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Helen Lela Valantine Stay's Autobiography Part 2



After our ten months in Alabama were up, we were given orders to go to Spain, to an airbase near Madrid, called Torrejon de Ardoz. We had thought we were going to be stationed in Turkey, and had seen slides of it, had bought a water heater to use there, and had tried to learn Turkish from language records. But then our orders were changed, so we sold the water heater (we should have kept it for use in Spain!), but we didn’t have time to learn any Spanish.

Our plane was to take off from McGuire Airbase in New Jersey, so we took a slow trip up the East coast seeing the sights along the way. We went down into middle Florida, saw Silver Springs and the Okefenokee Swamp, and then stopped in Washington D.C. and saw the sights there again. We then stopped in New York and saw the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and drove up the Hudson River to see the Palisades. Then we took off for Spain on July 13, 1960, on our 18th wedding anniversary!

Spain was beautiful. The sky was so blue and clear, and Madrid was a beautiful city of elegant buildings, parks, wide streets, and statues. We were met at the airport by Art and Emmy Paul, a wonderful couple. Art would be working for Jesse. They took us to an apartment-hotel they had rented for us, while we looked for a place to live. We were on the 7th floor. Randy, Linda and Judi would gather in the lobby there to play board games and such with other young people, and Larry and Greg would play outside in the dirt with other children, making little roads, hills, and so on. Sharon just sort of watched out for all of them. That part of the city was just being built up, with lots of new apartment buildings under construction.


It took us a long time and a lot of searching to find a place to live. Most of Madrid was made up of apartment buildings or row houses. I didn’t want to live in either of these type of places with a large family. We looked at all sorts of large houses in the outlying areas. One was a large house and had a huge ballroom, with a small stage and an alcove for an orchestra to play on. But it was too far out of town, with no means of transportation, to be practical. Another house had many huge rooms and was on a large estate. We were tempted to take that one, but then learned that the water supply was practically non-existent, and so that was out. The row houses were about one room wide and five stories tall, with the kitchens in the basement and the eating rooms on the main floors. That didn’t seem to be very practical either. Some of the houses were too small for us.

After about two months of searching, a friend took me to see a house. It was large, old, with a Spanish-tile roof, ceramic tile floors, and an enormous yard which stretched from the street in front of the house to the street behind. It was exactly what I wanted and was only two blocks from the large apartment building that the Americans had rented to hold elementary school in, church in, and to house the Base Exchange and Commissary. It was also close to the Metro (subway) and the bus and trolley lines, so it would be easy for us to get around when we didn’t have the car. Also, the house was about six blocks from the American Theater, so the children could walk to see the movies. We rented it right away!


The house had a foyer, dining room, front room, family room, kitchen, and half-bath downstairs , and four bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. Our bedroom had a little balcony, covered with beautifully-flowering vines that also screened the porch below. Outside, and away from the house, was a little maid’s house with a room and bath, with a wash house on one end of it. There was also a garage, although we didn’t keep our car in it.

The back yard had a grape arbor, a smokehouse, an old garage, plus lots of trees. But the most interesting thing for us was a large cemented pond in the back yard. We filled it with water every summer and used it for a swimming pool. It was really fun for the children. The whole yard was surrounded by a high, thick wall, with broken bottles embedded in the top of the back wall to keep out intruders.

We had some wonderful Easter-egg hunts in that back yard. The children would color and decorate the eggs, then we would take turns hiding them. There were such wonderful hiding places that we could never remember where we had hidden all of them, and would find them ages later, all rotten and smelly. The children also had fun climbing in the trees. But once Randy fell out of one and severely broke his arm, and another time Larry fell out of one and was unconscious for a minute or two.


Although the house was really great for us, it also had its problems. The lack of water was the worst problem, and it was dirty and full of bugs. We had to fill huge jugs with water at the Base Exchange (BX) and carry them home to use. But after nine months or so, the Landlord got us on the city water system, and then we had a plentiful supply of good water.

Another problem was the lack of a decent water heater. The one in the house was small and ran on electricity, which took forever to heat a small quantity of water. So we heated a lot of pans of water on the stove for bathing, and washed a lot of dishes in cold water. There was no natural gas supply to the house, so we had to find a source of bottled butane, and order it often for our kitchen stove (all this in halting Spanish, of course).

The furnace was another problem. It was too small and inefficient. I was usually cold all winter and wore lots of warm underwear. After we converted the furnace from coal to kerosene, Jesse would climb up on the roof with a can of kerosene and pour it down the chimney to clean it out. It would catch on fire, explode, and blow smoke and soot out of the top of the chimney. It was a wonder we didn’t blow ourselves up!

But in spite of the problems, it was a wonderful “homey” house, and was cool and delightful during the hot summers, because of its thick walls. Because there were no screens on the windows though, we had to hire a carpenter to make some for us. We also hired him to teach Randy carpentry, which Randy seemed to enjoy.


We had some nice Spanish neighbors, although we couldn’t converse with them very well, not being fluent enough in Spanish. Randy was good friends with their oldest boy, Angel, and they spent a lot of time together. Larry and Greg played a lot with the Spanish children, and also with some English/Spanish boys who lived nearby. Their mother, Nancy Ochoa, was a good friend. Judi and Linda had lots of American friends, and Sharon had a Spanish boyfriend. Art and Emmy Paul were very good friends and wonderful people. They had four sons. Von and Dahnell Freeman from our church branch were also good friends, and had three boys.


We had a nice but small church branch. I again taught Primary and led the singing, taught in MIA, taught in Sunday School, and was the District Primary President (included the Spain-Morocco-Azores serviceman’s groups) for awhile. One of Judi’s friends who came to Primary and MIA with her joined the church. Both Larry and Greg were baptized in Spain, in the baptismal font at the military chapel on the Air Base. We had a lot of fun Church parties, often on New Year’s Eve. The adults would meet at the Generalissimo building (where we held church), or at someone’s house and play games until midnight, then have some sort of food and hilarity. Sometimes we would have mountain parties and play in the snow, or go see some tourist sight together.


Judi, Larry, and Greg all went to school at the Generalissimo Building, about two blocks from our house. Linda went on a school bus to Junior High at Royal Oaks, an American housing community about a 20-minute drive out of town. Randy and Sharon went on a school bus out to the Air Base at Torrejon, about an hour’s drive, to go to High School there.

Sharon finished her Senior year of High School there, then went back to the United States to spend two years at BYU, coming back to Spain the first summer. Sharon had been active in clubs and in drama, and had been in various plays at school. She received a $200 scholarship from the PTA at graduation, which really helped out on her college expenses. On their Senior trip, the class visited the sights in southern Spain, and had a wonderful graduation party on Graduation night. First they had the graduation, then a school dance. Then they got on school busses and went to the American movie theater and went to a movie. Then the busses brought them to our house, where the PTA served them a breakfast of pancakes, hot chocolate, and orange juice, and they had activities until morning, when the busses took them back to school to receive their diplomas, then on home.


We had two ladies come in every day to help with the housework, Lola and Angelita. But after a year, we got two sisters to live there full time in the maid’s house, Juanita and Carmen. They were all great. But then we got two unsatisfactory ladies who came in, whom I had to fire. Then we got two lovely girls, who were so nice and were a wonderful help, Pili and Angelines. They seemed like part of our family.


After being in Spain a few months, we got a telegram saying Jesse’s Mother had died of diabetes, but the funeral was being held the day we got the wire. Jesse’s Mother was a most wonderful woman, and I felt very blessed to have had her for a mother-in-law. Before she died, she made each of the children a quilt, which they really loved and used until the quilts wore out.


The most important thing that happened to us while we were in Spain was the birth of our seventh child and fourth son, Timothy Val Stay. He was born at the hospital on the Air Base on June 3, 1961, which was in the community called Torrejon de Ardoz. He had white blond hair and beautiful blue-green eyes. Again we were delighted and overjoyed to have another beautiful little son join our family! He has always been such a source of joy and satisfaction to us and is a real peacemaker. We called him “Timo”, pronounced “Teemo”, which is spanish for Tim. The day Timo and I came home from the hospital was the day Sharon graduated from High School.

Randy was active in Scouting in Spain, going on many campouts and having many adventures. He was chosen to be in the Order of the Arrow, and also received his Eagle Badge there. We were very proud of him. Linda had a special girl friend, and went interesting places with her and her family. Judi was active in the pre-teen club, and got to be in a Spanish movie.

Spain seemed so different to us: the people dressed very conservatively, often totally in black. People dressed up to go to town, ladies in dresses, men in suits and ties. The women never wore slacks, and jeans hadn’t arrived in Spanish life yet. Almost all of the people had dark hair, fair skins, dark eyes, and were short in stature. They were always very nice to us, and were dignified and proud. In the summer you would see whole families out walking until late at night. You would see ladies sitting on chairs or stools out on the dirt knitting, knitting. Every vacant lot or field was just dirt–no vegetation.

There were lots of donkey-pulled carts, lots of dirt roads. There were herds of sheep walking through the streets, grazing on vacant land that seemed to have no foliage for them. There were people coming through the streets selling pottery, sharpening knives, mending cane chairs, selling eggs. There were beggars coming to the door or accosting you on the street corners. There were gypsies begging, some pulling around calliopes or music boxes and playing for money. There were groups of college boys who wore Medieval costumes with capes from whose shoulders hung colorful streamers. They would go around and serenade with mandolins, guitars, and singing, and were called “Tunas”.

There were people selling hot-roasted chestnuts and churros (sort of a doughnut made in a long spiral) on the streets also. There were carnivals and fairs set up in the vacant lots. There were no supermarkets, just separate shops for fruits and vegetables, bread (their bread was so good!), meat, delicatessen items, fish, etc. Their food was all very good and tasty. We did most of our staples shopping at the Commissary, but bought fruit, vegetables, meat, and fish locally.


The military offered Dependents Spanish lessons at the Generalissimo Building, so I went to them; Jesse had Spanish lessons at the Air Base; and we also had teachers come to the house. A young man named Eduardo came for about six months, and later a young lady named Gloria came. We finally learned enough Spanish to get by–usually talking in just the present tense–but I was never very fluent in it and always had an American accent. The children had Spanish classes in school and became quite adept at speaking it.


The children had a week off from school for Easter vacation, so we decided to tour a bit. One year, the children and I (Jesse had to work) took a driving and camping trip through southern Spain. We first went to Granada, to see the beautiful Alhambra, a Moorish palace with gorgeous arches, intricately carved plaster walls, lovely fountains, patios, and gardens. Then we went through the winding mountainous road to the tip of Spain and Gibraltar. We climbed up the Rock of Gibraltar, and saw the monkeys that live there. Later we went to Malaga and Rota, and played in the ocean for an hour or so. But it was cold and cloudy or rainy most of the time. We went past Sevilla and on to Cordoba, where we stopped and looked at the old Moorish arches there–several hundred of them, all red and white striped. We passed through many narrow streets where the whitewashed walls of the houses had flower vases and bird cages hanging on them, and inside the gates you could see glimpses of beautiful patios and fountains. It was a lovely trip.

Another Easter vacation, the older children and I went on a driving, camping trip to Portugal. We went to Lisbon and saw the long, sloping park and the monuments along the shore. We saw people working in the fields in typical costumes, and women carrying things on their heads, and washing their clothes in the streams. We went to Nazare on the sea coast where all of the people wore wool plaids. The men wore knickers of one plaid, and shirts of another. The women wore gathered wool plaid skirts, with ten or so full petticoats beneath them. They had brightly painted boats which were pulled up onto the sand by oxen. They were mainly fishermen, and it was so picturesque and unspoiled. We camped in many exotic places: along a river, on the top of a mountain near a young men’s school, in a park, and other nice places. We bought some pottery and a large carved wooden spoon. We passed Avila, the old walled city in Spain on our way back to Madrid.


Another time, Jesse and I were invited to a celebration at Oviedo, in northern Spain. We took along Linda and Judi to watch Timo, who was still too young to be left with the maids. There they had a big parade, with all sorts of folk dancers from all over Spain, and a few floats. We also went to a bull fight and opera while there, and bought some wooden shoes typical of that region.

Once Judi, her friend, and I drove to Valencia, where we saw lots of rice growing in the fields, and passed through lots of dry mountainous country. I can’t remember why more of the family wasn’t with us.

We saw most of the interesting tourist attractions in and around Madrid: the Palace, the Prado Art Museum, the bull fights, flamenco dancing, the Valley of the Fallen (the Civil War Memorial), and the Escorial, which was a huge palace-tomb built by one of the Holy Roman Emperors who ruled most of Europe. We also took trips to Toledo and Segovia. Toledo is an ancient city with ruins from both the Romans and Moors. There they make beautiful objects of blackened steel and gold. Segovia has a huge old Roman aqueduct which is still in very good condition, and still carries water. It also has a castle once owned by Ferdinand and Isabella, which is very beautiful and breathtaking.


We were blessed to have many visits from General Authorities while we were in Madrid, since Jesse was the District President. Once Elder Spencer Kimball, then a member of the Council of the Twelve, and Sister Kimball visited Madrid. He spoke to our branch, and the next day we drove them around to see Toledo and Segovia. That evening, many of the branch members met us, and we went to a Flamenco performance. Before entering, Pres. Kimball said, “Please don’t take me into a place that an Apostle of the Lord shouldn’t go”. We assured him that it was a clean and decent show, which it was. It was such a privilege to be in their company.

Another time, Elder and Sister N. Eldon Tanner, he being also a member of the Council of the Twelve, came to our home during one of their visits, and Judi did a flamenco dance for them in a pretty little flamenco dress I had made for her. It was wonderful to have them there! Another day, Elder Tanner and Jesse went downtown to the Foreign Ministry offices to inquire about what the Church had to do to gain legal status in Spain. The Minister they talked to had known Elder Tanner in Canada and had great respect for him, so he listened to them and promised to find out what could be done. We later received a letter from Elder Tanner saying that they had sent him a letter saying that the Church could do nothing legally in Spain, since “Spain had a Concordat with the Holy See not to allow error to enter Spain”. So that was discouraging.

Later, Elder and Sister Mark Petersen came to our branch to talk at a District Conference.
It was special being with such great people.


All of the girls and I took flamenco dancing lessons. Judi also took violin lessons, Linda cello lessons, Sharon piano lessons, and for a little while, the boys took piano lessons also. Randy played in the band at school, but had his clarinet stolen. Later, with another one, he became very good on the clarinet and saxophone, and played in the band in high school and in their special jazz band. Sharon always did well on the piano, and one summer while we were in Alabama, used all of her earnings from baby sitting and went to a music camp in Colorado, going by bus both ways. We have always enjoyed listening to her play. Judi did well on the piano and violin and played for our branch meetings in Virginia, but stopped taking lessons while in high school. Larry, Greg, and Timo all played the trumpet in school bands, but stopped taking lessons when they were young. Timo learned to play the piano somewhat, and was able to play for church meetings on his mission.


While living in Spain, we traveled throughout Europe two different summers, visiting France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, western Austria, Italy, and Switzerland. We bought a tent which slept all of us, and cots and sleeping bags, and a luggage trailer, and stayed in campgrounds throughout Europe. The camps were very primitive, but very cheap in those days, and we never spent more than $3.00 a night for the ten of us (my dear mother went along too). There was practically no traffic, compared to today, and parking and driving were much easier. We had lots of fun adventures together and saw many beautiful sights–all of the usual tourist sights. The first summer we took Timo along, who was only six weeks old, but the second summer we left him with the maids. The rest of the family went along both summers.



Finally our three wonderful years in Spain were over, and we flew back to the United States in the summer of 1963. Since Jesse was to be stationed at the Pentagon again, we bought a new house in Woodbridge, Virginia, at 763 Roanoke St., but it wasn’t finished being built yet. We bought a house trailer that would sleep all of us, then drove out to BYU in Utah to pick up Sharon who was finishing her second year there and to meet her fiance Keith Brown. Then we went to Los Angeles and stayed with Mother all summer until Sharon’s wedding to Keith in the Los Angeles Temple on September 3, 1963. Keith’s aunts gave them a gorgeous reception and buffet, and a beautiful wedding cake. One of them let us hold the reception at her elegant home. It was surely a lovely affair and Keith is such a fine young man.

Sharon and Keith have had nine beautiful children, and have had two foster Navajo children for various years. Sadly, their dear little Melanie died of Sudden Crib Death when she was three months old, and their dear son Danny took his own life when he was twenty years old, filling our hearts with sadness. For several years Keith taught physics at Cal Poly University in Pomona, California, and now works for a company as a physicist, being world-renowned in his field. They now live in Alta Loma in a lovely home there. Sharon graduated from BYU, has had many stories and articles published, paints, has written musical plays, has won cooking and recipe contests, is always helping other people, and has many other talents and skills.


After Sharon’s wedding, we went back to Virginia, and spent the next five years there. We had a really nice house with a front room, dining room, kitchen, and three bedrooms and two baths upstairs; and downstairs were two bedrooms, a family room with a raised-hearth fireplace and a walk-out door, and a bath. The bedrooms were rather small, but the house fit our needs. Outside were many of the beauties of the Virginia countryside. We had a large yard, and bought a huge on-the-ground swimming pool, which we really enjoyed. From our dining room walk-out door, we could see the beautiful woodlands, which were flowering in the spring; green, green in the summer; and all shades of red, magenta, coral, wine, orange, yellow, tan, and brown in the fall. It was a beautiful house and setting and I always loved it. It cost $20,500 at 4 and one-half percent interest–a bargain even in those days.

We lived at the bottom of a small hill, and when it would snow in the winter, all of the children from the neighborhood would sled down the hill. It was a lot of fun. You could also slide down the hill in our back yard. Lots of times the road leading out of the subdivision would turn icy, and it was very treacherous going down it in a car. I was afraid that I would crash into something or somebody on the ice, but fortunately, never did.

Once, while Jesse was on a short trip to Vietnam, we were snowed in for four days. Since we had plenty of wood for the fireplace and I had just marketed and had plenty of food, it turned out to be an exciting adventure. However, Timo played out in the snow for so long that his feet got frostbitten and we had to slowly thaw them out. Fortunately no permanent damage was done. I kept the fire going day and night for the four days and it felt good to come in from the snow and sit by the fire.


We again enjoyed seeing the tourist sights in Washington D.C., especially the different museums of the Smithsonian. We would often meet Jesse for our Family Home Evenings at the park near there after he got off work at the Pentagon. We would have a picnic dinner, then go as a family to visit the museums. We also had many happy vacations at the Atlantic Ocean, at the Virginia, Delaware, and Maryland beaches. We had a wide canoe that Jesse and Randy had built, and often went boating on a nearby lake, on a nearby river, or took it to the beaches to ride through the surf.

Larry and Greg were active in Scouting while we were in Virginia, taking many long hikes along the Appalachian and canal trails, and having campouts. Larry earned his Eagle Badge there, and we were really proud of his accomplishments. Both boys received the Aaronic Priesthood while there. Jesse got a Master’s Degree at George Washington University by going to night school.


Randy graduated from High School, went to BYU for a year, and then went on a two and a half year mission for the Church to Central America. He was a wonderful missionary, and we enjoyed and treasured his interesting letters. We surely missed him, and each of the children as they left. During the summers, Randy worked on various jobs: reconstructing an old mill, filling up trucks with gravel at a gravel yard, and building houses, often narrowly escaping accidents at all of these jobs.

Linda worked as a baby sitter, house cleaner, life guard, and secretary. Judi worked as a baby sitter. Larry delivered newspapers early every morning, and sold doughnuts door to door twice a week. All of the children have always been conscientious, hard workers, dependable and reliable. While Randy was on his mission I worked as a pre-school and kindergarten teacher at a private school. I had 28-30 children for four hours every day and got $150 a month, but it helped out the budget. Timo went to school there with me, but had a different teacher. I was grateful that I had a job where I didn’t have to leave Timo at home alone with a baby sitter, but could have him with me.


Jesse was made the Branch President of our Woodbridge Branch, and I taught in most of the organizations, as well as being one of the counselors and song leader in Primary. We first met in a rented one-room building. Later we met in a military building on the Marine Base at Quantico, about 19 miles south of Woodbridge, so we had a lot of driving to do. Besides the family, we also picked up others to take them, so we always had a full car. The only nice thing about driving was the opportunity to drive through the beautiful woodlands, which was very soul-satisfying, seeing so much beauty surrounding us. We could also see the Potomac River which flowed along near the highway–so beautiful, wide, and peaceful.

Later on, the branch rented a house in Woodbridge, and held all of our church meetings there, which was much more convenient. However, I still used to fill the car with children to take to Primary (held on a weekday after school hours, in those days). I was thankful that we were never hit by other cars during the icy winter months. We went to the Mt. Vernon Ward House or to rented auditoriums for our Stake meetings.

One of the church callings I really enjoyed was that of teaching the Guide Patrol boys (11 year olds) in Primary. We were to give them their Tenderfoot Scouting as part of Primary, so we had to take lots of five-mile hikes and do other things in the woods. Virginia was such a beautiful place to hike. We were about a twenty minute drive from Prince William Park–a large County park and woodlands, filled with trees, undergrowth, streams, hanging bridges, and countless cool, shaded trails. We spent many happy hours hiking there. A few times the Branch members camped there over the 24th of July, and that was a lot of fun.


Linda and Judi had many honors in High School. Linda was on the Student Council and was voted Miss Woodbridge High School and Best Leader. Judi was on the Student Council and was voted Homecoming Queen. They were both active in school affairs. Judi also played the piano for church meetings and for Primary, and taught in Primary. Linda would always have a nice dinner ready for us when we got home tired and hungry.

Sharon and her little Becky came to visit us in Virginia in the summer of 1967. While she was there, she and the other children gave us a wonderful 25th Anniversary party! They wrote clever skits, poems, songs, and made a most beautiful cake and fancy meal for us. It was so lovely and so touching that it filled my heart with joy.


A little while after that, I had an appendicitis attack and had my appendix removed at the Ft. Belvoir hospital which was about 30 minutes away by car. Since the appendix had been gangrenous, infection developed at the incision site, and it had to be reopened and drained. Finally it healed and I was so glad to get out of that hospital and to get home! All of that time, Linda was fixing the meals and keeping the house and family going as best she could, while working at the same time. It was a hard time for everybody.


After Randy finished his mission in Central America, he returned to BYU to take a Mechanical Engineering course. Linda graduated from High School, and also went off to BYU. At the end of her second year there, she came home engaged to Darrel Danielson, a fine young man. Judi also graduated from High School in Virginia. They all did well in their school work, and we were proud of their accomplishments.



Jesse decided to retire from the Air Force then, at my urging, and accepted a job as Administrative Assistant for Public Affairs to President Cook of the Church College of Hawaii, now called BYU Hawaii, at Laie, Oahu. So we sold our beautiful home in Virginia, sold our house trailer, and Judi, Larry, Greg, Timo, and I headed west to stay in Los Angeles with Mother again for awhile. Jesse, Randy, and Linda stayed in Virginia to work and to move us. While we were in the Air Force, they always had movers come and pack and move our belongings, a wonderful service! But often, items were lost or stolen. Once we had a whole swing set missing, other times bicycles, sofa cushions, and such things. That part was frustrating. But now Jesse was leaving the Air Force, we would have to do our own moving!

Later on that summer, the family all met together again in Provo for Linda’s wedding. Some of us stayed with Sharon and Keith in their student housing, and some of us stayed with Jesse’s brother and his wife, Aden and Alice, who lived in Draper, and were always so good to welcome us in. Keith was just finishing his Doctorate at BYU, and it must have been very hard on him having us there at such a difficult time.


On August 22, 1968, Linda and Darrel were married in the Salt Lake Temple. We felt sad that they wouldn’t let us take any pictures on the Temple grounds. Fortunately, that has now changed! Their reception was held that evening at the BYU Wilkinson Center Skyroom, where Darrel worked while going to school. It was a lovely reception and beautiful surroundings. Darrel is such a very fine young man and is a talented piano player and basketball player. They stayed on in Provo after their marriage while Darrel continued on at BYU and Linda worked.

Linda and Darrel now have eight beautiful children: four girls and four boys. Darrel graduated from the University of Las Vegas where he had gone to work for Western Airlines, and also got an MBA. He became the financial officer for many airlines: Western, Flying Tigers, Delta, and Federal Express.. They lived in California in Huntington Beach and Torrance, and then in Tennessee. They now live in Orem in a beautiful large home, where he is the financial officer for a telemarketing company. Darrel has been a bishop three times, and a Stake President twice; Linda has been Stake Young Woman’s President twice, and held several other callings. They are faithful and good, always doing kind deeds for others. Linda went to correspondence school at BYU, and has now graduated with honors.

Randy and Judi both stayed in Provo after the wedding to attend BYU; Keith graduated and he and Sharon moved to California for Keith to teach there, and Larry, Greg, Timo, Jesse, and I went to Hawaii.


Laie, on the island of Oahu in Hawaii was another beautiful place to live. Our house at 55447 Naniloa Loop was right across the street from the grounds of the college, and we could look out of our window and see the green grass, masses of flowers, coconut palms, blue sky, puffy white clouds, and strangely-jagged mountain peaks covered with dark green vegetation. On drives, we would see the beautiful ocean, waving sugar-cane stalks, and endless rows of pineapple plants. The weather was warm, sometimes hot, but with sea breezes and lots of rain. The roads and fields would fill with water one or two feet deep before the rain would drain off.

We were only two blocks from the ocean at Clissold’s Beach, and Timo was baptized there by Jesse when he turned eight years old. The waves were small, and the water was usually warm. But there were rocks and coral, stinging jellyfish and blue-bubbles to watch out for. Larry got badly stung by a blue-bubble once, and later, Judi did also. The younger children in Laie usually went barefoot to school, as did Timo. He wore shorts and short-sleeved shirts, and was in the second grade. Greg and Larry both went to Kuhuku High, which combined Junior and Senior High Schools.


There were some strange animals that lived in Hawaii. They had toads that were very large and seemed to be very dumb; just sitting there when someone would pass by and not try to hop out of the way. There were also hundreds of snails that would grow to large sizes. We would have the children gather them for us and try to get rid of them, but there were always more out in the yard. There were also lots of lizards that liked to live in kitchens and in church houses. They would crawl across the ceiling and sometimes drop down onto the table and into our food. Or they would crawl across the back wall in church during the meetings. There were strange spiders also–pretty, and supposedly not dangerous–but we didn’t try to find out. And there were the usual mosquitos and cockroaches.

The flowers were amazing. You could go outside all year long and pick fresh flowers off of the hibiscus or plumeria bushes. Every Sunday there was a freshly-picked boquet on the pulpit. The wards had a tradition there of singing “Aloha Oe” and draping people who were leaving with several leis. It was a very beautiful custom.

We were in a ward where the people were primarily Polynesian: Hawaiian, Samoan, Tahitian, Tongan, Maori, Fijian, and mixtures of those with Orientals and other nationalities. The reason they lived there is because most of them worked at the Polynesian Cultural Center and represented their various cultures at the center. They had the most beautiful singing voices one could imagine, and could sing all the parts in harmony, almost by instinct. They were faithful, spiritual, and kind and friendly.

I taught in the Primary, and Jesse was the Scoutmaster. He and the boys had many interesting adventures, hiking in the hills and camping on the little island off Laie, and often living off the land to an extent. Lots of foods grew wild in Hawaii, such as coconuts, breadfruit, guavas, and other fruits. There were all sorts of seafood in the ocean, out a ways.

I decided to go back to college to try to graduate, so took classes at the Church College of Hawaii. We were near the Polynesian Cultural Center, and we were able to see the programs and presentations a few times, and were always thrilled at the singing and dancing of the various cultures. We were also near the beautiful Temple, and were able to go there often. Jesse was called to be an Ordinance Worker there.

We saw many of the tourist attractions while we were in Hawaii. We visited the Dole Pineapple factory, a sugar-cane factory, the Bishop Museum, the Palace, the blow-hole, the sunken battleship tour at Pearl Harbor, and so on. We enjoyed wearing Muu-muus and Aloha shirts, and got used to “sticky” rice. We enjoyed swimming in the ocean and walking around the area. Randy and Judi came home for Christmas from BYU in Provo, and again in the summer. It was so good being together with them again. They both got jobs, dated, and enjoyed being there.


It was getting to be expensive bringing the children back from Utah to Hawaii and back again, and I was beginning to long to be back on the mainland. So when Jesse was offered a job by Judge Whittaker to be his assistant at the BYU Motion Picture Studio, he accepted.

In September, 1969, we moved back to Provo. We bought an old brick house there, with a large pretty yard, at 411 E. 3050 N. and moved in. It was an interesting house of several levels: large bedroom, bath, and storage room in the basement (we later built another bedroom and bath down there); family room and laundry on the ground floor; kitchen, dining area, front room, two bedrooms, and a bath on the main floor; and a large bedroom and bath on the second floor. From our back windows, we had a wonderful view of the beautiful and majestic Mt. Timpanogos, and from our front yard, we could see the beautiful mountains on the East.

Jesse worked as an assistant to Judge until he retired, then Jesse became head of the Studio. They made many fine religious and educational films and filmstrips during our years in Provo. Again I went back to college–this time to BYU. Through the years I managed to get my BS degree, then a Masters of Library Science Degree. I learned many useful and interesting things.


Larry, Greg, and Timo graduated from High School in Provo: from Provo High and Timpview High. They all did well in school and we were always so proud of their many accomplishments. Sharon, Randy, Linda, Judi, Larry, Greg, and Tim all graduated from BYU, and Larry, Greg, and Tim (he preferred to be called that in college), all got Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees: Larry at Colombia University in New York City; Greg at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and Tim at BYU.

Larry, Greg, and Timo all played the trumpet and were in their bands at school. We enjoyed hearing them play. Greg and Tim earned their Eagle badges in Scouting there and received the Order of the Arrow. Larry and Greg both went on missions to the Paraguay/Uruguay mission, and Tim went on a mission to Portugal, serving the Lord Jesus Christ and converting many people.

They have all worked at many different jobs earning their way through school. Larry worked as a salesman for a men’s clothing store; Greg worked as a roofer, air-conditioner installer, and apartment house manager; Tim worked as a Portuguese teacher and steel company worker, and they held several other jobs. They have always been dependable, hard workers, and have always been commended by their bosses.

During the Vietnam War, Randy received a low draft number and knew that he would be drafted, so joined the Army to be sent to helicopter training as a pilot, but instead was sent to Korea with the Engineers. We really hated his having to go, but were grateful that he wasn’t sent to Vietnam where his life would have been in danger. Randy was in the Army for more than one and a half years, but was able to return home in November, 1971. It was so good to have him back with us again!


In the winter of 1970, Judi met Doug Moore, who had just returned from a mission to Bolivia. They began going together and on May 26, 1971, were married in the Manti Temple, with a reception back in Provo. It was a lovely affair, and Doug is such a fine young man. Judi and Doug now have six children: three boys and three girls.

Doug graduated from BYU, was an Army Officer for two years on the East coast. They then moved to California where Doug went to law school. He graduated, passed the Bar on his very first try, and started a law partnership in Alta Loma. Judi went to medical school, graduated, and is now successfully practicing Osteopathic medicine at her office. They moved to Provo and built a beautiful new home on the hillside on Y mountain, with a gorgeous view! Doug taught Business Law at the Y for a few years, and Judi has co-written a book with Marie Osmond.


We took some interesting trips while we lived in Provo. Once we went to Arches National Park and camped and hiked among the huge red rock arches there. They were probably the most overwhelming natural formations I have ever seen and are just beautiful. On that trip, we also visited Goblin Valley, filled with strange dirt formations that look like goblins. Another time, we visited the Grand Canyon, Zions, and Bryce National Parks. They are so unbelievable and overwhelming–huge slabs of rocks, beautiful streams, lacy red formations, little grottoes, and so on. Another time we went to Yellowstone and saw the geysers, boiling water pools, bubbling mud pots, huge waterfalls, bears, beautiful trees and streams and forests. We enjoyed the camping as well as the sights.

One summer we (Tim, his friend Kevin, Jesse, and I) took a trip back East. We visited Mt. Rushmore, with the Presidents’ faces carved in the mountains, visited a cave there with its formations, and saw the Black Hills. Along our way, we saw a building made out of corn cobs, and a famous drug store. We saw all the church sights around Nauvoo. Then we went up to Michigan and had a nice visit with Randy and Becky for awhile; then on into Canada until we reached Niagara Falls–a breathtaking and impressive sight. From there, we went to Lexington and Concord, where the Revolutionary War started, Plymouth Rock where the Pilgrims landed, and on to Boston and its historic sights. Then down to Philadelphia to see all of the historic places there, and on down to New York and seeing its tourist attractions. Somewhere in there we went to visit Judi and Doug who were living in New Jersey and had a nice visit with them. Then on to Washington D.C. and the attractions there. We drove past our old house in Virginia, and down to Williamsburg, Virginia. Coming back, we stopped at Palmyra and saw the church sites there. It was a wonderful trip.


In the summer of 1972, Randy met Becky Holt who was attending summer school at BYU, and they were married in the Salt Lake Temple on January 2, 1973. They had a beautiful reception in Salt Lake City, and an Open House at our Provo home another evening. Becky is a lovely young lady. She is a talented seamstress and has made all sorts of beautiful clothing and items for their home. She has studied Hebrew and written many thought-provoking articles on Judaism’s similarities to Mormonism. She graduated with highest honors from Oberlin College.

Randy and Becky have six dear and beautiful children: four boys and two girls. They are always doing nice things for other people, fixing their cars or appliances, sewing for them, and so on. Randy graduated from BYU as a Mechanical Engineer, and got a job with Ford Motor Company, living in Michigan and now in Amherst, Ohio. They have a large lovely home there. Randy has made many additions and improvements to it. Both Randy and Becky have had to have their backs operated on. Randy is presently Bishop of their ward.


We had a lot of company the years that we lived in Provo. Rob, Ross, and Randy Brunson all lived with us for various periods of time while they were going to BYU; Mother visited us often (but not often enough nor for long enough periods of time to suit us), both Jesse’s and my brothers and sisters and their families visited us from time to time. It was always so good to have them come, as it got lonely living so far from our loved ones.

I was usually able to go and help out when new babies came into the world at our children’s homes, or when they wanted to go on little trips. It was a way we could help out, and a way we could get acquainted with and be with our grandchildren who have always lived so far away. We also went to southern California every chance we got, staying first with Mother or Lora, and later, as our girls got homes there, with them. I used to travel by bus, or would drive, but later I took the plane–much preferable! Sometimes the children and grandchildren would come to visit and that was always a wonderful treat. I always yearned to live closer to them, so we could see each other more.


Before he had gone on his mission, Larry had gone with Joyce Cutler. Three days before he returned home, she also went on a Spanish-speaking mission. When she returned, Larry and Joyce were married in a beautiful ceremony in the Provo Temple, and they had a lovely reception that evening. Joyce is such a beautiful person and is also an excellent seamstress. She has made all sorts of lovely clothes, curtains and drapes, and covered furniture. She has made gorgeous stained-glass art work for her home and for others. She has hooked rugs and makes exquisite quilts.

Larry and Joyce are so hospitable and their home is always a warm and friendly place to be. They are always helping everybody out–tending children, fixing cars, and doing countless other nice things for people. Larry graduated from BYU, got his MBA at Columbia University in New York, and became a banker for Chase-Manhattan Bank. They lived in Colombia, Puerto Rico, Miami, and New Jersey. Then Larry went to work for the Church in their financial department, and they now live in Salt Lake City. Larry and Joyce have seven wonderful and beautiful children. But sadly, while they were in Miami, their beloved little two-year old Dalen was drowned in their swimming pool, a terrible time for all of us.


Jesse was made the Explorer Adviser in our ward when we moved to Provo, then was made Bishop of a BYU Ward, and later Stake President of a BYU Stake. Then he was called to serve on the General Board of the Sunday School, then as our Ward’s High Priest Group Leader (Edgemont 2nd Ward, Edgemont South Stake). I taught in Primary; taught Spiritual Living, Cultural Refinement, and Homemaking in Relief Society (classes they had in those days), was the Education Counselor for awhile; and served as the Meetinghouse Librarian.

I worked at Penney’s Department Store for awhile in the boys department. I enjoyed the work, but didn’t like having to work at night or on Saturdays, since I wanted to be home with the family, so I quit. Then I worked at the Provo Public Library for two and a half years. But I had started going to BYU and it was too hard to work, go to school, and tend to a family at the same time, so I quit there. I enjoyed the work though.


Before he went on his mission, Greg had gone with Jennifer Haines, and after he came home, they were married on August 19, 1976. They had a beautiful reception that evening. Jennifer is also such a lovely, talented person. She is an excellent seamstress and has made all sorts of beautiful clothes and items for their homes–drapes, and so on. They are always doing nice things for other people and helping out the less fortunate in all sorts of ways.

Greg and Jennifer now have six wonderful children: three boys and three girls. Greg graduated from BYU, got his MBA at the University of Utah, and became an auditor and tax accountant for Marathon and Amoco Oil Companies; main tax person for Air Liquide, and is now a main tax person for a large eastern grocery store group. They have lived in Ohio, Jakarta, Indonesia, Texas, and are now living in Virginia.


For most of our married life we have had Ford station wagons, the only cars big enough to carry our family (this was before the days of vans). We had two cars in Nebraska, one in Spain, two again in Virginia, and a bunch in Utah, so the children would have something to drive. We had the station wagon, green and red Volkswagen bugs, Ford Pinto hatchback, Ford Granada sedan, Ford Escort small station wagon, and a Honda small station wagon. They all died of old age or were given as wedding gifts to the children.

Timo had two puppies in Provo, but the first one got distemper and died, and the second was run over by a car and killed. We then got Melissa, a small black female many-breed dog, and we had her about thirteen years. She barked too much, but otherwise was a loving, loyal, and faithful good dog. She had a litter of four pups, then we had her spayed. We had had a dog named Poky the first time we lived in Provo, a cat while we were in Alabama, a dog named Tigre in Spain, and various parakeets and fish.


During his senior year in high school, Tim was one of the chairmen of the School Spirit Committee. They organized many interesting events. Once they constructed a huge “T” for Timpview High out of hundreds of dyed and sewn-together sheets. It was so large that they had to have a helicopter drop it on the face of the mountain near Timpview High where it was displayed. It was larger than the “Y” on Y-mountain! It was just fantastic! Tim was also on the Student Council, a member of Boy’s State, and President of Order of the Arrow.

We went over to Portugal to meet Tim when he finished his mission and to tour Europe together. We joined him in Lisbon and were able to meet his Mission President and some of his converts–wonderful people. We rented a car and toured through Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Holland, Belgium, and England, camping all the way. We had a wonderful trip and enjoyed being together. In England, we enjoyed seeing many of the places both my family and Jesse’s had come from, which was a special treat.

We also enjoyed seeing all the beautiful art and architecture of Europe again, as well as seeing the gorgeous scenery and interesting sights there. We were so disappointed, though, to find that the house we had lived in when Tim was born had been torn down, and they were building apartment buildings there. I had really wanted Tim to see that house and yard.


In September 1983, Jesse retired from work at Brigham Young University (BYU) and was honored at a farewell party for those retiring. Linda and Darrel had moved from their home in Huntington Beach, at 8882 Bainford Drive, and we decided to buy it from them. It had five bedrooms, three baths, a three-car garage, a front room, family room, and kitchen. We fixed up the Provo house and moved on New Year’s Day, 1984, to begin life in California. We put our Provo house up for sale, but it didn’t sell until August of that year.

Link to Part 3

Owner/SourceHelen Lela Stay
File nameHelen Lela Valantine Stay's Autobiography Part 2
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