Barbara Winder grew up in the East Millcreek area of Salt Lake City during the Great Depression years of the early 1930s. “I can remember Mother teaching me to pray for the poor children. Because there was love in our home, I didn’t realize that perhaps I was one of those poor children. We seemed, however, to have most things that were essential.
“There were lots of orchards and strawberries and raspberries. I picked a lot of fruit and worked in our gardens. I contributed to the family finances as I went through high school by working at the local ice-cream parlor. And I helped pay for my schooling at the University of Utah by doing office work.
“My parents were not active in the Church, but they were wonderful people. I remember my mother teaching me how to pray. I also remember her teaching me over and over the principle of obedience. When I received my first pair of roller skates, Mother cautioned me, ‘Now, don’t go down the hill, because it will be difficult for you. The hard, level surface on the east side of the house will be much easier for you.’ But I wanted the thrill of going down the hill, and it was probably only five minutes later that I came in crying, with both knees badly scraped. Mother pointed out that if I had been obedient, I would not have been hurt. I’ve thought about that a lot of times since then, and I think that if we obey our parents and learn to call on our Heavenly Father and obey His prompting, we will avoid many difficulties.
“I can remember my first big fishing trip. I was ten years old, and we went to Mackay, Idaho. My father taught me how to put the worm on the hook, and it was very distasteful to me. I kept thinking, Dad, why can’t you do this? I don’t want to do it. When I asked him, though, he said, ‘If you’re going to learn to fish, you have to learn to do everything.’ And so he made me put the worm on the hook. Then, when I caught my first fish, I didn’t know what to do with that wiggly, slippery thing. My father taught me how to clean the fish: I had to hold it in one hand and cut it open and clean out its entrails, which was a very unpleasant job for me. But I could see my father’s wisdom—without actually doing all that a task requires, we often don’t learn everything we need to know.
“I was the oldest child in our family. I have a brother who is just eighteen months younger than I am, and we were very close. We were just a year apart in school. My sister is six and a half years younger than I am and as I grew up, I felt like a mother to her. Too, because of economic necessity, Mother worked while my little sister was still quite young, so I had a lot of responsibility for her. Then when I was sixteen, my younger brother was born. I loved that baby, too, and watched him with great joy and admiration. We four brothers and sisters still see each other frequently.
“We always had someone living with us. First, my father’s youngest sister, who was going through nursing school, came to live with us. My mother’s youngest sister also lived with us for a while when their mother passed away. Having those aunts live with us helped during those years when Mother was working, and I’ve had a very close relationship with both of my aunts because of it.
“Then my father’s widowed mother lived with us the last year of her life. It was a great blessing to me because I learned a lot about her roots and the things that were important to her.
“Mother’s mother, my Grandmother Hand, passed away when I was just a little girl. I always had a warm feeling of love at her home and remember the wonderful food she always prepared. She had eight children, and she always baked everything—pies, for example, and loaves of bread—by the dozen. Her home was always open to everyone.
“Both of my grandmothers were Relief Society presidents. They took care of the widows and prepared treats for them on special holidays. Very few people had cars, so my grandmothers’ children would deliver the food in their little wagons and do other things to help the widows and to ease their loneliness.”
Sister Winder’s message to today’s children is to “stay close to your Heavenly Father. Be obedient to your parents. Pray often, and work hard at the things you want to do.”