Providence City Oral History Project
Date: 21 June 2006 Tape Number: PCOH 2006 ARG-07
Location: Providence, UT Interviewee(s): Marie Olsen
County: Cache Interviewer: Rachel Gianni
Recording equipment & mic:
Sony TCM 200 DV/150, mic: Radio Shack 33-3013
Transcribing equipment: Panasonic VSC RR-830
Project editor: Lisa Duskin-Goede
General description: This is a topical transcription with some word for word
excerpts. Marie Olsen lives at 571 S. 200 W. in Providence, Utah. Minor corrections
were submitted by Marie. There is nothing on side B of the tape.
My heritage is very important to me. I was born on October 19, 1925 in Providence Utah. My father, Norman Wesley Fuhriman, born the 13th of July 1895 served in all Church callings, was a mayor and a member of the Lions Club. He had a dry farm in Pocatello Valley and owned the Fuhriman Implement Company. He passed away the 26th of March 1948 of a heart attack. His father and mother were Joseph Henry Fuhriman and Mary Ann Johnson. His great-grandfather, Jacob Fuhriman served time in the Utah State Penitentiary because of polygamy. Elva Tibbitts Fuhriman was born 18th of January, 1897, daughter of Edger and Marie Baker Tibbitts and grew up in a home next to the Providence Second Ward Church that was torn down and a new meeting house was built. I was named after my grandmother Marie Tibbitts and spent many hours in their home, playing up in the attic and learning to quilt. I loved her dearly.
I attended eight grades at the Providence Elementary school. Our principal was Spencer Griffin. I was always shy and even more so when I spelled “panty” for “pansy” in our eighth grade spelling bee. We had dances, and at recesses enjoyed all outdoor activities. We lived one and a half blocks from the school, and I would go home for lunch every day.
We played marbles and we had recess and we played “Run Sheepy Run.” We had the Theurer’s store just west of the school. We had the same amount of boys as we did of girls in our eight classes.
We had a lot of dances at our school. Our music class held our dances for us. I remember one time I had a boyfriend and he got mad at me so he told all of the boys in the class not to dance with me. So I sat there for a while. There was this one fellow who nobody seemed to like. He wasn’t slow. He came and asked me to dance. I danced with him and after that we became very best friends. He went in the Service later and was killed. He lived in Ogden and I remember going down to the funeral.
We had a lot of friends. We had friends with everybody. We had two wards in Providence for many years. We had the First Ward and the Second Wards in Providence. Two of my very best friends were Eloise Baer and Orma Jean Alder and they lived in the First Ward. My very best friend was Colleen Jensen and she lived in the Second Ward. I remember going to Primary after school once a week.
When I was nearly twelve, we went as a group and had our patriarchal blessings. When I was out on the mission field, when I just turned twenty, I had Mother send me a copy. I didn’t realize that after I had that blessing it promised me that I would go out in the mission field. When I was out in the mission field, and Mother sent me that blessing, I was really amazed that I got it at twelve. I was the only one of that group that did go on a mission because our fellows had to go in the Service at that time so they weren’t eligible for missions. Some of them went on missions after they served in the War.
I went out to the Northwest. I was still shy and I had never been on a train before. I always told my dad I wanted to go on a mission. He said, “Marie, old maids go on missions, you don’t want to go. Well, when you get a little older, you ask me again.” So I kept asking him. Finally when I was twenty, I asked him if it was OK and he said, “If you really want to go I’ll support you.” So they took me down to Salt Lake at 9:00 at night, put me on the train and I went in my little bunk. It was time to go to bed. This is how dumb I was: I didn’t know they had a bathroom on the train, and all night long I thought, “When’s that train going to stop so I can go to the bathroom?” It never did and I thought, “How come I wanted to go on a mission, I don’t really want to go on a mission?” Here I was going clear out to Portland, Oregon. But it turned out to be wonderful. My first companion was fifty years old and I just barely turned twenty. Her name was May Hunt. I thought, “She’s so old, how can she serve a mission?” She was so good to me and so patient with me. We were in our little apartment, we had been there about three weeks and every morning we would lay on bed and read our scriptures. This one morning she said, “Sister Fuhriman, I don’t know why but we better get up and go in our little kitchenette.” I complained and said, “How come? We always read or scriptures in bed.” “I don’t know why but we’ve got to move.” It was maybe just ten or fifteen seconds later that a car, going on the highway careened off right into our little bedroom and was right up on our bed. It threw Sister Hunt to the floor and I looked at the man and he was really bleeding bad, and so I went out called for help. They took all three of us to the hospital, but Sister Hunt just had a few little bruises, but he was in the hospital for quite a while. After that I thought, “I’m going to listen to Sister Hunt because every time she tells me something I’m going to listen because she’s pretty smart.” After that I enjoyed my mission. I didn’t mind the barking dogs and the tracting and all of those things.
I remember many city celebrations where we would enjoys parades, Strawberry and Sauerkraut Days and the three-day bazaars that were held in the Pavilion.
One special recipe that is still a favorite of our family is German Pancakes: 6 beaten eggs, 1 cup flour, 1 cup milk, and you add these ingredients to a square of melted butter. You bake at 350 for 35 minutes. My grandchildren always say, “Grandma, let’s make German pancakes.” Even when our sons went on missions, our sons wrote and said, “Mom, send us the German pancake.” It’s so easy. I can’t remember where I got it from. I remember in the Providence Second Ward we had a recipe book that everybody added their favorite recipes and I put it in there. It must have come from with my grandma Tibbitts or my grandmother Fuhriman. German pancakes always brings a smile to everybody’s face because it puffs up really big and then you cut it and put syrup on it or powdered sugar and it’s delicious.
I remember on the Square we would always have the Indians and the Pioneers. The Indians would always be dressed up in not very much clothing and they would be brown. A lot of times they would wear the headbands. The Pioneers would come and the Indians would grab one of the little white girls and run off with her. This really caused them to fight one with another. In the end they fought each other. Right at the end, the Indians would burn a little cabin down. It would be made of more than paper, it had some boards. That would be the end of it; they would burn that cabin down. It was fun to watch. Some of my Fuhriman relatives, Jake Fuhriman was some of them.
We had the Fuhrimans the Zollingers, the Leonhardts. We had about five or six families who were native from Providence. Everybody was in the parade. The Pavilion would have a bazaar. It would be for three days. My grandma Tibbitts was Relief Society president for many years. We would have fishponds for the school kids and then at night, Jake Fuhriman was always the head of the three-act play. The little fish ponds were when you put a little stick on, and the little children put the fishing pole in behind and then they get a little prize. They always looked forward to that. Even some of us older ones would go to the fishpond.
Then they would have three big days of sauerkraut and big suppers. People would come from Salt Lake and Idaho just for the sauerkraut supper. It was fantastic. Later when I married Blaine, we lived in Young Ward for ten years and then moved back to Providence. We always had a committee and they would choose helpers. For years Blaine and I were on the committee. When they asked you to bring something, when you were newly in Providence, they would give you a list and it called for you to bring rolls, pies, cook a turkey, dressing. A list about that long. Newcomers would laugh and say, “Are you sure? This list looks like it should include everybody. Is that just for me?” We didn’t mind because it was such a success. The Relief Society would have all of the quilts and everything that they made. We just looked forward to that at the Pavilion. That pavilion was right across from the Old Rock Church, where the City offices are now. It was wonderful to have all of those celebrations.
Strawberry Days were wonderful. Early in the morning they would have a parade. Everybody was dressed up as pioneers. And so as the strawberries came on, my aunt Joycie had strawberries, then we’d have the strawberries. They would have the strawberries and they would be free. You could eat as many as you want. That was a wonderful celebration, it went on for one day. I can remember very young and even after I’d move back to Providence and had some of my children, it was still on.
We had the First Ward bazaar and the Second Ward bazaar and everybody helped everybody else. It’s only been about five years since the Church advised us not to have the bazaars. Now we have what they call the “Providence Sauerkraut Supper.” It’s usually served down to the school. It’s just one day. It isn’t anything like the bazaars used to be. We looked forward to those every year. One year when Blaine and I were on the committee we would have up to a thousand come. They would get their tickets ahead of time. This one time we had a whole bunch of food and it started to rain and it was terrible weather. We didn’t know what we were going to do with all that food. At the time there was a basketball game at the university and they called up there and announced that the sauerkraut supper would be half price. We had a really good turnout. Another time, we didn’t have enough food because they kept coming and coming and coming. We got really desperate. It got so we ran out of potatoes. We had to rush home and mix up some instant potatoes. We never did know how many would be coming, but for years we helped on the bazaar. It was so much fun. We loved it.
Riding the train
I’ve written an article about this, but I’ve got it here just a little bit. We lived a half a block from the railroad station down here on this main street, Second West. The old pea vinery was where the new school is, right on the corner where we have that big memorial. The train station was over a block on this corner. I was about ten years of age. I would go every week to take my violin lesson to Logan. I would have ten cents to buy my ticket and ten cents to buy my ticket coming home. This time I went and took my violin lesson and then when I came back to the train station in Logan I bought my ticket. It was dark and it was cold and I was waiting in the train station and my ticket fell behind the heater. I didn’t have any more money, I couldn’t call any body. I tried to get it out with some gum on a pencil. It wouldn’t come. Here came the train and I thought, “what am I going to do? I’ve got to get home.” So I climbed on the train without a ticket and hid behind a big fat lady. I thought, “Wonderful! Now I’m Ok, now I’ll get home.” This fat lady put her skirt around me because she could tell I was kind of cold. I just hid back there and I thought, “Oh, I’m safe.” The trouble was that when we got to Providence, the train didn’t stop because nobody had bought a ticket. So I kept going through the train station. The tracks were right along here. So it kept going and I thought, “What am I going to do?” Millville was the next town. I think we were about here and I think I told the conductor, “I’ve got to get off.” He looked at me and he said, “Where are you going?” and I jumped off the train. I had my violin and I had to walk all the way back home. It was dark and I was scared to death. Every time I would go a little bit faster, these footsteps would be behind me. Well, it was me. Then the dogs were barking and it took me forever to get home. When I got down there, the big Zollinger home is on the west side of the street, and I knew then I was getting close. Then I could smell the pea vinery. I knew if I go a half a block more there will be the train station. I’d go up a half a block and that’s my home. I thought, “Oh, I’m about home.” I about stepped on somebody. There were two Indian squaws. They would always come to our home and ask for food. Mother would always, always give food because we were only half a block away. This one squaw recognized me and mumbled something. I dashed home and I thought, “I’m never going to play that stupid violin again.” But I did, I kept playing. Anyhow, I’ve written about it and it’s funny.
It was called the Interurban, and we rode to school on it when we were in high school. We went eight grades at Providence and then we’d ride the train to South Cache. It took about half and hour. It was dissolved when our kids went to Skyview. So we didn’t have it anymore. It was an interesting train, we loved going on the train. It was marvelous. There were just two seats facing each other. There were two different trains, or maybe three trains hooked together. It would have to take Providence and River Heights and Millville and Nibley and all of us to Hyrum. It had quite a few. I’ve got a picture of the train station and the pea vinery. Those were all Providence landmarks.
When they talk about the pea vinery we laugh because it did smell. Everybody coming up the Lane could smell the pea vinery. All of the farmers brought their peas. During the summer when the school was out, a lot of our teachers would work at the pea vinery part time. I don’t know how many employees they had. The farmers would bring their peas from the vines and it was quite and operation. It was old fashioned. The pea vinery in Providence was well known throughout the valley. Maybe it’s because it didn’t smell very good. It was wonderful.
We had a dry farm in Pocatello Valley, that’s by Malad. Our summers were always spent out there. We had an outhouse and we had a Sears catalog in the outhouse. We spent many hours by the cistern and the windmill would be turning up at the top. I must have been about six when I fell in the cistern head first. The cistern is green and slimy. My brother pulled me out. We always joke about it because he says I should have stayed in there. Then we had a two room farm house. We had a kitchen and one bedroom where Mother and Father and all of us slept. It was scary to go downstairs in the cellar because there were snakes. I think we imagined some of them. Mother would send us down to get some fruit. We’d always take one of us down so we could get the fruit. Our closest neighbors were two miles away. We had each other and we rode horses. We were there just in the summer. When I got older, my cousin and I cooked for the hired men. Our dads paid us. I always thought, “All of my friends got to have a job in Logan. Here I have to go out to the farm and be a helper.” I didn’t especially care for that but it was OK.
Theurer’s store was next to the school and the post office was right next to it. Everyday we would get a meal usually from school. We could spend our pennies at Theurer’s for penny candy. Across the street was the service station and across the street there was Watkins Printing and then a blacksmith shop just west of that.
Old Rock Church
The Old Rock Church used to be the First Ward building. I’ve got pictures of when my great-grandfather was a janitor. He would go once a week and clean the church. They had a stage where they would have plays. They had an upstairs where all of the kids would run up and run around.
Administrator of Old Rock Church
I was chosen to be the administrator of the Old Rock Church in 1984. After I had completed my Bachelors Degree and Masters Degree in gerontology, I went to the Old Rock Church and was the administrator. I didn’t go back to school until I was over fifty. We had about twelve ladies on the top floor who lived there. We had a lady who would come in and fix their meals. I had to make sure that they did their exercises. We always made sure that programs came in. It was a wonderful experience. I did that for two years. We had an open house. Some of the ladies who lived there, I knew really well. Some of them were from Providence. We always had about twelve to fifteen sisters that lived on the top floor. They were there for maybe ten years. Cliff Mayfield was the owner of the Old Rock Church and then he got cancer and passed away. I think that’s when
Karl took over. They still had the wedding receptions, but Karl made it into a bed and breakfast. That’s what it is today.
We went to church there for a while but then we had the Second Ward. My grandfather and grandmother Fuhriman and uncle and Aunt Lloyd Theurer and all of those who were in the First Ward, Wilma Zollinger and Hazel Hill and her sister were at the Old Rock Church. I was quite young when we moved out to the Second Ward. We had to tear down our old building to build a new one out on 300 South, so we’ve got a new building there. I remember mostly going to church when we moved there. I was real young when we went there.
They had tootsie rolls and all the suckers and bubblegum. They called little, “nigger babies,” little black licorice. Theurer’s store carried everything. They carried material, shoes, groceries. A little bit of everything. I remember one time my sister had gone to the store and she had taken some penny candy and she didn’t have any money. Beth Theurer was such a sweetheart. She called Mother and said, “Now I’m going to tell you that’s OK, but we need to let them know that they can’t do this.” She called Mother and told her and Renae felt so bad. She said, “Oh, I’ll never do that again.” Even to this day she still remembers taking the candy that she should not have done because she didn’t have any money. Those are really good memories of the store.
Missionary service in Ohio, Fiji and Jamaica
I was going to join the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers but Blaine and I went on three missions. Every time we’d come back from a mission they’d say, “Now, are you ready to join?” We’d only be home for a year and a half and then we’d go. We went to Jamaica and we went to Fiji and then we went to Hyrum, Ohio, where Joseph Smith and Emma lived for one year. We were there for one year. We lived right in the John Johnson home and was able to take the tours. It was a wonderful assignment. In Jamaica we stayed a year and a half and in Fiji we stayed a year and a half. We did some proseletizing. Blaine was in the District presidency. When you go over to some of those countries, they don’t have any leadership. The Priesthood is almost nil. He served there. We met with the branch members. One time there was a hurricane that came and flooded everybody out. They said, “Well we can’t have church.” We found out that our Branch president went in a boat, we had a few members, we had about twelve. That morning we had Relief Society. We had six sisters and their homes had been destroyed. They were there and they said, “We have the most important thing, we have our membership in the Church.” It made us realize that those very poor people were just fantastic.
I’m going to Las Vegas the 25th of July to a poetry convention. I’ve been two different times. The first time, my poem got $1000. It’s worldwide. They had poets come from all over the world. The last time we went, we didn’t get there very early and we missed half of the celebration. I’m going again in July and I’ve written a poem to take. You take a poem and you give it to one of the judges and then you read your poem and then they judge it. My poem is about one of my sisters in Jamaica.
Providence Historic Preservation Commission
I have been a member of the Providence Historic Preservation Commission since its organization in 2003. At the present time, we as commission members are focusing on a number of issues. 1. Update of the Oral History Interview Project. 2. Creating a Historic District. 3. Planning a new edition of Providence and Her People. 4. Future of the Old Rock Church. 5. Celebration in 2009. They are trying to have a district where it is all historical houses. We’ll focus on Main Street, two blocks east and two blocks west, then one block north up and three blocks south up to 300. At the present time we’re making sure we have a historic district.
End of interview
There is nothing on side B of the tape.