Tag Archives: Caldwell Idaho

Start: High School Sweethearts

Ted and Linda Montgomery 1st Anniversary

Mom and Dad: 1st Anniversary

So it’s January 2. As usual, I’ve made about 45962 resolutions, one of which is to resurrect this genealogy blog. I’m trying something new this year; I recently came across Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Each week has its own prompt, intended to encourage selecting one ancestor or relative to share in some way.

This week’s post? “Start.” There are many ways to interpret that one (the system describes the prompts as “intentionally vague”), but for me, and for all of us, we get our start from our parents. So where did my parents’ shared story start?

For Theodore Richard (Ted) Montgomery and Linda Jo Hoffmann, that start was in the first grade. They were in the same class at Van Buren Elementary in Caldwell, Idaho, though both had been born elsewhere (Mom in Portland, Oregon; Dad in Scottsbluff, Nebraska). Both have very different memories of that first grade class, as well, and not much memory of each other at that time. Mom seems to have a fairly positive memory of the class; for Dad, everything was marred by the fact that during a fire drill on the very first day, he asked the teacher (who shall remain anonymous) if there was a real fire, and she slapped him. I don’t like that teacher much, but she is long since dead. I checked.

Mom and Dad continued through school together, but it wasn’t until they were in high school that they had much contact. If I have my story straight, they got to know each other as more than just vague acquaintances toward the end of their junior year. The following summer, while Mom visited relatives in Illinois, Dad wrote her letters. A lot of them. At some point in here, they had their first date, playing miniature golf. Mom won. It wasn’t until Homecoming of their senior year, however, that they became more serious – Mom was elected Caldwell High School’s Homecoming Queen for 1959, and Dad was her escort and crowned her during the game. At least I think it was during the game; a secondary goal for 2018 is to gather more oral history details from family….

Soon after Homecoming, Mom and Dad began going steady. They dated all through their senior year and graduated in May 1960. Both attended the College of Idaho for one semester that fall (both had scholarships to cover that much college), but they knew already that they wanted to get married and start their lives together and not just “soak up knowledge,” as Mom accused my brother and me of doing when we went on for impractical degrees in English/Classics (Matt), and Medieval Studies (me).

They were engaged in December 1960 (again, I’m waiting for Mom to correct me if I’ve got that wrong). Dad then went to work at The Crookham Company, and Mom took classes at a business school. They were married at Grace Lutheran Church in Caldwell on August 26, 1961, which was also Dad’s father’s 60th birthday. Dad was 19, and Mom was still 18; she would turn 19 in about 6 more weeks. They would wait more than a decade to start a family; my brother was born in December 1971, and I in April 1974. But I still consider that first grade classroom where their shared history first began.

One final postscript: Mom and Dad’s glamorous honeymoon was spent at the 7K Motel in Garden City, a suburb of Boise. Like their marriage, the 7K is still in existence, 56 years later.

 

 

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Amanuensis Monday – Early Diary Years

Velma This is me on horseback fording the river.

Grandma on horseback on a hunting trip

Grandma Hoffmann began keeping a diary in earnest in about 1975, and I have a separate blog dedicated to those posts.  Grandma was always a record-keeper, however, and I’ve uncovered some documents which essentially constitute a much earlier diary record.

A series of sheets of paper, about 3″x 5″, fastened together with now-rusty paper clips, each sheet covers one month and has some sections pre-typed.  It seems Grandma originally intended the sheets to track her work schedule, with “Work” typed next to each weekday, and “Work A.M.” typed next to each Saturday. Grandma then added further details about her daily activities.

At this time, Grandma was 24 years old and (I think – someone may be able to confirm for me) working for Selective Service. This, as well as the date of this month’s diary sheet, makes it particularly fitting for this Memorial Day. She and Grandpa had moved from Illinois to Idaho within the previous 18 months. Both loved the West, but when Grandpa seemed more interested in the hunting and fishing that had drawn him there, Grandma was the one who first went out and got a job. An earlier record sheet indicates Grandma began work on January 29 1941, and Grandpa on February 17.

DECEMBER 1941

Mon. 1 W/□ – W/o□ Work [check mark]
Tues. 2 – Work [check mark]
Wed. 3 x – Work [check mark]
Thurs. 4 – Work [check mark]
Fri. 5 – Work [check mark]
Sat. 6 [check mark] – Work A.M. [check mark] Get permanent
Sun. 7 – U.S. attacked by Japan
Mon. 8 – Work [check mark] U.S. declared War on Japan
Tues. 9 – Work [check mark]
Wed. 10 – Work [check mark]
Thurs. 11 – Work Quit working – last day.
Fri. 12 – Work Washed & cleaned basement
Sat. 13 – Work A.M. Quit working Cleaned house
Sun. x 14 – Went to Helen’s
Mon. 15 x – Work Ironed & went downtown
Tues. x 16 ? – Work Finished ironing & mended. Went to Caldwell at nite.
Wed. 17 x – Work Mended, etc.
Thurs. 18 x – Work – Got telegram – left for home [Illinois] 12:00 noon.
Fri. 19– Work – Night of Xmas party.
Sat. x 20 – Work A.M. Go Home (?) Arrived home 1:20 P.M.
Sun. x 21 – Hoffmann’s for supper – stayed at folks all nite
Mon. 22 – Mom’s birthday – Bill [Grandma’s sister Marilyn] & Fran married. Went home w/Sam & Norm 
Tues. 23 – Stayed at Marie & Herman’s all nite
Wed. 24 – Folks all nite.
Thurs. 25 – Christmas – stayed at Joe’s Mother’s all nite.
Fri. 26 – Went to Bill & Millie’s – stayed at Lee & Eileen’s.
Sat. 27 x – Came home – Stayed folks’ all nite.
Sun. 28 – Roy & Phyllis went home – Martha’s for supper.
Mon. 29 – went to Peoria – saw Ann & Mary.
Tues. 30 –
Wed. 31 – Sam & Norma’s New Year’s eve.

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Family Recipe Friday – Grandma’s Cranberry Jelly

Cranberry Jelly

 

Another recipe from Grandma Hoffmann‘s recipe binder – this one written on the back of a ticket to the Van Buren School Carnival.  Back when it cost 30 cents, apparently. This is the cranberry jelly that makes its appearance on the Thanksgiving table every year.  The story I have heard is that both this version and canned cranberry had to be served when Mom, Jay, Paula, and Carla were little.  Uncle Jay, in particular insisted on “the kind with the ring.”  Now if only we had had this recipe close at hand for Thanksgiving 2012 – somehow that year we remembered things incorrectly and boiled at length.  FYI – this results in a thick sticky glop.  Grandma’s instructions, when followed, result in a much more successful end product.

Amanuensis Monday – May God Bless You

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On March 21, 1966 my paternal grandfather, Lawrence Theodore Montgomery, wrote to my dad, then in the Army at Fort Polk, Louisiana and approaching his 24th birthday. Grandpa’s letter cost 8 cents to send air mail to “Pvt. Theodore R. Montgomery, RA 19882937 2nd Train Brig., 2D Battalion Co. B., Fort Polk, Louisiana 71459.” Grandpa mentions Linda Jo (my mother, waiting in Idaho to join Dad once he was out of basic training), as well as four of his twelve children: Laura, the youngest; Linda Lea, then sixteen; Gene, about 18 months older than Dad; and Flo, Grandpa’s eldest, 38 years old and with seven children of her own.

Caldwell, Idaho
March 21, 1966

Dear Ted:

We ran into trouble trying to transfer the Studebaker to Gene. We must have a sales tax exemption signed and notarized by you or pay the sales tax on it for the full book price. Request that you get this form signed and your commanding officer can notarize it for you. Gene is planning on going to work right away and will need the car. He may go to work in Nampa.

Linda Jo said she missed your phone call yesterday. Gene said you were probably still in the field.

Gene, Laura, Mom and I went out to Flo’s yesterday all afternoon and evening. Linda Lea stayed home to study.

Spring is showing up here now the mountains are pretty white with snow but it is 45° here in the Valley. We are going to plan garden this week, if the moon is right.

Everyone is O.K. here now. Laura is home with a sore throat but not serious. Bob Baird left for San Diego yesterday morning. We plan on a birthday dinner for you and Laura at McGarvins about the 3rd of April or when it is most convenient for you.

Must close and get this off to you as soon as you get this back to us we can get a license on the car.

May God Bless You
Dad, Mom, Gene & Gals

Also included in the envelope is a letter from Aunt Laura, Dad’s handicapped youngest sister, then five days shy of her fifteenth birthday:

Dear Ted

I Miss you very much. Be glad when you come home. Maybe we can have a Birthday Party to-gether after you get home. Love Laura

Interestingly, the envelope also contains a self-addressed stamped envelope as well as the Idaho Sales Tax Vehicle Certificate Dad was supposed to have notarized and return. I know Uncle Gene ended up with the Studebaker somehow; Dad may have to explain that one.

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