Our American Fork Home

When I was 10 years old my parents sold their house in Orem and bought a new one in American Fork.   It was a brand new house on an acre and a third.  Including our house, there were 4 new house, next to each other in the middle of the block with 4 much older homes on our street.  Two of them were across from each other at the East end of the block, the other two across the street, with one to the East and the other to the West of us.  Across the street from our house and between the two houses was a large open field where hay was raised.  Through the field was a large old warehouse used for storage, which burned down a few years later, leaving a nice view of the freeway (I-15) which ran East and West.  All our property was behind our house and beyond that were fields and trees all the way to Utah Lake.  

We had two dairies in our area.  The Levie's and the Reimschiissel's.  Since Nancy and I were friends with Lisa and Cheri Levie, we often got to go into the dairy and watch them milk the cows and see how the operation worked.  I never cared much for the smell of a dairy, but it was fun to go there and play.

Some of Nancy's and I's friends besides the Levies were Kathleen Bryant, Sharon and Denise Harper and Becky Reimschiissel, and Debbie Nielson.  Jolyn Pace and and another girl whose name eludes me, but was something like Honey or Honeysuckle Rose (not really sure about her name).  We would spend hours playing with our friends, sometimes at our house, sometimes at their homes, but rarely did we play inside.  It was so much more fun to be outdoors playing cops and robbers, making club houses, and sorts of games kids played during that time.  One of my very favorite places was to go to a very old cabin like house in the middle of the field just North of the Levie dairy and across the street East of Kathleens house.  In the summer the alfalfa that grew around the old house smelled so sweet and the cabin had the smell of old wood and I still love both of those smells to this day.  Perhaps it was that old cabin that instilled in me the love I have for old things.  As I said, playing it that old cabin is one of my fondest memories.  As an adult now, it makes me shudder to think of all the spiders and mice that probably were in there, but kids don't even think about those things. Kathleen had a huge mulberry tree in her yard and every summer we would go and eat all our hearts desired.

When we first bought moved to our house, there was no landscaping and dad worked really hard to put it in.  I remember he bought a tractor to do much of the work and our job as kids were to move rocks and stand on the 2 x 4 pulled behind the tractor to level out the ground for grass.  Then once the grass seed was planted we had to help water it twice a day so it wouldn't dry out.  He planted a pine tree that was only about 2 feet tall.  When he finally tore in down not that many years ago, it had grown to over 20 feet.  I remember jumping over it the first year or two.  After the front and back lawns were planted dad worked on the very large garden and planting fruit trees.  He said he would pay us for every gopher we caught, but that was not an easy thing to do and I don't think any of us made any money at that venture.  Looking back now, I really admire my dad going to work full time at Geneva Steel, always working different shifts, then doing all that was necessary to landscape the yard and get the garden and fruit trees in.  The only way to water everything was by irrigation and he must have had to dig the ditch along the side of the house and down to the back of the garden.  Eventually he cemented it in, but for many years it was just an open ditch all the way to the back.  We had so much fun making boats out of anything we could find to float and play in the irrigation ditch.  We also loved playing in the water as it flooded the fron and back lawns.  The back lawn was the best because the water would get deeper there, but usually never more that 4 or 5 inches at the most, but still it was one of the best things to do on a hot summer day.  

As a kid I loved to tag along with dad when he went to visit theneighbors, usually Don Morrill and Reese Glines.  I also love working with him side by side in the garden.  It was much better than working alone in the garden, and we all had chores to do like weeding and helping pick produce, but mostly weeding.  Back then I really HATED weeding and next to that I HATED picking green beans.  The bean row seemed to go on forever.  Then we would have to go help pick beans on the Church farm.  Those rows went on for an eternity.  After helping mom or dad pick beans in our own garden, them we had to help snap and can them. To this day, I don't plant green beans in my garden because I hate doing all that work, when canned green beans are so cheap at the grocery store and taste just the same.  They are one of the few things where home canned and store boughten taste the same. Most other things home canned taste so much better than anything store boughten, especially freezer jam.  My favorite freezer jam is raspberry.  Besides beans, we had corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, squash, onions and peppers.  I remember one year we would after helping pick the garden Nancy, Jeff and I would have to pull the wagon through American Fork knocking on doors and trying to sell what we had.  I remember there was always a wet burlap sack covering the corn so it wouldn't dry out.  I didn't care too much for pedaling produce from a wagon either.  

On many of the occassions that I tagged around with dad he would tell me about his plans and dreams for our yard.  I don't remember many of his dreams, but I do remember one in particular and that was his dream of building a little bridge over the irrigation by the carport.  It never materialized, but I have always kept a vision of that in my head from the first day he planted it there with his words.  Eventually he enclosed the irrigation ditch with cement and ran a cement driveway along the side of the carport to the back of the house.  

Dad also dug out behind the carport and put in a root cellar with a tool shed over the top.  That is where he stored the potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic and for years our bottled fruit was down there too.  I really hated going down there because there were always spider webs and mice.  (Funny coming from the girl who loved playing in the old cabin at the end of the block).


Junior Wayne Underwood


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