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Historic Provo

Oral History of Edward F. Carter


Transcription of a recording by Edward F. Carter done during the 1970s

We've had four great grandchildren in the last year. Bob and Joyce adopted a little boy. They never did have any boys. Lisa was eighteen when they adopted a little boy. They think the world of him and so do we. We've accepted him as a grandchild. His name is Joy. He's named after his father. He took the name of Joy Robert Carter. We've got a good posterity and I'm proud of every one of them.

While I'm in the family deal I should go on to say that Wes was born before we left Eureka. After we got to Provo, I had two sisters born, Ruth Angela and Rose Afton. Rose Afton died. She only lived about a year and she died. My mother felt right from the start that she was too pretty a baby, that the Lord wanted her back and just sent her down to get a body. That's a good way to look at it.

In 1937 when I was married, my oldest sister, Beulah died of complications while in childbirth. I think about four years ago we lost my brother Bill. My dad and mother both died when Dad developed cancer. He's been dead for a while. My mother had a heart condition and she died.

While my mother was in the hospital in Lehi, Wes and I were working on a church. I was working for Wes. He was a superintendent on the church and I was his head carpenter. We went to work one morning and we were called during the day and were told that Mother was dying. We went to Lehi and she asked us to administer to her. We went over to Lehi with my brothers and we all stood in the circle and administered to Mother. As we administered to her, I was very much aware of my dad's hand on my shoulder. As we finished the administering, I had the feeling that Dad's presence was there. When we got out I said to the boys, "Mother's not going to live the day out."

Wes and I went back to work. We had quite a bunch of people working with us and for us. It was all volunteer work. They were church members. If somebody wasn't there to show them what to do, they'd go home and complain that there was nobody there to show them what to do. We went back to work. Along later in the day we got the call from Lehi that mother had died. I'm sure to this day that I did feel my father's presence there.

I went and got a copy of a paper that talks about Grandmother. It tells when Dad died and Mother died. Dad died June 1, 1942. He was born June 10. If he had lived another nine days he would have been 65 years old. Mother died September 14, 1959. She was 75 years old. Beulah died May 13, 1937. She was 32 years old. Bill died November 29, 1973. He was sixty one years old.

I never had too much of a chance to tell you about my wife. We've been married going on 45 years this November. It's been a really good life. It's gone fast, but we've had a lot of fun and we've had a lot of anxieties and worries. We've raised a good family. None of our kids are criminals. They do have their little weaknesses, but we all do. They're all good kids and all hard workers. This is the main thing. Someday I hope that my boys will come back into the Church and become active in the Church so their kids can be sealed to them and they can enjoy their lives to the fullest.

I haven't made too much of a splash in the world. I've not failed, but I haven't been too much of a success as the world goes. Here again, how do we measure success? I've tried to treat my fellow men the best I could and I've enjoyed working with old people and enjoyed working with kids.

Mother and I worked on a boy's ranches for Betty Lou Boy's Homes for 8 years. I was maintenance man for about 7 years. She was purchasing agent. We'd go into these homes and take the place of the home parents until they could get new ones. We've made a lot of good friends of the kids and we got a lot of enjoyment out of them. We taught a lot of boys in the way of goodness. Some of them you can't influence, but most of them have turned out to be pretty good kids. It's a joy to be able to do that.

Mother and I are retired now. I retired about five years ago with a heart condition just before I was 62. Mother just retired this last December. We hope that we can enjoy the rest of our lives together and have fun and do a little traveling and see the world and maybe even go to some foreign countries. Mother isn't too much thrilled about it. If we can just help people.

I go out to the youth home twice a week. Mother goes once and I hope she is going to start going twice with me. She's retired. We go out there and visit with the kids and counsel with them. Sometimes you wonder if they take it. It's assured that we're not doing any harm by going out there. We get joy out of visiting with the kids anyway. We like to visit with our kids and our grandkids. We may do that a lot more than what we have done. We like to fish. We'll go fishing if we can and just goof off and do what we want to do the rest of our lives. I think this will be fine.

I haven't had too many serious jobs in the church. I've enjoyed what I have. I'm not a leader. I guess I would be a leader if I put my mind to it. I can't force my religion on to somebody else. I don't believe in trying to make somebody else believe what I believe. I think everybody has their own free agency. It's very important that people do have their free agency.

Mother has had some good jobs in the Church. I supported her. She was in the presidency of the primary for years and I supported her in that. We were head of the old folk's committee for quite a while in the old Provo 18th Ward and we enjoyed that. I was in the high priests group leadership in the Provo 18th Ward.

After we moved out to Orem, I have been a group leader in the Orem 76th Ward for about a year. I got to the stage where my health wouldn't permit it. I don't like to sit in church all day Sunday. I believe in going to church but I don't believe you should sit up there all day Sunday, so I gave the job up. The last six months to a year I haven't been too active in the Church. It isn't because I don't believe in it. We pay a good tithing. This is the main thing. You make your splashes where you want to make them.

Mother and I worked up at the Provo Temple for more than two years before I had my heart attack. We enjoyed that. It was satisfying. I believe in a lot of the gospel. There is some of it that I'm still a little doubtful of. Maybe if I'd go and study and read the scriptures, my testimony would strengthen. I'm sure it would. There is still a lot of things I have a little doubt in my mind about. Basically the LDS religion is the only religion as far as I'm concerned. I'm not really a religious man.

I think religion is the way you live it and the way you treat your fellow men. If you treat your fellow men, like you like to be treated, I think there is a lot to that. I have a philosophy of this that is like the poem. You can read that and see what my philosophy is like. It's helping other people and helping the one that's handicapped or has difficulties. I think this is basically what the gospel is, is helping people that need your help. Religion is how you look at it and how you live it.

I can tell you about various other things that have come in to my life since I was born and the wonders. I've lived in a wonderful age and there has been a lot of progress made in all fields. I'm sure there will be a lot of progress made yet. In all the history that I read up to now, I can't see that there has been as much progress throughout history as there has been the last fifty to one hundred years.

Mother and I were married in 1937 on November 20. We lived sometime before we went to the temple which was September 15, 1948. At that time we took what children we had and had them sealed to us. Mike wasn't born yet. We took all of them and had them sealed. Mike was born in the covenant. I'm very glad that we did. If there is anything to our religion, which I think there is, and I'm sure there is, we are sealed for time and all eternity.

I've had a happy life with my wife. She's been practically my lifetime companion. I've lived much longer with her than I did my own mother. We've had a wonderful family together. It's a joy to have a wife like she is. I'm sure sometimes she gets really disgusted and discouraged with me because sometimes I'm real cranky with her. I don't mean to be. It's just my nature. I do love her and I want her to know I love her. I hope she does realize that I love her and she's my life and my family is my life. That's all I've got to live for. I'd lay down my life any day for her or for any one of my children if need be. It's been a wonderful life and I've got no regrets.

At the time of this taping, on my next birthday I will be 67 years old. My health isn't too good but I will make the best of what I've got. Mother and I, I hope can have another few more years of happiness together. Surely if our religion is right, like we think it is, we'll go on into the next world and get together in the next world and live together eternally. It's worth living for and it's worth fighting for.

I want you children to know that this religion is the best that I've heard of. I was born in it and have been taught it all my life. I don't know what other religions are like, but I know that this is the ideal religion if you're going to be religious. It's the ideal religion to believe in.

Just a word or two about my life's work. I worked at Ironton. While I was at Ironton, World War II started. I had had some experience as a carpenter's helper and had a chance to go down to Delta to help build a Jap detention camp. We were at war with the Japanese, so they were building a detention camp at Delta, Utah. I went down there as a carpenter.

I worked down there about a year and then they decided to build a steel plant in the Provo/Orem area. I came back up and went to work at Geneva as a carpenter. I helped build Geneva. We got Geneva built in about one year and a half. Then I went back into production at Geneva on the coke oven as a push rock raider. I worked there about 13 months and developed trouble with my stomach due to the night shift. I was changing shifts so much and not eating like I should and probably drinking too much coffee. My doctor told me if I didn't get away from the coke oven in a years' time I would die. I broke away and went back into carpentering.

I spent the next thirty to forty years as a carpenter. This is when I helped build Provo High School and other various buildings. I worked at BYU and the University of Utah and the Utah State University in Logan. I worked on big buildings like the Provo Power plant and we built homes with my brother Wes. I helped build homes out in Orem which at that time was a small community. It was actually what they called the Provo Bench.

Most of my life I worked as a carpenter. I enjoyed this work. I spent almost five years building chapels for the LDS Church. Mother and I went to work for Eddie Lee Boy's homes. I was the maintenance man and she came in as the purchasing agent.

I also did a little contracting on my own for ten to twelve years, but mostly on the side. I worked for somebody else as well as contracting. I'd go into homes and build cabinets and put formica on and these kinds of things. There is practically nothing in the maintenance line that I haven't done. I've been a jack of all trades more or less.

When I retired I ran a lawn mower shop one summer here in Orem. My health was so I didn't dare go on with it so I gave that up. I have worked hard all my life. I believe in work.