Scooping the Loop in Ogden, Utah … in 1937

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Fall semester classes at Iowa State University begin Monday, August 22, 2011. Grandson Jackson starts kindergarten the same day.

Pictured below is my mother Marion Abbott with seven of her class-of-1937 Ogden, Utah, “High School class mates before going to college, fall 1937.” Mother attended Iowa State College*, which was the alma mater of her parents.

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Mother (Marion Abbott Gunderson) is behind the steering wheel in this photo. While I know Mother had a car to drive during at least her senior year of high school, I don't know if the car in this photo belonged to her or to someone else. According to Mother's handwriting at the upper right, this photo was taken in 1937 and appeared in an Ogden (Utah) Standard-Examiner newspaper. I don't think the writing along the bottom is Mother's, but I could be wrong. I believe the names written at the bottom are, left to right: "Marilyn Eccles, Maren Eccles, Mary Lou Humphries, Betty Hopkins, Dougie Douglas, Shirley Evans, Ruth Young, Abby (Marion) Abbott." (Click on photo once or twice to enlarge.)

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In this 2-minute audio clip recorded in 1981, Mother and her lifelong best friend Betty Dix talk about “driving around” while they were in high school in the 1930s. In the clip, Mother’s is the first voice heard, then Betty’s softer voice.

Although she’s not in the photo (above), Betty Dix** was Mother’s best friend almost from birth. Both were in the Ogden, Utah, class of 1937. Before Mother and Betty were born in 1919, not only were their parents friends, but Betty’s and Mother’s grandparents had been friends.

Betty Dix Kirley, late 1980s. Betty passed away in October 1999.

A 1920 photo*** of Mother and Betty when they were infants is included in this 1999 letter from Betty to Mother. The letter arrived in time for Mother’s 80th birthday celebration.

A 1991 photo of Betty includes (l to r) Mother, Mary Deane Wagner (a cousin of my dad’s), Betty and my dad playing cards (bridge?) during the weekend of my mom’s and dad’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration.

Betty, a victim of cancer, died in early October of 1999, just a month after sending her letter to Mother.

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*now Iowa State University

**Betty later married a man with the last name of Kirley. After they divorced, her name remained Betty Dix Kirley, but I always refer to her as “Betty Dix.”

***Mother as an infant is at left in the photo with the dark hair; Betty is at the right with lighter hair. The photo is at the bottom of the letter, requiring scrolling to view it.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

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5 Responses to “Scooping the Loop in Ogden, Utah … in 1937”

  1. Marti Carlson Says:

    Of course, I enjoy this because it is about Mother and also Betty. I have a feeling there was a side of Mother that showed an even greater zest for life than we realized. I love the clothing – those hats!

    Louise, your sharing of these nuggets – and many others on your blog – is so appreciated, not only because of the enjoyment in reading, seeing and hearing things about our family, but also for documenting historical matters that may provide information of value to others, with no connection to the family, about our rural area and times.

  2. Clara Hoover Says:

    What fun to look at the photo of Mother, her car and her friends! This post prompts me to respond about three things. Mother and several of her close friends had names that began with “Mar,” so they formed the MAR club.

    The Eccles family was a large, prominent family in northern Utah. In fact, Mariner Eccles was Chair of the Federal Reserve under Presidents Roosevelt and Truman. I believe when I was young I sat next to Mr. Eccles on a plane ride to/from Ogden. The Eccles family had a lot of business enterprises in the Ogden/Salt Lake area. Now there are several public buildings named after family members.

  3. Clara Hoover Says:

    Scooping the loop in Ogden reminds me of the late 1950s and scooping the loop in Rolfe. Actually, we didn’t scoop the loop so much as we drove to Pocahontas. Generally this was after Sunday night youth fellowship during the school year. A small group of mostly girls (those of us who weren’t dating) would drive to Pocahontas to see a movie. Sometimes it would be a treat to see Mother and Daddy’s car in front of the Pine Room, and maybe we’d surprise them by dropping in to see them before the movie.

    It seemed that the senior girl who had a car would drive. I did that many times and took Rachel, sometimes Raymond, Sandra and Nancy to the movie. Sometimes the car contained Presbyterians and Methodists. When I was younger Sally was the driver who took all of us younger folk. One night another friend, Jean, had a date with George, who previously had dated Sally. Sally drove, and we waited in the alley behind Jean’s house. Then we followed George and Jean as they drove on HWY 44 heading south from Rolfe. Sally picked up the pace, and as we passed George and Jean, Jean softly waved at us with her hand behind her head. She knew we were there all the time, but George did not.

    Another time during daylight hours, Sally was driving our 1958 Pontiac and wanted to see what it would be like to drive 100 mph. She pushed the footfeet to the floor and as we headed north on HWY 44 from the six mile corner, the we were driving 100 mph. I was scared. And I wonder if Daddy ever knew.

  4. Louise Gunderson Shimon Says:

    Thank you, Marti, for your kind comments. Sometimes when I wonder if I should be channeling my energies another (maybe more seemingly productive?) way instead of the blog, along will come a keyword search (on someone’s name or a particular topic) that leads someone to the blog. I know I’m so thankful when I find a tidbit because someone posted it and hope that this blog does the same for others.

    And, Clara, how velly intellesting to read your comments. What a hoot! While I know you have never ever been a “naughty” girl your whole life your comments certainly show you had a good time being a “good” girl!!!!! I’m so glad you shared.

  5. Clara Hoover Says:

    My memories of Betty Dix:

    * She visited us often in the summer on the farm. Once during her visit, I dropped the nesting bowls cutting a little piece off the end of a finger. We began driving to the doctor’s office in Rolfe, but Betty thought I’d be fine at home. So with her first aid, the piece was taped on. It’s still there and barely noticeable.
    * During her summer visits, she went swimming with us. I was so impressed that she made her own bathing suits (and, I imagine, other clothes) because she was 6 feet tall and finding clothes was difficult.
    * Apparently when she was 36, Betty Dix called Mother on the phone and asked, “Are you sitting down?” Then BD told Mother she (BD) was getting married to Bill Kirley.
    * The summer before my senior year in high school, Mother, Martha and I scouted Colorado Women’s College, and on the way stayed with BD and Bill Kirley at their just outside of town house near Pavillion, Wyoming. (They were social workers working with Native Americans there.) Their house had no bathroom–just an outhouse. I believe we slept on the porch.
    * I recall a few times visiting BD and her father at his house in Roy, Utah, near Ogden. I remember a large garden serviced by irrigation ditches. I slept in a room behind the living room.
    * When I was in grad school in Cleveland, one day BD and Bill appeared by my study cube. They were attending a conference in Cleveland, somehow managed to find me, and took me out to dinner.
    * In 1996 Hal and I visited BD, her sister and brother-in-law in their retirement center in Gaithersburg, MD. Very nice visit.
    * I enjoyed visiting with BD and other members of her family after her nephew, wife and son moved to Omaha. The last time, I believe, was a Thanksgiving when we took Betty Dix along when we went to Rolfe to visit Mother and Daddy. What a special time. I had a feeling then that that might be the last time Mother and Betty Dix saw each other.

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