F Sheff at Home

From the Res to Retirement in 61 easy years       
—and never a dull moment*

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Hand-tinted picture of Geneva and Herman S., about 1935Click to go to the Mom pageClick to go to the Dad page

Here are my parents, Geneva Ethel M. and Herman James, within a year or so of their marriage. Dad received his Master's in Education, and took the one new education job available in the state of Utah that year: Principal, Teacher, Janitor, and General Factotum of the one-room K-12 school on the Ouray-Ute reservation. I was born in the back room of the trading post, on the coldest day in the middle of the worst blizzard of the winter of '37. See my first "shoes."

When the time came, Dad had to enlist the aid of three men to help him drive to the doctor's place, 30-some miles away. The men were necessary to lift the 1936 Ford out of ruts when it got high-centered. Paved roads? None.

GIF:  Utah State flag

Your Obedient Servant in jodhpurs

Your OBedient Servant on the porch of the grandparent's hand-built home in Layton, Utah. Within a few steps (Southeast, I think) of this location is the square, tall, steep-roofed house also built by my grandfather, Franklin Lorenzo S. That "Old House" was the location of the births of my father and most of his siblings. It was bare, clean storage during the summer of 1947, the only time I remember being in it. It had been removed by the time I again visited the place in 1989.

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The brick house had indoor plumbing by 1947, but not on occasions I remember before that. There were two outhouses then, one of them brick. Baths were in a galvanized tub in an indoor back porch, water heated there on a coal-burning iron stove. There was a musty cellar lined with shelves of Mason jars full of preserved fruits and vegetables grown on the grounds. Home made root beer, too.

The cooking, including apple pies with latticework top crusts and filling of fruit grown next to the Old House, was done on a light green and cream porcelain stove in the kitchen. It burned wood, which I learned to cut and split, or coal, which I learned to select based on its intended use. Shiny black bituminous coal burned hot but fast, and was used for stovetop work. The other kind burned longer, and was for baking and banking.

Cousins: at about a year. and about eight months

Talk about your roly-polys. On the lawn at one side of the hand-built brick house.

I became slim, even skinny, a few times in my life, but absent obvious signs of age—make that maturity—if you were to take off your glasses you'd see my current shape is very similar to the one I occupied here.

did become Miss USA and a mother eight times. Today (03-16-01) Geneva said she read a magazine article on the decline of beauty pageants. One of the interviewees was Charlotte. She has 40 (forty) grandchildren.

According to an obituary published within a few days of her death (she passed away at age 79 surrounded by her family, on Friday, April 15, 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah), she had 54 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren at that time.

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* Until I stumbled across alt.writing:   Dull moments there outnumber others about 10:1.