of questions about my life
by Evetta Sue Averett
Corina gave me this little book for Christmas 2014 with all the questions in it, so this will be fun to work on. I have decided to post it on my blog, Let's Have a Conversation, for my posterity, if any of them are interested. It is written to give back to Corina when I am finished. Since it is for my family, I will list my two sons and two daughters and grandchildren (underlined) and great-grandchildren right here so you can get to know them starting with my oldest son:
Andy, wife Debi - children - Carlos, Ileana, husband Nolan Morris, children Halle and Wendell, Laura, husband Aeryc, Marcia, currently a missionary in Argentina due home the end of June, and Alan
Annett, husband Jim Loveridge - children, Addie, husband Kyle Jackson, children Gabriel, Tatem, and Alex, currently a Service Missionary at Utah Valley University
Jay, wife Tammy, children - Jaylynn, husband Ryan Clark, children Trace, and Macie (due in May, 2015), Charlie and Samantha
Julie, husband Mike Cox - Corina, husband Jordan Sorensen, children Reagan and (baby girl due in May, 2015), Logan and Dylan
I will post the questions and answers as they come up in Corina's little book.
Question: Where were you born and when?
Oh good, it starts at the beginning. As they say, I was born on September 8, 1938 at 615 Flint Street in Laramie, Wyoming. Dad worked on the Union Pacific Railroad (which he did until the last day of 1969) and Mother was a housewife. They say I was born at home where two large chairs were pushed together for mother to lay on. Someone came in to help with the birth (a midwife-type, I'm sure) with the doctor stopping by the house a bit later. I was only 22 months younger than my brother, Franklin, so, I guess, it was an easier birth. We children were spaced out over a period of 10 years at that time with Joyce born in 1928, Velna in 1933, Frank in 1936 and me in 1938. Beth came almost 10 years later in 1947 when mother was almost 45 years old. We lived in that house until I was in the 8th grade, I think it was 1952. I would have loved to see it again as so many memories were made there, but it never happened. I did try once while I was in Laramie for a high school reunion, but no one was home.
Question: What is your full name and why were you named it?
Evetta Sue Black Averett - My parents named me Evetta--a name I never liked [hated] because it was so different. Eve after Eva Amanda Gribble and Etta after Eliza Rosetta King (called Ettie), my two grandmothers. I guess I wanted to fit in with the Barbara's, Jane's, JoAnne's etc. I remember being called E for elephant when I was about ten. So, at 16 years old I had had enough. A girl named Sue moved to Laramie from Texas who had a small Volkswagen bug and I thought she was neat. That's when I started changing my name to Sue. Many years later I wished I had just shortened it to Eve, which I like, but it didn't occur to me then. Anyway, I added Sue as my middle name. When I married Averett, that made it even harder (think Evetta Averett). I have always been glad I did change to Sue especially when I have to give a name for something in public. Velna still suffers with her name and Beth always says Mary when asked for a name to identify herself. Sue is so easy and common. There are three Sue's in our ward, so finally I fit right in.
Question: Describe the first Christmas that you can remember
I don't really remember any "first" Christmas. The Christmas's I remember over the years are mostly from the pictures Dad took on Christmas day. Our celebrations were pretty low key. It always started with the Montgomery Ward catalog. I remember pouring through it and marking the pages of the things I liked. We also visited toyland downtown in the Ward's building in the basement. Each year when I was a little girl, I got a new Effenbee doll. I know I got a doll buggy one year with blankets. The Santa present I remember most is the doll house. I have written about it in My Life So Far. I loved that doll house and have always looked for one like it just in case I might want to buy it. It disappeared in our move from Flint Street to the Sully house. I was an adolescent by then and didn't need toys any more. Mother bought all the gifts--I don't remember Dad participating very much. We always had real stockings filled with the same candy, chocolates and hard candy with soft centers. We didn't usually have a Christmas dinner as such. I know I ate candy all day which is pretty much what I do now. Looking back, Christmas was all about family and playing inside and out with our new toys. Sometimes Dad worked on Christmas, we never knew if he would be there or not, but Mother, Joyce, Velna and Frank were always there. The big Christmas's came when our kids were little, but that's another story.
Question: Describe your religious beliefs
The Church has always been a part of my life. When I was little, we went to Sunday School in the morning and Sacrament Meeting in the evening. I remember being the Sunday School Secretary when I was twelve or thirteen. I always liked the music the best and sang in the choir in Laramie when I was in Junior High and High School. I liked the testimony meetings too because the (University of Wyoming) college students always bore the most inspiring testimonies. I remember wondering why our Church was the only "true" church. It has been in my mature years that I have really studied the scriptures. In 2012 I read the entire Book of Mormon three times. I have summarized The Pearl of Great Price, the first half of the Old Testament, the sixty-six chapters of Isaiah and The Last Twelve Prophets of the Old Testament. My most ambitious project was summarizing the Four Gospels of the New Testament and the Book of Revelation. I believe in Christ and am trying to know Him and follow Him the best I can. I have heard the "still, small voice" many times and have been blessed beyond words. My greatest wish is that all my children and grandchildren will live worthy in this life to be together as a family forever when we leave this mortal existence. And that someday we may receive exaltation and be reunited with our Savior and Father in Heaven. I believe it will happen. It may take time, but we will have eternity to work on it.
Question: What was the first car you learned to drive?
In Wyoming the age for a driver's license was 15. So, when I turned 15, I got in Dad's old, black '37 Plymouth coupe and learned to drive. (Dad drove this car to work on the railroad.) It had a beige horsehair interior and a stick shift on the floor. I don't remember anyone teaching me to drive, I just got in and drove. I know one time at the Big Buy Drive-In I locked bumpers with the car ahead. We just got out and pulled the cars apart. I was not a very good driver yet. The other car we had was a '47 gray two-tone Chevrolet. It was a stick shift too but was not on the floor. Well, Dad decided to buy a newer, used Ford with one of the first automatic shifts made. It was a terrible car—absolutely gutless. I almost never got to drive that car and seldom got to drive any car. Two of my friends always had a car for us to ride in. I do remember driving the Plymouth to the Wyo Theater where I was working on March 10, 1956 when Wally came to the movie and rode with me to the Big Buy for a treat after work. Lynn and Janet took his '53 Olds and we met them there. I have been driving ever since in many nice cars. I think my favorite will always be my PT Cruiser. It's 14 years old this July and is still going strong. Thank you, thank you, thank you Lord.
Question: Have you ever had surgery?
Surgery. I believe I hold the record for surgeries. My first big surgery was in 1972 when I fell off the top of a ladder in Casper and wrecked my knee. The doctor had shaking hands and put a staple into the bone to attach the cartilage. It's still there somewhere. That ruined my knee and changed my physical life. While living in Orem in our new house off of Palisade Drive, I had a hysterectomy. I was 42 years old. Annett says that changed my life and I say it changed my personality. No more hormonal ups and downs. In 1984 I had a stomach staple at the University Hospital in Denver that ruined my stomach. It was experimental and didn't work. Then in 2003, when I qualified for Medicare, and after needing it for 10 years, I had my first knee replacement on my right (injured) knee. That was soon followed in 2004 by a replacement on my over-used left knee. In 2006, I had a stomach repair and gastric bypass in Denver, which also didn't work (the story of my life). And finally, in 2013 I had a hip replacement which has been fine. Dr. Robert Jackson did both my left knee and my hip replacement in the Provo Hospital. I liked him but his follow-up care is non existent. That makes it harder to recover.
[See also "Have you ever been hospitalized?"]
Question: Has anyone ever saved your life?
Technically, no. I did have a traumatic experience when I had my first knee replacement at the hospital in Sandy, UT. In September, 2003, as soon as I turned 65, I made an appointment with Dr. Rosenberg, a famous orthopedic doctor in Park City. I had to wait for three months for the appointment and another six weeks for the surgery. It was the third week of December (I don't remember the exact day) which means it was almost Christmas when I finally had the surgery. Everything went fine except for the negligence at the hospital due to Christmas vacations and celebrations. Dr. Rosenberg left the country right after my surgery with one of his minions in charge. No one ever checked my blood or anything else before I was discharged three days later. That evening at home I fainted on the floor and vomited blood. Annett called the ambulance, I was in and out of consciousness, and we went back to the hospital in Sandy. When I got to the emergency room, the male nurse got my records from upstairs and told me I needed blood immediately or I would die. I was hesitant because I had not anticipated needing blood and didn't have my own blood stored. He was adamant and I immediately agreed. I had three or four pints of blood over the next two days. If anyone had checked before I was released that morning they would have known I was bleeding internally from an ulcer. They cauterized it while I was there and I haven't had any problems since.
Question: Have you ever been in a serious accident?
No. But, I was in a car accident just out of Lander, WY on our way to Lovell in the spring of 1956 with Wally driving his parent's new Olds 98. It was snowing and someone from the south, who hadn't been in snow before, slid into our vehicle and we went flying off the road half way through the field on our side of the road. Two college girls from Cowley, Mary Partridge and Eloise Givenrod were with us along with Orin Muller. The car was slightly damaged but we had to stay the night in Lander to get everything taken care of.
The only other bad accident I can claim is falling from the top of the ladder which I wrote about in the question about my surgeries. I thought I was invincible, like lots of kids do today, and did a stupid thing that affected me for the rest of my life. Moral: don't do stupid things. Think first.
Question: Have you ever been hospitalized?I have already written about my surgeries, all while being hospitalized. The only other hospital incidents I can remember was when I had my tonsils out at about eight years old, and the plastic surgery on my nose when I was thirteen. Neither were run of the mill. I was given ether for the tonsillectomy and was never really anesthetized enough to be out. I was scared and screamed so loud that it broke a blood vessel in my neck. I broke my nose when I was a baby by falling out of my high chair (I was told). Anyway, my nose was always misshaped. When I was thirteen, Mother took me to Cheyenne to see a plastic surgeon. (Dad was in Cleveland, OH attending the B of LE, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers convention). I was in the hospital in Cheyenne longer than planned because the first attempt was not successful. After a few days, the doctor tried again and I went home with bandages on my nose. I have been sad that my nose is still not like it could have been if we had had a better surgeon. I always wanted to have it fixed, but never did.
Question: Have you ever been the victim of a crime?
Yes, I have had my purse stolen twice. Once in Dallas and once in Draper. In Dallas I was with my friend, Jill Pehrson, shopping at Sam's Club. We were loading our groceries in my car in the parking lot when I put my purse on the ground next to my car. A car pulled up in back of us, a black woman got out and leisurely picked up my purse. I was standing right there. She calmly got in their car while I was pounding on it, and the driver drove away on to the highway next to the store. Police came but it was unsolved. The main things I lost were my Mount Blanc pen Wally gave me and my prescription glasses (total value about $600). I think I had about three dollars cash. Fortunately, the car keys were in my pocket. The second time I was in Deseret Industries in Draper when a man approached my basket, put something in front of me over the purse and took it with his other hand. I knew immediately what had happened and alerted the store but they didn't care. They just didn't want me to make a fuss. Unfortunately I had a $100 dollar bill in my purse that Wally gave me from the sale of his table saw. This was definitely a professional hit. Now I carry my purse across my body.
Question: Who was your first crush?
I don't know if I actually had a first crush. I have written about being boy crazy in My Life Story, So Far. I was not popular in high school and never had a steady boyfriend until Wally. I believe I am lucky to have found such a wonderful husband, father, friend, person when I was eighteen years old. I don't regret all the angst of dating different boys along with many crushes and heartaches. Annett and Julie both had various boyfriends, angst, and heartaches before they married. They both had boyfriends they "went with" when they were younger, but made their choice of a good man when it was for eternity. Everyone has different experiences with the opposite sex when they are young. Some are positive, some are not. All I know, looking back, is that you are blessed if you find your soul-mate, the one who will nourish and support you no matter what, when you are young. Those are hard to find.
Question: Do you remember your first date?
Question: What was your first paying job?
Question: Do you remember your first date?
Yes, I remember my first date. It was before the Church came out with no dating before sixteen. I believe it was the summer before I turned fourteen. L J Willis, from Cowley (his dad owned the drug store there), came to summer school at the University of Wyoming. He was only sixteen but was graduating from high school one year early so he could start college in the fall. I don't remember why, but that summer I enrolled in summer school at the university also. I took a history class and swimming. I soon discovered that we had the swimming class together. We were both retarded about the opposite sex, so it was really about friendship and my familiarity with Cowley. I had visited my cousin Travene there before they moved to Billings, and of course, my Grandma Lythgoe who was a pioneer of Cowley. Anyway, he asked me for a date to the movies. I was scared that mother wouldn't let me go, but she did. He walked to our house on Flint Street and we walked to the movie. He held my hand in the movie and we walked home. That was it. I went to a Lamba Delta Sigma dance with him in the fall, but it was uncomfortable. He was a college man and I was barely in high school. The next year he transferred to Logan and finished college there. I never saw him again but sometimes I think about him and wonder how he is.
Question: What was your first paying job?
Oh my goodness. It seemed like I always worked when I was young. Frank and I had paper routes in grade school and junior high. I wish I had a better memory of time, but one summer I baby sat for a church couple (R. Gardner) who had two kids (later divorced). I was a terrible baby sitter. One summer Mother's friend, Rose Eads, got me a job cleaning house for someone she knew in Laramie. I rode my bicycle to the lady's house over by Washington Park, (not a short ride). That didn't last long, thank heavens. I was terrible at that too. I worked a day or so at the Campus Shop in Laramie as a waitress which was miserable. I also cleaned rooms at the Branding Iron Motel one summer for Neff and Beth Tippetts. The summer after I finished my junior year in high school, I started working at the County Clerk's Office for Minnie Pearson at the Albany County courthouse in Laramie (thanks to Edna Moyle). I kept that job until I left to attend BYU the fall of 1956. Two summers were full time and the rest was part time. I learned a lot there and actually helped issue a marriage license to my friend Deanna Howe and Billy Despain (later divorced). One of my classmates, Edith Waters, worked with me the summer of 1956. I remember my full-time salary was $225/month but it was enough to save $500 for school that fall. That whole year I was a senior I also worked at the WYO Theater at night with my friend Janet Henberg for 50¢ an hour and all the candy I could eat. That's where I met Wally.
Question: Name a good friend that you have known for the longest period of time.
This is funny. I have an email relationship with my friend since junior high, Gloria Aegerter Rumbold. We were friends all through junior and senior high school. She used to live in Castle Rock and I saw her there a few times. She has since moved to Pueblo and I haven't been to Castle Rock in a long time so we stay friends by email. She sends me lots of funny, interesting, pictures and other mainly political stuff. I love getting it. Gloria was raised Catholic and I went with her to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve when I was in high school. I don't think she is active in her church, but she knows I am active in mine. I knew her mother and dad, as well as her brother and sister a little bit. So that is an important connection to the history of our friendship. She has been happily married for many years to her husband and her children are a big part of her life. Another long standing friend is Lana Wieberg Ennis. We have been friends for more than thirty years starting in Littleton, CO in 1982. She has her trials, but she is a good person at heart. The best friend I will ever have is Jill Pehrson. I met her in Dallas. We had more in common than any other person I have ever met. She is a true soul-mate. Unfortunately, I knew when I moved back to Utah that we would not maintain the friendship. She had lost several other friends this way and I knew that would happen to us too. She still lives in Dallas.
Question: Did you make enough money to live comfortably?
We had our trials. Money was always an issue in our marriage. The one thing your Grandpa couldn't give me was security. I learned to adapt to whatever condition we were in financially. Wally was a scrapper and always came up with the funds we needed. He was also generous to others. If he had money, everyone had money. Of course, the first two years of army life was hard. I worked and saved up enough money to get us through on army pay after Andy was born. Then, Wally worked for Mule Creek Oil Company for eight years. He started at $500/mo and ended up at $800/mo. Needless to say, we were not getting ahead. Through the years I remember the time when I went to the grocery store and was able to get almost anything I wanted. That was nice. Now, I try to live frugally with my Social Security. I have enough to live comfortably thanks to this house and Annett and Jim. I have been happy here.
Question: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child I didn't have any thoughts or ambitions for anything when I grew up. School was easy for me, except for math, and I more or less coasted through. I don't remember anyone encouraging me in any way to excel or work toward any goal. I had a good voice but didn't consider myself naturally talented and I didn't want to work for mastery. In high school, I thought I wanted to study music but that was mostly because I didn't have anything else. Over my lifetime I did take music classes both at NWCC in Powell and at Casper Community College. And I took both piano and organ lessons in Casper and voice lessons in Laramie from Mrs. Fern Jay and in Lovell from Lola Bowman. I can still sing the words correctly and hit the high notes, but my breath control is gone. When I went back to college, I found my love of English and ended up with a double major in Business Communications and English. It was a tough course as I had to take all the journalism classes, and the business core classes, as well as the literature, writing, and English classes. Finally I was motivated for success and graduated summa cum laude in a class of 1700. Once I grew up, everything in my life I did, I tried to do it to the best of my ability. Sometimes that is a hard row, but I can't do it any other way.
Question: What was your first job? What other kinds of jobs have you had?
I have already written about my jobs as a child. My courthouse job was probably my first real working job. I also mentioned before about working in Virginia while Wally was in the army. I cashiered for a men's store in Newport News for three months. That was pretty much a nightmare as all the men were Jewish and thought they were studs (I was a young Mormon girl from Wyoming, what did I know?) Don't get me wrong, I love and admire the Jewish people, but this was a culture that was foreign to me. My next job in Virginia was for the government, first in the laundry as a clerk and finally for the Corps of Engineers. I worked on base at Ft. Eustis until Andy was born. In Casper I managed our Turquoise Unlimited store and also did sales part of the week. That was a huge responsibility. I worked briefly for a real estate company in Littleton in 1987 but quit to return to school. After college with no job offers, Wally and I remodeled two houses (besides our townhouse which we remodeled in 1983) and I helped my friend Leslie with her new house. Decorating has always been my passion. In another life I would have gone to Design School and been a professional interior designer. As it was, we just kept moving, remodeling, and building houses. We remodeled one in Houston and built three in Dallas but only moved in to one of them. But, that is another story.
Question: Do you remember someone saying something to you that had a big impact on how you lived your life?
I remember Grace Waters in Laramie, when I was in Mutual, teaching us that we should always treat those of our family with the most kindness and courtesy—better than anyone else. I often wondered how that worked in their family. That was new to me as my dad was always two people—busy and sometimes grumpy at home and pleasant and friendly at church. However, when I married Wally I found out it was true as he was always positive and loving at home. Dad Volney said other hurtful things that have stayed with me through the years. I understand that his childhood was a life of poverty and hardship without a father for the most part. Even this week (2/25/2015) I thought about what he said to me when Wally and I got married. It was so hurtful and uncaring. One should never say ugly things to their children. Be like Annett is with Addie, no matter the circumstance, just be loving and helpful. Words do hurt, but we get over it and move on, sometimes with difficulty. We must learn to be emotionally healthy and live like our Savior would have us live every day. That can bring a peaceful acceptance and forgiveness to our lives.