More Life in New Jersey

As you probably know from the movies, New Jersey is the home of the mob. There was a famous house that was behind a iron gate with a long drive way and lots of trees. It was whispered that a “Family” boss lived there. I had a friend named Ken Cappola who also worked at IBM. He was a dark skinned European looking person, chubby and short. He was a fun guy and I liked him. But Cappola was also the name of a local crime boss. One day Ken was driving on the interstate and apparently speeding, when he was pulled over by a patrolman. The cop came up to the car window and asked to see driver’s license and registration. Ken handed over his license, the cop took one look at the name and turned white as a sheet. He stammered, “I didn’t know it was you, sir. I am truly sorry.” He gave the license back and ran back to his patrol car and drove off. Ken came in the office later and he was laughing his head off. True story.

New Jersey, like New Orleans was a beautiful place, but corrupt on the inside. You could drive the interstates and see nothing but trees. You know there are houses near by, lots of them, but you can’t see them. The traffic was typical for the east coast. We lived about 10 miles from where I worked and it took me over 30 minutes to get to work. And I didn’t have Ipod’s to listen to in those days. I listened to New York City Radio. I listened to Imus in the Morning. As you probably know, he is still on the air, at least when he’s not being kicked off for saying something politically incorrect. He was fun to listen to back then.The state government was corrupt, though. We paid high state taxes and property taxes, yet the roads were terrible. I remember the potholes leading into Hopatcong Lake. We would joke that the tire manufacturers and the highway department were in cahoots with each other to purposely ruin your tires so you would buy new ones.


Freaked Out in New Jersey

We worked in New Jersey for 2 years. 1971 and 1972. I both loved and hated the east coast. The radio stations were awesome. We could pick up most New York stations and back then, they were still a lot of oldies stations. There are still some today, but not so many. I got into reading a lot. New Jersey had a lot of small libraries it seemed each one had a different selection. So, I spent a lot of time driving around and checking out books that I wanted to read. I would have 20 or 30 books checked out at a time. I hardly ever read any of them, but it was fun to have them for awhile. We also made a couple trips into New York City while we lived there. There was a record store down in Greenwich Village that had a lot of oldies. I wish I could remember it’s name. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is still there. We would go record shopping and a lot of the really rare 45’s I have, I bought during this time.

Working for IBM was pretty cool. I was making more than I had ever made in my life. I could have a good job and still have a good family life. I don’t know how Karen remembers it, but I remember those years as being pretty good. New Jersey is not a great place to live. We got out as soon as we could could. But I have lots of good memories from that home. In trying to think of events that happened in New Jersey, I remember one. We had gone to Michigan on vacation. Michigan was about a day away and we could once or twice a year. One time, we were coming home from the trip and as we pulled into the driveway of the house, a light was showing in a window facing the street. As we pulled in, the light suddenly went off.

Well, we freaked out. Was someone in the house? We didn’t have timers in those days. We didn’t remember leaving the light on, but maybe we had. There were no cell phones, so I went next door to a neighbor and called the police. This patrolman came and we let him into the house and he walked through the entire house (didn’t take very long – small house) and found nothing. We concluded that we had left the light on but the connection was loose and it had picked that exact moment to turn itself off. We slept very uneasily that night. Nothing or nobody was ever found, so the explanation was probably right, but it was still worrisome.


Working and Living in New Jersey

So, we were now officially residents of New Jersey. I drove 10 miles to Morristown to work. I worked for IBM, but we were subcontracted through another company. They had the contract to build a series of early warning defense systems. There were going to be about 20 of these sites built all around the perimeter of the United States. IBM was hired to do the programming for the project. The main site was called the PAR which stood for “Phased-Array Radar”. This is probably more than you want to know about it, but this is how it worked.

Conventional radar (like you see on ships in movies with their little array spinning around and around) can only see “line-of-sight”. They can only see in a stright line and they cannot see over the horizon or out into space. We (the United States) knew that Russia had developed an ICBM (Inter Continental Ballistic Missile) that they could fire in Russia and would actually leave the atmosphere of the earth, go out into space and then come back down on any target it choose in the United States. Since the missle would be coming in, essentially straight down from space, we would only have a few minutes warning before it exploded.

Well, that would never do. We needed more warning than that. So what was later to be called “Star Wars” was invented. We never called it Star Wars. That name probably came long after the movie came out. We were interested in building a radar that would literally see into space. That was the PAR. That was what I programmed. It was very cool. When it was actually working, they used it to map the craters on the moon and to study the Northern Lights and to map all of the “space trash” that is orbiting the earth. Associated with the PAR was another site called the MSR which stood for Missile Site Radar. Once the PAR detected an incoming ICBM, it was the job of the MSR to send off the missiles that would destroy it.


Our Receptions

We have reached the end. I have finished reproducing the text that Karen gave me. This was written years ago close to when it happened, so if there is any difference between this and my account, I’d go with this one. So, let’s wrap this up and then the next time I post, I’ll be back in New Jersey where we left off a couple weeks ago:

Saturday was our Battle Creek reception. We had to go after the wedding cake and groom’s cake at Sister Adler’s before we went. I dressed in my wedding gown in the Relief Society room at the church with Sister Parker helping me. Then we greeted the guests, fed each other cake, ate finger sandwiches, punch, nuts and mints, then opened our presents. We packed a U-Haul and headed for Quincy that night.

Sunday was our Quincy reception. Ruth McConnell sang for us in the Commons Room. Seems like all of Mom’s side and a lot of Dad’s side were there and some teachers and neighbors. It was all real nice. Ended too soon. I wanted to talk more to all of them. We packed our car and went home to have a luncheon at Mom’s. Some that had driven a long ways came there too and some Illinois people stayed all night, but Jim and I had to head for our home that night. We decided what we were going to store at Mom’s and what we were going to take with us, then added to the U-Haul and were on our way by 7 p.m. We spent Sunday night in Greenwood, Indiana, just the other side of Indianapolis. We had to be back by Monday night so Jim could go to work on Tuesday morning.

Monday morning we got up and drove the rest of the way to New Orleans, Louisiana. We got there in the wee hours of Tuesday morning about 3 a.m. Parked the U-Haul to unload in the morning.

Tuesday morning I unloaded and unpacked some of our belongings. Our first supper cooked by me and eaten together in our married life was canned whole chicken given to us at a food shower by Jim’s mother. Our first home was at 4601 Duplessis, Apartment A. Had a big living room – dining area, bedroom, small kitchen and bath. Jim had lived in it since June, 1966. So October 4, in 1966, we officially started our married life together in our own apartment after being on the go since September 19 when we started west and after dating since September 1965. Our first date being dinner at Howard Johnson’s and dance at Church. We have many happy memories and are looking forward to many, many more.


Finally, Back to Battle Creek

We are almost done….

Wednesday morning, September 28, we got up and heard that a mountain goat had been seen atop that big mountain across the road from our motel. Guess that was something really big to rave about. We left about 9 a.m. and saw donkeys as we were heading toward Cody. We went through Cody and then bought two days of groceries at Graybull. We drove the rest of the way through Wyoming. It was pretty country. We got into South Dakota about 3 p.m. Along the way, we saw a cowboy and his stock. Just like in the westerns. We drove to the Black Hills Country. We saw buffalo and deer in Custer State Park. We took pictures of them. The we saw a calf buffalo and one big herd. We couldn’t believe our eyes. We got to Mt. Rushmore at 6 p.m. and saw the scuptures through the telescope. It was kind of dark. We went throug the gift shop which supposedly closes at 6 p.m. and bought some postcards. We drove to Rapid City where I took over the wheel and drove to Murdo. We spent the night at the Zorat Motel.

Thursday, September 29, we took off at 6:45 a.m. as we wanted to make it home tonight. Drove through the rest of South Dakota, into Minnesota and Wisconsin. In Minnesota and Wisconsin somewhere I drove quite a ways in the dark and on winding roads. I know I had help in driving that car because curves came upon me out of nowhere and soon a two-way road would turn into an expressway. But Jim needed his rest so he could take over in Chicago. We got into Battle Creek about 2 a.m. Friday morning.

We got up at Jim’s mothers. We went to Linda’s to get my clothes, shower gifts, etc. Sister Kader’s visiting teachers, Sister Ellis and Sister Watson came and gave us all the September lesson. Sister Ellis gave me her pie crust recipe. That night Jim and I were blind-folded and taken into a car and driven to a home. They didn’t take the blinds off us until we were in the house. Sister Ramussen had a going-away party for us. It was real nice. Linda Kershner and Bob Harrison and Brother Hammer had come after us and blindfolded us. Sister Rasmussen had games and a sloopy-joe he-man lunch afterwards. The Hammer’s gave us a frog bank which we named Frogg and rest gave us money. It was a very enjoyable time.

Tomorrow, we wrap this up…


The Honeymoon – Monday & Tuesday

Karen’s narrative continues….

Monday, we got up bright and early to go to Logan, Utah to go through the Temple, there. The Temple is on a hill all by itself. Many elderly people work there – they were friendly and helpful. As we waited for the 12:45 session to begin, we ate in their cafeteria. Everything was homemade (wheat bread) and delicious. It was especially good to Jim and me because we had been eating out of restruants and drive-ins for the last week. Going through the Logan Temple was the same as the Salt Lake except we went through for someone else. However, we weren’t as nervous this time and remember much more. The rooms and paintings were a little different but just as effective. Of course, we didn’t go to the sealing room this time. There weren’t as many people going through as in the Salt Lake Temple.

After the ordinances were over and we had gone back to the lockers to get into our regular clothes, I went to wait for Jim. He had befriended one of the elder brethren there who had shown Jim the baptismal font with the twelve oxen holding the font. Two or four girls were being baptised for about 50 people each if I remember right. It was interesting. We left the Temple and went to downtown Logan and bought some postcards and left town about 4 p.m.

We drove to our next destination: Idaho Falls Temple. We went through country that had black dried branches called sagebrush all over the fields. We got to Idaho Falls about 7 p.m. We looked at the Temple all lit up. Really beautiful. We ate supper at Scotty’s Drive-in and stayed at Ray’s Motel. In the morning we had a little trouble with the car. We panicked because we didn’t want to be late for the morning session. When we got to the Temple about 10 a.m., the guide said it was closed during September for cleaning and remodeling. However, he was waiting for a group of people to come and view the movie explainging Temples in the information booth. We could stay to see that if we wanted to. So we did, and then the guide gave us a tour of the grounds telling what all the flowers were and each tree and bush. There were lovely flowers and foliage all around the Temple. They gave it a most beautiful setting. In the movie, we saw the rooms inside the Idaho Falls Temple, so we didn’t feel so bad.

We went to hunt for the Idaho Falls on the river and took pictures of it with the temple in the background. We ate at the Pancake House and then went to the drugstore to buy postcards. We left town about 1 p.m. We drove through Rexburg where Sister Rasmussen used to live and where Ricks College is. Stopped there and got Brigham Young’s portrait at a bank. Then on north to see the upper and lower Mesa Falls. They were really strong rushing falls.

We kept going north through some of Montana and into Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park. We arrived there at 3:30 p.m. As we were driving along the park road, we saw some smoke going up and coming out from nowhere. As we got closer to it, we decided to investiaget. So, we stopped. By this time we realized it wasn’t smoke but steam and it was coming up all over the place now. Quite a few people were there “investigating” it. It turned out to be a regular tourist spot with a map to follow and explanations about everything. We had to stay on the boarded walkway. It would be dangerous to get off of it as it was muddy and boiling! We saw all kinds of little geysers, paint pots and a silent spring. Some of them didn’t smell too appetizing. Drove on a little ways and saw stone formations. Soon, we got to the site of Old Faithful.

Pretty soon, she was going to go off. Sure enough, as we were all waiting with our cameras, she went off at 5:05 p.m. Really a sight. She gushed up so high. Cameras went click, click, click. After Old Faithful had died down, Jim and I noticed a great big group of old buildings across the road. It was the Lodge of Old Faithful Inn. As we walked into it, we knew it surely would cost a fortune to stay in it over night. Had a high ceiling with beams showing and a fireplace with a fire blazing. It was oozing with taste and money. We found a quaint souvenir and gift shop inside the lodge and headed there. We bought some for our parents and also some postcards. We had to be on our way. As we left the lodge area, we saw bears wandering around on the road. We took pictures of them. We saw bears three different times. One jumped against the car window on my side. I wanted to roll the car window down and pet him, but Jim wouldn’t let me. This is the kind of thing you see on T.V. or other people on vacation tell you about – not something that actually happens to you.

We drove on out of Yellowstone Park and it was dark by now. We headed for Cody but realized we were missing a lot of the scenery in the dark, so we took a motel. It was called the Trail Inn in Wapiti Valley. This man had a gas station, curio shop, restaurant and motel all in one. He lived with his family in back of the restaurant. We had a quaint little motel room with everything made of wood and bright checked curtains on the windows. We had a pretty mountain outside. There were horses in the back yard. Before we went to bed Jim and I had mushroom soup.

Next… We get back home.

One Day At a Time – Sunday

Karen’s narrative continues…

Sunday morning, September 25 we got up to go and hear and see the Choir Broadcast and Richard L Evans’ “The Spoken Word” at the Tabernacle on Temple Square. It really was great and a lot of people were there to hear and view the Choir. We saw the Warrens who used to live in New Orleans and now live in Wichita, Kansas. They were there to be sealed in the Temple. They also had come to the Tabernacle to hear the broadcast live. We talked to them awhile and gave them Joe’s address and telephone number. Then we went to the information booth on Temple Square to see where the nearest chapel was that we could attend Sunday School. So, we went to the North Seventeenth Ward which was in use by two wards at the same time. The Sunday School we attended was mostly made up of elderly people. (There was an Old Folks’ Home across the street from it). But our Sunday School class was good and had many young people in it. Everyone was friendly. The furniture in the foyer was very lush, however, something we weren’t used to.

We had dinner at J.B.’s Big Boy and then went to “This is the Place” Monument. Then, we headed for Bingham City to see the Kennecott Copper Mines. We bought a souvenir of copper stone at thier visitor’s lookout way high up. The mine is two miles across and a half a mile deep. The Trains on the terraces looked like toys. In fact you had to squint to see them well.

We went on to Provo, the home of Brigham Young University. Before we got to the campus, we looked up Mike Stockford with an address he had given us. (Note from Jim: Mike was a friend from the Battle Creek Ward that was attending BYU). We found his apartment but Mike wasn’t home but Elder Michael Coons was. What a surprise! Elder Coons used to be a missionary in Battle Creek and was rooming with Mike Stockford. What a small world. We exchanged gossip on Sister Strong, Elder Rollins and Vivian Whiteside. Mike gave us the other Mike’s girl’s name and phone number since Mike was there for the evening. We went on to another address we had of Lynne Secor of Battle Creek. No one home there either. Really striking out today. But we went next door and there was Linda Whiteside! So good to see another familiar face. She went with us to the campus and gave us a tour of it. Showed us the Y-Center, Fine Arts Building, Science Building and all over campus. Really pretty. We fell in love with the old part of the campus, though.

We did all this walking. then we got into the car to hunt up Keith Adler. (Another friend from the Battle Creek Ward.) Before we got to his dorm, we saw him with a group of guys. We stopped and talked to him. He was headed for the Fieldhouse for a Fireside. They were in a hurry as the speaker was LeGrande Richards and they wanted a front row seat. As we looked around, we saw all kinds of groups headed in the same direction – the Fieldhouse. And here it was an hour and a half before it started. We took Linda back to her apartment. By this time, Lynne Secor was home. Went to see her. She showed us their apartment in which six girls shared.

We headed back to Salt Lake to look up Mike and Marita in Sandy. We stopped at a gas station and called her number. Mike invited us over to her home. We had a very nice visit with them. They were to be our witnesses in the Temple but they came for the 7:30 a.m. session, but we had come into Salt Lake so late we had changed it to the 4:30 p.m. session. We couldn’t get hold of them to tell them. They told us of their plan to be married in December in the Temple. It was such an enjoyable visit. They are our same age and it would be nice to live near a couple like them. Oh well!

Next… Monday


Saturday in Salt Lake

Karen’s narrative continues….

Saturday morning, September 24, we slept in and after breakfast we drove downtown. We parked around Temple Square and walked to the First Security Bank to pick up the free picture of Brigham Young. It wasn’t open, so we browsed around the Z.C.M.I. department store. We went back to Temple Square and toured the entire Museum. It sure is filled with goodies – very valuable things – historical pictures and implements of the pioneer period. At noon, we heard a half hour organ recital at the Tabernacle.

We went into the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. During Conference I guess this is full inside, too – it’s much like an ordinary chapel. We toured the grounds and followed the tail end of a tour into the Tabernacle. We heard the story of it, the pin drop, nail drop, brush of the sleeve and whisper to show the excellant accoustics. Then we heard a record of the choir. We walked to the corner of the grounds to see the Cabin they have preserved and protected which is typical of the pioneers.

Now off Temple Square, we went to the Relief Society Distribution Center to buy more garments. The sign of the Deseret Book Store caught our eye on the street, so we went there. Bought $13.00 worth of books among them the game “Seek” and four other books. Then we hurried back to Temple Square to catch a touring bus to Welfare Square. It’s a great big place. They showed us the dry goods and grocery store, cannery, shoe and shoe repair store, barber shop, dairy, root cellar for 15 carloads of potatoes and the grain elevator. Really impressive. People on welfare can go there with a Bishop’s signature and do grocery shopping and clothes shoppings etc. They even had furniture there and all kinds of homemade rugs. Most of the clothes were made by Relief Society sisters except things that are cheaper to stock wholesale like bras, etc. We were shown a movie of all the Temples before this tour. The people that work in the cannery, etc. are people that need work or elderly people that have nothing else to do. They get paid by food or the one or two meals that they eat during the day.

After we got back to Temple Square, we went to Brigham Young’s home called the Beehive House. It has 32 rooms and they’re all real lush. The guide said he had 20 servants but they weren’t treated as servants – just treated as one of the family. Brigham Young even had a store in his house where his children could buy candy and supplies.

Jim and I then went to several gift shops and bought post cards and souvenirs for ourselves and our parents. We went back to our motel room and called Joe Baker to see if we could visit him and his family. They used to live in the New Orleans Ward while he went to Tulane University. Before we drove to Sandy we ate supper across the street. Fred and Kelley surely got a lot of business from us. We drove to Sandy, which is about 15 miles out of Salt Lake, to visit Joe and Karen. The funniest and most confusing thing we saw on our way there was yellow streetlights – they look like the amber traffic lights. Later we asked Joe and Karen about them and they agreed that they were confusing – in fact so confusing to motorists that they were in the process of taking them all down. The reason they put them up in the first place was because yellow is easier on the eyes than white. Anyway, we visited with Joe and Karen. They gave us a wedding gift of striped sheet and pillow cases. We talked about New Orleans Ward, their home, Joe’s studying, etc. We had root beer and banana bread. They showed us around their home. Her parents came to visit them awhile. We left about 11p.m.

More tomorrow….


The Day After

Karen’s narrative continues…..

We went back to our lockers to change. A note was waiting for me from the sister that went through with me for my endowments. I got dressed in my dark blue dress with jacket and my red heels. It was about 9:30 p.m. when we left the Salt Lake Temple. We went back to our motel. Jim and I had a new motel room with a king size bed especially for our honeymoon.

Friday, September 23, one day after we were married, we all slept in. We ate breakfast across the street. Then we went to the train station to make arrangements for Sister Kader and kids to go home to Battle Creek. Since they couldn’t get train reservations until Monday, we went to the bus station and got tickets for that evening. We then walked to the Wax Museum which is near Temple Square.It was a Biblical Wax Museum and very impressive. After that we drove to the Great Salt Lake. Sure did look salty and heavy. Could see piles of salt on the land near the road on the way back to town.

Back in town, we decided to eat at a Mexican restaurant named the Tampica. It really had lots of atmosphere. The meal was one like I’d never eaten before (hot and husky!) but very filling. We went to Temple Square at 4:30 p.m. for the tour. The tour started at the museum on the Joseph Smith Monument (where he talked about the Temple), then to the Tabernacle, then to the Visitor’s Center. This is where we saw the Christus (white sculpture of Christ) with the universe painted on the rounded ceiling. You could see this from the window outside – very beautiful and breathtaking. Inside the Visitor’s Center, we saw paintings from the World’s Fair Pavilion also. We saw the miniature of Joseph praying in the sacred grove, which would take up a large corner in the Visitor’s Center. We were shown “Man’s Search or Happiness” to end our Temple Square tour in the Visitor’s Center Theater. After the tour (6 P.m.), we went back to the motel so Sister Kader could pack for the bus We went to the grocery store to buy snacks for the trip. Jim and I took them to the bus station. They left SLC at 8:30 p.m. We went back to our motel and relaxed and went to bed.

More tomorrow…


We Finally Get to the Temple

Karen’s narrative continues:

We went to meet Jim’s mother and the kids in the courthouse lawn and headed for the Temple to see if the records were straight for all of us. Everyone was very nice and helpful. After everything was straightened out, we headed for the phone to call the kids at B.Y.U. Our ceremony would be during the 4:30 p.m. session instead of the 7:30 a.m. session we had planned on. We wanted to tell them as some planned to attend, but we could get no answer. Next, we found the Relief Society Distribution center and bought garments for when we leave the Temple after our ceremony. (note from Jim: I had a heck of a time figuring out how to put garments on the first time I tried. We tried them on in the distribution center and I had to have my mother come in and explain them to me. How embarrassing was that!)

Oh, I wanted to mention earlier on seeing the sight of the Temple for real for the first time with its six spires and how very white it was. We had seen it on postcards and other pictures but never for real. We didn’t quite know where the Temple was located so we were looking around each corner as we came to it. Alas! There it was, the beautiful Salt Lake Temple where we were going to be married for time and all eternity – we finally got here after Satan tried so many times in so many ways to keep us from coming. Here we are now!

First, we went back to the motel to wash hair, take baths and eat. Got my suitcase ready with my white velvet gown, etc and my honeymoon dress and accessories in it.

We went to the 4:30 p.m. session. We showed our Temple recommends. We were each interviewed by a Temple worker and then were shown where to go to get our identification tags and garments. Guess I looked rather scared and didn’t know what to do so one lady took me under her wings and watched out for me. We got our garments and then were shown to the locker rooms. (Jim is now with the men and I am with the women).  Then we came back and this Sister helped me on with my bridal outfit. They have a beautiful bridal room all done in gold if I remember right and lots of mirrors. Then we all went into one room and had a short lecture with the Sisters. Then we went into the Rooms to receive our endowments.  After the endowments were over those who were to be married went to the Sealing room to be married for time and all eternity or sealed for time and all eternity. Since we didn’t have any witnesses besides Jim’s mother, Elder Petersen called some others in to view our ceremony.  Elder Petersen married us for time and all eternity after he gave a very moving message. Then Jim’s mother was sealed to her late husband, her children Laura and Mart, (They were just brought in) and Jim as a family for time and all eternity.

More tomorrow….