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First Principal of American Heritage School
September 1971 | Pleasant Grove, Utah
Allan Keith was the first principal of American Heritage School which first opened its doors in September of 1971. Initially, grades Kindergarten through 8th grade were taught.
American Heritage struggled financially for several years, and Allan was unable to continue on as principal. However, he loved the school and serving as its principal. American Heritage is still alive and thriving today with a new facility in American Fork.
Assistant Principal Keith shows sympathy for his first grade nephew
1965 | Edgemont Elementary School, Provo, Utah
I attended Edgemont school the second half of First Grade. Allan J. Keith, my uncle, taught 6th Grade and was Assistant Principal at the school. One day at lunch a classmate eating lunch at my table asked if anyone wanted his brownie. I was the first to raise my hand. But when he gave it to me and then ran off, I discovered that he had already licked off all the frosting! There was a rule at the school that students had to finish eating all their lunch. So when I took my tray back, a student worker took note that I hadn't finished the brownie. I hurried away, but shortly thereafter two other sixth grade students came to find me on the playground and escorted me to the principal's office. I was mortified to learn than the principal was absent and that I would have to talk with the assistance principal, who was my uncle. In tears, I told him the story. I remember his big smile as he gave me a tissue and sent me back outside to play.
Letter from Pvt. J. Allan Keith to brother Wayne P. Keith
postmarked 15 Nov 1943 | Amarillo, TX
Amarillo Army Air Field
Sat. Nov. 13, ‘43
Dear Brother Wayne,
I was very glad to get your letter, the only thing you should [have] done was write a little bit more. I got it at noon today and I was quite surprised to get a letter from Mr. Wayne Keith. I didn’t know you were such a good writer.
You said you wished you were in the Army so you wouldn’t have to hold out the cow. Well I’ll tell you a little bit about what I do on some of the easy days. I get up at 6:15 every morning, its really cold and the moon is shining. We have about five minutes to get ready and make our beds and then “fall out” in front of the barracks. “Fallout” means – get outside on the double. “On the double” means running. We stand out there for a while til we have roll call, then we go to chow. We have to march everywhere we all go together.
After we eat we march back and begin to drill or else go on detail. To “drill” is practice marching. Detail is special work we have to do. Day before yesterday I had to go on K.P. at 5:00 in the morning and I go off at 9:00 at night, it wasn’t very hard. K.P. means kitchen police; we weren’t police we just worked in the kitchen. I got all I wanted to eat anyway. This morning I went on special detail and helped dig on a hole. I didn’t have to work very hard. It all pays the same. Yesterday we went over the obstacle course and I beat the 8 men I started with and the 2 groups of 8 each that started before I did. That course is really hard, you had better keep practicing. You’ve already got a good start. Study hard in school too. I have had to take a lot of tests too. Not very many of the men pass those examinations. Read a lot and learn about everything. It isn’t hard to learn things if you will think about what you are studying and not about flying airplanes.
After you get out with a lot of men like in the Army, everyone is different, some good and some not so good. I can tell every man who is a Mormon without even talking to them. You can tell the ones who smoke and drink, they never make it very far. If they don’t fail the mental exam, they almost always fail the physical. You can also tell the fellows who have studied. Only the men who lived right and who have studied are the ones who can be pilots and even some of them can’t be. A boy the other day (I didn’t even know him then) told me that I was a Mormon and that I would make it as far as I tried to go. I later found out that he was a boy from Price, Utah. He had moved there from back East 2 years ago. You see people can always tell the boys who do the right things. Don’t forget that and don’t forget to keep trying all the time. I’m glad you are interested in Primary. I was a Blazer once, but I think that I stopped about there. You hadn’t better do that. Keep going and try to learn what they teach you. Pay attention to your teachers in Primary and school even if the other boys don’t. It makes you just that much better than them. You have done quite well learning what you did in Primary, I mean that you wrote in your letter. Don’t forget that Mom can teach you as much as your teachers, maybe about different things, but she’s had a lot of experience. Remember what the Blazer emblem stands for. You may not realized how much it helps now but you will when you get older. Always stand up straight line the pine tree. I have to.
Its your birthday on Nov. 21. Happy Birthday Wayne. I have put in a little present for you.
I’m glad you play football. Learn how to play real good and don’t even think that anyone can do anything better than you, because they can’t if you’ll remember what I’ve said and try hard. Don’t be afraid of getting hurt. You can’t get hurt in the things you do.
I got the box Mom sent 2 days ago. I was glad to get that picture. The guys here [said] that we had a dam good family, we have. They [said] that I was the father and Dad was the oldest child and you were mad at everyone. But you looked like the smartest one. Helen and Karen and me were next. Tell Mom I’ve got everything I need. I’ll write if I need anything. The lights in our barrack go out at 10:00. I had to go to a room where the boys play pool and write letters. I don’t play pool.
I guest I had better go to bed, because I’ve got to get up early in the morning.
Tell Karen and Helen that the boys [said] that they were cuter than Beverly. Tell them if they’ll write to me I’ll write them a letter. Tell the rest of them especially Mom and Dad that if they’ll write a letter as long as this one I’ll write them one, but not until they write. I really like to get letters from all of you.
You don’t have to read this to them or let them read it if you don’t want to. Its private. Mom hadn’t better open it before you get home. You may have to let Mom read it to you if you can’t read it.
Don’t forget what I’ve said and don’t forget to write to me some more. Give them all my love. Write soon—all of you.
The Day My Dad Died
July 18, 1984 | Elberta, UT
I remember the day vividly. It was a beautiful, sunny Wednesday in July. I was at work (teaching at the MTC) when I got a page directly into the classroom asking that I go to the office. Since that had never happened before, I knew something was up...and it was probably not good.
At this time I had been married for about a year and my wife and I had a brand new baby girl--18 days old at that time. I assumed that something was wrong with our baby.
When I arrived at the office, Jeff, my older brother, was on the phone. He told me that he had heard from a neighbor of our parents that our father had been in a very serious car accident. They didn't know his condition, but knew that it was very serious and he had been taken by ambulance to the hospital in Payson, Utah.
Jeff told me to sit tight and he would try to find out more information. I sat by the phone there at work for about 10 minutes, but I remember it seemed like an eternity. Jeff called back, and I will always remember his words telling me that it was fatal. It's hard to describe the emotions you go through at a time like that, as anyone who has experienced this knows. I thought how strange and unbelievable it all felt. The night before, my father and mother had been at our house holding their newest granddaughter, Tara. It didn't seem possible that someone so constant in my life could be there one moment and gone the next.
As poor newlyweds, our car was not working very well at the time, and so we had to go to my wife's mother to borrow her car so we could go to my parents house. I remember standing on her porch trying to figure out how to tell my mother-in-law what had happened. Since Jennifer and I grew up in the same neighborhood, our parents knew each other very well.
We traveled to Elberta, Utah, a small town about 25 miles south of Provo, where we lived. It's such a small town that it really has only one intersection...but one intersection was all that was needed for this terrible accident to happen. To this day I'm not sure what happened to the ladies who were in the other car. I hope they were okay.
In about a month from now, we will mark the 25th anniversary of my father's passing. It's amazing how the events of that day are still so clear in my mind. Fortunately, time softens the pain and eventually heals the wounds. Now I simply feel blessed to have known J Allan Keith and look forward to seeing him again one day.