Richard Stucki Personal History Online

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  • 1. 1 Richard Childhood Memories The earliest memory from my childhood is the house and yard where we lived, because all of the things that happened thereafter are in that memory background. The first house I remember liv- ing in was located at 1456 Logan Avenue in Salt Lake City, Utah. At the time it was near the outskirts, but now its buried in the center of the city. We lived in a typical house for that era which was brick with a raised first floor about three feet above the ground. There were windows in the basement that you could see out of without a window well. The front porch was also raised with stairs and a low brick wall on either side. We often stood outside on the porch during rain storms and watched the lightning. In front of our house there were two sycamore trees. Now when I drive by the home, the diameter of the tree trunks is huge. Then it was only six inches or so across. When I was a boy, it seemed to me that we had a pretty large yard. I realize now that it was tiny little yard in the front and just a little bigger in the back. One of our favorite childhood activities was to play Andy-I-Over. We would throw a ball over the top of the garage and see if the person on the other side could catch it. Another favorite game was Run Sheepie Run which we played just as it was getting dark. We would all hide and then run to try and touch the central goal without getting caught by the person defending the goal. The Hinckley family lived across the street from us. Their daughter, Colleen, was my age and went to grade school when I did. Many years later, I learned that Neal A. Maxwell, who is a member of the Twelve had married Colleen Hinckley. One day we saw a team of horses coming down the street and heard their hooves on the asphalt. They turned into the lot next to our neighbors house across the street, and began to excavate a basement for a new house. The horses seemed so big to me when I was a small boy. They were beautifully muscled horses, and they really impressed me. There was a big scoop, shaped something like a snow shovel. The driver directed it in such a way that it dug down in the dirt as the horses pulled. It would scoop the dirt and then the horses walked up an earthen ramp. The driver would tip the scoop and dump out the earth. After a time, they got a big hole dug. When that was done, carpenters came and framed up forms in the big hole, where they could pour walls for a cement basement. The forms were built with 1 x 6s and 2 x 4s. It was framed so it would hold the cement in place until it set up and then the forms would be removed.

2. Richard 2 To me, they had just built the most magnificent castle to play on, I could imagine. My little sister, Bonnie, and I began to play on the forms after they were finished. Mother said to me,Youre not to go over there. You mustnt play on that. You could really get hurt. I told her,Mother, they have those 2 x 4s sticking up, and if I had a problem, Id just grab onto them. So I knew Mother didnt want us there, but it wasnt long before we went back to playing there again. One of those 2 x 4s that was supposed to save me, tripped me, and I went head over heels. I can still see myself spinning, untilWHAM!I landed on the bottom. There was a cross bracing of 2 x 4s and apparently my head hit on that. To this day, I still have a knot on the back of my head from my fall. When I woke up, Mother was standing at the top with my little sister who had run home to get her. I hurt very badly when I tried to get up. I had broken my collar bone. I learned a lesson that Mother knew more than I thought she did, and I knew less. I learned that I ought to pay attention to her advice. That was my thought when I was young. I remember a little swimming pool Daddy formed of cement in our backyard. It had a wall about eight or ten inches high, and was about six feet square. We would fill it up with water and when the sun warmed the water and we could play in it. A little drain could be opened to let the water out. We enjoyed playing there. In our backyard was a grape arbor that gave us shade as we played in the sum- mer. Under the arbor was a sand pile. Now this was something that got used a lot! I found that if I turned the hose on it just a little in a fine spray, I could form the sand into castles, roads and whatever I wanted. It would stay the way I built it until it dried out. So I had a lot of fun making every kind of imagin- able thing; roads for my cars, castles, and so on. This sand pile was one of my favorite things. I had quite an experience with my tricycle when a very young boy. I loved riding my tricycle, but I got tired of pumping. I found that where our road sloped a little bit, it was easy to coast down without having to pedal. Of course, I had to pedal back up, but it was worth it just to coast down. As I looked around the neighborhood, I noticed there was a really steep slope on the street a block below our house. I thought that looked like a lot of fun. So I started down the hill on my tricycle. At first I was pedal- ing, then the wheels were going faster and faster. I couldnt keep my feet on the pedals they were turning so fast. So I took them off, and away I wentlickety cut down the hill with no control. The worst part of it Mother and Richard 3. 3 Richard was that at the bottom was a cross street with curb and gutter. I went sailing across the street as cars buzzed by. I barely missed getting hit by one of them. I hit the curb and landed in a heap on the parking next to the curb. Fortunately, I didnt get hurt seriously although I could have been killed. That was on 13th East in Salt Lake City, a very busy street. I never tried that one again! As a child, I seemed to have fragile bones and experienced quite a few breaks. The first broken bone was when a sister lifted me up to look out our kitchen window and dropped me. I fell on the floor and broke my collar bone. I had other broken bones during the time my family lived on Logan Avenue. My sister Margaret came down with scarlet fever. That was a very serious ill- ness then and very contagious. Everyone in the family had to move out except Mother, who took care of Margaret. I went to my Grandma Sorensons house with my dad. My other two sisters stayed somewhere else. We had to stay away until Margaret got better again. When someone got sick like that in those days, a quarantine sign was put on the house to avoid the spread of the disease. While staying at Grandmas house, I was on my hands and knees on the lawn one day playing with some of the neighbor boys. One of the boys jumped on my back cracking my left elbow. So that was another broken bone. I broke my right wrist another time, although I cant remember what I was doing. People worried about me quite a bit at school, and what might happen because of all the broken bones. Fortu- nately at some point, my bones got stronger. Ive not had any broken bones since, which Im glad about. I had three sisters and no brothers as a boy. Each of us children was about two years apart. My two sisters, Barba- ra and Margaret were older and quite interested in older things. My younger sister, Bonnie was my best friend. She was my best friend until I got into high school, and I thought I was getting too old for her. Then as she caught up to me, we continued to have a very close friendship, and it exists still to this day. There was a playhouse that Daddy made especially for the girls. I didnt play in it much. One day, my little sister and I noticed on the hollyhocks, with their pretty big blos- soms, the bees were busy getting pollen. We discovered if we hurried and pulled the leaves together over the bees, it was a trap from which they couldnt escape. So we had fun throwing about a hundred bees and leaves into the playhouse and hurriedly closing the door. When Daddy Richard and Bonnie 4. Richard 4 came home, we didnt get a spanking, but he said,Do you know how much trouble I had getting those bees out? You wont do that again will you? That was one of the mistakes I thoughtlessly made when I was a little boy. A very early memory is how my two older sisters found me to be quite a bother. When Mother would go to town and take my younger sister, she would say to the older girls,Now you take good care of Richard. Then she would tell me,Dont you bother your older sisters. After Mother left, they would go into the front room, close the door, and have a lot of fun. They told me to stay out, so there I was all alone. I would open the door and want to come in. They would say,You get out! Momma said you cant come in! I wanted to play too, and I got to be a nuisance, Im sure. At least one time I can remember (although it probably happened more than once), they put me in the closet in the bedroom and closed the door. They told me I would have to stay there until I behaved. As you can imagine, I made quite a fuss. When Mother came home, she would ask, How was Richard? My sisters would reply,He was naughty today! So Mother would give me a scolding. I thought,Me naughty? I was locked in the closet! They wouldnt play with me. Theyre the naughty ones! After that went on for a while, things suddenly changed. I dont know who gets the credit, but my older sisters started treating me nice. I believe my sisters just decided they were going to be kind to me. From then on, we were best of friends. Ive thought since that when somebody makes up their mind to do something good, like the Savior would want them to do, it changes circumstanc- es and makes other peoples lives happier. It has a greater influence than we often realize. As we got older, Barbara, who was four years older than me was into older things. Margaret preceded me into high school and college. When I got into the University of Utah, Margaret was there and she was a lot of help. She told me all kinds of things I needed to know at the university. She was a good friend. As a boy, I really liked to pl