” callings such as a secretary or record keeper for the “Senior Aaronics”, or men in the ward who had not received the Melchizedek Priesthood or been to the temple with their wives and families. Dad was a member of this group.

Dad was instantly a success in this calling for two reasons. Number 1, he loved and cared for young boys and the boys in the ward could see and feel this. There was nothing artificial or phony about Paul Gauger – what you saw was what you got. He was creative in his approach to Cub Scouting. He followed the program as best as he knew how, but put his building and outdoor skills to work to make our Cub Scouts fun and exciting.

I remember one of the first “pack meetings” we had under Dad’s direction. The theme was the Knights of the Round Table, and Dad made round wooden disks on curved wooden bases that wobbled and required balance and agility to stand on. With these, he created jousting staffs with cushioned ends that the two “knights” would use to try to knock each other off the disks. Of course, authentic looking helmets were designed and made by Dad out of large ice cream containers, and vests were made out of burlap sacks. Dad was not much of an artist but he did design some rudimentary crests and dragon designs for the helmets and vests. This was just one example of how Dad went beyond what was required to make a difference for us in the program.

Paul Gauger, Cub Master, Dennis Gauger, Cub Scout

When my age group turned 12 years old and moved on to Boy Scouting, Dad moved on with us and became our Scout Master. This scouting involved camping out and more activities in the outdoors, which only increased the creative juices flowing in Dad. Our camping trips were always planned around fishing opportunities, including our trips to Camp Maple Dell, the organized camp for the Utah National Parks Council in Payson canyon. Maple Dell had a small lake that was frequently stocked with trout and Dad saw to it that every boy had the opportunity to catch fish. I believe some of the boys in our troop had never before caught a fish and probably have never caught a fish since. Dad also saw that we had the opportunity to leave camp temporarily on occasion and fish on the Payson River. Under his expert coaching, we usually caught a bunch of fish there, and always had the most fish caught in our daily report at the morning flag ceremony.

Trips to Huntington River, the location of most of our early family camping and fishing trips were especially memorable for “Troop 14”. We caught lots of fish, made rope bridges across the river, and spent hours around the fire listening to Dad’s stories about growing up in Iowa and other tall tales. When you got Dad going, you had difficulty determining when the truth ended and the lies began. But the boys did not care and loved spending the time with Dad. Dad always made sure that each boy, regardless of his financial situation or prior experience camping and fishing, had a wonderful time and a successful camp.

Troup 14 Returns With The Fish

While the fishing, tall tales around the fire and outdoor adventure are the easiest things to remember about scouting trips with Dad, with hind sight it is easy to see that characters of these young men, including mine, were also being developed. Dad was not the greatest spiritual advisor we ever had, but we learned teamwork, sense of humor, respect for each other and adults and other valuable traits that prepared us to be missionaries and future fathers. At one time, we had 17 missionaries out at the same time from our ward, most of whom had been active Boy Scouts under Dad’s leadership.

A true demonstration of Dad’s love of and commitment to Scouting was his continued involvement in the Boy Scouts of America after my age group moved on from Boy Scouts. Dad did not continue to serve as Scout Master or work directly with boys, but he did serve as a trainer in roundtables and other district leadership training meetings in American Fork for a few years. He was always proud to wear and be seen in his full scout uniform.

I was proud to share my father with my friends and love to hear them, over 40 years later, talk about Dad and the influence he had on their lives and how he taught them to have fun and enjoy the outdoors. This is a major part of the legacy of service of Paul Gauger.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

John Bell Bennett, Senior

The month of July is a very special and reflective time for me. We are blessed to live in this land of freedom to worship how, where or what we may. The flag and the flag colors are very meaningful to me. In fact, I always say that my favorite color is red, white and blue. This weekend is the 162nd anniversary of the Saints entering the Salt Lake Valley. I was given an assignment to speak in Church today about this event. As I was researching and reading about the early saints, I was drawn to our Great Grandfather, John Bell Bennett, Senior’s history . This story is amazing.

John Bell Bennett, tenth-child and the sixth son of William J. and Elizabeth Bell Bennett was born in Shelby County, Illinois (May 16, 1830), a month after the church was organized in New York State. By the time his youngest sister, Nancy Ellen was born, July 4, 1833, the family was back in Shelbyville, Bedford County, Tennessee, where they had lived since 1826. His seven oldest brothers and sisters were born in Sumner County, Tennessee.

Baptism records reveal that William joined the Church in 1835, with Elizabeth, his wife, following in 1839. Of their children, Thomas was baptized in 1839, age 23, Hiram joined in 1842 at the age of 19; Martha in 1843, age 17, and Nancy Ellen in 1844 at age 11. John was baptized at age 20 after the death of his father during the time the family was enroute from Nauvoo to Utah.

John told his sons of a pleasant encounter with the Prophet Joseph. The Bennett’s were living in Nauvoo or in that neighborhood. John, who would be in his early teens, and a pal had walked some miles from home. In some way John sustained a stone bruise on his bare heel, which made walking a painful drudgery. As he limped homeward, a carriage overtook them and stopped. The Prophet Joseph noted the difficulty and inquired of their identity and destination and invited them to ride home.

John’s father, William, died of exposure during persecutions, but before his death he called his family to him and told them to stay with the Church and go West with it. They stayed at Winter Quarters for awhile, went to Kanesville with the Saints. They left Kanesville on April 15, 1851 – mother, Elizabeth Bell Bennett, daughters Mary Jane (McCauslin) and Nancy Ellen and sons, Hiram, Alfred and John. Erastus Snow was captain of the company. They arrived in Salt Lake, October 7, 1851.

Knowing that these events of being near the Prophet Joseph Smith, losing his Father to persecution, and enduring the hard trip across the plains without a father happened only four generations ago is very humbling.

I am amazed by their faith, testimony and commitment, Because of their's and other family member’s sacrifices and good examples, I am here. I am thankful to them for their sacrifice and obedience. Our family truly has a reason to celebrate!

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Marcelene Bennett Gauger's Continued Account of Her Family Growing up During the Depression

I love this picture of Grandpa and Grandma Bennett. You can just see the goodness and love radiated in their countenance. Mother certainly inherited their character and integrity.

This is the second part of the taped interview that Randy Davis did with Mother. It has been such a joy to enter these posts and to remember these accounts. Again, I hope that everyone reading them will gain the same appreciation and love for our rich heritage.

Mother continued on how remembered the Wall Street Crash. She said it didn't affect their family, because her father didn't have a steady income. It did affect some very good friends. But then she didn't realize at the time how much her mother and father worried about how they were going to get along. She said that she would hate to have to go through that again and that she didn't think people could cope with it these days because we're used to having almost everything we want. Their family didn't, but that was their way of life. They learned how to get along better on what they had. This experience helped them learn how to spend money more wisely and to store things away. She said her mother bottled lots of fruits and vegetables. They did have to get some welfare help with getting some meat through what was called the welfare committee that was set up.
She related an incident about one of her snobby neighbors, of how the wife of a banker had to get a job like the rest of them and she said it kind of tickled her! This woman got a job as an investigator on the welfare committee and went into the homes to access how much they had and how much they needed. Grandma Bennett thought that it would humble her, but this neighbor still thought she was better, even when she went into homes and could see how much they needed and how they lived. It made her feel more important than ever. Grandma used to hate to see her coming and would always paint a better picture than it actually was and that they didn't need this or need help here unless it happened to be medical help or something we children would absolutely have to have. It was sad because there were people who needed help but felt the same way because this lady felt like she was so much more important than anybody else and she never had to go without. Mother said that her mother was a very proud woman and would rather work all her life than to take any welfare.
Their neighborhood had poor farmers and a few school teachers and all were very willing to share if they needed to. There were a few families a lot worse off than they were because their parents weren't ambitious. During this time, the families shared a lot of things in common and would have neighborhood parties and get together to help get through.
Mother said she learned how to buy, how to store, how to spend money much more wisely and that these lessons learned helped her when she got married and to not be a spend thrift.
She said that she could see now where times are going to be harder because prices are going up.
She said everyone needed to be more careful in their spending and to buy the necessary things rather than things just to be buying.
Many people during the depression panicked at the bank closings and some almost went berserk. There were people who didn't care what happened or what they did to people. She spoke very adamantly and wanted the people of today (remember that this is 30 years ago) and "you, too, Randy" to appreciate the good times they have now. Money was hard to come by and they learned to appreciate what they had. They looked for opportunities to get any kind of job and to get the things they needed most.
She ended by saying she didn't remember a lot of things, but it was a terrible time for a lot of people.
Mother's sharing of this part of her life had been invaluable to me. I have learned some very choice and valuable lessons from my Mother and I think that these stories and details of her life growing up have reminded me of what is important in life. They are right on with what we are learning about in our day and time from our church leaders...to be self-reliant and provident providers. Her example of cooking, sewing, canning, and careful spending has ingrained within me the desire to follow her choice example. This reminds me how and why she became the great lady she is.Mother and me taken at an annual get-together in Provo with her Bennett brothers and sisters and their wives

Friday, 26 June 2009

My Mother, Marcelene Bennett's Recollections of Family Life Growing up During the Depression (By Linda)

In my Relief Society work, I have viewed a new welfare video that the church has put out. I was so impressed with it, that I looked and found the printed version of it. It is called Basic Principles of Welfare and Self-Reliance. I have taught much from the information it contains and from one particular talk by Julie B. Beck, Relief Society General President. She mentions different paintings that she has in her office. One depicts a pioneer midwife that reminds her that one sister, with one skill, can be a blessing to many. She gives the example of her great-great-grandmother Mary Ann Hamblin, who was a midwife that helped bring many babies in this world. As a stake relief society, we took that message of one sister, with one skill, can be a blessing to many, and used it for our stake enrichment activity in April. When I spoke, I told the sisters of my grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Hustler Bennett, who also was a mid-wife... a true example of one sister, with one skill, that blessed the lives of many. Her example has been mentioned in previous posts by my brother and sister and I would like to add some wonderful information about her and her family from on a cassette tape that I have of my Mother, Marcelene. My nephew, Randy Davis, my oldest brother Dix's son, interviewed Mother 30 years ago about her family and their life during the depression for a school project. I happened to have this recording and I listened and transcribed it the best I could from its aged audio quality.
Mother related that she was one of 6 children and that her father was stone deaf. It was very hard for him to get a job. Her mother was a good women and a hard worker. She would go out nursing as a mid-wife for the family doctor, Doctor Cullimore, that lived in their neighborhood. She helped deliver babies in the home, they didn't deliver them in hospitals like they do now. She would stay in the home sometimes for 2 weeks and take care of the mother and the family until she was able to get up and do it herself. (I felt the spirit of her love and compassionate service as I bore witness of my Grandma Bennett's unselfish legacy.)
When her dad couldn't get work, he took care of them at home. When the kids came home from school, he had a cooked meal of a little meat if they had some and vegetables from the garden they raised.

Randy asked her about what clothes they wore at that time. Mother said they always had clothes and were more fortunate than others. Her dad and brothers wore Levi's and bib overalls to work and garden in, but never to go to town or church in. Her brothers were fortunate to have riding boots. She and her sister had to wear high top shoes and she never had a fancy pair of dress shoes for Sunday until she was in junior high school. Clothes then were always homemade, mostly make-overs from hand-me-downs. Even though they were always clean, they weren't like some of their neighbors that had store-bought clothes because their dads worked as teachers and bankers. She made it clear that she never felt they were different. Looking back on it now, she could see they were a better family for it. They had a loving mother and father who worked very hard to provide everything they could. They always had plenty of food and warm clothing, with lots of love in their family. They never starved or went without food or clothes, although at times her mom and dad probably did. She told of when her oldest brother laid away a blue suit for 30 or 40 dollars at a major department store. Her mother thought it was horrible that he paid so much and it took a very long time for him to get it out and wear it.
When asked about jobs they had, Mother told of her brothers working on farms and digging city sewers with a pick and shovel. Her dad did work on a farm some summers and fall, but mostly got vegetables for his work. One brother worked for the CCC government program. My Mother worked once a week on a Saturday for a lady doing her laundry, ironing, and changing beds. She worked for 5 to 6 hours a day and received 50 cents. Wages weren't very much and some jobs were only about a dollar a day, but it seemed like a lot of money then. They would all be very tired at the end of a day, but grateful they had work.

When asked what they did for fun, she said they didn't have a car until her oldest brother got a job at the Provo Roller Mills. He purchased a '29 Chevrolet and nobody could drive it but him. They thought they were really something then. It had a rumble seat but no top and they always got caught in the rain. Their family went to church, dances, picnics, socials, and family reunions together. Occasionally they were able to go to a Saturday matinee for 10 cents. Her brothers would give her and her sister 25 cents and they thought the 15 cents to spend was a big treat. For recreation they swam in the canal, played run-sheep-run, went sleighing and tobogganing down the hill in winter. Her two oldest brothers got them their first radio in 1934 from Sears and they thought they had it all again.
I am going to stop here and continue on at a later date with continued memories Mother had of when wall street crashed. I have learned so much and have come to love and appreciate my Mother and my grand parents from these choice experiences. It makes me think of the conference talk, "Come What May and Love It", because we truly have come from a rich heritage of unselfish examples, frugality, and family solidarity in hard times.
(Note: pictures were posted and labeled on a previous post.)

Saturday, 20 June 2009

For Father's Day...A Tribute to My Great Dad, Paul Gauger

I miss my wonderful Dad and I think of him and all he did for me throughout my life every year on Father's Day. On honor of him and to share what a great man he was, I am posting this poem I wrote and sent to him 31 years ago for Father's Day.

“The Special Man God Gave To Me As Dad”
(Written for Father’s Day June 1978 by Daughter, Linda Gauger Clark)

Before my life on this earth began,
I can imagine myself wanting the Heavenly plan
To come to earthly parents, for I could probably see,
What a special place God had just for me.

I know He must have known and sensed my eager call,
To be one of “daddy’s little girls” to that handsome man, Paul,
And that hope long fulfilled has always made me glad
Knowing the special man God gave to me as Dad.

I joined the Gauger family as baby number three
And really gave a good shake to our family tree.
For, even when I toddled, I refused maternal changing,
And thought “Daddy do it” was the best thing I could be arranging.
That young, I sensed the patience of eternity he had,
I began to love the special man God gave to me as Dad.

When storm clouds would send their claps of thunder,
I ran to his comforting arms and huddled under.
Yet, I’d hold the flashlight when I grew taller,
Behind my Dad at night, hunting night crawlers!
Soon those kinds of things didn’t seem so very bad,
I learned to trust the special man God gave to me as Dad.

The occasion of the Daddy-Daughter dates while still in Primary
Were fun for Dad and me, and a little scary?
For I remember telling everyone that not even Fred Astaire
Could match up to my Daddy, he was the best dancer there!
And as I danced on top of Daddy’s shoes, as was the fad,
I was proud of that special man God gave to me as Dad.

Dressed in uniform, complete with neckerchief and a smile,
He was the strength of those mountains he’d take his scouts hiking a mile.
He’d use his summer vacation to teach his Boy Scouts well,
To hunt, to fish and cook ‘round the campfires of Maple Dell.
But when he’d have to leave me home and I was a little sad,
I realized how unselfish he was, the man God gave to me as Dad.

Always working hard, a builder with nail and tack,
He fashioned with much love our camper, the Wicky-Wac.
Bright and early, we could hardly wait to get out of the garage
To get to Huntington fishing and a visit to Curley’s lodge.
Not only did I learn to fish and make the pot-guts mad,
I learned to love God’s creations from the man He gave to me as Dad.

Through my growing years, the times I needed someone there
To attend piano recitals, or give approval when I cut my hair,
He was always there…to chat as we would walk,
I could always see his beaming face when I gave a 2 ½ minute talk.
When I’d lay in bed, I could utter a weak command
For the blessings of the Priesthood, through my Dad’s strong hands.

I remember feeling so proud when I finally turned eight
Because my Dad baptized and confirmed me, it was great!
And my testimony grew, such faith in God I had
Because I learned the gospel from that special man, my Dad.

When grown, I always wanted someone for my mate,
Who had these qualities I’ve written about, that God chose to create
In that wonderful man, my Father, who raised me with such care.
I’ve always felt so lucky to have found one to compare.
I’ll always remember the words he said when Dale asked for my hand,
“If you love her half as much as I, then yes, I’ll understand.”

Yes, the strength of a mountain, the comforting arm of night,
The unselfish service given, teaching everyone what is right.
The patience of eternity, sensing a family need,
Being such a great Grandfather to each new little seed.
One can see why I love him and why I’m so glad
To have this special man God gave to me as Dad!


Sunday, 14 June 2009

Grandma Bennett's Special Pal

Our family has been blessed with a special sister, Julie Davis, who was born with cerebral palsy. She has never been able to walk, and has not been blessed to enjoy the education, travel, physical activities and joys of marriage and children like we have. Julie was the third child of Marcelene’s first marriage, born in November 1942. The Christ-like love and attention given to Julie by our mother has been and will always serve as an example to me, an example that I have yet to fully emulate. Julie was a special friend of mine as I grew up in American Fork because we shared the basement of our house, with bedrooms on either side. She shared her love for music with me and music has become a favorite hobby of mine. The following image of Julie when she was seven years old was taken from the Salt Lake Tribune, Sunday, March 13, 1949. Julie was the poster child that year for Easter Seals. Julie has lived for the past several years at the Heritage care facility in American Fork, Utah. Heritage is the old American Fork Hospital and is operated by friends of our family. Julie recently reminded me with a bit of boasting that she is now the resident who has lived the longest at Heritage. After living for several years under Mother's watchful eyes, Julie has viewed her stay at Heritage as finally "gaining her independence" and living on her own. This comfort and acceptance of who she is and where she must live has been a blessing to our family.

Katie and I recently visited Julie and she shared some of her memories of Grandma and Grandpa Bennett. Talking of these special people brightened her countenance and put a smile on her face. Julie did not remember much of Grandpa Bennett for he died when Julie as just three years old. Her first recollection of Grandma Bennett was that Grandma called Julie her "special pal."

Julie remembered that Grandma Bennett stayed for an extended time at our Aunt Elaine's home in Midvale, and that our mother, Marcelene, would take turns with her sister, Elaine, in staying with Grandma. Julie would often go with Mom when she would visit or care for Grandma in Midvale. Julie described that Grandma's bed was placed inside the front room of Aunt Elaine's house so that Grandma could see outside and could see all visitors that came to the house. Julie remembered one day Aunt Elaine called Mom to tell her that Grandma was too sick for Mom to come up and watch her. The next day, October 14, 1955, Grandma Bennett died. Julie was 13 years old at the time.

Julie also has vivid memories of Grandma Bennett dressing up as Santa Claus, and Santa visiting her as a little girl. This account of Grandma as Santa Clause is described in detail in another post to this blog.

Julie reminded me of a special story about Grandma and Grandpa Bennett. I have also referenced a personal history of Grandpa Bennett to add details to the story.

From the time that John was able to work in his youth, he worked at the Knight Woolen Mills in Provo, Utah. He carried on this profession after his marriage and on toward the end of his life when he retired. While he worked at the Woolen Mills in Provo, many times his children would take his lunch to him. The children loved to take his lunch to him but they were afraid of the big whistle at the mill that blew every day at noon. After delivering his lunch, John would take them by the hand and walk with them down past the whistle so they would not be afraid. Sometimes they would take their lunch too and eat with their father. This was a treat for the children. They would all sit on the big piles of wool and eat with John.

On July 30, 1918, the Provo Woolen Mills caught on fire. When Mary heard about the fire, she was washing. She ran down to the Woolen Mills in her housedress. Many people came to watch the fire and it had been roped off all around the grounds. Mary couldn’t see John outside, so she tried to get by the firemen, but they would not let her in. Mary said she was going in anyway. She told them her husband John was deaf and could not hear the alarm and would still be working. She told the guard that she was going in, but the guard said she couldn’t go past the rope. She straightened up, her black eyes flashing, and slipped under the rope. When the guard tried to stop her, she said “I mean what I say. I am going in after my husband!” She was right when she said he did not know about the fire. He saw people running past him, but did not pay any attention to them until someone touched him and told him the mill was on fire.

He was the last to come out. When he saw Mary and she saw him, they threw their arms around each other and they both cried. They were always a very loving and devoted couple.
John Bell and Mary Bennett

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Some of Linda's Memories of Grandpa and Grandma Gauger

I loved going with our family in the Buick to Iowa to visit Grandpa and Grandma Gauger. I remember Paulene and I would get new burmuda short outfits to wear! We spent 2 or 3 days traveling on the road…yes, all three of us Gauger kids in the back seat…I don’t recall fighting or complaining. The comic books that Paulene mentioned were great…we would trade off when we read them, besides Little LuLu we would have the Archie’s, too. Mom always had her cross word puzzle book and I loved helping her. I would always have a book to read from the library, too. I can still see my Mother’s arm relaxed on the back of the front seat and the arthritis beginning in her hands. She would get so mad at Dad because he was a risk taker when he passed slower vehicles and many times we would make it back in the correct lane just in time. When we would get tired, Dennis would sprawl out on the floor of the car to sleep. I loved eating in restaurants (nothing has changed there!) and would always order first, knowing just what I wanted. The Burma Shaves were fun…and Dad would always add a few he would make up that were funnier and more colorful and Mom would say…”Oh,Goggy!” I loved to watch the rows of corn fields go by, they were so uniformed. Coming into New Hampton, we would always look for the big water tower. I can still hear the tea kettle “singing” on their stove and Grandma Gauger with her apron on and Grandpa Gauger with his pipe. When it would thunder and lightning there, the clouds looked to me like a big ocean, they went right to the ground, as did the big streaks of lightening. I was terribly afraid of storms anyway and with no mountains, I didn’t feel safe when those storms came. Grandpa and Grandma Gauger’s yard had plenty of places to explore and play hide and seek. Even though Grandma didn’t smile much, she had a proud little smirk that eventually turned into a smile and laughter when Dad and Grandpa and Uncle Ralph, Dad’s brother, would tell their fun and colorful stories. And she could tell a few herself!

I remember the trip I took with Paulene and Dave from Connecticut – Maryland – through Iowa – to Utah! We traveled in their station wagon and Jef, Paul, Audrey, and Rikki all rode in the back. Alisa was just small and it was a hot, humid summer back East. Stopping at Grandma’s was a wonderful time…she was so amazed they we were all traveling together and loved seeing all the great grandkids. She was tickled that they were so astonished at the lightening bugs…my Jef was a little afraid of them.

When Dale and I moved from Maryland, we stopped and stayed overnight with Aunt Rosella and Uncle Ralph. When we got into town, we headed straight to Grandma Gauger’s to see her. She was very pleased that we stopped there first and was glad to see us and to meet Dale. Aunt Rosella told me later that I sure knew my Grandma and how she bragged that she got the first visit! I didn’t realize that I haven’t talked that much about my Gauger Grandparents. I will have to do more because I love them and I have these fond memories that will keep them close in my heart.

Below is a picture taken July 4, 1954 at our first Highland, Utah home. It must have been a "girls" shot. L to R: Grandma Gauger holding me; Aunt Rosella, Dad's brother Ralph's wife; Mother; Julie and Paulene in front.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Paulene's Memories of Grandma and Grandpa Gauger

I have been thinking of my Grandmother and Grandfather Gauger for a couple of weeks. I have looked at their photos and feel much tenderness and sweetness towards them.

I do not personally remember their trip to Utah that Dennis talked about, but know that Dad and Mother loved having them here to visit. Dad and Mom would remind us whenever we were riding in the mountains in American Fork Canyon that Grandma and Grandpa were in awe of the mountains and even frightened of the heights when they were on the Alpine loop road. This made an impression on me and to this day, I think of my Grandparents when on the loop road and look at the heights and expanse of the mountains and usually relate to whoever is in the car of my Gauger Grandparents experience.

The road trips to Iowa are some of my favorite childhood memories. There were no freeways and so the roads were two lane roads and to a child seemed endlessly long. Dennis spoke of the games that we would play. My Dad and Mother used to laugh and laugh at the Burma Shave signs. I remember looking forward to stopping at the gas station. The three of us always bought a comic book. We each bought a different kind and then would trade with each other. My favorite was Little LuLu and I believe that they cost 5 or 10 cents each.

I loved Grandma and Grandpa’s home and neighborhood. The Kool-aid water, the smell of pipe tobacco as we would enter on the side door of their house, and the large trees that lined the street are just a few of my pleasant memories. My Dad was always so happy and full of laughter on our visits to Iowa. He was home among friends and family.

My special memory of Grandma includes a letter and a visit in 1977. I do not remember Grandma smiling very much. I have a number of pictures of Grandma and only one of them is smiling. I sensed that she loved me, but didn’t ever want her to get mad at me. I sent her cards at Christmas and would include photos of my two little girls. She answered me with a personal letter on Dec. 26, 1975. I must have told her that David had graduated from BYU and that we were moving to California to work for GTE. This is part of her response:

“Well, I bet your folks will miss you and your little girls. I will never forget when my son Paul left out for Utah. I miss him just terrible and now when he isn’t feeling good. I wish that he could feel better. I guess that is the way it goes to all of us. The young will leave the nest to fly where their work is. Take care, Paulene, you have all my love and your little girls. One looks just like you did when we were out to American Fork one time when your folks lived out on the place where they had all those peach trees and in the mountains. I liked it there. I still have a box of stones which the boys picked up on the mountain. . . . . . All my love to you, Grandma. “

This letter gave me great insight to my Grandmother and I fell in love with her and as I read it again now I feel great empathy and love for her. On a trip to Utah from Connecticut, via a stop in Maryland to pick Linda up, Me, David, Linda, and our combined five kids (in one car) stopped to visit Grandma in Iowa. She was warm and happy to see us. We were happy to see her and it was the last time that I saw her. There is a special bond between a granddaughter and a Grandmother. I look forward to seeing her and Grandpa when we all gather again.

Paul and Ralph Gauger Photos

Ralph and Paul Gauger, Thanksgiving 1941

Do not know the dates or ages of this photo

Paul and Ralph approx. ages 9 and 3.

After your post Dennis I started looking for photos of Dad , Ralph, and their parents. I did not have any different than what you had posted. I did find these three of the two brothers, but need help with dates and ages of the middle photo. I always thought Dad was tall, dark and handsome. The photo of Thanksgiving certainly proves my belief.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Paul, Ralph and Grandma Gauger

Some of the kids were over to our house yesterday to celebrate Jenny's husband Jake's birthday. We had a good time going through some pictures, and I found this one showing Dad's brother Ralph, his mother Minnie and Dad. As I recall, this picture was taken in Arizona when Grandma, Ralph and Rosella came out to visit Arvid (Ralph and Rosella's oldest son) and his family. Mom and Dad went to Arizona to visit with them all. This is one of the few pictures I have of Dad, Ralph and Grandma together in their later years.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Dennis' Recollections of Grandma and Grandpa Bennett

John Bell and Mary Elizabeth Hustler Bennett
My grandfather, John Bell Bennett, was born October 11, 1872 in Payson, Utah. He died February 28, 1946, well before my birth. I therfore never got to know him, but rely only on stories of him (primarily from my Mother, Marcelene) and family photos. John was deaf, and as a result was limited in the employment he was able to get. The depression of the 1920's was particularly difficult on John and his ability to support his family. As I understand it, Grandpa Bennett was a loyal, hard worker and worked in a lumber yard in Provo, Utah.
Grandpa Bennett loved to go the the silent pictures when they first came out because they had subtitles written so that he could better understand what was going on in the movie. He was very disappointed later in life when the silent pictures were eventually replaced with "talkies" and the written sub titles were eliminated.
John and Mary had six children, my mother Marcelene being the fifth and the oldest of two girls. Left to right front: Marcelene, Grandpa, Elaine, Grandma, Stan
Left to right back: Les, Clarence (Johnny), Lynn

Left to right front: Elain, Grandma, Grandpa and Marcelene Back left to right: Stan, Les, Lynn and Johnny

Raising a family of six children was difficult enough, but with a husband who was deaf, Grandma Bennett relied on her patience, love and understanding. These traits were characteristic of her and I especially noted them in my mother, Marcelene. My mother often commented that although her Dad was deaf, the children loved him and learned to communicate freely with him. Grandma and Grandpa were faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

The only personal recollection I have of Grandma is a brief and vague one, when I was three and one half years old. Grandma’s last days were spent at the home of Elaine, her youngest daughter, in Midvale, Utah. Again, an example of the love and caring that Grandma instilled in her daughters. I remember visiting Grandma at Aunt Elaine’s home and that she was bed ridden and weak. She died shortly after this visit on October 14, 1955.

Grandma is best remembered for her charity – see the article posted below of her dressing as Santa Claus and serving the children of her neighborhood.

I did not know my Bennett grandparents, but I know the faith in God, service, love of family and other Christ-like traits that my Mother possessed came from these wonderful individuals. They must also have had a great sense of humor, despite hardships in their lives, for each of their children had personalities and senses of humor that made them fun to be around. Mother always made it a point of visiting her brothers and sister and this became a blessing to me as I grew to know personally and enjoy being with my Bennett uncles and aunt.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Dennis' Recollections of Grandma and Grandpa Gauger

My first introduction to Grandpa and Grandma Gauger was probably during a visit by them to our farm in Highland in July 2004. Dad, ever the farmer, purchased a small farm in Highland near the mouth of the American Fork Canyon, where he attempted to farm while he worked full time at the Geneva Steel Plant. My sisters, Paulene and Linda, and I were small, three, one and two years old, respectively, at this time. Grandpa and Grandma Gauger were accompanied by Uncle Ralph (Dad’s brother), his wife Rosella, and their two sons, Arvid and Gary. I believe that this was the one-and-only visit to Utah that Grandpa and Grandma Gauger made.

Front left to right: Arvid, Paulene, Julie and Gary. Back left to right: Ralph, Grandma, Grandpa, Dennis, Dad, Linda, Rosella.

I do have many vivid and happy memories of visiting Grandpa and Grandma Gauger in New Hampton, Iowa every few summers while growing up. These were long, wonderful trips by car where we stayed in motels, ate three meals a day in restaurants (before fast food), and saw some wonderful sights. We generally travelled through Wyoming and Nebraska on the way there, a long, boring route to young children, but the three of us pretty much enjoyed each others’ company in the back seat of the car, and brought or invented games to play. The return trip often was by a northern route, including at times, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming.

Grandpa Gauger died December 13, 1963; therefore only the first trips to Iowa included him in my memories. I do remember Grandpa as a man who was tall, quiet, gentle, and smelled of pipe tobacco. I definitely remember feeling that he loved me. Like my Father, Grandpa Gauger loved to fish and at times took us fishing when we visited.

Grandpa Gauger on his horse on Gauger Farm

Grandpa Gauger with his grandchildren left to right, Dennis and Paulene in front, Arvid, Linda (held in arms) and Gary.

Fishing in Iowa with Grandpa Gauger, left to right, Arvid, Grandpa, Linda, Paulene, Dennis

We always stayed at the Gauger home in New Hampton, which was a two-story house located near the base of the town of New Hampton’s water tank. Speaking of water, I do recall how terrible the water tasted in New Hampton compared to our fresh water in Utah. We used to mix Kool-Aid in the water so that we could tolerate it, or drink soft drinks, referred to in Iowa as “pop.” We stayed in a room upstairs where all the bedrooms were and suffered from the humid, hot weather typical of Iowa summers. Our visits also included time spent with Uncle Ralph and Aunt Rosella and their two sons, Arvid and Gary.

Earlier in his life before he moved to Utah, Dad adopted a son, Robert. We also enjoyed visiting with Bob and his wife Betty and their small children. Our Iowa cousins and relatives were not members of the LDS Church, but Bob would see that we were driven to church on Sunday in not-too-distant Waterloo to attend the LDS branch meetings.

On occasion, we drove out to the Gauger homestead in the farming country just outside New Hampton where Dad was raised. Most of the German immigrants to Iowa were farmers. Dad related stories of how hard and strenuous life on the farm was. He often would be pulled out of school to help on the farm, particularly during the harvest, and was not allowed to participate in sports or other extracurricular activities at school because he had to work. Dad also ran trap lines to earn money that his parents could not afford to pay him. I am not sure how far in school Dad went, but he often joked that he quit after the third grade so that he would not pass up the schooling his father had.

Grandma Gauger always seemed to be more animated and “difficult” than Grandpa Gauger. Grandma “Minnie” was often sharp, disciplinary, and hard to be around, but she loved her grandchildren and we could sense this. I believe Grandma had a difficult life, with her first child, our Dad, born out of wedlock and a hard life supporting a family on a farm. She also raised Robert when Dad moved to Utah and left him behind, which I believe gives us a glimpse of the true charity she did possess but not often show outwardly. At times we felt that the New Hampton grandchildren, Arvid and Gary, were favorites, particularly Gary. But thinking back on our visits with Grandma now, this perceived favoritism was probably because those grandchildren were always near her and not just visitors every few years.

I have a special memory of Grandma Gauger when I visited her along with Mom and Dad shortly after I returned from my mission in April 1973. Grandma was not well at that time and neither was Dad. We once again drove to Iowa and spend quality time with Grandma, Uncle Ralph and Aunt Rosella. They referred to me as the “Preacher” and repeatedly asked me to pronounce a blessing on the food, even when we ate one night at a local bar and pool hall that was one of Uncle Ralph’s favorite places to eat. We took some special pictures during this trip. Grandma seemed especially loving to me during this visit and it was the last visit Dad had with his mother. Dad preceded his mother in death on December 21, 1978. Grandma Gauger died on September 11, 1979.

Dennis, Dad Grandma and Mom 1973

After I was married, my wife, Katie, wrote Grandma Gauger and sent her pictures of our little children and family. Grandma responded with interest and tenderness, and made a special pink afghan that she mailed for our first child, Molly. The nature of this relationship was somewhat inconsistent with the Grandma Minnie I had known in my early years, but special to me and Katie. I believe this was another glimpse of the tenderness and love for family that really existed in Grandma’s heart.

We performed the temple work for Grandma and Grandpa Gauger on June 4, 1981 in the Provo temple. I particularly remember the sweet spirit when Grandpa and Grandma were sealed for time and all eternity. I felt her presence there and commented to my mother and to Katie afterward that I felt impressed that any hard feelings, sharpness, or conflict between Grandma and any member of our family were now non-existent.

Uncle Ralph, Grandma, Grandpa and Dad

Grandpa and Grandma Gauger

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Mrs. Santa

Grandma Bennett was known as Mrs. Santa. I like to think that our family’s love of Christmas was inherited from our Grandmother Bennett. She was a compassionate woman who worked along side a doctor as a midwife. She loved serving others especially her family. The following is an excerpt from a 1940 article that appeared in the Relief Society Magazine which was an official church publication at that time.

Yes, there really is a lady Santa Claus. No she does not live at the North Pole, but in her modest little home near the Wasatch Mountains. This short chubby Mrs. Santa is wholly convincing dressed in her bright red suit with its white trimmings, and with the saucy little hood coming down to the upper tips of the white beard, and black shining boots that afford her ample protection for wading through the snow and ice as she shoulders her bag and starts out on her round of home calls each Christmas Eve.
Tucked away in the bag are penny all-day suckers transformed into dolls with crepe paper dresses, penny balloons, tempting red apples with marshmallow faces, and many other inexpensive gifts to gladden the hearts of tiny tots. The jingle of the old-fashioned sleigh bells, which hang from her shoulder, announces her approach--yet there is no sleigh (or automobile) at her command. She walks.
Her visits take her to different parts of the city, and chiefly into the homes where she feels that “Santa” could give the most cheer--where there is an ill or a crippled child, a lonely woman, an elderly couple who might be “remembering” on Christmas Eve, or where sorrowing folk might be cheered by a comforting word. Then, too, Mrs. Santa has become a tradition in many families, and it would not be Christmas Eve without her brief visits.
To her neighbors and friends, she is Mrs. Mary Bennett, a good neighbor, a true friend, and her husband’s loyal helpmate. For many years, Mrs. Bennett had dreamed of the day when she could know the joy of making others happy at Christmas. But the years rolled by, each one much the same as the last. Then, ten years ago, she decided that if she ever expected to do anything about it, now was the time to begin. Little by little, her hopes evolved into a plan--not an elaborate plan, such as she would like, but at least one that would enable her to bring smiles of happiness to the faces of small children.
Although it was only a few days before the New Year, and there was yet ample time before the next Christmas, she decided to act upon her plans at once, lest she change her mind. Hurrying to town, she purchased the cloth for her Santa Claus suit. As she cut, stitched, and fitted, other plans came into being. With the suit completed, she turned her attention to the bag and its contents. She resolved that each day or each week, she would make some little gift to place in the bag. Out of the sewing box came bits of left-over materials which her deft fingers fashioned into adorable little front aprons for the wee lassies and comfy bibs for the babies. From small scraps of flowered lawn (pima cotton), white voile, and two-cents-a-yard lace, she created dainty hankies to delight many a small miss. Often the few extra pennies in her purse were spent for tiny, bright trinkets--a china doll, or quacking ducks and croaking frogs that sing the same tune when squeezed between the thumbs and fingers of little chaps who adore noise makers. A few old-fashioned net stockings were filled with candy, nuts, a few small picture books, and topped with an orange--these for the homes where children might be disappointed on Christmas morning. Then when those last busy days before Christmas came again, they found her ready and waiting with only the popcorn balls to make, wrap, and pack into her bag.
This very real Mrs. Santa humbly says, “If I can cheer but one person each Christmas, surely that is all the pay anyone could ask—and no one gets more joy out of it than I do.”
I have read this article many times over the years. I do not have too many memories of my Grandmother Bennett except for stories and photos given to me by others. This is my favorite. Posted by Paulene Gauger Davis, daughter of Paul and Marcelene Gauger, sister to Dennis Gauger, and granddaughter of Mary Bennett.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Gauger Coat of Arms

I did a brief internet search for the meaning and origin of the surname Gauger, focusing on its German origin. I found several sites that were commercial in nature, selling coat of arms, family crests and descriptions of the origin of surnames. Apparently, the surname of GAUGER was an official name, "the gauge", meaning a measurer and tester of wheat and barley. It was also occasionally used as an occupational name for a moneylender or userer, from the Old French word "gage", or pledge, surety against which money was lent. Other records of the name include GAGE, GAUGE, GAIGER, DUGAGE, DAGET, GAGEOT, GAGELIN, and GAGEY, to name a few.

I ordered a GAUGER coat of arms, specifically requesting a German origin, since that is where the Gauger family that settled in Iowa emigrated from. The following is what was sent to me:

I have no way to verify the authenticity of this coat of arms, but it is fun to speculate and delve into the origins of the GAUGER surname. Someone with a nice graphics computer in his or her basement in the desert of New Mexico or the high plains of North Dakota was happy to take my money and create this "authentic" German coat of arms, modifying slightly another coat of arms ordered by another gullible buyer.

Sunday, 17 May 2009


Paul George Gauger was born June 29, 1911 in New Hampton, Chickasaw County, Iowa the son of Minnie Alvina Koehler. Minnie married Herman August Gauger on December 17, 1915, and Paul took on the surname Gauger and was raised by Herman as his father. Herman and Minnie worked a farm outside of New Hampton, and Paul learned at an early age the value of hard work and the importance of an extensive "fix it" knowledge. This work ethic apparently came from the German ancestry of the Gaugers. Many German immigrants settled in Iowa and in the Midwest to farm this fertile part of the United States.Paul had one brother, Ralph Earland Gauger, born May 24, 1917

Marcelene Bennett was born June 16, 1917 in Provo, Utah County, the daughter of John Bell Bennett, Jr. and Mary Elizabeth Hustler. She was the fifth of six children and the first girl born to this family. Marcelene was educated in the public school system of Provo, Utah, and graduated from Provo High School. Marcelene had a wonderful example of Christ like love and service in her parents, and she followed this example her entire life.

Paul and Marcelene were married June 23, 1948, the second marraige for each of them. They had three children, Paulene born September 1, 1950, Dennis born February 19, 1952 and Linda born April 15, 1953. Their marraige was later solemnized in the Salt Lake City, Utah. Paul died December 21, 1978 and Marcelene died March 4, 1990.

Paul and Marcelene Wedding