NORMAL (TEACHER) SCHOOL: Jumping back to June of 1931, I graduated from Newcastle High School when I was 18 despite having started school late and missing a lot of school. I went back the next year for a post graduate course in normal training (teacher training). Although that was post graduate training, they taught it at the high school. I tried to find a school to teach, but did not find one that year. I was out of work.
HOUSE HELPER: A man came to the courthouse wanting someone to come out and work for the family. His wife was expecting and had 5 children already. He needed somebody for house help. Since we were on the county (welfare), I just about had to take that job. They lived up north of Upton about 30 miles from Newcastle off out in the country. I had to sleep with some of the kids. I washed clothes on a washboard. I was up there not much more than a couple of weeks. Her father was staying with them, and he was a Christian, but the rest of them weren't. We had biscuits or cornbread for every meal, and I got sick of washing those pans. The woman was still doing most of the cooking I think. I worked plenty hard.
MOTHER SICK: My father wrote and said my mother was sick. I took that as a good excuse to go home. They were looking for somebody else to work, and they found a girl that I had known in high school. I'm sure they were better satisfied with her. She was the kind to play cards and tell dirty jokes and fit in with the family. There was deep snow then. The man took me in a sled to Upton. He didn't pay me anything, but I had a little money. The one train to Newcastle was already gone. A hearse was going to Edgemont, South Dakota. I thought they were going to let me ride to Newcastle in the hearse, but I would have had to ride in the back and they thought I would freeze. I had met the Methodist pastor's daughter whose name was also Mina. I spent the night with them and took the train to Newcastle the next day. My mother died a little over a week later. I was 19 when Mother died in February 1933. We thought she had the flue. The doctor said she had spinal meningitis.
POOR HOUSE: We had been living in a little house back of the jail that belonged to the county. After my mother died they decided that we didn't need that house. They moved us to what might have been called the poorhouse, where several old men stayed, with a woman hired by the county to keep house for them. We had one room, shut off from the rest of the house. We weren't shut off from the bed bugs though and could they ever bite. We put up a sheet to divide the room.
POOR DIET: When we had to move from the house out of town, we had several chickens. We couldn't keep them in town, so Aunt Tekla canned them. She kept them for us and would sometimes bring us a jar of chicken. That was a big help. Other than that we mainly ate tomatoes and bread. We weren't in very good shape with that kind of diet.
POTMESIL SHOOL: The next year when I was 20 I got a school to teach, Potmesil school, southwest of Newcastle at the other end of the school district 70 miles away. My Dad and I lived in a one-room bunk house belonging to the Potmesil family who had 5 children in school - 8 total. The Potmesil children were James, George, Bob, Pauline, and Sidney. There was also Owen Dorothy who always needed to be told "go on Owen Dorothy, get to work". We moved back to Newcastle for the summer.
SWEETWATER SCHOOL: The next year when I was 21, I got a school up north of Newcastle a few miles, Sweetwater school. They fixed up an old abandoned house for us. One room had a hole full of water under it that we couldn't use. My room did not have glass in the windows -- it was plastic like they put in chicken houses, so I couldn't see out. Some of the students were ; Kenneth Franklin 1st grade, Maria Farella, Antoinette Farella, Theresa Farella, (can't recall name), and Tony Farella. I met Antoinette, Theresa, and Tony on a 1991 trip.
REEL SCHOOL: When I as 22 I had a school out in Crook County east of Moorcroft, Wyoming up toward Sundance (map). That was the Reel school. It was called Reel because the family being schooled was the Reel's. I was paid $75 a month.
BURNS SCHOOL: When I as 23 I taught the Burns school in Crook County. The students were ; Oliver Clark, Myra Clark, Alice Clark, Charlie Clark. Charlie was 9 and had smoked since he was 5. Kenneth Franklin 3rd grade -- I had taught him in 1st grade. Gunnard Necklason (Kenneth Franklin's cousin).
WILLOW SPRINGS SCHOOL: When I as 24 I taught the Willow Springs (or Willow Creek ?) school (map) back in the boondocks in Crook County (north of Weston County) Wyoming. I was paid $55 a month. Cashing my paycheck was an adventure. The road through there ran east and west, but the nearest town was south. I walked deer trails south to Moskee (map), a lumbering camp in the canyon where they cut mine timbers for the gold and silver mines in Lead, South Dakota (rhymes with bead) -- the Homestake mines (map). Moskee had stores and a school, but no bank. From Moskee, Wyoming I would ride to Lead, South Dakota with the mail man to cash my check. He would wait for me to cash my check and take me back to Moskee. He was an old man and knew about some of the pioneer places around Gillette or Moorcroft west of Newcastle. He said there weren't many families in pioneer days -- mostly just men. He told about a camp of prostitutes. After dark the decent women stayed inside and the girls from the camp took over.
The big boss came out to Willow Springs to see the lumber operation. He was going to walk back to Willow Springs but got lost. The men went out to hunt for him. Some women and an old man got together in the big lumber mill shed to wait. I had a squeeze box accordion. A couple from Czechoslovakia was there and the man played my squeeze box. Something about the music made me think that maybe I should marry Ralph Juhala who had wanted me to marry him. His sister Embie Jahala and I were good friends.
Ed Matthews at Willow Springs had horses, a big shed, saws, and timber. I was staying in their bunkhouse in one room. We had school in the other room of the bunkhouse. There were 3 students. Mr. Halverson had a son, Elmer, 11. Ed Matthews' granddaughter, Shirley 6, needed a school, but they needed another child to make 3. The Halversons borrowed a 13 year old girl who was related, Helen Huffman, who had curly red hair.
Ed Mattews was going to have a party and wanted to use the bunkhouse where I was staying to house a guest. I borrowed a horse from Ed and went traveling for the weekend. I went to an old school house where they didn't have school anymore. I had been told I could take anything I could use. I went down into a canyon. It was so steep that I got off the horse and walked. I found some old church songbooks there which I took. On my way to a school board member's house, Mr. Lincoln, I stopped and had supper with some people. They told me how to get to Mr. Lincoln's place. I came to a tree across the road. It was about dark, so I went back. The next day I went on to Mr. Lincoln's house to get my check.
Thanksgiving day I wanted to go to a fellowship meeting at Newcastle. I borrowed Ed Matthew's horse. The Cool's had a ranch not far away. I spent the night before with a family in Moskee. Then rode to the Cool's and was going to ride with them to Newcastle. They had already left when I got there, so I watered the horse and left him in the barn. I hitchhiked to Newcastle, and then rode back with the Cool's.
For Christmas vacation I went back to Uncle Fred's. After Christmas vacation, the pastor, Brother Schaffer, took me back to Willow Springs ranch.
Down the canyon was another little school. The teacher, Edna Balo was Finnish. She had a car. Once she brought her students over and we had contests. One time I rode with Edna to a teacher's meeting in Sundance in Crook County (map). When we went home we were on a slow dirt road. We felt a bump and her left front wheel rolled away and hit a fence post. I walked to the next farm house to borrow a jack. She put the wheel back on. We returned the jack and continued home.
In 2005 I remembered that I had bought a car and it lasted almost the entire school year before it conked out. I cannot remember which year that was.
AFTER TEACHING: My teaching license ran out. I sold Avon cosmetics and Fashion Frock dresses for a while. I boarded with friends, the Beals in Newcastle. Her husband was a sheepherder. He was only home for a day or two every month. I paid my share two weeks after her husband got his monthly check. I guess after a while we both felt like the other was kind of cheating -- not paying a fair share. I moved out and rented me a room for $5 a month in a house that was next door to the house where my father and I had stayed right after my mother died. A man named Hurt owned it. There were 4 apartments in that house.
TRIPS: Mabel Brown and an elderly woman, Sister Dunbar, and I decided to go to a fellowship meeting in Kaycee, Wyoming in the middle of the state (map). It was Mabel Brown's car. It was probably a 2 day meeting. We started back, but the car quit. Mabel was a good mechanic, but couldn't get it going. Someone pushed us until their motor overheated. Then Mabel tore into the car and decided what we needed. I hitchhiked to Gillette 15 miles away to get the part. I also bought some bread and bologna at a grocery store. Mabel put the part on and we went on.
Another time Mabel and I went to I think it was Gordon, Nebraska (map). Her grandfather had a popcorn stand on wheels that he wanted to give her. We started back towing the popcorn trailer. After dark we had a flat out in the middle of nowhere. We might have had patches but no pump. We saw a light in the distance and hoped that someone would stop. Then when it got closer, it whistled -- it was a train. We tried to sleep, but the mosquitos were bad. The next morning we went to borrow a pump and were on our way.
PERINO'S: We had some church friends who lived on a farm in South Dakota (way out of Newcastle). They were 2 sisters and a brother. Mary Ann, John, and Mary Perino. Their parents had immigrated from Italy I think. Mary had married and moved away, so I didn't know her. John and Mary Ann never married. (John was 8 days younger than I.) They had no electricity -- only batteries and generator that provided limited light. They had coal oil lamps and maybe gasoline lanterns. John died in the 1970's. He was clearing the road of snow when his tractor turned over on him. Mary Ann and Mary were living near Onawa, Iowa (map) when Mary Ann died. My mother Marie was born near Onawa.
SPRINGFIELD MISSOURI: In 1943 when I was 30, I went to Central Bible Institute (now Central Bible College) in Springfield, Missouri (map). I felt like there wasn't anything for me in Wyoming. Dad wanted me to go even though he was in poor health. My roommate for 7 years was Flora Sprinkle -- during Bible College and until I got married. I attended Eastside Assembly of God Church while I lived in Springfield. Dad died that first year that I was in Springfield.
After a year of Bible School, I went to work at the Gospel Publishing House. I worked in the Sunday School department. Back then everybody did several different things. Among other things I wrote articles for the Sunday School Counselor magazine, and wrote lessons for the quarterlies (books used by teachers for teaching the weekly classes). I promoted the idea that children should learn to give offerings for God's work, and the money should be used for projects such as providing gospel literature for people in other countries. The seeds had been planted and the idea caught on after I left. Billie Davis was instrumental in starting the BGMC, Boys and Girls Missionary Crusade, program which has expanded to encourage children to help the needy and it challenges them to love people of all races. The offerings help fund feeding programs, the construction of water wells, disaster relief programs, healthcare programs, new churches, orphanages, and it still provides literature for missionaries. Total giving as of the end of 2011 was over $100 million. In the early days, children were given a small 2-part wooden barrel to put their pennies and other change in. Then once a month they would bring their "BGMC barrel" to church and give the contents in a BGMC offering -- usually in children's church. Now there are plastic buddy barrels, the name has changed to Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge, and BGMC has become more of a fund raiser than a children's offering. I still think that children need to learn to give their own money to God's work. An article in the Pentecostal Evangel (February 17, 2002 by Wayne Warner, director of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center) credits Publishing House editor, Hart Armstrong, as founder of BGMC. Now you know more of the story.
I was one of the first people to develop lessons for toddlers and encourage churches to start classes for 2 and 3 year olds. Prior to that most children younger than 4 or 5 years old were sent to the nursery or stayed with their parents during Sunday School. Even though younger children cannot read, they can understand many Bible stories which were illustrated with flannel boards. This was long before the era of overhead projectors and computer displays. If you do not know what a flannel board is, it is like a white board or bulletin board covered with cloth that sits on an easel (3 legged stand). For the younger children, cut-outs of the characters from the story were placed on the flannel board as the story was told. Later in life I continued to use flannel boards with my illustrated messages for adults, one of which was why the theory of evolution could not be true. Writing and self publishing a little book about birds was another way to explain a small part of God's wonderful creation and how it could not have just happened by itself.
SUNDAY SCHOOL TRAINING: Sometimes I got to travel to churches and promote certain Sunday School programs and train workers. Just before Thanksgiving, 1949, I was sent to New Bethel Assembly of God Church (map) in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Marcus L. Grabel had been my boss at the Sunday School department. He and his wife are pictured at right. Brother Grabel resigned and went to Fort Smith as Education Director for New Bethel. Brother Grabel wanted me to come and help set up a sunday school class for 2 and 3 year olds. I told him that I was too busy and couldn't come. At that time the Sunday School Department operated a sort of correspondence school for Sunday School teachers. I think I was busy reviewing and correcting the papers that people had mailed in from all over the country. This might be considered a precursor to ICI, the International Correspondence Institute, a home Bible study program which was established in 1967 and later became Global University.
FORT SMITH TRIP: Brother Grabel called the head of the Gospel Publishing House, Brother Kamerer, and asked him if there was any way he could get me to come since he, Brother Grabel, had already told those people I was coming. I said yes I would go, but I wasn't the least bit happy about it. I figured I would stay with the Grabel's and that wouldn't be so bad. When I got off the bus, the Grabel's met me and took me out to eat. He said that he would have liked to have had me stay with them at their house, but he had thought that if I stayed at the home of someone that might teach that age group, that we could talk shop, and it might be of benefit for someone to entertain me. The people he wanted to have me didn't volunteer. Dayton's mother volunteered to have me, and Brother Grabel didn't want to hurt her feelings by refusing her offer. So, he was taking me over there. I was mad about the whole situation, but I took myself by the back of the neck and said, Mina, you are going to act like a Christian about this anyway. So I tried to calm down.
DAYTON YOUNG: I stayed with Ida Young and her son Dayton who took me to the meetings and took me home. We never had much to say. Later Dayton sent me a Christmas card, and I didn't even send him one back. I didn't want him interested in me. I thought if I ever got married, I would marry a preacher. That was my idea, not the Lord's. In May (maybe June) Flora and I were having a shower for some couple. We had somebody bring some chairs over from the funeral home. Brother and Sis. Grabel came by. I hadn't known that they had moved back to Springfield. They knew about that Christmas card that Dayton sent. He said that when they left, Sis. Young said "Tell Mina we love her".
At first I was going upstairs to ask some of the other girls if Brother Grabel had ever tried matchmaking on them, but I felt a check and I didn't say anything. I started feeling under conviction. I kept feeling worse and worse. I couldn't send Dayton a Christmas card then. I wondered what should I do? I finally wrote his mother a little a note and said the Grabel's had come by and relayed her greetings. I put a post script, "tell Dayton hello." A few weeks later I got a letter from Dayton. I guess he filled a waste basket with false starts before he got one that suited him. I answered the letter. He came up to see me in July. He was working 5 and a half days a week, but he took off one Friday at noon and drove to Springfield to see me.
MARRIAGE: In August Dayton came up to Springfield and took me to Fort Smith for the weekend. On the way down to Fort Smith he asked me "wilt thou"? And I wilted. He took Monday off, and we went and looked at rings. Someone from New Bethel A/G Church was there in the jewelry store but I didn't know it, so the word got out in Fort Smith. I rode the bus back and got there in time for work Tuesday. In the mornings we gathered for prayer in the boss's office. I stood against the wall with my hands behind my back. Then after prayer I showed off my ring. We were engaged August 6th and married September 17th. Why waste time when we were 37 years old? Now I am glad that I went to that assignment in Fort Smith even though I thought I was too busy to go.
Dayton had a friend named Lank Pigg. His wife's name was Henrietta (Henry ate a pig!). After we married, we were looking for a house, and since the Piggs had moved recently, Dayton's mother thought we might get the one they had vacated. She said, "If it's good enough for the Piggs, it's good enough for you." I'm sure she didn't think how that sounded, but I got a good laugh out of it.
WRITER: I have been a writer most of my life. I have been published in many religious magazines and papers, and have done some contract writing for training materials and quarterlies. I even wrote a short novel for children about life in rural America during the time that I grew up, "Jeannie of the 2-Bar A", published by Moody Press.
PASTOR: In 1966 I became a licensed Assemblies of God minister. Although I spoke in many small churches, I was more of a teacher than preacher. In 1968 I restarted a rural church in the Union community a few miles northeast of Paris, Arkansas -- Union Assembly of God Church (map). The people around there helped us fix up the church and parsonage. Heat was provided by some gas stoves which ran on propane from a tank outside. In the summer we had some electric fans and open windows. Some of the families who attended were Blackwell, Grist, Hickman, and Green.
Unlike the church, the parsonage had running water and a bathroom. There was a well with electric pump. If somebody had to go to the bathroom they walked over to the parsonage. The parsonage also had a hot water heater and fully equipped kitchen. The whole family got up early Sunday morning and drove to Union where we spent the entire day. After the Sunday evening service we drove back home to Fort Smith. We drove a station wagon, so there was room for 7 people, a few musical instruments, food, books for homework, and etc. Charles took several young people to the district CA, Christ Ambassadors (A/G Youth), convention in Hot Springs one fall. They spent two nights at the campgrounds.
One Sunday night our car quit on the way home. Several cars ignored us waving at them and drove on by. Finally a young man stopped who was headed home just a few blocks away from our house. We all piled in his car and continued home. Our car motor was bad, and we never got it fixed. We got a little newer station wagon. After a couple of years a young couple was interested in the church. I resigned and they took over. They lived in the parsonage. Later the parsonage was torn down and Sunday School rooms and fellowship hall was added to the west side of the church.
PLAINVIEW: 1970 I opened another church that had been closed -- Plainview Assembly of God Church (map) just north of Van Buren on Highway 59. Again the entire family was involved in helping out until Charles went off to college in Fayetteville. The church had a half hour radio program on KFDF in Van Buren for a short time. The family continued attending Plainview even after I was no longer the pastor. Large churches seem to be the trend now, but those were very small churches. The attendance was usually 15 to 25 sometimes 30 with 5 of those being our family.
EDUCATION AUTHOR: I developed materials for teaching basic math and reading skills. I traveled to many schools in Western Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma selling those booklets, flashcards, and games from about 1970 until the late 1980's. I also advertised my products in homeschooling magazines, and sold them to individuals through the mail. The "Hooked On Phonics" product seemed to be a fancy version of my "Alphabetics" book and materials, and my sales declined after that came out. I never made much more than enough to cover my expanses, but if I helped someone, it was worth it. During my 54 years in Fort Smith, I began writing letters to the editor. I self published a small book of some of those letters. I campaigned against water flouridation in Fort Smith by writing letters to the editor, and even created an anti-flouridation radio jingle. A sampling of my writings is on my web page.
SALVATION: My life has been so much better knowing Jesus Christ as my Savior than it would have been without God. I have become increasingly aware of the importance of telling others about the gift of salvation. All my life I have tried to share the knowledge of this wonderful gift with as many people as possible. Besides paying tithes to our local church, Dayton and I have always contributed to help spread the gospel around the world. Besides continuing to contribute to BGMC, which I have a personal interest in, we have also contributed to missionaries and projects such the international Fire Bible and the Book of Hope. If you have not asked God to forgive your sins, please do it now and learn more about salvation.
BENTON (2004): I am now living near Benton, Arkansas. I am amazed at how many trees there are in this part of the country. It is almost like living in a forest compared to where I grew up in Montana and Wyoming. You can get an idea of the difference by viewing aerial photos of Saline County, Arkansas and Billings, Montana.
Mina Christine Arnold Young passed away peacefully on Friday afternoon February 26, 2010 at the age of 96. Thanks to all who helped care for her during her last few years when she could not longer do for herself. If you are on Facebook, you are welcome to join this group: Mina Christine Arnold Young memorial. Obituary
Mina's declining years - living and dying with dementia, by Charles Young
Many families face the difficult decision of what do when a loved one can no longer live on her own. Fortunately for Mom, she had family members and neighbors that would assist her, but there came a time when that was not enough. My brother and his wife moved in with her for a couple of years, and then she moved in with my wife and me. The first year she was with us we took her to an adult day care on weekdays while we were at work. Although Mom did not participate in all the activities, for the most part she enjoyed getting out and being with other people. Then Mom stayed at our home and we had helpers come in to stay with Mom during the day while my wife and I were at work. Mom sat in a lift chair in the living room during the day, and someone was close by all the time. We got her a hearing aid so that she could hear people talking and be part of the family. Mom had always loved to read, but her eyesight became bad due to macular degeneration. She listened to Bible CDs, played the piano, enjoyed listening to other people play the piano and sing, and enjoyed attending church.
Our brains must have a special place for music which often continues to function when other parts are not functioning as evidenced by Mom's ability to remember words to hymns and her ability to play the piano even when she couldn't remember very much else. Two of her favorite hymns to play on the piano were "Not By Might, Not By Power, but By My Spirit," and "They Come From the East and West." Mom's first daytime home care giver was Marsha Claunch, and the second was Pat Griffin. Both were accomplished pianists, and Mom enjoyed listening to them play hymns and gospel songs. I thank God for those two ladies, they were a blessing to Mom and our family. Sometimes I played the piano too, but I wasn't such an accomplished pianist. Marsha had cared for her own mother at home until she died, and encouraged us that we could do the same for my mother.
Mom's life stories: When I was growing up, Mom often told stories about her childhood, but I did not remember them. Fortunately she wrote out some of those stories and gave them to her children and grandchildren. When I became a grandfather, I started asking Mom and Dad about their childhood, and wrote down the stories they told. That collection of stories became treasures when Mom could no longer remember her past. In the evenings she would often ask me to tell her about herself and her family, and I would give her a short version of her history. She would stay awake and alert later than normal when it was story time. Whenever she would ask me about something, it seemed that she knew that there was sort of a bookmark in her memory, something that she should be able to remember, but she just could not get to it. Even though she might not be able to remember enough of the missing pieces to ask about it, she was grateful that I would tell her something about her past.
At other times -- especially on weekends, I would spend an hour or two reading Mom's life story to her. I had an early version of a smart phone that could display web pages, and I would read from this same family history that you are reading now. Mom sometimes would ask if this was really about her, and did she really do all those things? Mom was just thrilled to hear her stories retold. She knew that I was reading, and could see well enough to know that I was not reading from a book. She would ask me what it was that I was reading, and I would explain that I was using a phone to read her story, and that anyone in the world could read it. I know that sounded very strange to her, but she seemed to be fine with it.
Also on the weekends, I would call some of Mom's friends and let her talk to them on the phone. Even though she did not remember very much about them, she enjoyed talking to them anyway. Lisa Johnson would remind Mom how her educational materials had helped her home school her large family. Sometimes Mom seemed amazed to hear about how she had helped people during her life, and of course she loved hearing about it from the people themselves.
We got Mom a wheelchair, but tried to keep her walking as much as possible. Mom had arthritis, so walking was painful. She would often stop walking and sit in the floor. It was hard to get her up out of the floor. Taking care of Mom was a strain, and was affecting our own health. We put Mom in a nursing home for a few days, but that did not work well at all. It seems that some people thrive in a nursing home, but that was not our experience. Mom required assistance with everything including eating. I thought that this was probably a common thing that the nursing home staff could handle, but in spite of explaining everything that needed to be done for Mom, the actual caregivers did not seem to understand or give the care that was needed. Mom was not eating, her false teeth were misplaced, she was left to lay in the bed without covers at night, and she got very sick. After 3 days and 2 nights, we rescued her from the nursing home, and a granddaughter took her into her home.
Hospice was quite helpful, although the first hospice organization we tried did not work out -- they tried to take over and tell us how to care for Mom. We found another hospice group that was willing to assist and make gentle suggestions. Various hospice workers came by a few times a week to check on Mom. One of the things that I appreciated about hospice care was learning what to expect as Mom's health declined and death approached. Pain medication was paid for in full through hospice and medicare. It was hospice workers who told us when we no longer had to try to get Mom to take pills for blood pressure or arthritis, and when we should not worry if Mom did not want to eat -- don't force her to eat if she does not want it. We were blessed that Mom never was argumentative or belligerent.
I was told that Mom's two cousins and one of her almost-cousins died from Alzheimers Disease. It is has become a common misconception that all dementia is caused by Alzheimers, even though Alzheimers has been difficult to diagnose, and until recently could only be definitively diagnosed by an autopsy. Mom's neuropathy and likely her dementia were a result of her lack of proper thyroid levels for several years. She subscribed to "Prevention" magazine and other similar publications, and became convinced that iodine added to salt was a poison. She made a special effort to use salt that had no iodine, and developed a goiter in mid life. Her thyroid gland had to be removed, and she needed to take thyroid medication for the rest of her life. Late in life she became convinced that thyroid medication from the pharmacy was a poisonous chemical, so she started taking thyroid extract from the health food store instead of her medicine. Her doctor told her that he would not be testing her thyroid levels if she refused to take her medicine. She did fairly well using the health food thyroid for a few years, but then she began loosing weight, became weak, and had symptoms of dementia and neuropathy. Her children got her back on prescription thyroid medication, and her declining health stabilized for a few years. Perhaps Mom would have eventually developed dementia anyway, but the improper thyroid levels certainly were a problem for her.
So, the moral of this story is: write down your life story and make sure your thyroid levels are correct.
5724 since 1998