Milt and Rose in 1940.

Autobiography of Rose Emma Christensen Richardson
As told to Steve Richardson, written 5 July 2002, while she was staying with Eunice and Carol in Salt Lake City.

I was born at 6:00 in the morning on the day of New Year's Eve, 1915, attended by a midwife.  My mother Sarah (Sadie) Bevan married at 17 to my father, Harold Elijah Christensen, aged 19.  She was born in Tooele, Utah, he in Brigham City, Utah.  Both sets of grandparents were called to homestead in Alberta, Canada.  I don't know when.

Wanda and her cousin Bill were born while my father's brother Irv was in the Canadian army during World War I.  When Irv came back they showed him the two kids and asked him to pick out his own.  I think he did.

My father had a ranch between four lakes near Canada's Waterton National Park, which is just north of the American Glacier National Park.  His cabin had a hole in the door that he could shoot coyotes through.  He got $5.00 a pelt for them.

Dad had pneumonia in Canada and didn't want to stay.  We held an auction, sold everything, and he went to Seattle, Washington.  It was always cold and foggy there and he wanted to get where it was warmer, so he went to Oakland, California.  He was still cold and miserable.  He asked where the hell is it warm?  He was told to try Sacramento, so he moved there.  He bought property and built a garage at 3401 20th Avenue, which we lived in while the house was being built.  One day Wanda and I (aged 9 or 10) went camping in the closet and built a fire.  We got in big trouble over that.  That part of Sacramento was still out in the country.  Dad said "If they ever get built up around here we'll move out."  It did get built up, but it happened so gradually that we never moved.

My father ran a service station, he also owned a feed store.  Walt Cannon worked for him.  One day a lady came into the store and asked "Do you know anybody that wants to buy a cabin in the mountains?  I'm never going back!"  The old wooden bridge scared her--it shook whenever she drove across the creek.  He bought it for $500.  It was a 2-room cabin with a kitchen and bedroom, with an outhouse across the road.  You pumped water from a well.  Mother washed clothes in the creek.  When he added a living room to the cabin, my father went to Hope, Faith & Charity valleys to gather the rocks from which the fireplace was made.  We went up whenever we could for a week at a time.  We also went on holidays, like the 4th of July.  My mom really loved the cabin.  She liked most to go to the First Flat, and read and watch the wildlife.  Mother read the book Bambi and hated Dad because he went hunting. 

At times we also went camping at Plymouth rocks, somewhere east of Placerville, where we could camp and swim.  My mom was the Relief Society President and had to be back home in time for Sunday.

Mother canned fruit and had a fruit cellar.  She canned peaches, pears, and apricots.  We either picked the fruit or bought it at a fruit stand.  At that time the Nut Tree was just a fruit stand by the highway to San Francisco.

We had an upright piano after we had our house.  Mother would play and Wanda and I would sing.  My mother would offer us to sing at every funeral.  Mother played the piano at home, usually someone else would play when we sang at funerals.

My father was a Democrat; my mother was a Republican.  My mother used to say, "If you do I'll kill your vote!"  I became a Democrat, voted for Truman.  I voted for Eisenhower, but then for Kennedy.

Sometime in the 1930s we got a radio.  My favorite program was called "Portia Faces Life", and Arthur Godfrey, also music.  When we lived on Roseville Court I still knitted and listened to the radio.

We also took the newspaper.  I liked "Blondie" and others.

The magazines we subscribed to were Outdoor Life, Ladies' Home Journal, Saturday Evening Post, and Redbook.

My mother would go to Utah to visit her family and wouldn't take me, so I'd stay with George and Edith Brown, and my friend Edna and I would skate all around Oak Park and for some real thrills we would also go over to Whiskey Hill.

For grade school, I went to Pacific School, which was located on 48th Avenue a block east of Franklin Boulevard, near the Campbell Soup factory.  When they built the Junior Pacific School at the site where Food City now is, I went there until I graduated to the 8th grade, then I went to Stanford Junior High for a year.  One day while I was attending Stanford Mrs. Mack the Principal and Mrs. Hayworth, the 7th and 8th grade teacher (they were sisters), got in an argument and Mrs. Mack had a stroke and died right at the school.  I graduated from Sacramento High School 1934.

I went to college in 1936 to 1938.  In 1939 I was working in a mattress place on 14th, I rode to work on my bike.  I worked in the office at Sacramento Jr. College for Miss Cooledge.  I didn't have money to buy a dress for the Art Ball, so she loaned me $20 and I bought one.  That was very kind of her.  I went to Sacramento Jr. College for 3 years, only because of a capella choir, which I loved singing in.  I majored in music and got a 2-year diploma.

Milt came to Sacramento from Los Angeles by hitching rides on trains.  Maybe that's also how he got to Southern California, in his early 20's.  He worked on several dam projects above Auburn, one of which was Lake Clementine.  In Los Angeles he had learned to be a carpenter.  He was active in the church organization M Men and Gleaners.  With them he took trip to a lake you can see from Highway 5.  He knew the King Sisters, the middle one, a red head.  He had to leave Los Angeles because of asthma.  He came to Sacramento and worked on the construction of McClellan Air Force Base.

In the summer of 1939 I was at a dance with my fiance (Gordon Wheeler, but don't put that in).  At the time, he was going in as I was leaving.  Gordon joined the LDS Church, but he didn't join because he believed in it, he only joined for me.  Immediately when I saw Milt I knew I'd like to get to know him and even told Gordon that.  Then I started going to M Men & Gleaner outings and get-togethers, parties, and dances.  I got to know him at these events.  Not long after I put a $5 deposit on a wedding dress.  After Thanksgiving we were going to go to a show at 5th or 6th by K Street, he said "If I asked you to marry me, would you?"  I said, "I don't know, you've never asked me!"  He said, "I'm asking."  I said, "OK".  He gave me a kiss and we went to the show.  When we got married Milt earned $50 a week. 

We had to travel to Utah to get married.  The day before we left Milt set his tools on the lawn and went back to get something, and someone stole his first set of tools.  So after he came home from Utah, he had no tools to work with.  You might think the trip to Utah is long and tedious now.  You should try it on a 2-lane road! 

After we arrived in Salt Lake, we stayed in a cheap hotel southwest of Temple Square.  The roof of an adjacent building was right by the window of our room.  Milt stayed someplace else--he probably slept in the car.  Aunt Alice was worried about that window.  She said she didn't mind being raped, but didn't want to have her money taken.

We were married on March 11, 1940 in the Salt Lake City Temple by [______________ (somebody famous)].  When we arrived at the temple my mother and future mother-in-law (Maggie Richardson) picked each other out without having been introduced.  Those in our wedding party included my mom and Aunt Alice, also Milt's mom, and a number of aunts and uncles.  We stayed in Salt Lake City for two days, then drove back to Sacramento.  We had our reception at Cecil Gibbey's cousin's house, Marie and Jim Gibbey.  When Milt and I first got married we lived in a hotel in Oak Park, then to 2nd Avenue in an apartment, then to Roseville Court, Milt built us a home on 19th Avenue.

I was two weeks from having my first baby (Jeanne) when my mother died on January 1, 1941.  Bishop Cox was bishop, and Milt and William Holt were his counselors when World War II started.  Milt didn't have to enlist or get drafted because he was a father and a member of the bishopric.  I don't think anybody that's a young father should be in a bishopric.  Milt once said he didn't remember his kids when they were young.

Paul Richardson interviewed Rose about 8 years earlier.  Click here.
To return to Eunice Richardson's page, click here.
To visit the Christensen Family webpage, click here.
To return to the Richardson Family webpage, click here.