1925 -                        INDEX      PEDIGREE

Reed Brown Harker


Marriage: 24 January 1951
Place: Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona

Birth Date: 17 November 1925
Birth Place: Cardston, Alberta, Canada
Death Date: 13 October 2007
Springville, Utah, Utah

Alan Reed Harker
Janice Harker 
Nancy Harker
Jay Douglas Harker

OCCUPATION(S): Electronic Engineer
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA
Administrator-Artificial Heart Test and Evaluation Facility, Salt Lake City
Administrator-Utah Biomedical Research Lab.
Salt Lake City
Administrator-Michigan Research Corporation
Ann Arbor, Michigan
?- Los Alamos Laboratory, New Mexico


Reed Brown Harker
Rhean Harker
Dorothy Ann Harker

Grade school years
Most influential teacher
Butterchurns and McInyre's




2 February 2002

Vignette Number One

I don't remember much about my first year in grade school except that my sister Rhean and I lived with our Brown grandparents. Our mother had died that year shortly after school started. We figured that out years later because someone saved my first year report card. At the end of the first report period, the report card was signed by my mother. At the end of the second period, the card was sighed by Grandfather Brown. Mother had died in between the two dates on October 11, 1932.

Things were pretty routine every day. The school was across the street east of the Cardston Temple. Grampa Brown's home was on a street about five blocks west of the Temple grounds. I guess I found the long walk home pretty boring. There were lots other kids who lived in that direction but I don't remember walking home with any of them. I usually crossed the street to the Temple grounds, climbed the wall which surrounded the temple, which was a little higher than my head, and followed the wall around the temple until it was time to get off. After that it was the long walk home.

One day while walking I found a nickel. Where and how I found it is not important. The important thing is what I did with it. I took it home and showed it to Gramma Brown. She was pleased that I had some money and told me to put it away and save it rather than spend it. Which was ok by me. However, across the street lived our cousins, the Nielsens, namely, June a year older than I, Grant a couple of years younger, Helen and Ruth, both really old in my book. They were probably teenager.

One day on the way to school I mentioned to June that I had a nickel. Since we passed a little store on the way to school she suggested that I should buy something with the money. I told her of Gramma Brown's instructions, but she kept after me. Finally, after a couple of weeks we went into the store and I bought something, probably candy. Somehow Gramma soon found out that I had spent the nickel. How she found out I will never know. The important thing is that she found our while we were walking home from somewhere.

That is important because of Gramma's favorite method of punishment. She would make the intended punishee get a willow from a tree and carry it home, thus giving the intended victim something to think about all of the way home. Upon arriving home she would use the willow as a whip and spank the offender with it. I was more than familiar with her system and knew that if you picked a long thin willow ending in a point it would wrap around your legs and really hurt. I'd been through that before so this time I got a long stick and broke the end off so that it was about the same thickness over the entire length.

When we got home Gramma gave me a good spanking with the stick but I didn't cry. She was really surprised and called everyone to see that when she hit me I didn't cry. It really didn't hurt that much, especially when compared with being hit with the thin end of willow. After that I really don't remember being spanked by anyone.

From all of that I learned two things: 1) don't leave the thin end on a willow which is to be used for
a spanking, and 2) don't ever trust June's advice when she is the not the one going to get spanked.

Love, Dad


My Junior High School Homeroom teacher was the most influential teacher of my life.

To understand that, we must back up a few years to grade one in Cardston. When I started school one of my mother's best friends was my teacher. I knew her very well and she knew me. I guess I was pretty shy because as she went around the class asking the children to introduce themselves she came to me and said, "What is your name?" I looked at her and said, "You know my name." and was ready to let it go at that, but she went on to say that the rest of the class would like to know my name too. So much for that.

As I remember, I did not have much confidencee in my abilities either. I was really happy to leave Canada when we did, because to get out of the grade 4 you had to be able to count to 1,000 in Roman numerals. I just knew I would never be able to do that.

When we got to Utah I seemed to have the same problem but the teacher was very understanding. She once wrote me a note saying, "Why don't you raise your hand more often?" I guess she knew that I could answer most of her questions. However, when we got to California the next year it was a different story. That teacher, Miss Morris, thought I was the dumbest kid she had ever seen. She had a teacher's pet whom she adored. Once when we had done a drawing she posted them around the room and asked the class for their opinion of them. Several kids thought mine was the best but she discounted that and liked the other kid's better. As you can tell that still bothers me.

When we got to Jr. Hi. we met for a half hour every morning with our Home Room teacher, Miss Jensen. She often read books to us and finished several in the course of 3 years. I think she taught ancient history. When the class split up for the day there were several students that I never saw in any other classes. This was disappointing because there was one girl that I thought was really pretty but I never got to talk to her because we never had any classes together.

At the beginning of the second year Miss Jensen called me in to talk with her one day. She then spent lots of time with me. She put me through a whole battery of tests on all sorts of subjects. I remember one in particular in math. She gave a whole series of numbers with the idea that I would then repeat them back back to her in reverse order. That was hard because there were 10 or 12 numbers. I sat there for the longest time and then slowly played them back to her in reverse order. She couldn't believe that I could do that. My secret was that I sat there and memorized the numbers in the order she gave them and kept saying them over and over in my mind. Finally I would pick off the last number as I kept repeating them in the forward direction. It took a long time but I got them all right.

As it turned out she was giving me an intelligence test and shortly thereafter I was sent to an entirely new set of classes. As I figured it out later, my friend, Miss Morris had sent along her feelings about me and I was put in the middle of the three levels of students in Jr. Hi. Miss Jensen moved me up to the top level, which scared me to death. Those kids were really smart.

Later on during the semester our algebra teacher passed out the results of a recent test and announced that I was the only one in the class who got all of the problems right. That made me feel pretty good, but the real benefit was that the girl I mentioned earlier that I thought was so pretty, she talked to me after class and asked me to help her with her homework. For the rest of the year I went to her house or she came to mine to do homework. Wow! I thank my lucky stars for Miss Jensen. She made a big difference in my life.


July 5, 2002
Vignette 2

Memories brought back by farm artifacts at an RV park in Magrath, Alberta, Canada.

A couple of years ago we took our 5th wheel to Magrath, where we wanted to scan some family photo’s in the possession of relatives in the Southern Alberta area. At the RV Park, we found an old butter churn, which may very well be the one owned by Aunt Lis and Uncle Grant. The other was a wheat wagon. First, let’s explore the story of the butter churn.

To understand it you must refer to the first picture of the churn. Particularly note the long handle shown by me in the photo. Pushing that handle forward would cause the churn to rotate forward. It was supported in the middle with solid supports, which allowed it to rotate around an axis in the center of gravity of the churn. There was a ratcheting mechanism so that you could move the handle to the back and then pull it forward again imparting more spin to the churn. After a couple of minutes it took only a slight motion of the handle to keep the churn tumbling over and over on its supports. The churn was filled with fresh cream and after about 45 minutes of tumble action the cream would turn into butter. It took about a weeks worth of cream from 10 cows to fill the churn.

Well, standing there pulling that handle for 45 minutes was a pretty boring operation, and I found that if I tied a rope to the handle I could sit across the room on a chair. If I gave the handle a pull at just the right time I could keep the churn tumbling. All of this took place in what was called the shanty in back of the house. After about 15 minutes Aunt Lis opened the door to the shanty and came in. Disaster struck. I let the rope go a little slack. It wrapped around the lock to the lid of the churn, and dumped the entire weeks worth of cream all over the floor. I still feel bad about the whole thing. At the time, I realized that what I had done was really bad, but I didn’t know about the depression and that the weeks worth of butter was the only money the Crookstons would have to live on for the week. It was a real disaster for them much more than for me.

Now, after all of these years, (I was probably 7 at the time), and now that I have seen the original churn, I finally understand what happened to dump the cream all over the floor. Look carefully at the lid. In the middle you will see a metal object with two ears sticking up, not very high but high enough. (You may be able to see them better in the first picture.) Connected to this centerpiece are a whole series of semi-circular rods, which extend to the outer perimeter of the lid. When the centerpiece is rotated it forces these rods into a groove around the top of the barrel. When the center piece is turned solidly the lid is held securely in place. The problem was that when I let the rope go slack the churn continued to tumble because of its own momentum.
The locking device caught on the rope and unlocked the lid. The churn kept on rotating and dumped the cream. End of a long sad story. I was never punished for this disaster. I guess Aunt Lis thought the experience was already bad enough. All she said was that when I saw the cream spill I turned white as a sheet. That, and I was never asked to churn the butter again.

The next story took place on the Mc Intyre Ranch and involved a wheat wagon. The wagon in the picture looks very small now, compared to what I remember. The wagons were pulled by a team of horses. Each wagon was pulled into position close to the threshing machine. A big tube was swung into position and wheat was dumped through it into the wagon. Next to the wagon was a drive belt, which went from a gasoline engine to the thresher. It supplied the driving force by which the thresher operated. The belt was level and about the same height as the bottom of the wagon bed. When there was wheat in the wagon, I found it was great fun to stand up on the side of the wagon or near it and jump into the wheat. The wheat was nice and soft and it was like jumping into water.

On one of those jumps I lost my balance and fell over backwards, landing on the drive belt, which was about 10 inches wide and was enough to break my fall. In length, it was at least as long as the wagon and the team of horses combined. I guess I rode on the drive belt some 10 or 15 feet because the next thing I knew was that I had been thrown off of the drive belt and was on my back on the ground looking up at the horses’ heads. That was not much of a fall, but it seemed like a lot to me at the time, and being under the horses was pretty scary. As I recall I cried a lot, and I guess I got some kind of burn from the belt because I had a scar under my upper left arm. I carried that scar for some time but it seems to be gone now.

Well, those are a couple of memories that few people get to have because the items of equipment involved are now relics of the past. We refer to the times back then as the good old days, scary but good. The last picture is part of the wagon story in that it shows what I looked like while I was at McIntyre’s that summer. After a week there living in the bunkhouse with everyone else, Dad dropped me of with Aunt Joyce. She came down to the main street in town to pick me up. As I recall she was absolutely horrified because I had bed bugs. I don’t remember who cleaned me up or where it was done, but the occasion was memorable.