Oft a little morning rain / Foretells a pleasant day.
New Flag Flies
The Pillsbury Company has a new company flag designed by 14-year-old Karen Sessions of Ogden, Utah. Karen adapted the Pillsbury trademark in designing the flag. She won a cash prize and a trip for her entire family.
Karen is a member of the North Ogden 12th Ward, North Ogden Utah Stake.
Understanding the Handicapped
What is it really like to be handicapped? What problems do the handicapped face every day? Helen Lesley Chick, 17, of the Hobart Australia Stake found out. She won regional, state, and national awards for her investigation of the problems of paraplegics.
For her first-hand investigation, Helen spent a week in a wheelchair (which she borrowed from her grandmother). Her week-long experience was a time of aching arms and shoulders as well as clashes with walls and people. Of her self-imposed confinement to a wheelchair, Helen says, “On the first day I wanted to give it up. It was so hard pushing along on the carpet.”
Sponsored by the Junior Chamber of Commerce, the award was presented to Helen in Canberra by the Governor-General of Australia, Sir Zelman Cowan.
Helen is the Laurel class president in her ward and her seminary class president. She is studying to be a math and science teacher. In her spare time, she enjoys playing hockey, bushwalking, and cycling.
Punch and Cookies Forever by Jack Weyland (Horizon Press, $6.95)
Jack Weyland is a popular fiction writer who has contributed many stories to the New Era. Punch and Cookies Forever is a collection of stories previously published in the New Era. Each story is a masterful tale with witty, imaginative dialogue and new insight into relationships. If you’ve enjoyed reading Weyland’s stories in the past, this is a good opportunity to read those you may have missed.
The auditorium is dark. Downstage a spotlight picks out a white telephone. Rrrrrrrrrring! Rrrrrrrrring!
Then a deep, penetrating voice asks, “Waiting for a call?” And as the voice continues, figures begin to gather onstage. “They are. They’re waiting for a call from Heavenly Father. They don’t realize he is always calling and ready to listen. All they have to do is lift the receiver.”
The orchestra begins to play ever so softly and is joined by a male voice singing.
It is the beginning of the play “Awaiting Answers,” written, produced, and directed by high school seminary students. But, of course, that isn’t really the beginning. It started one spring at the annual Davis County Seminary District “S-Day” traditionally held at the Regional Center in Bountiful, Utah.
Shirley Anderson of Kaysville, Utah, was there as a chaperone. “The professional music program was good,” she recalls, “but I had the strongest feeling an S-Day program should be something the kids can take home with them.” So Sister Anderson devoted her speech and drama talent to guiding the seminary students for the coming year in an effort to create a really good, seminary-produced play. Two co-directors were appointed, Carolyn Hawkins and Todd Williams, and a committee of representatives was formed from every seminary in the district.
“I took the ideas from the brainstorming sessions and spent about a month incorporating them into a script,” Kristen Ellis recalls, explaining that the story is about 16-year-old Sharon, played by Melanie Valentine, who falls in love with a high school athlete, Kevin (Ed Simons). He is a member of the Church but inactive. Their friendship causes Sharon to doubt God and constantly fight with her parents about late dates and her changing attitude.
A complexity of personalities thicken the plot. Sharon’s brother, Mark (Alan Newbold) is preparing for a mission and tries to make his sister his first convert. Her friend, Diane (Sandi Schroader), is successful in activating a new nonmember friend (Terry Pond), but has a difficult time influencing Sharon away from her new life-style.
“Everyone can relate to at least one of the characters,” Kristen says, “and each of them is a little bit of me—strong, weak, confident, doubting, but like all teenagers, searching for a place in the world.”
Eric Hansen, who orchestrated all the music and conducted the 23-piece orchestra, remembers a few discouraging moments. “When I was first given the assignment, I thought of how impressed my friends would be,” he said. “But at first, no matter how hard I tried, nothing worked.” He said that when you try to please God first, your talents will be recognized, adding, “I had to humble myself and do it for Him, not for me.”
DeAnne Winkel composed most of the songs. She recalls Sister Anderson meeting her at school and telling her she needed another song by that evening with the only instructions being the range and that it should be “a questioning song.” She knelt by the piano bench and pleaded with the Lord for his help. One-half hour later she was knocking on Sister Anderson’s door with the song recorded on the tape in her hand. They both wept as they listened.
Like the teenagers who did the work, those in the story came out triumphant. With love of God and a growing love for each other, the actors acted, the singers sang, the orchestra played, and the dancers danced; and when they were through and the lights were lowered on the last strains of “Oh, my child, this is Saturday. Blessings are in store, blessings are in store,” there was scarcely a dry eye in the audience or on stage.
Belle S. Spafford Dies
Belle Smith Spafford, who served nearly 30 years as President of the Relief Society, died February 2, 1982, in Salt Lake City after a lingering illness. She was 86 years of age.
During her administration from 1945 to 1974, the Relief Society grew from 100,000 to nearly a million sisters. Under her direction, the Relief Society established licensed social services agencies in the western states. As a teacher, she was a special instructor in remedial work for retarded children. Her interest in children’s welfare expanded to include adoptive services, youth guidance services, and care of deprived and neglected children.
Sister Spafford also served on many national and international councils concerned with problems facing women, deprived or neglected children, and the aged. She received numerous awards in recognition of her service and leadership.
Sister Spafford is survived by her son, Earl Smith Spafford of Salt Lake City, 10 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren. Her husband and a daughter, Mary Spafford Kemp, preceded her in death.
Each One a Seminary Leader
The James Holderness family of Honolulu, Hawaii, holds an interesting record. Every single one of the eight children has served in his or her seminary class presidencies, and several served as seminary officers before becoming members of the Church. Their father had asked that they wait until turning 18 before being baptized. However, four years ago, before some of them were 18, their father joined the Church, and he lifted the restriction. Their mother, Ardelle, has been an early morning seminary teacher for eleven years.