Life On The Farm Effie’s New Stove

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My grandparents Heber & Effie Murdock’s Taken from Memories of the Farm Heber, Utah 1916-1930 Uncle Mort Murdock tells this story:

“I knew Mother threw the dishes out in the yard, she was mad over something. She was probably as mad as when Dad kicked the door off the stove. Well you know Dad’s father, John Heber Murdock, he always could put everything back together with bailing wire, gosh dang he used more bailing wire than the bailer’s on the bailing machines.  One day this old stove my Grandfather must have got it out of the trash pile, anyway it was an old stove an old busted down thing and the grate would fall down inside of it and one day the grate fell down and Mother was baking bread and the grate fell down and that knocked the oven down and the oven fell and my father was there trying to get the grate up to the oven and the door fell down, burning himself, he kicked the oven door off and my mother picked it up and threw it out in the middle of the yard.  “Well” she said “OK there you go” and Grandfather Murdock came along and said “don’t worry Effie, I can fix that, I can wire it back on and it will work just as good as it ever did.”  And Mother said “you’re not gonna wire nothing on”, and that was the first time my mother took a stand against Grandfather Murdock, but she took a full stand on that one.  She said “I’m gonna get another stove” and he said “there’s a war going on (WWI) and you can’t get one.” But she got one anyway.  She got this nice stove and boy were we proud of that stove and so was she.  I’ll tell you some nice meals came off that stove, awful good meals, my father he planted these potatoes and she’d get them while they were still young and scrub the skins off and cook them with peas and boy were they good.  And she could bake the best scones you ever ate in your life, and her sour cream cakes all decorated with whipped cream and coconut, cookies and parkerhouse rolls, boy was she a good cook, and bread, when I come home from school there would always be bread, jam and milk, always something to eat.”

 Area where the stove used to be
Area where the stove was at the farm

Life On The Farm Mort & The Kittens

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My Grandparents  Heber & Effie Murdock Taken from Memories on the Farm in Heber, Utah 1916-1930, Uncle Mort Murdock tells the story:

 Mort (left) and Dan at the farm 1920's
Mort (left) and Dan at the farm

“I was always playing around with ropes and strings and I roped a cat one day. I kinda choked the cat and he got a little excited and went up my face and down over my back two or three times . Mother came and saved me from that, it seems like she was always saving me from some crazy thing or another. There was some little kittens and I kept putting them in the water and wanting them to swim out and she told me to quit it and I didn’t and you know they died.  Then I bawled and cried cause she couldn’t bring them back to life. One time mother had some water in a tub  Mary and Dan were barely sticking their heads in goofing off, I thought they needed a good dunking so I pushed them both underneath the water and they started howling and bawling and mother came out and I took off running.  I had a good lead. Boy I was safe I could beat her.  I was running toward Aunt Millie’s place. There was this big irrigation ditch down there, I heard these footsteps getting closer and mother snatched me up and down I went to the bottom of the ditch about three times. I thought she was gonna drown me for sure.”

Life On The Farm Old Ephraim The Indian

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My grandparents Heber & Effie Murdock’s – farm in Heber, Utah 1916-1930. Taken from Memories on the Farm  Aunt Mary Murdock Stroud recalls:

Dad was good at bringing people home to eat. He particularly liked it when the Indians came through in the fall of the year to go to Provo to get the fruit. They always would stop at our place and bring all the ones that was there with them and mother would have to cook.  She used to fill that old boiler full of corn and I remember Old Ephraim, when he came he brought his family with him.  He was sitting by Susan, his wife and he just ate corn and ate corn and ate corn and he would slip his cobs over by Susan and pretty soon Susan had a great big pile of corn cobs in front of her and he’d start to laugh and say “Susan, she heaps like corn.”



He had a big hat. One of us sat on his hat. Old Ephraim he was pretty proud of that hat and he never brought it in the house after that. He had these long braids that hung down in front of him you know and he was straight, he stood up straight. My father told me to get up in the morning and watch him.  He says he will stand there with his arms folded and watch the sun come up every morning. That Old Ephraim, he was something else.


My dad was always coaxing Indians to come around. He was friendly with the Indians, well with everybody, he even brought home tramps sometimes too.”





Life On The Farm – The House

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Heber & Effie  Murdock my Grandparents farm – Taken from Memories on the Farm Heber, Utah 1916-1930 Uncle Mort Murdock remembers the house:

“It wasn’t built, it was thrown together.  They put two pieces together, a granary and a Dr. office. The north part of it was once Benny Norris’ Herb Office. It was two rooms, that’s all it was, we were so dog gone poor, we didn’t know we was poor, but we were sure good eater’s. We had all we wanted to eat.

 North side of farm house
North side of farm house

The walls were papered. My Aunt Millie had a fit when she saw it. Grandad Murdock had taken charge and he put the paper on upside down, big roses and he didn’t have it matched or anything. It was the dog gondest looking sight you ever saw in your life. My mother just cried and Aunt Millie come up and told Grandad they had to take it off, but he wouldn’t take it down so they wore it out.


We had enough room to get in and out and that’s about all. We had the stove and we had a kitchen cabinet.”

The Dawning Of The Age Of Kristine

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1974 Horoscope Aires


My Birth Analysis.  Many years ago I went to see a lady in Ogden named Algie Herbert to have my Horoscope read.  She only ask for date, place and time of birth.  According to that information,she analyzed exactly where the planets, etc, all lined up at that moment in time.

Date of Birth 4-16-1950, Place of Birth Salt Lake City, Utah, Time of Birth 5:27 pm.   This reads much like that song Aquarius by the 5th Dimension.

The sun was in the 10th House, Moon in the 10th House, Mercury in the 9th House, Venus in the 9th House, Mars in the 3rd House, Jupiter in the 8th House, Saturn in the 9th House, Pisces rising, Uranus in the 3rd House, Neptune in the 12th House, Pluto in the 4th House.

1974 Horoscope sign

Conjunctions: SUN-MOON – Emphasizes the sun-sign of Aries, Career interests are of great importance, does not listen to advice, does not fare well with discipline.

MOON-SATURN – Self denial & thriftiness are common, ability to work very hard, liking for people, some lack of self confidence.

VENUS-SATURN – Marriage is not enjoyable the person you are with lacks a sense of fun, allowing minor faults to become major problems is common, kind and charitable.

MARS-URANUS – No liking for routine, nervous strain & tension can easily occur, discipline proves difficult to accept, totally ruled by emotions..

URANUS-PLUTO – Ability to direct powerful energy in a dynamic & impressive way, sudden emotional outbursts due to inner tensions.

And there you have it folks the dawning of the age of Kristine.


The Fort

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Having three brothers meant at one time or another we would most likely be at war with each other.  Our biggest battles were always fought at “The Fort”.

My older brother Steven convinced my dad as a matter of National Security he needed to build a fort.  The sight Steven chose was located in our huge back yard, which up to that point wasn’t being used for anything except growing some of the tallest and most beautiful weeds in all of Kaysville.

Steven began his military operation by calling on his troops.  The neighborhood kids would volunteer as soldiers.  The roster of inductees went somewhat as follows: General and Chief Commanding Officer, Steven J. Murdock, Enlisted men: Kenny Hansen, Lynn Blood, Robin Webb, Gordon Cottrell and Russell Moore.

Plans for “The Fort” soon began.  Trails were mapped out.  Trenches were dug.  The main part was excavated deep enough to crawl in and sit down.  Boards were placed over the top and dirt was piled on top of the boards.  A hatch was made so the troops could climb in and out easily.

Dad went to the old Smith and Edwards Surplus store to buy gear for the military operation.  He purchased helmets, nap sacks, canteens, mess kits, and most importantly rifles.  The rifles were actually old wooden gun stocks with no real killing power.

After “The Fort” was completed, it was time to wage war on the enemy. Girls and little brothers were Enemy Number One, with German’s and Japanese next in line.  Whenever Vicky Lynn and I tried to approach “The Fort” we were bombarded with grenades. (dirt clods).  When the grenades failed to stop us, the sound of bullets from the wooden rifle stocks would whiz past our heads.  My little brothers enjoyed being shot at, and played numerous academy award winning death scenes

It wasn’t long before Steven joined the ranks known as teenagers. He and his buddies were about to embark on an entirely new battlefront.  Waging the war on “pimples”.  They turned their old army gear in for Clearasil, Rock and Roll music, Friday night movies, Transistor radios and girls.

It didn’t take long for us little kids to take over “The Fort”,  New officers were elected. Brent was now Commander in Chief. Vicky Lynn and I were allowed to be Army nurses.  Other soldiers included Ronnie Crouch, George A. Bremer, Dean and Dana Hales,Corey Bailey and our baby brother Alan. We added on, we hollowed out spaces and brought in candles. We found old hollow weeds, took them underground in “The Fort” and “smoked” them.(guessing my parents didn’t know we played with matches)  We built booby traps on the trail. I once fell in and twisted my ankle.  I blamed Brent and much to my delight he got in trouble.

We all gathered down in “The Fort” sometimes just to talk and make plans, draw maps, and come up with new strategies.  We opened up to one another, told our deepest, darkest secrets and dreams about our lives and our futures.  There were many great conversations held within those old dirt walls.

Years went by, the weeds began to grow tall again around “The Fort”. All that remained was a large hole in the ground and a few boards scattered about.  Dad yelled at us for years to fill in the hole.  We never listened to him of course. I don’t think it was because we wanted to make him angry or defy him in any way, I think it just hurt too much to admit we had outgrown “The Fort”.   After all this was a place where many battles were fought and won not only with the enemy, but within ourselves.

Memories of The Farm Grandma Effie’s Sewing Machine

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Heber & Effie Murdock my grandparents – taken from Memories of the farm Heber, Utah 1916-1930.  My Aunt Mary Murdock Stroud describes the sewing machine.

“She had an old sewing machine and Grandfather Murdock could find anything in the trash pile, anything and he found an old machine that had been in a fire and she’d be sewing along and the bobbin would pop out and she’s have to work around and get the bobbin to go back in and sew a little bit more.  One day a salesman came by and he was selling Singer sewing machines.  She decided that she was going to have a new sewing machine. So she got enough money together and the man let her have the sewing machine on time and then she had a real hard time to get enough money to pay for that machine, but she was enjoying it all the time and sewing all kinds of clothes on it for us kids.  She said one time the man came to collect and she thought she’d hide in the bedroom and she wouldn’t let him know she was there. But we were kinda lucky, we had a dog named Old Prong.  Old Prong saw this man coming and he started sneaking up on him like he did, crawling on his stomach ready to nip his heels and he climbed up on the fence.  He didn’t dare come down, I can’t remember now if Mother finally came out and saved him and told him she didn’t have the money or just how it ended.”

Brent’s Broken Arm

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Our parents weren’t home that fateful evening. Big brother Steven was the designated baby sitter.  Our eyes were glued to the the old black and white TV set watching Shirley Temple’s Storybook.  Shirley Temple, the narrator, told different fairy tales each week.

This particular evening Beauty and The Beast was the featured show.  Steven transformed himself into “The Beast” and started chasing us around the house. We commenced to yelling and running having a great time.

In our attempt to hide from “The Beast”, we dove under my bed.  For reasons unknown Brent had managed to wedge his arm between the mattress and the bed frame. “The Beast” jumped onto the bed and crack went Brent’s right arm. Needless to say the fun came to a screeching halt.  We seemed to have a knack for things going bad when our parents were away. We had to come up with a plan pronto.

           Brent showing off his cast 1960
Brent showing off his cast and bragging 1960

Steven tried to calm us down, being a newly appointed Boy Scout he said he knew how to deal with this.  He got the first aid kit and began wrapping Brent’s arm in white gauze. It was a feeble attempt at best and looked more like part of an unraveled mummy than an emergency procedure.

Time was running out, we heard the car door slam on our old black Dodge.  One thing was for sure we were all equally guilty and we would all receive punishment.  We looked to big brother Steven for guidance. He told us we should tell the truth.  What a concept !! They bought it hook, line and sinker. Brent was whisked away into the night to be taken to the hospital.

 We sat silently waiting on the sofa. They were home, the familiar sound of dad swearing as he walked up the driveway. We looked out the window to see Brent emerge from the car proudly holding up a cast that went clear up around his elbow.

He couldn’t wait to go to school to show off to all his friends and have them sign his cast. He got out of doing a lot of chores for the next few weeks.  I think we were all a bit jealous of the special attention he was getting.  We always wanted what the other one had, even if it happened to be a broken arm.


My Friend Rena Bowring

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Rena and I met at Kaysville Elementary, 1956.  We were in Mrs. Blood’s first grade class.  We had lots in common.  We both loved cats, riding bicycles, acting silly and laughing.  We both hated boys and school lunch.

Our favorite subject was recess. We tried to be the first ones on the playground.  So much fun to choose from hopscotch, tether ball, 4 square, jump rope and monkey bars.  The 5th and 6th graders ruled the school.  They “spoke” the best stuff swings, slide, and see saw.

Rena & Kristine 1958
Rena & Kristine 1958


Back in those days we had to wear dresses to school.  It never failed, every time we turned somersaults on the monkey bars some of the boys would begin to chant “I see London, I see France, I see Kristine’s underpants”.  Rena and I would yell back “Liar, Liar pants on fire, hanging on the telephone wire”.  In reality we knew exactly what they had seen.  I’d like to see you twirl around or pick up your hoppy taw without showing the world your cute little flowered panties.

Rena could be entertained and fascinated by the simplest of things.  She was so spontaneous and genuinely funny.  The more ridiculous the better.  She didn’t need expensive toys or anything to have fun.To her the world was a wonderful adventure and she was there to enjoy it.

Big Loo Robot From The Moon

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B Loo



It was a snowy morning in 1959.  My baby brother Alan ran out to the living room to see what Santa had brought him.  Now what to his wondering eyes should appear? – why it’s better than Santa and eight tiny reindeer, it’s a 3 foot Robot named Big Loo.  None of us could believe it.  Had Santa really brought this creature from another planet on his sleigh? And how on earth (or his planet) did he fit it down our chimney?  Was he really our friend from the moon like it said on the box?  Or is he here to destroy earth as we know it?

Alan was beside himself with delight. After Big Loo was out of his box it was time to evaluate all the wonderful things this toy of the “future” could do.  He could talk – with a little help from some batteries and wind up handle located in the back of his head.  Lou really didn’t have much to say, his vocabulary was extremely limited.  His chosen words were “I’m Big Loo, I will fight for you, I Am your friend, I can pick things up.”These commands could be repeated until the batteries wore down or your arm became too tired to crank the handle.

Lou had bright red eyes which sparkled when he talked (ok so they were tiny red light bulbs also running on batteries).  HIs eyes grew bright or dim depending on how fast you were willing to wind his handle.  The robot had a water squirter, a whistle, a compass and other assorted gadgets.  Loo had a great disposition always smiling, I guess that’s because it was painted on.

Not quite sure how to say this tactfully, but Big Loo had the most amazing nipples.  They were actually strategically placed rubber darts.  When you pulled the lever in the back, his nipples took off like rockets. They were usually aimed at me, and after being assaulted by the beastly breast of Big Loo, I would “boob” until my dad demanded to know what the hell was going on.  Much to my delight Alan would get in trouble and Big Loo was put in time out.

One of Loo’s hands was outstretched and opened and closed (with a little help of course).  There was a weird plastic thing, an alien bomb of some sort that he could throw across the room.  Loo picked up things. You had to be patient with him, it took him about an hour and Alan thought it was worth the wait.  His other hand pointed straight out and had a big hole in the top. This was so you could place his 6 red balls into the shoulder (6 balls?, oh well after all he is from the moon). Another lever would release Big Loo’s balls into the air and fling them aimlessly.  Alan expected us to pick them up for him. No way it was his robot and wasn’t Big Loo suppose to, in his own words “pick up things”?

Big Loo had amazing feet. He was on rollers so he could glide around with ease.  Instead of toes like humans, he was equipped with rockets that could be launched with menacing force. It seemed like there was no end to the talents of this wonderful 3 foot robot from the moon.

After years of playing with Big Loo, time began to take it’s toll.  Parts of him began to break off and deteriorate. Yes it looks as though the robot from the moon, will be living out the rest of his years on earth.  And so it is. Big Loo is retired and living the good life with Alan in New York.

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