Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Henry Green: 1929 to 1941, Part 1 of 2


The year 1929 brought with it the Great Crash. The Greens had to sell their home on “F” Street and move to an apartment on “I” Street, on the top floor. They moved the piano up on the outside. Times were difficult. May had to go to work (housework and cooking) to earn money to help support the family and to pay for her tuition at the University of Utah. It was ironical that Harry couldn’t help his own children with tuition when he had helped his nieces and nephews through the “U.”

He made some investments in mines in Idaho. In 1932, he, Walter Spencer, Jack, and his son-in-law, Howard (who also had lost everything in the Depression), worked a mine at Bennett (near Mt. Home), Idaho. Unfortunately, it wasn’t successful.

Harry went on a sales trip to New York in April 1931, to raise money for his mining ventures, especially the “Daley” mine at Bennett. Other of his ventures included the Manning Dump and Peruvian in Little Cottonwood Canyon. In a letter to his grandchildren, written en route to New York, he contrasted the conveniences of the beautiful Pullman train to the freight-train-like vehicle he had come on as a boy, “When you live as long as I, the trains won’t have wheels and travel on iron rails. You will be on a beautiful airship and instead of taking 40 or 50 hours to make this trip, you will make it in five hours.”

In a letter to Leone, he tells of going to a play with Mel Freebairn and his wife and seeing “the skyscrapers, this forest of beautiful buildings, thousands of cars and people on Riverside Drive.”

In a letter to his grandson Jay, he tells of tunnels under the river, the bridge across the Hudson River being built and escalators or “Moving Stairs.” He tells him to “read this in 1981.” He evidently was selling, as he said, “I have had a big-sized job getting the other fellow to see my view point. How well I shall succeed remains to be seen.”

He remained optimistic, writing, “I feel the Faith and Prayers of the good people that are ascending to the great Master of all in my behalf, I cannot see anything but good coming to me. And I am reconciled no matter what it is that it will all be for the best.” In spite of setbacks and disappointments, he remained cheerful. He was always concerned about his family. In the same letter he said, “I, too, pray for you and when I think how wonderful you boys and girls are progressing, not only in the perishable things, but those that are enduring throughout all time and the Eternities. Praying for your happiness and the health and continued blessings of the association of husband and children. Affectionately, Dad.”


A move from “I” Street to 4th Avenue and “E” Street came in June, 1934, and seemed to give them a “lift on life.” They were moving back to 20th Ward and old friends. A few quotes from a letter he wrote: “When I returned from work about 5:00 to my surprise, all that remained in the apartment was the piano.” His daughters and sons-in-law had moved for him. “Mother seems like another person, back to the old days. Talk about a change, well you will know more from mother when the rush is over.…I have just 27¢ left out of $25.00 after taking care of telephone $5.00, light $5.00, gas $2.87, moving piano $5.00. Although we have but the 27¢ for ‘grub’ we feel a lot more like taking on new life.”

Harry was more-or-less retired now at sixty-seven. This gave Eliza and him a lot of time to spend with their children and grandchildren. They loved to have them visit. They also spent many hours serving in the temple. They were devoted grandparents to their 11 grandchildren. Harry had always shown an interest in them, writing letters to them, and talking specially to them in letters. The grandchildren loved to come and stay all night. Eliza was a fantastic storyteller, telling many stories of pioneers and Indians. She would also tell their fortunes. Harry took them on excursions to the museum on Temple Square, to the capitol building, and to Memory Grove. One time he took Gwen, Marjorie Ann, and Bob to the top of Ensign Peak and told them to remember this hike, when their Grandpa Green was 72.

He was always proud of his family and their accomplishments. His son Harry was a prominent businessman, a sales representative for U.S. Rubber. He, Lucy, and his daughter, Marilyn (another daughter, Marjory, died at birth), lived in San Mateo, California, and later in New York. Bert (or Chuck, as they called him) had gone into mining. He and Glay lived in Bishop, California, until they moved to Bolivia in 1939. Jack and May attended the University of Utah. Jack graduated in Mining Engineering and May in Elementary Education. She taught first grade at Washington School. Mildred and Ray and their children (three of them) moved to San Jose, California.

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