Sunday, January 20, 2019


Another year has passed and I am more vintage than the last! Wow, I cannot believe that it has been 60 years since American Airlines had the historical Inaugural Flight with the Boeing 707 aircraft from Los Angeles to New York. Reading through my blog, I find that I have shared experiences which have highlighted my rewarding time with American Airlines as a stewardess doing public relations and then honored to be on that historic flight. I will always wonder, why me? It is still hard for me to think that there I was! I am so grateful I can still remember the wonderment, the adrenalin rush, and the happiness of January 25, 1959. 

I was 24 years old.

Sixty years later. 

   Step by step, white hair and wrinkles as I earned every one of them.
I am grateful that I can make another trip to the Salt Lake International airport for a signing of my book: More Than a Ticket Memoirs Flying with American Airlines from Props to Jets. Every day is a gift.

I have the opportunity to take a guest with me. That is not an easy task. We have to be cleared by security each time we go. My guests are always filled with enthusiasm and I appreciate them. I am grateful for the Weller Book Works and the airport management for supporting my signings and displaying the book. Thank you!

My friend MaryLou with whom I flew lives in Hawaii and having talked with her on the phone yesterday and remembering our time with American Airlines, I feel moved on to sharing her story which is in the book: More Than a Ticket.



MaryLou was on her way! In 1957 the American Airlines Stewardess College was built in Dallas/Fort Worth, Before this fine facility was built, the training college was in a hangar at Midway Airport in Chicago.
“Approximately fift-five years after the events of my years with American Airlines . . . memory extremely weak . . . only some awkward thoughts come to mind. I have no journals or records. Years are a blur to me. In 1955, I believe we had to be 21 to "fly." I was first accepted by Western Airlines to join their Stewardess program, then they went out of business.
A secretarial job opened a few miles from home with American Airlines' Engineering office which I took and LOVED IT...never wanted to leave. Lockheed was building an Electra (turbo prop) for American Airlines.

Bill Hall, MaryLou,
Jim Shires, Electra


Electra Photo ©Bob Garrard


Electra mockup, I modeled for
promotional of a new beauty.
I was ready to be an American Airlines' stewardess.
Naturally, my proportions were perfection, I had no worries. I was 5 feet 7 and ¼ and weighed 130. How blessed was I!

Glorious time at the stewardess college in Fort Worth, Texas!!!
Strutting around in bathing suits with so many beautiful girls around the pool with instructors’ eyes upon our every move, the entire time there. The instructors knew everyone’s name the moment we entered…fantastic women!!! Their eyes followed us along the cafeteria line and every other move we made. Emergency training the most critical. What was it, six weeks? Whew!
The moments in those weeks when a student disappeared from our view were especially a sad time. Their bags had already been packed for them and they were led to the awaiting taxi. We
had a wonderful dormitory, big classrooms, gorgeous grounds, and there was a beautiful huge main hall with a wide curving staircase, where we would meet our guests. Elvis Presley was dating one of the girls. We all hung over the balcony to see him and his friend come to pick up their dates!!! Silly us. So many procedures to ready the flight for passengers. We’d been well trained and even counting the bottles of liquor was no biggee. Today, I can’t imagine serving so much coffee and tea……………and carrying it up and down the aisles. All the training was leading up to our being able to “work” a flight along with a REGULAR CREW… our first experience in flight…..the anticipation of where we would be assigned and the type of equipment and timing was ever present. Unfortunately, I am a very independent person and I tried so hard to sorta fit in with a group, or with my roommates or whatever. I determined to wait with my roommate to go down to the field with her. She was a gracious Southern girl, but slow. I managed to go with her, only to learn that I MISSED MY FLIGHT!!!! Surely, I would be sent home, I thought! Luckily, they gave me another assignment. From that moment, I became myself again, independent, on-time, and successful, but often a loner. Graduation time was beautiful. We had received our uniforms, dark blue for winter, tan for summer, all measured to fit our body shape perfectly. Military pressed creases, even in the blouse underneath our suits. We also had sort of a duster to put on when we served food and a heavy, heavy beautiful dark blue wool coat for winter locations. Our shoes were spectators, tan and white, as I recall. From Fort Worth, I was able to go to Los Angeles for a day’s shopping. My dear sister Kay met me at the airport and we found the perfect shoes in an expensive Beverly Hills store, as I recall, then back I flew. Of course, the Army-style caps over very short hair topped us off. Our hair had to be above the collar - a must! Our class made up a fun song to the tune of the music of BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER KWAI from the movie The Bridge on the River Kwai, a 1957 British World War II film. ''Today we’re going to march with you, Today we make our grand debut” ……..”…
SOARING, forever soaring……. (ta da da da da da da da de do)”
Singing as we marched through circling pathways to the
graduation grounds! I can almost hear it ringing in my ears right
The other big hubbub was about where we would be located!!!! I was thrilled to receive LOS ANGELES!!! My birthplace. As it turned out, if I had a few days off, I could be at home with mom and dad in North Hollywood – that was the best! If I had a quick turn-around, I had a nearby apartment with other A.A. Stews. A little tricky when I served on Standby and had to be at the Los Angeles Airport (a small little airfield) in an hour…..My uniform stayed ready to jump into when I drove from North Hollywood. Once I forgot my jacket and Daddy drove it down to me when I was almost already on the plane. There were no freeways then, it was city streets all the way! No jetways in those days…..we had to cover our heads with the American Airlines scarf and walk out across the windy tarmac to our flight. 

Photos by ©Jon Proctor


I served as Stewardess in mostly DC-6s and DC-7s (Douglas Aircraft Company planes).
About 100 passengers tops. And it was an 8-hour flight from coast to coast. All night flights hoping to visit with a passenger and not sit and just look at the Exit sign and take coffee to the crew.
On those LAX-NYC flights we usually always had movie stars
on board….the one I remember best was Dick Powell as he sat back in the lounge with me on an all-night flight. He was wonderful to visit with!
On one NYC-LAX flight, the usual fog rolled in over Los Angeles and we had to actually land in Burbank. As I lived close, I had some great young movie stars drop me off at home from their
rental car as they drove on to Los Angeles. Sorry, I can’t remember
the names, something like TAB HUNTER or ??? Hollywood tours
were always offered to us. We met Pat Boone and other show people. It was a great life.


In the East, when it was cold, the passengers entered and gave us
their coats as we welcomed them on board, which we had to tag with seat numbers and hang up for them, returning each one to the correct person just before
deplaning. Whew!
Here are some highlights that come to mind about flights and
layovers: Bidding Vacation Replacement, which meant I had four
flights to New York a month! Loved seeing the sights, 5 Star hotels, walks all over Broadway, and seeing the high rises! Empire State Building was the tallest!
Three-day layovers in Chicago where the Museum of Science
and Industry became my weekly stopover. On June 19, 1933,
Museum of Science and Industry opened its great doors for the first time. It was the first museum in North America to feature interactive exhibits.
Anytime we wanted a short leave; it was available to us: I was off to Mexico every other month. Had a special blood doctor in Mexico City, of whom I was fond; Enrique (my father’s name) Hurtado. But always ACAPULCO! I shared a flat with a girlfriend and her brother, the Brianos from San Luis Potosi. It was past the bull ring, and we could walk there on dirt paths from downtown Acapulco (on the beach). She worked at Las Brisas. We knew all the hotels, the morning and afternoon beaches, and every other place in town. I remember water skiing every day and jumping the ramp occasionally. I would ski until the very last second I needed to catch a taxi to the Acapulco Airport, practically flying in my bathing suit.
The run from LAX to Fort Worth was delightful as there were some fine young men who took us water skiing on Lake Arlington! The Rental Car companies treated Stewardesses very well and gave us cars. In fact, everyone treated us like royalty. In Dallas, a pink Cadillac limousine would take us shopping.
It was the crews in the LAX to Dallas runs that were the best: We went bowling! What a lot of fun with the whole crew and then huge steak dinners for just $1 or $2. The prices were out of this world and shopping was great at Neiman Marcus. I did all my Christmas shopping there; no sales tax. Sorry, California, but I don’t like TAX.
The best part of those LAX to Texas flights was flying over The Grand Canyon…..what a sight from the air. It was exciting for the passengers to hear the Captain voice points of interest.
In the summer in St. Louis the big outdoor park had Broadway productions – great musicals, and the powers, that be, put in extra chairs up front just for us Stewardesses. No charge, of course.
In the propeller planes we didn’t reach the heights they do now and it was not unthinkable to occasionally get tossed about and have sudden drops because of the updrafts and downdrafts due to weather with exciting cloud activity. In Coach Class one time, I had 19 babies and ROUGH WEATHER. After the meal service, all the babies got sick, then their mothers, and then me, running into the bathroom to throw up in an Air Sickness Bag. Those were a must on our flights. What an awful feeling and smells with no escape.
The short hops were not quite so exciting….San Diego, Douglas/Bisbee, but sitting in the cockpit in an early morning into Phoenix was the biggest thrill watching the sunrise!!! One flight
out of New York into Tucson with a planeload of snow birds. It was horrible. It was snowing in Tucson….probably the first time ever. What a lot of grumbling passengers.
I enjoyed going to Detroit and attending Church there. We usually always included a ferry trip over to a city in Canada, I believe. It was quite an experience.
One of the best parts of my benefits was having mother and dad travel a bit. Other than Mexico, American only flew in the U.S. So Mom and Dad did have great travels in Mexico City, attending the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico with dazzling costumes, that kept them in another world of music and dance. The Pyramids, Xochimilco, Taxco, Guadalajara, and Acapulco where we stayed at the beautiful Majestic Hotel overlooking the bay and had huge fruit plates for breakfast. Daddy had fun swimming in the pool and shopping for his grandchildren. I got terrible sunburns. We hit all the sights and then Mom and Dad took a grand train trip to the other coast, enjoyed many other little cities. Met some Mormon Missionaries even!!!
Another really memorable trip on American Airlines was to Boston and walked the historical city seeing the Opening Release of AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS…..It seemed like we
were doing that. Then on down the Coast to New York, Washington D.C., White House, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, then crossing the Potomac to Washington and Jefferson’s
plantation. Arlington Cemetery with it’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was one of the most outstanding Memorials at the time. I think we all had one of the best experiences of our lives.
Then the Jets came, I met Argie . . . who flew as Stewardess on the Boeing 707 Inaugural Flight. A delightful girl and the only Mormon I met in the business. 

I’d like to tell of my travels into Florida and the Caribbean thanks to American, but that’s another story! We're doing what we do best!


Does that sound familiar? We were the best! Happy to have happy, exciting memories with the carrier of our choice,” American Airlines.
Now you know the rest of the story!

(This presentation does not always format correctly when published) 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018



On January 25, 2018, I will be celebrating the historical event that changed airline travel! I will be at the Salt Lake International airport, Terminal 2 from 8:30 am until 12:30 pm: location will be at the Weller Book Works. The store is after you go through security and before the escalator. This will be a fun book signing event. 


Product Details


American Airlines,  after years of preparation, we danced with joy as the jet was christened Flagship California. It was a day of adventure with Captain Macatee at the controls. Historical!


Captain Macatee
Inaugural Flight crew  January 25, 1959
Captain Macatee with Jane Wyman, actress, singer, and dancer for seven decades.
Captain Macatee, Stewardess Argie, and Captain Szabo
There was a time when our wings had our names on them and in front of the cabin we displayed a name plate.
Argie with a current Flight Attendant and a current pilot for American Airlines.

Jounal entry January 25, 1959:
Pat Brown, Red Moiser (an American Airlines Executive), President C. R. Smith, Miss Jane
Wyman, and Mr. and Mrs. Hill plus others stroll through the plane. Mrs. Brown christened the
plane, “Flagship California,” with speeches by Governor Brown and C. R. Smith.

Not only was the event impressive, but Flagship California was graceful, sleek, and absolutely gorgeous with open hospitality for all who entered her doors. In her resplendent beauty she was far more than a ticket.

At this point Claire Bullock, who was my roommate and one of the stewardesses, was standing in the front of the craft greeting guests. She was from the South and a totally dedicated fan of Elvis Presley. As she was standing in front of the plane, Elvis’s agent handed her a photo of Elvis to accompany us on the first jet flight. He was in the army. Claire was thrilled. In different locations on the plane, bouquets of yellow and lavender flowers welcomed our guests. Oh yes, the stewardesses received orchids to wear. The entire flight was made up of very influential and successful people, newspaper people, and cameramen, plus other wonderful passengers. Passengers were milling from one cabin to the other, Mercury to Coach. It was like a press conference and confusing for me. The task at hand was to serve our passengers beverage and food with first class service in a very informal atmosphere as one big happy family. I gave Miss Wyman my flight topper to wear that being the dress we wore during the food service. Everyone was having a grand time up in the “dream of sunshine and clouds.” It was a magnificent experience and lots of hard work.

A memorable highlight of the day was when I met President C. R. Smith as he walked the aisle during the flight. One could feel the strength of his character. He had the skill of looking you in the eye and connecting with you on a level which left you feeling like you were important to American Airlines. I knew that he appreciated me as a stewardess.

I remember giving Jane Wyman my flight topper to wear, and she was filmed while she had it on. Flight toppers were worn while serving a meal. We had our choice as a crew to either wear or not wear the topper. It made a more appropriate dress for the food service if we did, though. One of the important reasons for the cover-up was that it kept the uniform clean. It was flattering to me that Miss Wyman wore the same size as I wore. She was very pleasant to be around. In the movie Three Guys Named Mike, she played the part of an American Airline stewardess.

On the passenger list, Mr. G. Wright was listed as 89 years old; I think that made him the oldest person on the inaugural flight. Mr. and Mrs. L. Barnett brought their little son who was two and a half years old, making him the youngest passenger.

Also on the flight was Dr. Arthur L. Klein, an aeronautical engineer and legend designer. Dr. Clark Millikan was also on board. He was one of the nation’s foremost pioneers in aerospace research and development. He was also a pioneer in the development of multi-engine, high-altitude airplanes, jet
propulsion, and guided missiles. I had this gentleman on an earlier flight, and I had enjoyed his friendliness and his usual enthusiasm for his projects. In the 1950s a new facet of aeronautics came into view with the ideas of satellites and spacecraft, and he worked right at the forefront of thes ideas. I had met him a second time on a PR assignment, and now this flight was my third meeting with him. It was always exciting to meet people over and over.

We arrived in New York 4 hours and 3 minutes later.(It takes over 5 hours) The 707 took more fuel and went faster. A band was playing when we opened the door and bright lights were shining with people taking pictures. Our debriefing after the flight was interesting. We are helping work out all the things which need to be changed with the Boeing 707 stewardess procedural operations. We were so tired, Claire and I said, “Never again.”

The flight was overwhelming; however, our training kept us calm and poised. We had the knowledge to be self-sufficient and to make decisions that affected our passengers. In a crisis we could rise above the everyday requirements of passenger service. We were tired, yes, but we were prepared. After a good night’s sleep, we put in our bids to work the 707 flights again and again.

Not only was it a privilege to have the greatest passengers walk through our American Airlines doors, but we also had crews who were marvelously skilled behind the wheels of our fantastic aircraft. The captain of our flight was Charles Macatee. He had years of experience flying.

Frank Brady’s book: A Singular View, begins with just one of Captain Macatee’s experiences—successfully landing a hit plane in the crash that cost Brady his eye. Brady writes:

"I have no memory of being hit. I recall only a dazed awareness that something was wrong, very wrong . . . that [Charles Macatee] was swinging our plane into position for a landing . . . asking the tower for runway lights . . .calling for an ambulance to meet the plane.

Then Tom Wright, the third man aboard, was helping me out of the cockpit, where I had been flying copilot, and onto a couch so that he could take my place and assist in the landing. . . .

Our plane, a research DC–3, had been on the last leg of a flight from Chicago via Washington that April evening. We’d been skimming over Long Island after sunset and were preparing to land at Grumman Field when the craft was struck. Captain Macatee (who later was to pilot the first scheduled jetliner across America) had no idea what had hit us until after landing, when he found a five-pound mallard duck in the cockpit."

It was little wonder why American Airlines chose Charles Macatee to captain the inaugural flight. The Astrojet News published an interview with Captain Macatee 10 years after the inaugural flight. In it, he says that piloting this flight “was and had to be his biggest thrill in 30 years of flying.”

The preparations had begun years before. “Paper jets” had begun “flying” daily New York–Los Angeles and Chicago–Dallas trips in July 1958. But the big moment was 8:45 a.m. Pacific Coast Time Sunday, Jan. 25, 1959. With Capt. Macatee at the controls, First Officer (now captain) Lou Szabo beside him, and 112 passengers aboard, American’s first Jet Flagship lifted off Runway 25L, at Los Angeles International Airport and headed for New York.

It was commercial aviation’s first transcontinental jet flight, a flight that brought east and west coasts three hours closer together and revolutionized an airline, an industry and the nation’s transportation system.

“We got off 20 minutes late because of the ceremonies at Los Angeles. But we were fortunate enough to catch tailwinds that at times were in excess of 150 knots. We arrived at New York on schedule, exactly four hours and 3 minutes after takeoff.” . . .

Hundreds of people, including a 25-piece brass band, turned out at Idlewild to welcome the first transcon jet (more than 25,000 had seen it off at LAX). Newsmen, government officials and movie stars were aboard, including actress Jane Wyman (“who for some reason I kept calling Mrs. Lyman,” Captain Macatee recalled).

C. R. Smith, also aboard, told AAers in a special issue of Flagship News to “take a bow to history, for you are a part of it today. The piston-engined airplane will retain our affection, for it has done so much for us and for air transportation. Today, we have a new area of expectation, for the bright promise of what the turbine-powered airport will bring lies ahead of us.”

Astrojet News vol. 24, no. 2, January 27, 1969. Photo courtesy of Beth Macatee Snyder.
In the article Captain Macatee also reflected upon the historical significance of this first transcontinental jet flight. He and Captain H. C. Smith, who flew the return trip, had flown the 707 without passengers for about 200 hours before this historical flight with passengers. The article states that for Captain Macatee, this flight was “biggest thrill in 30 years of flying,” and Captain Macatee concluded his comments by saying that while he had many special memories of flying “those four hours three minutes were the big ones for me. They always will be.”

My friends who are involved in the business of flying, these four hours and three minutes were big ones for me also and they always will be!

A recent flights.









Sunday, February 5, 2017

Gratitude flooded my heart on January 25th as I pondered the 28th anniversity of American Airlines first jet powered flight across the United States from Los Angeles to New York City. The hustle and bustle filled our cottage on Kerwood Avenue in West Los Angeles  with excitment because the four of us were being trained on the new Boeing 707 jet.

  Gerry and Jerry



The Inaugural Flight has been a historical memory. for jet travel.


February 17, 2017 will find me at the Salt Lake International Airport for a book signing. My book, More Than a Ticket: Memoirs Flying with American Airlines from Props to Jets, can be purchased at the Weller Book Works at the airport.

 Argie with friend Mariah

Mariah will join me on the 17th of February for the book signing. We will be in Terminal 2, Weller Book Works and after passengers pass through security.    

Thursday, March 17, 2016


Best Friends in Animas, New Mexico

To my very best friend Argie,

On my first glance at More Than A Ticket  I was thrilled to see Chapter one, A Young Girl from Animas Valley. I love coming home remembering riding the old school bus an extra hour to spend the night or weekend with you. Sometimes your mother was helping us sew matching garments. It was a time when education, honesty and integrity was uppermost. Our mothers worked untiringly to provide nutritious meals and a clean inviting home, requiring of us the preparation of table, set carefully with a clean ironed white cloth. We had the privilege of contributing to family life - - the industry of the home. I love to remember sitting around the table enjoying the wonderful homemade bread, meat and vegetables, even apple pie!! Don't forget the conversation and laughter, and the fun we had!

Our hardworking fathers, whose word was as binding of a contract, exemplified honesty and integrity; and expected the same in us, requiring respect and courtesy. I love to remember our brothers coming in with the white foamy fresh milk and working alongside our fathers.

On Saturday when we sewed or you did the mountain of ironing, we could always take a little time to play the piano and sing.

My hope as I have read your book more than once is that today’s generation could see the worth of a work ethic. It was your background that made it possible. “Get up sister and make something of yourself!” and you did.



And that is the way it was in days gone by; work, work and then play before the sun goes down. We did not have a television, only a radio to listen to the western music as we made up the dance steps which the kids today think are new. No, we made them up in those country kitchens as we danced our lives away. The memories touch my heart in a way which only the good ole western music can trigger. Carol and I were cheerleaders together as we used our creative words to yell as our basketball team would win their games and sometimes "not."

The good looking, tall one on the back row is C.L. Hoskins.

  Chapter One

A Young Girl from Animas Valley

I grew up on a ranch in Animas Valley in southern New Mexico with my
brother, Charles Leslie, or C. L. for short. I was born in 1935 in Deming,
New Mexico, in the midst of the Great Depression, the same year that Franklin
Delano Roosevelt signed off on the Social Security Act. We were poor
of means, but I didn’t know it at the time, and I don’t remember ever going
hungry. We had little, but that was how things were for everyone we knew.
My wise parents, Al and Edna, instilled in me the values of honesty and hard
work. They taught me the importance of staying clean, keeping out of debt,
being a good citizen, respecting the flag, appreciating America, and minding
manners, including “please,” “thank you,” “yes ma’am,” “no sir,” and “how
can I help you?”—phrases that flow naturally from me now.

My parents descended from immigrant ancestors who had sacrificed and
worked hard to become part of our great United States of America. They were
self-reliant, responsible, and principled. And they had faith in God. I grew up
feeling the love and depth of belonging to a good Christian family. I made the
choice to follow those teachings.

Most often Mama and Daddy taught us by example. My Daddy taught
me to keep things in order to accomplish a task. Tasks were done with strict
discipline, a legacy Daddy inherited from his mother. She was a German lady
who understood the nature of success. So in our home, obedience to the task
was demanded and expected. C. L. knew the way out to the smelly barn to
shovel manure, and I knew where the ironing board was waiting. I would iron
Daddy’s and C. L.’s shirts way into the night with an amiable attitude, listening
to western music. We weren’t given the option to be lazy, and I have since
learned that those who do not learn to internalize discipline cannot focus and
accomplish goals.

Mama had an intuitive soul and good judgment. She taught me to think
outside the box. I can still hear her voice echo in my memory, “Sister, if you
cannot do it one way, you can do it another,” “Think before you act,” “Think
of others before yourself,” and “Do your best!” Mama wasn’t perfect, but she
hung in there and kept trying until something worked. It was hard work, but
it was worth it.

From November 1951 to August 1966, Daddy worked as a windmiller for the
Victoria Land and Cattle Company’s Diamond A Ranch in Animas Valley.
He took his job very seriously. It could be a dangerous venture, climbing up
a windmill tower to repair whatever was needed. One of Daddy’s cowboy
friends said of Daddy, “Al would tell me what he wanted to get done. He
would than tell me what he was going to do, tell me what I was going to do,
and then say, ‘Now be careful!’” When I look at pictures of Daddy I like to
look at his large hands; a former windmill helper told me that Daddy had to
cut the tops of gloves to fit his hands.

When a windmill needed to be fixed, Daddy was in charge of seeing that
done. It was too far from town to get new parts, so Daddy would design and
weld a new part, which often worked better than a new one would have. Once
a mechanical engineer, having watched Daddy at work, said that he was outstanding
and clever with his mind and hands. Sometimes Daddy would even
invent what he needed if there wasn’t a tool available on the market.

Before he was a windmiller, Daddy worked from April 1939 to November
1951 as a machinist in the Kennecott open pit copper mine in Santa Rita, New
Mexico. He welded in overalls which he always managed to keep clean. He was
a machinist by day and a mechanic by night, working on cars at home. While
Daddy worked and welded, Mama sewed gowns for the wives of the Big Bosses.

Mama was a professional seamstress. She taught herself to sew and earned
a degree via mail from The Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences,
a division of the International Correspondence Schools, in Scranton,
Pennsylvania. My memories of our kitchen table are of it covered with her
coursework for dress making and designing. Mama taught me to sew as well.
I remember the hours I spent on the sewing machine—and the hours more
ripping out the wrong stitches. But my Mother’s tutelage paid off. After we
got electricity, I made the most lovely of lovely prom dresses in my room. I
still have two of Mama’s textbooks which I display on my dresser, Sewing for
Profit and Decorative Stitches and Trimmings.

Our home had six rooms. Two of the bedrooms were made out of adobe
bricks. One of them was mine, and I had painted it yellow. These rooms were
very old and unique, with very thick walls which provided adequate insula-
tion. This form of building had been used by the Indians and Mexicans for
hundreds of years.

Because the walls were so thick, the window sills were deep enough for
various potted plants to sit on, and they gave a colorful touch to my yellow
room. Through the walls, my brother and I would always say good night to
each other and our parents; our bedrooms were so close we didn’t need to lift
our voices to more than a mere whisper. How I loved my small, charming old
adobe bedroom. I loved our whole home! There was no telephone or electricity,
but we had the warmth of a gas heater to keep us warm. We drank raw
milk and lived off the land, the “Land of Enchantment,” where the power of
nature is amazingly stated and graced with beauty both on the land and in the
sky, my home!

C. L. and I had a wonderful childhood, and as we came of age we attended
New Mexico A&M in Las Cruces, now known as New Mexico State Univer-
sity. I have some great memories of that time, including yelling my lungs out
while the Aggies played ball on the basketball court. One of those Aggies was
C. L. who was there on a basketball scholarship. I also loved western dancing.
When we’d go to the dances, C. L. and I would show off our dance routines
that we originated in the kitchen back at the ranch. The kids at college thought
I was going to the dances with two guys; my date would dance with other girls
while I was “kicking up a step” with my brother. We danced the hours away in
our stylish clothes—western shirts for C. L. and skirts, blouses, and dresses for
me—which had been sewn for untold hours by Mother for us so we could look
our best at college. Some of those skirts were made out of chicken feed sacks.
Back in those days it was really good material, and I felt like a beauty queen.

Around this time I learned about and joined The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints. I was drawn to this church because it embraced and taught
the values with which I had been reared, and my heart was touched by the
emphasis placed on families, family history, and compassionate service. It was
a change, but in some ways it was no change at all. I credit my parents for the
solid foundation of faith upon which my life has been built.

I’m so grateful for the environment in which I grew up. Each morning,
as Daddy would light my bedroom heater, he would encourage me with the
greeting, “Sis, get up and amount to something!” This was the standard
of my day, my year, and my life. He taught me the lessons of obedience,
industry, and independence. I listened to his words of common sense—how to
perceive, understand, and judge things are emblazoned on my spirit.

One of the highlights of my childhood and growing up years was the summertime.
Every year, my parents worked hard and saved money so we could
go on a road trip highlighted with National Parks. We would jump waves,
get stung by jelly fish, have sand fights, race on beaches, talk to people, make
up games, and argue about who saw the ocean first. We would visit family
and get to know distant cousins during Fourth of July celebrations where
we’d nearly burn each other with our sparklers. We visited museum after
museum—sometimes boring and sometimes exciting. And we’d admire the
many glaciers, mountains, rivers, and streams that cover our nation. I learned
to love an adventure. My heart was always looking for another way to see the
world, and sometimes I would wonder, “Where will I find my path of adventure
and independence?”