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1925-1940 | Butlerville UT
I, Robert D. Maynes, was born March 24, 1925, in the Salt Lake County Hospital. My parents are John Alexander Maynes III and Sarah Louretta Despain. My mother told me that I was a difficult birth. I was preceded by five brothers and followed by two brothers and two sisters, this making a family of ten siblings and Mom and Dad. My father was kidded about raising a baseball team. When my sisters were born Dad was very proud of them.
We lived on the east side of Wasatch Boulevard and about one mile from the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon in the community called Butlerville, later changed to Cottonwood Heights. Here I resided until I graduated from Jordan High School and received a call to go on a mission to Eastern Canada.
We lived on a small farm and grew much of our own garden and most of our fruit. Usually we would have a few cows, some horses, some pigs, a couple of sheep, chickens and sometimes other fowls. I don't remember us ever being without food, though some times it wasn't very plentiful.
Father owned about 70 acres of land but only about 25 acres were tillable. We had a variety of fruit trees, vines, and plants which included several varieties of peaches, apples, cherries, pears, apricots, and plums. There were strawberries, raspberries, dewberries, boysenberries and currants and other fruit. In vegetables we had a large variety. The asparagus was wild on the ditch banks. Horseradish grew wild on the ditch banks also. We usually planted corn, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, beets, turnips, potatoes, beans, peas, onions, squash, and other vegetables.
When I was about 8 years of age, we planted a new orchard of about 15 acres west of the house. Dad got some fruit trees, mostly peaches and apples. The trees were planted about 18 feet apart. Dad was very careful that we lined the trees in straight rows both directions. The old orchard was dying out and it would be about five years before the new orchard would start to bear fruit enough to sell or for canning for ourselves.
Sometimes we would raise grain, alfalfa, and other feed for the livestock. Besides the chores, there were always things to be done such as plowing, irrigation and preparations for irrigation, cultivation, weeding, planting and thinning, cleaning coops, pens, barns, and corrals, and caring for the babies (chicks, calves, lambs and any other animal that came along). We had one or more horse to help with the growing season.
The fruit would start to ripen in June and keep going until the frost came in late October. it was a very busy time for the whole family. It took much work to care for the fruit orchard. The trees had to be pruned in early spring. Then during the summer they had to be sprayed to keep the bugs and worms out. The ground had to be kept weed free and there had to be ditches to direct the water to them. We had to irrigate the orchard about every five days to keep them growing well. It was important to be sure the water got to each tree.
I remember much of the summer we would go around barefoot, and shirtless. As soon as the weather turned warm we would be coaxed to shed our shirts. Usually I would get a sunburn and peel before I would tan for the summer.
My father drove a school bus for as many years as I can remember, until I was eight. I was told that he drove bus for many years before I was born. He was known as Jack Maynes by his friends and acquaintances. Even many years after he died I have had people ask me if I was Jack Maynes' son. I said proudly that I was.
My father was active in church. He was Scout Master for many years before I was old enough to be a Boy Scout. I remember his always planning a camping trip of some sort. I thought I would soon be old enough to go. It seems that when I got old enough he was no longer in scouting and that in our ward the scouting program had faded away.
Father was superintendent of the Sunday School. One Sunday there were nine in attendance, seven of which were from our family. On another Sunday I was assigned a 2 1/2 minute talk. I thought, "My Dad is the superintendent of the Sunday School so I can get my own talk without help." I kept putting it off. Sunday morning came and I still didn't have a talk prepared. I got the Church news and picked a short article that I decided to read. I should have read it before hand. It had some words I didn't know and couldn't pronounce. Anyway, Dad finally asked me to sit down without finishing. When we got home he got after Mom for not helping me to prepare.
Well, a little bit about our home... The house originally was a two room adobe, but Dad and others added some bed rooms and a front porch to it. it was heated by coal or wood. Dad put a basement under it which was never finished. I remember it being dug out and a wall was rocked up to close in the west and north sides. On cold nights we would build a fire in the stove and bank the fire so it wouldn't burn too fast. If we were lucky, there would still be coals in the stove the next day. We had a cistern that we would fill once a week for drinking and culinary water. At one time we had water piped to the barn and chicken coop. We had to carry the water into the house until I was nearly grown. Our water came from Big Cottonwood Creek about two miles away. Every spring those that used water from this irrigation company either had to pay cash or perform work to clean and put the ditch in repair for the coming year. If the ditch became clogged it would block off the needed water for our farms and homes
It was the chore of the younger boys to watch the dairy cows and calves, and keep them up on the side hill out of the orchard, alfalfa, and gardens. If we didn't watch them they would get into these places and ruin the gardens or bloat on green alfalfa or apples. As I was one of the younger boys I got to watch the cows. We would make flippers with shoe tongues, old inner tubes and tree crotches. Sometimes we could save steps when the cows started to go the wrong way by flipping rocks at them and making the rocks hit in front of them. We usually had a dog that would help us too. Sometimes we would get to playing in the trees or digging in the sandy hills and forget the cows. Then we would get in trouble.
As a little boy I remember Dad always had horses to do the team work, such as pull the hay wagons, pull the mowers, rakes, and plows and other equipment.
One summer I remember Dad contracted to get some timber for a Park City Mine. The family went up and helped drag out the pine poles and get them delivered. I was still quite young. I would guess about 7 or 8 years. The family, except two of my older brothers and me, had gone up the canyon to log. They had jobs and couldn't leave. I was to watch the place and do the chores. The next week I got to go up the canyon. Half way up Parleys Canyon the truck blew a tire and Dad hitched a ride back to Salt Lake to get another tire while Mom and I stayed with the truck. It was nearly dark when Dad got back. I didn't think we would ever get to camp. When we did, all I can remember now is that everyone was in bed and I thought I was stepping on someone every time I took a step. The next day I went up the mountain to help snake the logs out. Come the end of the week everyone went home except my brother John, my cousin Merland Despain and myself. John was an excellent fisherman and this was my first real experience at fishing. He let me hold the pole while he moved across the stream. I caught my first fish. My cousin was disappointed because he hadn't caught a fish yet and he was almost six months older than me.
When I started to school, it was kindergarten. I got to go a half day. One day my cousin Merland went to school with me. He didn't have kindergarten where he lived. We took a small blanket or towel or a section of newspaper and spread it on the floor to lay on to take a nap. My cousin thought it was silly to take a nap in the morning. Our teacher was Mrs. Nellie Engelbrightsen. She had a daughter in kindergarten that I had a crush on. Some of my school chums were Betty Nelson, Merlin Hilton, Calvin Blair, Claude Jones, Dawn Butler, Mark Green, Leah Boyce, and many others. I also went through elementary school and Jr. High and most of High School with these people. I went to Primary, church and to many of the community activities with them. Another of my school mates was David Woaten. His father was the first bishop that I can remember. They moved not too long after I started in school. Bishop Nathan Jones was the next bishop, then Bishop Phill Badger, Bishop Frank Cowley, and Bishop Thomas Fyans. I was always involved in programs, plays or other activities.
In fifth and sixth grades I was a traffic patrolman. In the fifth grade I was ill when they had the big day for patrolmen. In the sixth grade I wanted to go to the outing. We had to meet the bus in Union and we missed it because we had to walk. The next week the traffic patrol officer came by and took me for a ride to Granite in his patrol car. EXCIT-ING!!!!
In Jr. High I joined the band. I played the trumpet. At least I tried to play the trumpet. We had a marching band. We went to several places to play in parades and other programs. We wore purple and gold uniforms.
Union Jr. High was about five miles from home. We rode the bus everyday. If we missed the bus we missed school. I can't remember many days that any of us ever missed. We rode the same bus later in high school, Jordan High School, which was another three miles further to Sandy. I looked forward to going to High School. It meant I was growing up. I had many happy and exciting times in High School. One of the highlights was Seminary. Brother Grant was my seminary teacher. We studied the Old and New Testaments, and Church History. Also, we were assigned to read the Book of Mormon. I had tried to read the Book of Mormon before getting to High School but it was in Seminary that I got understanding.
The year before I started to High School my father became ill and died in July. He was working on the road to Alta and caught a cold. It turned to pneumonia and then other complications affected his kidneys and heart. I was fifteen at the time. I always thought of my father as a leader. I don't remember doing many things with my Dad. One experience I remember is when we all went to a canyon party the ward had. We had to come home a little early as it was our watering turn. Dad had me go with him to set the water on the orchard. As we went out to set the water I heard a sound that I wasn't familiar with. I asked Dad to wait while I turned the light up ahead. There was a rattle snake coiled up ready to strike. Dad took his shovel and dispensed with the snake... Another experience was when it was apple blossom time. Dad had an orchard sprayer that he would take around to spray the orchards for people. One time he had me take the team and sprayer to an orchard on my way to school. (I was in grade school at the time.) I left with the team and thought he would be there in time for me to get to school. He was detained a few minutes and I thought he had forgotten me. He hadn't forgotten me, but was there in time to get me to school on time.
One time he took me to work with him. I had to go to a dentist in Murray for tooth repairs. He was working on Vine Street in Murray so he took me to stay at his cousin Jack's place until time to go to the dentist. I played with my cousin's boy, John, and others but John was closer to my age.
Dad was very considerate with his children, when we were with him. He seemed to know everyone he passed and would make it a habit to introduce us to his acquaintances.
When I was about ten years old Gaylen and I got some roller skates that clamped on our shoes. We skated on the patio in front of the house for some time. Mom got tired of our noise so we asked her if we could roller skate to our cousin's home in Granite. With her permission we skated over and back which was about three miles each way. I learned from this experience how smooth the asphalt road was not. Walking would have been easier and faster.
Our favorite fishing holes were Big Cottonwood Creek, Little Cottonwood Creek and occasionally Little Willow Creek. I guess the reason we chose these places was the closeness of their vicinity to our home. They were within walking distance.
My recollection of home was a house that had been added upon and improvements as the family kept growing. I am told it was originally a two-room log home. I remember it as 3 bedrooms, a parlor, a dining room, a kitchen and food pantry and a room for a bathroom. It was finished in pine, a one story with basement (unfinished). I remember scraping the west end out with a horse and scraper; then there came the need of shovels to finish the digging. After the dirt was removed the wall was closed in with cement and rock. The east end of the basement was a cemented floor but the west portion was a dirt floor.
The source of water was an irrigation ditch that came by the house. We would have to dip water from the ditch and carry it to the house to do laundry, bathe, cook, and drink and whatever else we needed water for. Our water was heated on a stove or range as was available.
When it was our watering turn, temperature permitting, we would, as we called it, go swimming. The water would be backed up till it was 2 to 3 feet deep. This was easier than bathing in a laundry tub.
The house had a cement porch on the front of it. It was never finished, but we played and sat on it a lot. Also; the house had a pitch to the roof. Many times we would play eeni-I-over with a tennis ball or a rubber ball, whichever we could find.
There was a cistern in the back yard. At one time there were pipelines to the chicken coop and other buildings. I don't remember the pipelines being used. Most of the buildings were destroyed by fire before I was born.
I do remember Mom and I cleaned the cistern when I was in my teens and I ran a pipe from the cistern to the house. We installed a pump and had running water to the kitchen sink and also to the bathroom.
I remember one summer when Alden was still home, he built a stand and put a barrel on it. We could fill it with water and let it stand until the sun warmed the water, then we could take a warm shower. This set up didn't last too long.
In the spring everyone that had interest in the irrigation line would be obliged to either furnish labor or pay the equivalent to clean and repair the ditch. One spring a neighbor and I were up the canyon near where the water from the creek entered the ditch. As we were cleaning weeds and leaves from the ditch we came across a can of beer that hadn't been opened. He offered a "sample" of it to me. "A refusal", so he drank it alone.
It was not unusual while cleaning ditches to run into a pool of water that had one or more trout in it. One time Lawrence and I went to the opening between the upper and lower pipeline. I crawled into the upper pipe where there was a pool of water and caught the fish and pushed them back to Lawrence. The upper pipeline had a drain coming from it. This drained behind the barn. When the drain was opened a volume of water would spill out. We would often catch fish when this happened. Usually the drain was only opened in the spring during the cleaning time.
A spatter of Sparks
1969-1971 | Trolley Square SLC
[From Comments by Maureen Maynes Tanner at her father's funeral]
As he was at the care center, there was a journalist who came in wanting to write an article and they asked the people there at the care center, "is there anyone there who had been unique and done anything special that he could interview and write an article." The people at the care center referred them to Dad and I would like to read that article that he wrote. There have been a couple of changes that has been made to it. Just minor changes. But I would like to share that with you. It's called:
"A Spatter of Sparks"
It was written by Richard Walker
"By night Trolley Square is a fairy delight - a Cinderella's wonderland. It's bright and shiny, full of sparkling, dancing lights. By day it oozes magic. It is a past from Dickens, a quaint village from long ago. Part of its quaint beauty is its old-fashioned ironwork. Iron fences, ornamental doors, metal decorations are the work of skilled artisan and welder, Robert Maynes. In the 1960's Robert worked his wizardry by welding metal and beauty into the heart of Trolley Square. The crowing masterpiece is the circular stairway ascending to the top of the water tower - a permanent iron spiral. It is ninety-six feet of lacy, metal magic."
"Robert owned Maynes Metal Craft where he with his son (daughter) Wayne (Jayne) at his side applied his creative welding. His durable ironwork stands as a testament to his skill as an artisan in welded iron. Buildings all over Salt Lake display his craft in iron. Rustic railings and fancy fences are a permanent part of scenic downtown."
"He tells of sleigh rides down Butler Hill in those glorious days when winters glassy roads were for sleds instead of cars. Butler Hill became a roller coaster and sleds were projectiles to rocket you down at seemingly supersonic speeds. Never mind that you had to claw your way back up. It was all forgotten in the next plunge downward."
"Robert is so very proud of his family. He has a wall of pictures full of beautiful women, handsome men, and lovely children. His delightful family has become a crowd. It started from two when he married Verla Anderson in 1948. They had eight children, raising six to adulthood. Now their numbers have swelled with grandchildren and great grandchildren. The more there are, the more to love. How wonderful, Robert!"
"Robert's family is held together with the strength of iron-welded with the faith from his Toronto, Canada mission and connected with the union of Verla and him. Good luck, Robert. may your memory continue to send out those electric sparks."
What an honor. Dad you will be missed by many.
Final testimony to his family
2003 | Bennion Care Center, UT
[comments from Glenna Maynes Baker ]
Shortly after Dad's passing, Mom was going through the stuff we brought home from the care center, she came across a legal pad and sometime earlier this year Dad had written his testimony to his family, I've been asked to be the one to read it.
“Dear Loved Ones, I would like you to know, and let you know what makes me who I am, and why. First, I know the Book of Mormon is a true record and a special witness of the Lord Jesus Christ our Redeemer and Savior. That He has called Prophets to give direction to His Church. In Amos 3:7, 'Surely the Lord, God will do nothing but He reveleth His secrets unto his servants the Prophets.'
I will relate a few stories of my childhood, for it since I have been told that my mother had difficult with me during labor. When I was about 2 years old, I did not want to leave my mother's breast. Then I saw a cousin who was about my same age nursing and I didn't want it any more. I had seven brothers and two sisters. We were always interacting with one another. Always someone was playing some kind of game or something that seemed more fun than doing chores. Beets had to be thinned, eggs gathered, chickens fed, cows milked and in earlier years cows led out to the pasture and kept out of our orchard and out of (?) Fence.
When Pearl Harbor was attacked, Alden joined the Air Force. A year or two later Alden was struck by the 'Love Bug' and decided to get married. He was stationed in Arizona. Mom went down to Alden's wedding. At this time Polio was causing much illness. Mary was very sick, I was the oldest of the children at home, I was asked to stay home and care for her. The younger children went to stay with Goldie and Darrell. I was told to call Dr. Allen as Dr. Jones was not available. I would have to leave Mary alone as I would have to go to a neighbor to get to a phone. I didn't dare leave Mary alone that long. I had learned to pray. I did feel that my prayers were answered. Mom returned home and Mary was given extensive therapeutic treatment, it was special. Since this episode there have been many other experiences that have helped to strengthen my testimony. One time on the way home after Priesthood Meeting I was alone and pondering the lesson and then thought came to my mind, "The Lord and I are a majority, not that I was much but the Lord could overcome. I knew with the Lord's help I could do the right things." Since this experience I have witnessed answers to many prayers. There have been things that have happened and I should have, things happened and I have obviously made the right choices. The Lord has helped me through my transgressions. I have had to suffer the penalty of disobedience when I did not heed the laws of God. May you draw near to the Lord and have Him as your witness. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”