Memories of Ann Arbor, Michigan, by Edythe Lovena Christenson Robbins

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As told on January 30, 1961

Having graduated from the BYU, Father had been called to establish the 9th and 10th grades in the new school building at Kanab, Utah. Afterwards, Father and Mother went back to Ann Arbor, Michigan to attend and graduate from the University in the school of Literature preparatory to filling a chair at BYU.
On the date of April, 22nd of a Sunday in the year 1900, I was born. It was toward evening that they went for a doctor, someone that Sister Tanner had recommended. Her husband too, was at the University, but in the school of law. A woman had been engaged to come in to nurse, fix meals and keep house while mother was confined. She was a tall, efficient, nice person. My brother, Adelbert, was just three years of age. Adelbert was a quiet, meditative sort of little boy with large brown eyes and straight brown hair. He seemed very happy with the new baby. However, he like to run away to the university seeking his father. They didn’t have any neighborhood children. Father built a fence six feet high of chicken wire, but in no time flat Adelbert could scale that and be gone. The daughter of the landlady went after him part of the time, but it took a constant watch to keep tract of the little tyker. In as far as mother was able, she took him for walks, but of course this occupied a small part of the day.

The house was tiny, a small living room, kitchen, and two small bedrooms. The kitchen was a sort of leant-to with a lovely large tree at the back. There was running water, but mother can’t recall a bathroom. The stove was coal burning and no refrigeration. It was fixed up in a cozy manner.

I was a very healthy baby, not “colicky.” Mother nursed me. Mother says I was a doll and that my little brother, Adelbert, was very proud. Mother did not have to get up in the night. We went to bed to sleep.
Ann Arbor did not have an organized branch of the Church at the time, however Henry S. Tanner presided. Meeting was held at a different home each Sunday. For this reason no authentic Church record appears of my birth. According to Mother’s little record book, I was named and blessed by my father, no doubt at one of these services in a home.

Ann Arbor was situated on a group of rolling, wooded hills. It was very beautiful, cool and lovely in the summer, bitter cold from the lake breezes in the winter, and a picture of scarlet, yellow and gold in the autumn.

There were nuts and squirrels galore. “Nutting” trips for the low growing hazel nuts were a variation and delight. Sometimes a family would go nutting alone, sometimes a group would gather the nuts together. The hazel nuts grew in clusters. These were separated and then dried laying them out for a time.
The side walks were boarded, the steeper parts bridged by a scaffolding and walkway. Lumber of course, was no problem, being plentiful. Houses were build mostly of lumber, many of them painted white.
For a time preceding my birth, the folks took a rather roomy white frame house with the intention of keeping boarders to augment the limited funds. Among these boarders were Tracy Y. Cannon—music, Barnard Stewart—law, and Thomas Fellow—also from law. It didn’t pay, since mother fed them too well. The boarders liked it, of course.



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