5 Career and Family

By Bernard D. Major




Home again 



Bernard in P Coat.  Eva later made this coat into coats for the children.



Bill Burr and Bernard post WWII sporting their beards



It was wonderful to be back home again with my family. I still had the old Hudson car, so after being home for a day or two we cranked up the old Hudson car, and Eva and I and the two children drove down to Spring City to visit my mother and father. They were so happy to see us, as I was happy to see them. (Life in the military has some good points but concerns about my family and parents welfare was always on my mind.) I was grateful that Eva was close to her parents. They helped her with the children when she worked and when they were sick.


Ron and Flip helping Bernard in Spring City



Visiting Spring City

When my sister’s husband, Bill Burr, left for the service she went down to Spring City to stay with Mother and Dad. Her son Leonard was born there. It was good for her to be home with Mother and Dad.



Bernard and the "old Hudson"


Ronald and Ardith liked to ride on Dad’s work horse, Prince. He was a very gentle horse, but a hard worker. When teamed up with Molly, they plowed the fields, cut and raked the hay, and hauled it into the yard where it was stacked next to the milk barn.



Ron, Ardith and Pamela



The grain, wheat, and barley was cut and bound by a machine called a grain binders and was stacked south of the hay stack, and the coal burning steam driven thresher thrashed the grain (separated the grain from the straw.) The grain was stored in the old grainery. The cream separator was also in the grainery. Coal and wood were stacked outside, south of the granary.




Chicken Coop 

Dad had built a large chicken coop and a small brooder coop out of logs while I was in the military. I do not know how dad was able to lift those large logs to form the walls. He had covered the roof with small logs (3" to 4" diameter) side by side then covered it with straw on top of which he put a layer of clay soil about 4 " deep that he had made several trips with the wagon to Redmond (west of Salina). Dad had to load and unload the wagon by hand with a shovel to get the clay and back to Spring City. It took him two long days to get one load of clay.


Dad had two brooder stoves of which stoves burned coke, with a large galvanized hood over and around it and was controlled by several dampers to get the right emperature to keep the little chicks warm. When the chicks were half grown they were moved into the larger coop where they would grow to their maturity and be sold for meat (fryers). Not long after the chicks were moved into the large coops, they contacted a desease called Newcastle, that caused the chickens to become paralyzed and die. Dad lost the whole lot of around 200 chickens . The disease became widespread and wiped out all of the chickens and turkeys in the county. It was a terrible loss to Dad, all the labor and money spent for the coops and the chickens and feed was a complete loss.


Vince in the chicken coop



Ordained a Seventy

I was ordained a Seventy by John A. Widstoe, one of the seven presidents of the Seventies December 15, 1946.


Garfield Smelter

When I arrived home in March of 1946, the smelter (Garfield American Smelter) was on strike, so I went to work with a contractor that Bill Burr was working for. The contractor had good connection with the Morris Merrill Lumber Company and was able to get all the lumber he needed. I worked with this contractor until the smelter went back to work in late July or August. I decided to go back to my old carpenter job at the smelter. The contractor tried to talk me into to staying in the house building business. I liked the job real well, but it was hot in the summer time and cold in the winter and times when you couldn’t work beause of the weather and in between building contracts. I probably would have done good if I had stayed, but the insecurity of work and Medical Insurance was most important in a full time job.



Garfield Smelter 1952, Painted by George S. Dibble (1904-1992)


After returning back to the smelter, I found myself back working in the same dirty conditions and breathing lead arsenic acid coming from the acid plant, roasters, reverbs, and the convertors. I decided that was not the future for me. I wanted to live long and enjoy my family without my lungs being eaten up, so in October I gave them notice that I was leaving.


Miller Manufactoring Company

I already had been hired by Miller Mnfg company. They had contracts to build Motel furniture. They were renting the old Noel Bros Lumber Co. on North Temple between 2nd and 3rd West. I was hired as the Mill foreman. I liked the job real well. It had all the equipment for making the beds and cabinets: large table saws, joiners, shapers, stickors (a molding/cutting machine. You put a piece of wood in and it comes out as a molding for around doors, etc.), and all other equipment for making fine furniture. By December, it became known to me that Mr. Miller was planning to cut back on his furniture manf. and expand his metal jewelry mnfg and start a new business of putting televisions in the hospital rooms.






I saw an ad in the newspaper that ZCMI was looking for a good carpenter and cabinet maker, so I applied and was interviewed by Wendell Adams who was the personnel manager. He gave me the job right there, and I started to work the first week of January. Tom carver was the carpenter foreman. His son Wayne Carver, Elmer Strong, and Earl Hancey were the other carpenters. Most of the work was maintenance and remodeling. They treated me real good. All of the employees in the store were very friendly.



Bernard and his co-workers at ZCMI about 1956.  Bernard is fifth from the left.


One year later they called all of the carpenters into a meeting. There were three other carpenters that had been hired: Floyd Sheppick, _________Evans, and one other also, a helper Gene Savage. Wendel Adams and John Cannon (operations supervisor) said that the carpenter foreman, Tom Carver, was retiring, and they wanted us to vote for a new foreman. They said that we would have one vote, and we could vote for ourself. We were to write the name of our choice on a piece of paper and give it to them. I voted for myself, because I felt I had the ability and experience to do the job. They later said that I was chosen for the job of foreman. I don’t know whether I got more than one vote. I believe they knew who they were going to give the foreman responsibility to before they asked us to vote. Wendel Adams became a good friend to me and the other carpenters.



 Announcement for ZCMI's Baby Shop that Bernard help to build.

Boss Problems

John Cannon was the person I reported to, and it was difficult to get along with him. He was a retired army colonel and wanted to run his operations the army way, so we didn’t get along very good. He thought he knew all about building and construction but didn’t know anything. I had to go to Wendel Adams, personnel manager, several times to get him straightened out and his orders changed. One time, when we were remodeling the North Temple show windows to make the new Centennial Shops in, the carpenters, plumbers, and electricians were all working in this one large window area west of the South Temple entrance. When John came in and got after me for not taking the old carpet off the floor before starting the remodeling, I told him that I didn’t recall him telling me to remove the carpet first. Boy, was he mad. He blew up a military storm. The carpenters, plumbers, and elctricians were sure upset with him. John wrote up a reprimand (next to firing) against me and took it up to the personnel dept and had it put on my record.


We cleaned up and vacuumed the carpet and took up the carpet right away and rolled it up. I don’t know what became of it, but I believe he got the carpet for himself, as I never saw it again. John Cannon told me later that he had the reprimand put on my personnel record. This really upset me, so I went up to Mr. Adam’s office, and I told him that I was quitting and I told him why. He asked me not to leave until after he talked to John. He later called me back to his office and told me that everything was straightened out. I told him that if the reprimand was not taken off my record, I was leaving. Later, I checked with the lady assistant personnel manager and she showed me my record. There was no reprimand on it. John treated me more respectfully after that. After I was made foreman, I was put on the regular payroll and received all of the employment benefits which included medical, of which I was grateful as our next four children were born.



Parents move to Salt Lake




Bernard and Henry Vince after a deer hunt.  Bernard didn't like hunting very much after WWII


After Dad’s loss on raising chickens to sell (they were of the large meat type chickens that were marketed like turkeys are today), Mother’s health was getting worse, and it was very difficult for him to leave her alone while he worked on the farm for James W. Blain. During the early part of the war, Dad had come here and stayed with us getting a job with Utah Power and Light in the boiler room. Eva’s father was working there and helped dad get the job. I believe it was in the fall of the year. Mother remained home back in Spring City taking care of the chores. I know Dad was worried about her. The Trailway Bus ran through Spring City stopping down town by the old city hall and post office in the morning and returned back to Salt Lake in the later afternoon. Dad made many trips on the bus. Geniel and Bill took him down to Spring City many times in the later part of winter or early spring.


The Government was asking farmers and farm workers to return back to the farms to help raise food for the military and feed the population, so Dad decided to quit his job at UP&L and go back home. We tried to get him to stay and bring Mother here and lease the farm or sell it, but Dad was determined to return to the farm. Later Geniel’s husband, Bill Burr was called to serve in the military so Geniel went back to live in Spring City to live with Mother and Dad while Bill was away in the Navy C.B. Unit.




In 1948, Dad and Mother decided to sell the south part of the farm, approximately 9 acres and the livestock, 2 horses and cows and come up to Salt Lake. They lived in our little apartment on the back of our house that was empty. It was still the same as when we bought the house, except that I had installed a gas floor and wall furnace in the wall between the kitchen and the front room and replaced the small kitchen coal stove with a small gas cook stove with four burners on top and an oven. The coal heater in the south east corner of the large east room, I took out and filled in the hole in the chimney and plastered over it as well as the one in the kitchen. I had already installed two gas floors, and wall furnaces in our house in the wall between the front room, and the kitchen, and the bedroom in our house, and a gas water heater. I did all the plumbing and duct work for the wall furnaces and water heater. I was also serving in the Seventy’s Quorum presidency at this time in the Pioneer Stake and in the Edison Ward that was still meeting in the 32nd Ward building on Navajo St between 3rd and 4th South.



Pamela Rae, Kenneth Alois, and Bruce Henry Major

Pamela Rae was born February 4, 1947. She was also a blessing to us. She was born in the L.D.S. Hospital. Kenneth Alois (named after Eva’s father) was born June 4, 1950 in the L.D.S. hospital and Bruce was born June 21, 1953, a Father’s day present. I was grateful that I was working at ZCMI where we had medical insurance to cover the cost. Now we were blessed with three boys and two girls, all born healthy and strong.


Pamela, held by Mattie Agatha Major




Ron and Pam?



Ardith and Ron Playing?



Ardith, Ron, Pam and Ken about 1952. Kenneth's coat was made out of Bernards old P Coat.





Ron, Ken, Bruce

 High Council

In 1954, I was called to serve on the Pioneer Stake High Counsel and was ordained a High Priest and set apart as a member on the High Counsel September 15, 1954 by Mark E. Peterson who was a member of the Council of 12 Apostles. Among my assignments was Assistant Stake Work Director, Senior Aaronic Priesthood, Welfare, Cannon State representative, and other priesthood assignments. I was responsible for designing the milk barn and the machinery storage shed on the Stake Ridgeland farm at abt 40th West to 5600 West and between 5th South and 9th South, south of the Utah Power and Light property, called the terminal (large power sub station).



Remodeling the house - Digging out the basement

About the same time I was called into the High Council, I had decided to dig out the basement under the middle of the house. Eva’s brother, Grant, wanted to dig his out also, so we bought a small conveyor with an electric motor on it. Grant used it first and dug out a basement under his house and cemented it in.


Our family was growing, so I decided we needed to build two bedrooms, and a storage room, and a place for a new furnace. I made a trailer (2 wheel) out of the front end and frame of an old truck with the help of a welder that I knew who worked for the American Welding Co. Grant (Eva’s brother) had some 1/8" aluminum sheets 8' long that he had got from the military so I got enough from him to make a trailer box of 1 ½ X 1 ½ steel angle 4' 0" X 8' 0" and 2'0" high of which was welded to the frame of the old truck. I riveted the 1/8" aluminum to the bottom, sides, front, and tailgate with aluminum rivets. It made a good trailer of which I was able to hook onto the old Hudson.


I first made four openings in the foundation, two on each side of the house and put a 3 ½ angle steel and wood over the top of the openings to support the brick wall above, then cemented in steel window frames that held the windows that could be taken out. Then I dug out a three foot trench around the inside of the area underneath the house next to the footing 7'6" deep. I built a cement form all around the dug out area so that I could pour a 8" concrete wall next to the old cement footing of the foundation wall, of which is the reason for the shelf cabinet all around the basement.


 Each day after I came home from work at ZCMI, I hooked the trailer behind the Hudson car and backed it up on one side of the house. I dug out the dirt to make the trench under the house and threw it out the window openings and then shoveled it into the trailer. Ron and Ken helped me the best they could. When the trailer was full, I hauled it out to Walt Drecksel’s home on the west side of Redwood Rd and about 605 So. He had a low swampy area west of his house, so I shoveled it out of the trailer there. After I had cemented in the wall around the basement, I got the conveyor from Grant, and put it through the window openings in the foundation of the wall so it rested on the bottom of the trench under the house and over the top of the trailer. I could shovel the dirt on to the belt of the conveyor and it would carry it up and dump it into the trailer. Ron and Ken helped as best they could to spread out the dirt in the trailer. I would have to come up sometimes and move the trailer at least once.


I had to support the brick chimney to the floor joist while I dug the dirt out from underneath it. Later, I built a new brick chimney from a concrete pad footing below the new basement floor up to meet the remaining brick chimney I had supported to the floor joists. I had to use wire and hang the hot water heter to the floor joists, also to dig under it for the new floor. (Note there was a small cellar or storage room abt 8' X 8' under the old kitchen).


After getting all the dirt cleaned out, I had the sewer plumbing lowered to below the new basement level and out to the street. I done some of the inside sewer plumbing and Walsh plumbing and George Wedding did the rest of it. I then poured the basement floor. Earl Hancey and Elmer Strong helped me pour the cement from the Ready Mix truck. Ronald and Kenneth also helped spread the cement. After the floor was finished, I put up walls for two bedrooms, a play room and a food storage room. I lowered the water heater down to the new basement floor and lengthened the water pipes. I finished the north bedroom with sheet rock and wall paper. The other rooms I finished off with knotty pine and brushed on shellac to finish it. (I believe it was yellow shellac?)


I built a new stairway down from the laundry room north of the kitchen. Later I took out the brick wall and chimney that separated the kitchen from the laundry room and extended the kitchen and made a hallway to the north that formed a hallway to the back door from the kitchen, basement, stairway, and the back bedroom. I had installed the two wall furnaces prior to digging out the basement.