Ford I. Gano History Ė Tape 6 Side B
So here goes on the second side. Knowing that the boys, I think there were one or two girls along in the Ag class, the FFA department that went along on that trip, all were interested in seeing those bats come in or go out. So we watched them that early morning as we got to the cave, watched them fly about. Believe you me, that was one tremendous sight, to see all those bats swooping out of that tremendous cavern. They of course roosted in just one part of that cavern there, and the trail to the lower area went around the actual home of the bats.
But we also went down to the cavern, took the trail. This time when we went down, we had many electrical lifts that took us down much faster to the location we wanted to go, but still highlighted all the goodies in the cavern as we went along, stopping at different locations. Again, we stopped down there at that tremendously big cavern, and they did the same thing. Now this was some, maybe 6 Ė8 years later from when I had been there before, and they did the same thing they had done my previous trip. They turned out the lights to give us a taste of complete darkness. But then this time, they had allowed smoking to go on, so the darkness was ruined, all the rangers had told us that if you lighted up a cigarette, it would readily be seen and take away some of the illusion of darkness that weíd get without. But this time in the darkness while the lights were turned out, some of the diehards who couldnít quit their smoking, had to light up their cigarettes, and as we sat around that big stalagmite, we listened to the same song that had been sung directly by the voices farther back. But this time they had recorded it, and the record had a crack in it, and it wasnít quite nearly as beautiful as the first time, where it just seemed to get almost in some kind of heavenly location. Nobody else would never be in it again. Well, this time we had the crack in the record the rangers sang, which wasnít nearly as beautiful as it was the first time, and also around the great stalagmite in the amphitheater, there were those glows of cigarettes. I also used that many times later on as an illustration of what the truth of the gospel was like as compared to the Ďilluminated worldísí version of it. Nevertheless, all the students that I had along with me really enjoyed the whole session.
I just mention that now because later on, when I accepted the gospel, as part of my new accepting Christ in my life, after my conversion to the True Church of Jesus Christ, I had later on while doing some of my work in various areas of the organization in which I was involved I had opportunity to compare the trueness of that first trip Ė with out the cigarettes, without the smoky smell of the cavern and with the tremendous vocal addition that the rangers had sang for us (they told us that the rangers that were doing the singing were at least a quarter of a mile back up the trail Ė the voices were coming through so perfectly clear, you could hear every tone and every voice clearly). The second time it was marred by the crack in the record, and the cigarettes that you could see flicking on and off there in the cavern darkness there.
Back to our Snowflake days, now for a little bit. I guess I stated before that I had received a letter from my brother Frank, when he found out that I was teaching school among the Mormons of Arizona. He sent me a terrific letter telling me what a culprit Joseph Smith was. A religious fanatic, he called him, and that his followers were just followers, they didnít know any better.
Well, as I lived there with the Snowflake-ites, and became acquainted with the families of the Ag students that I was teaching, and getting acquainted with some of the people themselves in Snowflake and the surrounding towns that all made up the Snowflake district, I could not help but be aware that they did not fit the description my brother Frank had said of them. I found them very educated. I found the people very well informed about the natural things, the general things in life. I found them very interested in all the areas of living. Nellie, on the other hand, was kind of aggravated, or annoyed by the fact that some of the lady missionaries, in their zealous ambition to convert anybody, when they came home off their missions, knowing that Nellie was not a member of the church, visited her once or twice in our little apartment that we were living in and tried to convince her that the gospel was true. Nellie ended that in a hurry by telling them, no, she was not interested, and telling them not to come back any more. Well, she didnít show that in her life. We had some wonderful acquaintances there in Snowflake. We went to various parties and associations, and had a little group that kind of went together, 8 or 10 couples, and it was just a wonderful group to be around, no smoking, no frivolous joking, and very serious about honoring the principles of the gospel that they belonged to.
I was asked to teach in the church in the High School, I was called to be a member of the Agricultural Welfare committee of the church there, and strangely as it might seem, Nellie was called to be a teacher in the MIA group that was there. She did a good job in that, I know, because Nellie had many compliments. Of course, Nellie was a trained teacher, and she didnít ever try to bring up her gospel antagonism, or even mix it in with her teaching callings. But I did have some opportunities to mix in with the group there, the priesthood holders in Snowflake. At one time, I was called, along with that committee, to go over to Pima Arizona. Pima was the home of our later President, who at that time was president of the stake over in that area, the Thatcher Stake. I guess you know who Iím talking about, I canít remember his name right now [Spencer W. Kimball].
I relaxed for a few minutes, and I was listening to my book of Mormon tape when my memory was jogged and I remembered that the home that we met in Pima was Spencer W. Kimball, who later became president of the Church. But that was beside the point, of this meaningful meeting to me, as I sat beside of the chair in which Harold B. Lee, who had been called by the church presidency to revise the church welfare system, down in Arizona. Brother Lee, was a native Arizonan, and was well qualified to take this over. He was not a general authority at that time, I donít think he was called as one of the apostles at that time, but nevertheless he was well suited for this job. The welfare system at that time had just about pretty well died out. I had been originated, and followed very closely and did a wonderful job in its dimensions over the period of time it was meant to cover. But now, as the Church was progressing and growing, it needed to be revitalized, so Harold B. Lee was given that job to do that down there in the Arizona stakes.
Well, what was interesting to me was that, while that program was discussed there by those leaders of the Northern Arizona stakes, Harold B. Lee happened to just drop his hand over on my leg, and I felt a shock, electrical, if I ever had an electrical shock, I sure felt it at that time. It almost made me jump. That came back into my memory very vividly. Iíve related it on previous occasions, so thereís no use taking time again to do that. My final reasons for moving from Snowflake down to the Salt River Valley schools, at the end of my second year in Snowflake, because in the meantime, while at Snowflake, we had two beautiful daughters born into the Gano Tribe. Joanne first, on June 4th XXXX [removed in online version for privacy]. Barbara was born about 15 months later in Snowflake, in the Snowflake hospital, so called. I will mention that a little more completely, after I get Barbara located here, at August 16th XXXX [removed for privacy]. They were just 15 months apart.
Joanne was a very curly-haired gal, and she was really sweet and adorable. We have some good pictures of her as she was growing up. I guess thatís characteristic of firstborns. Also Barbara came along 15 months later. Nellieís brother Willie used to always twig her about having her children born 9 months and 15 months later, and he says, "You should have waited longer than that." And "Youíre slipping; whatís the matter?"
Well, enough for that. Anyway, they were both born in Snowflake, Dr. Junius Heyward was our physician, and did a good job, I guess, along with the nurses there in the little two story building, a house that had been converted into a hospital. They didnít have any extra nurses, they kept it open only when it was necessary, so it wasnít very much of a hospital. But it was used for burns and emergency situations.
If I remember right, Dixie Flake was the nurse that took care of the birth of both of my first two children. She was the wife of Vernon Flake, who was one of the group that we kind of kicked around with there in Snowflake. So at the end of the second year there in Snowflake, although we were enjoying ourselves very much, and I kind of wanted to learn more about the church, and learn more about Joseph Smith, and in other words, I wanted to go to the Mormon Church. In order to do that, I had to be converted to Joseph Smith. Well, in order to get away from the confusion, and perhaps from the antagonism that was caused by such feelings in our home, I decided to accept a job teaching down in the valley. The first job was at Gilbert Arizona, with the Mormon Church down there. So we moved down to Gilbert, and found a little house to rent, and attended a sectarian church while we were down there. So I kind of forgot what was going on in Mormon-land at that time. I did have one or two of my students, though, who were enrolled there at Gilbert, who were Mormons, and very good ones. One of them was the champion state farmer, the FFA State Farmer, the highest award that could be given to any member of the FFA clubs around the state. Another one was also very high. All of these students were there in Gilbert.
Well, Gilbert wasnít a very large school. I stayed there just one year, and I had a chance to go down to Yuma Arizona as an Ag teacher down there. Now this was in the high school at Yuma. As I said when I went down before to visit out there, it was out in a suburb, some 16 miles away from Yuma itself, so I wasnít too thrilled at the proposition. But I was thrilled at the opportunity to go down and teach in Yuma. It was the 3rd largest high school in the state of Arizona, and the 3rd largest Agriculture department, also, out there at Yuma High School. So I was happy to have that opportunity. I accepted a contract down there, and went down there to teach.
When we went in there to Yuma, if I describe the scene of our move down there, it would be just like trying to describe how the Okies felt when they moved from their homes in the midwest or wherever they were, out to the western states. We were truly an Okie group, moving down there. All of our belongings on top of a hay wagon, pulled by a pickup down into the location I had rented to live. As we were unloading our household goods there in Yuma, Nellie decided to go into town to get some groceries so we could have something to eat after going through that move, and she went into town for that purpose, and I continued clearing off the wagons and the trailers that we had to move us down.
When she came back from that trip into town, she had a very big surprise for me, at least it turned out to be a big surprise. She said, "You know who I met up in town?" No, I donít know who you met. "I met one of the Flake girls." Now, the Flake girls were the two twins who lived up in Snowflake, I had become acquainted with. They werenít ag students, but they were popular girls at Snowflake High School, and I had become well acquained with them, Laura and Lorna, I think it was. And one of them had found Nellie there shopping and started up a conversation with her and found out what was going on and said, "Listen, if you arenít going to church anywhere, why donít you come up and go to church with our Mormon group?"
Nellie was all, you might say, changed quite a bit in her attitude about Mormons after going to a regular church, a sectarian church there in Gilbert for over a year, so she came back and asked me "Would you like to go to a Mormon church down here?" And I kinda reluctantly said, "Yeah; where is it?" and she told me the story then, and we decided that we would try it out. And that was the sum of that story, on how we first got started in the little Yuma branch, there in Yuma Arizona.
It was a small branch, that was for sure, only about 15 members I think, but very desirous of having a place to worship every Sunday morning. We met at the front end of a typewriter shop that was owned by one of the members of the church. In fact it was Lauraís uncle, Sam Flake, and he owned a typewriter shop, and he loaned it to the church as a meeting place, which we had to clean up in the morning and push the stands back out of the way and set up chairs and get ready for the regular church schedule we had in those days. Nellie and I also met the branch president and his wife, and were very impressed with them. We met another family, a returned missionary, and almost as old as we were, in fact I think he was a little older than we were, just youngsters at that time. He was operating the creamery there in Yuma, and he was a very, you might say, very enthused member of the church. He had an excellent testimony, and the branch president had set it up for us to start taking some beginning classes in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants from this brother, this returned missionary. I canít remember the names right now, and Iím not going to try to remember them, but he was sure a good teacher. He could explain any part of the Book of Mormon, get it in a very interesting manner, to where we really became interested in the church. Nellie wanted know every turn and twist of why the church and who the church etc., etc. In other words, she wanted to investigate the church very thoroughly before she began to even think about becoming a member. Of course, I had already decided that I wanted to be a Mormon, wanted to be a member of the Mormon Church; I didnít use the same enthusiasm that she had, but I was always quite interested. We listened to those lessons quite avidly. Enjoyed them very much. It wasnít but about 6 months after that, the branch president asked us the question, would you like to join. This was President Shumway, he took us up to Mesa Arizona, and we were baptized in the Mesa Arizona Temple. Since that time, baptisms for the living have been done outside of the temple, and temple baptisms are only for the dead.
At other times I have pretty well reiterated our conversion, our acceptance of the gospel and our baptism there at the Mesa temple, and went back to Yuma, and went back to Yuma to live for a few years. I think we took two, maybe 3 years, Iíve almost forgotten now. But at the end of that time, I was getting itchy feet again, primarily because Brother Heyward from Snowflake, who had a business in Phoenix, had contacted me about becoming part of his organizational group there, Western Farm Management. Knowing that was available, at the end of what I think was my third year of teaching in Yuma, I went up to see him. And the reason I mention this was because while I had an appointment with him on a certain date in the end of the school year there, and went up to see him. Well, while I was up there being interviewed, lo and behold, our next child, Darlene, was born. Well, I wasnít there and couldnít help Nellie, and one of the neighbors had to take her to the hospital, and they didnít have a hospital there in Yuma. She was born on the 31st of [May,XXXX.]
1Joanneís given name is Nellie Joanne Gano. Apparently, she always went by her middle name, perhaps to avoid confusion between mother and daughter.