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Sunland-Tujunga Memories:


Take a few minutes and jot down a memory or two, sending it via e-mail to Ward Reunion Committee.


Submitted by Bob Kindred
As we talk about influential teachers, I can't help but recall the impact which Norman Lee Hess had upon me during those two great (EARLY morning) years of Seminary. Brother Hess was very humble, both in spiritual and in economic terms. But that made absolutely no difference in how he gave of himself for us. Unfortunately, we weren't always 100% appreciative. I remember once when he'd bought a Toyota Corolla, the first Japanese car I'd ever seen. A bunch of us went out after class one morning, picked it up, and turned it around, just to see if he'd notice that something was different. [I can hear my mother saying, "Idle hands lead to no good!" She was right!] Or did we put it in the bushes??? (A failing memory's not all that bad to have!)
I remember vividly how Brother Hess' love and commitment to us came through, even when we met in the old scout room with 20 or so noisy students. How could he be so DEVOTED when we were often so unappreciative??? But he was. One of my fondest and most tender memories came one year when he'd promised to take all faithful attendees to Disneyland. What a treat! When the big day came, my attention was focused on the fun we would all have once we got inside the park. However, I happened to be standing near him as he counted heads and then stepped up to the booth to buy the tickets. Beaming with joy, he pulled a thick roll of twenties out of his pocket, and started giving them one after another to the attendant. Suddenly, I was just overwhelmed with the love which he had for us; seeing that he would sacrifice so much from his meager resources so that we would be motivated to learn the gospel. Norman Lee Hess is the most influential teacher I've ever had.
Submitted by Myrna Grosland
Hi.  Here are some of my memories of Sunland/Tujunga Ward.
We moved to Tujunga when I was 12 years old.  We met in the American Legion Hall in those days.  If Bishop Wendell Mackey took you for a walk around the hall you can be sure to know there was something you needed to improve on.  We had such fun with dances, roadshows, dance festivals, speech festivals and sport events.  It would take 200 pages or more to go over everything.  Wonderful leaders and teachers--from the Skinner, Walter, Nash, Kindred, Gagon, McKeon families just to name a few.  All the boys were great dancers.  Sunday School was taught downstairs in the bar and my first Primary job was teaching Trekkers around the poker table.  I was all of 16 and Paul Walker, Jr. and I believe Tim Mckeon were my students.  At 17 I met Bob and thanks to Wiley Carpenter (then a stake missionary) he began Missionary lessons the day after I got my ring.  He was golden and joined the church January 25, 1958.  We were the first to be married in the new chapel on February 8, 1958.  It was a small family ceremony and I felt sad there would be no music--I will never forget as we entered the building Sweet Iris Kindred was playing for me, what a wonderful surprise.  Bishop Wallace Skinner married us, it was his first wedding too.
We returned to the ward after 2 years in Alabama (Bob was in the service).  We were then able to go to the Temple on April 19, 1960.  Great memories for me include working with such wonderful people in Mutual-Primary-Sunday School and having spiritual experiences mixed with such fun.  Bishop Howard McKeon played a big part in our life now.  He gave great advice to Bob about work.  He also gave me some great advice.  He had called me to be Primary President and a few had voiced the opinion I was too young.  He told me they were inspired to call me to that position and the only two people I had to answer to was my Heavenly Father and the woman I see in the mirror when I comb my hair.  One of the things that make the gospel true is the Lord cares about all of us, the whole person.
The picture of square dancers--Bob and Myrna Grosland, Frank and Elaine Meyer, Al and Mary Minster and Jim and Joyce Speas--that dance festival started a friendship among us all that still is going on today.
Bob's car accident in 1964 was serious.  The out pouring of Love shown to us was really something.  Bob's family-non members-came out and because of what service they saw being given they know the Mormon Church is indeed a Christian church that knows about giving service to others.
Girls Camp was a big part of my memories.  The certification program was started as a pilot program in our stake. I remember the first backpack trip we took--it is amazing any of us survived.  We put everything in ponchos and lashed them on a rack, and went for it.  A few years later when I was camp director-Betty Gouvas spent hours to get her fire without matches going (leaders camp and wood was wet).  She finally did it and after we were home I was going through records and found she had previously completely certified--she is the only women I know that did everything twice!
In Sunland ward I learned the true meaning of fasting.  When a sister in our ward was found to have cancer we had a special fast.  I think that was the first time I ever fasted for a full 24 hours.  In addition to our individual prayers we ended the fast with a special meeting in which she was given a priesthood blessing.  It was one of my most spiritual experiences of feeling the Spirit.
I want to thank everyone who had a part in my life and the life of our children.  There just isn't enough paper or time to tell everything or everyone individually what they have meant in our lives.
Submitted by Jon Jacobsmeyer
My family moved to 7858 Kyle Street in 1947, just up the street from the present ward building.  At that time Kyle Street ended at our house and there was a large grape vinyard where the church now sits.  The Jacobsmeyer clan consisted of George, Fern, and the eight children:  Larry, Jon, Cherilyn, Marlene, Hugo, Roberta, Loretta, and Robert.  Sunland Ward was always my favorite time in life.  I loved the Sunday afternoon swims at Bishop McKeon's, pulling weeds for Bishop Mackay and playing basketball on the floor kept immaculate by Brother Lee.  I look forward to the reunion in October.
Teachers by John Taylor
I'm sure many of the people who taught me things never knew their impact would last a lifetime.  Not that my life always reflects the corrections they administered, but at least their words remain riveted in my mind.  Here are a few of the people who, perhaps unknowingly, actually got something important into my head that has lasted through the years:
Bishop Mackay drilled "Search the Scriptures" into us constantly.  Later in life, when Harold B. Lee instructed missionaries in the Salt Lake Temple and emphasized that we should find our answers in the scriptures rather than other writings, I thought of Wendell.  Whenever preparing to teach in the church, or looking for that difficult answer to life's struggle, I can hear the admonition "Search the Scriptures."
I spent a bit of time at the Kindred home, and as if guilt for the things we committed wasn't enough, Iris Kindred always reminded us of the "Sins of Omission."  Gee, even if I never did anything wrong, that wasn't good enough.  There is always something positive we can do.
Brother Randolph Andrus was our home teacher for awhile.  I remember a lesson he gave us on Orderville, as an example of the United Order.  The time he took to prepare, diagrams he showed, and his enthusiasm were examples of how a calling should be magnified.
I learned to lead a congregation in singing hymns by watching Jess Dudley for many years.  I appreciate his instruction and example, now that I see there are almost no youth in our current ward that have a clue how to lead music.  If he were here, I know there would be a little tutorial held for the youth quorums.
Reva Baker was my Sunday School teacher for awhile.  She challenged us to "think out of the box" - she didn't use those words, but that's the effect she had on me.
Norm Gillan spent more than a few nights with the scouts camping.  Whenever I see a cast iron skillet, I think of his well-sealed skillet and how critical is not to use soap for cleaning it.  I also recall the night before a big softball game, when he called me at home because we were short on players and I was going to start in right field.  We probably talked for 15 minutes, as he questioned me on possible plays and explained how to respond under varying situations.
Bill Baker, Calvin Norman, Bill Lee, Brother Carol and I spent an extra unplanned night in the hills when we got lost on a hike.  I know people were worried, and we were rescued by helicopter, but it is a great experience to look back on.  Being hungry, being cold, and being lost really weren't so bad while we enjoyed being together.  I remember Bill Baker tossing his sleeping bag down the hill because it was heavy and he didn't want to carry it.  It rolled into the stream and wasn't very comfortable that extra night we hadn't planned on.  We were found on Easter morning. 
I don't remember the details, but when I was very young, Bob Grosland had some kind of automobile accident.  I remember praying for him, and expressing concern that Scotty not be left without a father.  I don't even know if the situation was really serious, but it was serious in my mind and was the first time I remember having something very important to ask in a prayer.
I was in four of Brother Hess' many years as seminary teacher.  Thanks to his constant enthusiasm, I can still sing the OT and NT books to "Praise to the Man," and the Sons of Jacob to "Reuben, Reuben."  Such gems have been passed on to the next generation, as my kids now sing along.
Bishop Ellis Miner once gave a fireside talk about the universe, taking us by powers of ten through the vastness of God's creation.  I thought of him a few weeks ago, when I bought a little telescope and introduced my kids to the moons of Jupiter - absolutely thrilled at the site..
Sitting in a priesthood class years ago, the teacher asked "What did Joseph Smith learn at the First Vision?"  We sat quiet.  Then, a low, confident voice spoke from the back row: "He learned that God is an anthropomorphic being."  Thanks, Bishop Charles Odd, for demonstrating that a few choice words (even long ones) can directly hit the target.
Chuck  Lynch never said much to me.  Once I parked my car at the top of the steps leading down to the building (obviously not where cars are supposed to be).  He pulled me aside and said, "Hey, move your car.  There are no privileged people in this church."  A few years later, once more he pulled me aside and said, "You better appreciate your father.  He's a great man."  In my entire life, I think these were about the only two things he ever said to me.  Both were true and both have stuck.
PozDiffAny - For many of my early years I remember hearing Bishop McKeon say that phrase from the pulpit.  He always said it the same way, with the same rhythm, after completing some announcements, and I grew very accustomed to it but never knew what it meant.  Until much, much later.  Today, when callings are presented in church, after the presiding authority asks for our sustaining vote, I hear that phrase, but now with the understanding "Opposed, if any."
Evan Kindred
came to our campsite when the officials heard we were tossing smoking pine cones into the brush.  In a very soft voice, he expressed disappointment, and left.  Bob and I agreed it would have felt better if he had yelled, but the impact was much stronger with his simple reminder of who we were and that we weren't meeting his expectations.  
This is just a small list of many who have influenced me in some way.  Thanks for the little shove along life's path.
Submitted by Tony Ruelas
I just received the invitation yesterday Thursday 9/30 and unfortunately have other plans ( I wish I would have known sooner). Anyway, since I can't make it... I wanted to share a memory. As you hear from people please feel free to give them my e-mail address. I will try to follow shortly with a Bio. Have a great time and say Hi to Paula, John, Your Mom and Dad, Tony Here's the Memory.... I have many wonderful memories of my youth in the Tujunga ward, however let me share one particular moment in time that comes to mind. Time frame: Sometime during the summer in the late 60’s early 70’s. Many of the youth during that period of time were in the habit of expressing our love and affection for those families who we considered our favorites. During the evening we would gather a clan of approximately 5-8 individuals, stuff ourselves into whatever car was available, head directly to the nearest super market, gather our collective dimes and quarters and buy as much toilette paper as possible. We would then made a democratic decision, choosing the family that we wanted to share our joy and affection with, proceed to the chosen family’s house and have a TP party. This one particular evening (Yes the story continues) we decided to TP the Dudley’s house. In the midst of the masterpiece, the side porch light suddenly turned on, followed by a booming voice that broke the silence of the evening. “Hey, what are you kids doing?” was the greeting. At the time Bron Roylance was right in the middle of placing some TP strategically over the door frame as I heard the words that only a scared youth could utter “Oh SH_T!!!!!”, followed by an immediate exit to some dark corner or far end of the street. This stands out because it was a time when Dalene Dudley and Bron recently stopped seeing each other (This event was not going to keep Bron in Brother and Sister Dudley’s good graces) and Darlene and I had just begun seeing each other. I was at the front of the house and made it to a dark corner before Brother Dudley could see me so I was sure that I couldn't be placed at the scene (thereby still allowing for the opportunity to get in their good graces). So… to all the families, Dudley’s, Taylor’s, Kindred’s, Mollenhauer’s etc (You all know who you are), thanks for your patience with the rambunctious youth of the era. To Darlene, thanks for your beautiful eyes and smile that melted the heart’s of both Bron and yours truly…. And the rest of the youth, who blessed my life with your friendship, companionship and love. God Bless you all, Tony Ruelas
Manure & Lemonade by JT
I know these seems like a strange combination, but they are a special memory of Bishop Wendell Mackay.  Before Bob Kindred and I moved on to the more lucrative professions that awaited us (at Jack-in-the-Box and McDonalds), we needed cold cash to finance our weekend activities.  Enter Wendell Mackay, with plenty of yardwork for two willing young men.  These early Saturday mornings were usually full of weed pulling or tree trimming or any other odd jobs he could think of.  One Saturday, he proudly pointed to a large pile of manure, and his front yard tree orchard beckoning for a spreading.  Bob and I dug in heartily, and with shovels and wheelbarrow, we spent the day wheeling through his grove and throwing manure to the wind.  The all-day process left us covered, head to toe, with more than sweat.  But it felt good - probably my first all-day of hard work.  Then came the treat.  Wendell's home made lemonade.  For those of you who remember, he made it direct from his own lemons and he made it strong.  No, that's not right.  He made it STRONG.  How strong?  Well, just thinking about his lemonade 40 years later still shakes up my saliva glands.
The Ball Field by JT
When I was young, I remember one of the Bishop's counselor's crying as he spoke at the podium.  I think he was being released from his position, but, of course, I didn't pay much attention.  A while later, I was told that he had passed away.  His son was near my age, and I remember it was the first time I realized that fathers die.  I felt so bad.  I couldn't imagine what it would be like to not have my father around anymore.  There was a field on the church grounds, and one day they dedicated it as the Rex R. Badley memorial softball field.  I remember a plaque with his name on it and a flagpole where it was to be mounted.  It's been many years since I ran on that field or lost one of many softballs in the ivy.  Last time I visited, there was no plaque, and the weedy field had fallen into much disrepair.  But I thought of Brother Badley and his family.  I appreciated the time of unknown duration we have with each other here.  I thought of my father, and my son.  And I pondered how silly and how wonderful it is that an old ball field could stir such powerful emotions. 
The Rope by JT
At the back of the Stage, on the right side, there was a thick rope, which hung from the ceiling.  I'm sure they would never allow such thing in church buildings today, and I have no idea how it got to be attached there.  It was there for years.  I remember swinging on it (banging into the wall and/or curtains) and climbing it (recreational therapy after seminary).  I have a very clear memory of that rope when the church was first built.  I was very young, we're talking 4-5 years old.  But I remember watching a teenager climb that rope and being so impressed with his speed and strength (didn't use his legs).  This memory was triggered again, when I read Wayne Williams bio on this website.  Although it's been 40 years since, I'm pretty sure Wayne was that teenager.  Wayne, can you confirm whether you ever climbed that rope?
Submitted by Mickie Neilson:
Please let me add my scattered memories......I believe the year was 1960.  My mother, Beverly Haring was Young Women's President in the Sunland Ward.  The Young Men's President was Mark Beckstrom.  My mother submitted the name of "The Acquainter" for the new Ward Newsletter.  It won!  Later my parents moved to Utah and subsequently served a full-time mission together in Washington/Oregon.  In the Summer of 1961 I went to my Senior Prom at VHHS with our Bishop's son, Buck McKeon, who just returned from his Mission.  Some of the girls graduating that year with me were Shirley Gillam, Eileen Skinner, Andrea Anderson and LeRae Sires.  Sweet Sister McKeon helped me sew my dress for our Debutante Ball that year.  The Ward outdid themselves with beautiful decorations.  Our ward had the Stake Deb Ball where girls came from the Glendale Wards as well.  Now I have 6 children and 11 grandchildren.  My only son is on a Mission (he gets noticed in a crowd..he's 6 foot 10) and my oldest daughter lived in Sunland Ward recently.  She (Jenny Scott) served as the Primary President there. She is also a return missionary.  I always loved Iris Kindred ... a great lady, she even tried to teach me piano and Maori dancing.  She arranged to have her niece, Karen Lynn Davidson, play her violin at my wedding reception, what an honor!  And that's not all ... Iris was kind enough to let me use her Chevy station wagon to take my first Driver's test in, since my parent's car had a stick shift.  Can't forget the ushering we did downtown L.A., thanks to her too!  Iris served in the same mission field (Tennessee) with my (at that time) future son-in-law.  He agrees .... what a woman!  I remember Sister Johnson (with the big, thick eyeglasses) used to make the most delicious cinnamon rolls and would bake, what seemed like hundreds, to pass out at ward activities.  Brother Mackay was still in the ward at this time.  His grandson is married and living in my ward now.  My mother belonged to a great bowling team at this time.  The team consisted of Brother and Sister Dudley and Brother Skinner.  I can't believe that the old Verdugo Bowl is gone now.  When I was in VH Jr. High (1957) I lived in Shadow Hills and my best friend was Diana Craig (she lived on Wheatland).  At this time our ward boundaries put us in the North Hollywood II Ward.  Diana and I still write to one another.  She lives in Arizona.  Brother Rowland Stoll was in the ward at this time.  35 years later he gave my two youngest children their Patriarchal Blessings.  My great Seminary teacher was Brother Lee Hess.  He offered a rifle to any boy that would regularly attend Seminary.  He was devoted to his students!  I think he bought several rifles one year (oops, is this a secret?).  My brother, Mike Haring married Pam Gouvas of Sunland Ward fame.  They live in Utah, where Mike has served as the town Sherriff and the Bishop. I'm proud to say that the Sunland Ward is currently in my Stake today!  AND I GET TO TALK TO IRIS AND TED FREQUENTLY!  Thanks for this great Web Site!

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