VOL. 34 NO. 1

JANUARY 1947

THE RELIEF SOCIETY MAGAZINE

Monthly publication of the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

RELIEF SOCIETY GENERAL BOARD Belle S. Spafford ------ President

Marianne C. Sharp - - - - First Counselor

Gertrude R. Garff - - - Second Counselor

Margaret C. Pickering - - - Secretary-Treasurer

Achsa E. Paxman Edith S. Elliott Leone G. Layton Velma N. Simonsen

Mary G. Judd Priscilla L. Evans Blanche B. Stoddard Isabel B. Callister

Luella N. Adams Florence J. Madsen Evon W. Peterson Mary J. Wilson

Anna B. Hart Ann P. Nibley Leone O. Jacobs Florence G. Smith

RELIEF SOCIETY MAGAZINE Lllhe C' Adams

Editor .----...-- Marianne C. Sharp

Editorial Secretary .___..-_ Vesta P. Crawford

General Manager --------- Belle S. Spafford

Vol. 34 JANUARY 1947 No. 1

e

on tents

SPECIAL FEATURES

The New Year General Presidency of Relief Society 3

Unveiling of the Portrait of President Belle S. Spafford Counselor Marianne C. Sharp 4

A New Latter-day Saint Artist Dr. Gerrit de Jong, Jr. 6

Award Winners Eliza Roxey Snow Memorial Prize Poem Contest 8

Our Hands in Thine First Prize Poem Ethel Newman Eccles 9

Release From the South Seas Second Prize Poem Eva Willes Wangsgaard 11

Centennial Conversation— Third Prize Poem Miranda Snow Walton 13

Award Winners Annual Relief Society Short Story Contest 15

The Return First Prize Story Margery S. Stewart 16

Mary Jacobs Wilson Called to General Board Maurine C. Neilsen 23

Florence Gay Smith Blanche B. Stoddard 25

Lillie Chipman Adams Isabel B. Callister 26

General Relief Society Conference 28

The Final Year in the Church History Course Elder H. Wayne Driggs 29

The Worth of Testimony Bearing Achsa E. Paxman 32

Our Pioneer Heritage Ann P. Nibley 33

The Sewing Course Velma N. Simonsen 35

The Gospel as a Way of Life Priscilla L. Evans 36

Congregational Singing and Song Practice Blanche B. Stoddard 38

The Importance of Music in Relief Society Florence J. Madsen 40

Report and Official Instructions President Belle S. Spafford 43

Tribute to Sister Louise Y. Robison President Belle S. Spafford 46

FICTION

Faith Is a Heritage— Chapter 10 Christie Lund Coles 52

GENERAL FEATURES

Sixty Years Ago 48

Woman's Sphere Ramona W. Cannon 49

Editorial: The New Frontier , Vesta P. Crawford 50

LESSON DEPARTMENT

Theology: Unsung Heroes in Zion's Cause Elder H. Wayne Driggs 55

Visiting Teachers' Messages: Dependability President Amy Brown Lyman 57

Work Meeting Sewing: Buttonholes and Fasteners Work Meeting Committee 59

Literature: America Through Testing Years Elder Howard R. Driggs 60

Optional Lesson in Lieu of Literature:

The Abundant Life, Here and Hereafter Elder T. Edgar Lyon 65

Social Science: Constructive Use of Time Social Science Committee 69

POETRY

Tomorrow Frontispiece Berta Huish Christensen 1

New Year's Resolution Caroline Eyring Miner 7

Pioneer Women Olive W. Burt 24

Winter Night Grace M. Candland 27

Winter Rain Marguerite Kirkham 47

A Mother to Her Babe Roxana F. Hase 51

Winter Bouquet Ruth H. Chadwick 58

Latitude . Dorothy J. Roberts 68

To a Robin in Winter Aileen M. Overfelt 72

Deserted Cabin Maude Bhxt Trone 72

PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY THE GENERAL BOARD OF RELIEF SOCIETY

Editorial and Business Offices: 28 Bishop's Building, Salt Lake City 1, Utah, Phone 3-2741. Ex. 243. Subscription Price: $1.00 a year; foreign, $1.00 a year; payable in advance. Single copy, 10c. The Magazine is not sent after subscription expires. Renew promptly so that no copies will be missed. Report change of address at once, giving both old and new address.

Entered as second-class matter February 18, 1914, at the Post Office, Salt Lake City, Utah, under the act of March 3, 1879. Acceptance for mailing at special rate of postage provided for in section 1103, Act of October 8, 1917, authorized June 29, 1918. Manuscripts will not be returned unless return postage is enclosed. Rejected manuscripts will be retained for six months only. The Magazine is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts.

MAGAZINE CIRCULATION, 77,500

THE RELIEF SOCIETY MAGAZINE

VOL. 34, NO. 1 JANUARY 1947

TOMORROW

Berta Huish Chiistensen

She stands upon the threshold of the years, The call of far horizons in her eyes, But in her woman heart there are no fears Of what may come, for deep within her lies A courage and a strength she does not name, But senses as her heritage— a shield Against the starless night from those who came On patient feet to plant a desert field.

She does not shun the challenge, does not ask That time allay for her its stern demands; To mold tomorrow's promise is her task— A sacred trust within her fragile hands. She only begs, in prayer, for help to be Equal to fill, with grace, her destiny.

THE COVER: "The Future Beckons," photograph by Wfllard Luce, posed by Mrs. Ardus Strong, Ogden, Utah, in a costume furnished by the Provo Chapter, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.

PORTRAIT OF PRESIDENT BELLE S. SPAFFORD Painted by Alvin L. Gittins

cJhe flew LJear

RELIEF SOCIETY women the world over, as a band of united sisters, greet the new year with hearts filled with faith and courage. Like Janus of old, we stand with faces turned both ways. We look at the departed year, sorrowful over the unrighteousness that has brought so much anxiety and suffering, but grateful for the fidelity to right and the fortitude that have carried us through. We rejoice that out of the welter of our own personal trials we have been able to rise and serve one another.

We look toward the new year, fully aware that it will not let us rest from our labors, neither slacken our watchcare over that which is good. We realize, however, that the experiences of the past year have given us in- creased strength to walk the road ahead; and, through the darkness and despair, we see the light of the gospel burning steady and true. With calm assurance of its unfailing guidance and sustaining power, we accept the tasks that lie ahead and face the future unafraid.

Ours is a healing mission requiring the larger heart, the kindlier touch, the steadier will; it is a work of many skills, requiring the alert mind, the measured judgment, the trained hand. Ours is not easy work— it was never intended to be so; but it is work, the bountiful fruits of which are joy, satisfaction, and growth.

With hearts filled with love and tenderness, with hands held out to service, with minds awake to that which is right, we will work toward nobler modes of life, confident that a kind and all-wise Father will bless our labors through another year.

The love and prayers of the General Board are with our Relief Society sisters throughout the world. May the new year bring to each of us, strength for her tasks, joy in service, and success commensurate with her righteous efforts.

Belle S. Spafford Marianne C. Sharp Gertrude R. Garf f General Presidencv

Unveiling of the Portrait of President Belle S. Spafford

Counselor Marianne C. Sharp

IT was a pleasant and memorable great strength of character possessed occasion for those assembled on by President Spafford, tempered by Wednesday, November 6, 1946, her spirit of obedience and humility, when the portrait of President Belle All who saw the portrait seemed S. Spafford was unveiled, in the Re- to be in agreement with Sister Pick- lief Society General Board room in ering, that "Brother Gittins has the Bishop's Building, by Mary clearly portrayed Sister Spafford's Spafford Kemp, daughter of Presi- intelligent, alert expression that we dent Spafford. Others in attendance all know so well and admire so at the unveiling were members of much; bright eyes that look out the General Board of Relief Society, calmly, see clearly, and are unafraid; Brothers W. Earl Spafford, Earl and, withal, a personality of charm, Spafford, and Clarence W. Kemp, courage, and capability, befitting husband, son, and son-in-law, respec- the leader of a great woman's organ- tively, of Sister Spafford, and other ization."

relatives and close friends of Sister Following the unveiling cere-

Spafford. mony, an informal reception was

With the completion of this por- held for former members of the

trait, Relief Society now owns a Relief Society General Board who

gallery of portraits including all of have served on the Board since

the nine women who have presided Sister Spafford was called in 1935,

over Relief Society since its organ- and members of the General Board

ization in 1842. staff.

The portrait of President Spaf- Members of the general commit-

ford was painted by the young Lon- tee in charge of arrangements for

don artist, Alvin L. Gittins, a the occasion were Leone G. Layton,

member of the Church. He and his Blanche B. Stoddard, and Leone O.

wife were present at the ceremony. Jacobs, of the General Board. For-

Secretary-Treasurer Margaret C. mer president Amy Brown Lyman Pickering, during her remarks con- and Tessie Smith Johnston, sister of cerning the painting of the portrait, President Spafford, presided at the compared a portrait to a "biography refreshment table, done with a brush instead of a pen." Relief Society members through- It was the consensus of opinion of out the Church will be interested in those who were present, that this calling at the Relief Society head- portrait is not a mere likeness but quarters when they are in Salt Lake that it is, in truth, a "biography City, and viewing this portrait of done with a brush," revealing the President Spafford.

Poge4

AT THE UNVEILING CEREMONY Left: Mary Spafford Kemp, daughter of President Spafford, who unveiled the por- trait, and President Spafford.

A New Latter- Day Saint Artist

Dr. Geiritt de Jong, ]i.

Dean of the College of Fine Arts, Brigham Young University

ANEW and radiant light has appeared on the Latter-day Saint and Utah art horizons in the person of Alvin L. Gittins, who painted the beautiful portrait of Sister Belle S. Spafford, President of the Relief Society, found repro- duced in this issue of The Relief Society Magazine. Although he is but in his twenty-fifth year, and has been in Utah only since last Janu- ary, his work has evoked the enthus- iastic commendation of all the local artists who have become acquainted with it.

Alvin Loraine Gittins was born on January 17th, 1922, at Kiddermin- ster, Worcestershire, England, the son of William L. and Esther Chance Gittins. Since his parents were both converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before their marriage, the artist was born and reared within the Church. So much did he associate with mis- sionaries and others who had come to England from the United States, that his schoolmates at times nick- named him "Yank".

After completing his elementary education, Alvin won a scholarship to the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School at Hartlebury. After gradua- tion from this school, encouraged by its headmaster, George H. Ashe, who was a gifted artist himself, young Al- vin studied for three years at the Kid- derminster College of Art. Here, he pursued all branches of art, and re- ceived thorough training under such

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ALVIN L. GITTINS

well-known teachers as Cyril Laven- stein of the Royal Burlingham So- ciety of Artists, and W. E. Daly, As- sociate in the Royal College of Art.

After spending three years at the Kidderminster College, he was called on a mission for the Church. He served for twenty-five months in England under Andre K. Anastasiou, then acting president of the British Mission. The last thirteen months of his missionary work Brother Git- tins served as associate editor of the MiUenial Star.

Upon completion of his mission- ary labors, he continued his art studies in London at Wimbledon and Camberwell. During the time

A NEW LATTER-DAY SAINT ARTIST

that he worked as a professional por- trait painter in London, he was sig- nally honored by having some of his works accepted for exhibition by the Royal Society of British Artists.

It is not at all strange that our artist received this and other recog- nition. In undertaking to paint a portrait, he does not regard it his sole responsibility to produce a good like- ness, which would satisfy most lay- men, but insists on making each por- trait he paints another artistic tri- umph, also. This explains why not only laymen, but also artists them- selves, are universally outspoken in the praise of his productions. His portraits unmistakably reveal the craftsmanship and expertness of ex- ecution that so favorablv character- ize the works of British artists gen- erally. Thev also reflect the sensitiv-

ity and keen imagination that are his, and his extraordinary capacity for artistic expression of what he sees in, and feels about the subject.

Late in the year 1945, our artist received a scholarship offer from the Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, through the mediation of Pres- ident Hugh B. Brown, then in charge of the British Mission, now servicemen's co-ordinator at the Church university.

The young artist is married to Gwendolen M. Ellis, who was the recipient of a similar scholarship from Brigham Young University. They arrived in Utah in January 1945, and have made Provo, Utah, their home since that time. Their first child, a son, named Jonathan, was born there.

NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION

Caroline Eyring Miner

Now, close against the sky, the barren trees In black and gray are etched against the clouds Chill blanket like a spider's web, or frieze About a Grecian temple, or the shrouds Of ancient dead embroidered in grave black Across the stony, frozen snow, the long Thin shadows run; the wind has left a track Of drifts along the way. Yet here is song. Within my heart is quietness and peace; Upon my window sill are blossoms still, And by my glowing hearth the children cease Their play but to begin again. I will Take sunshine from my quiet corner here And warm a bit of earth and dry one tear.

Jxward Vi/t

tnners

tbhza Lrioxey Snow lllemonal Lrrize LPoem (contest

HTHE Relief Society General Board is pleased to announce the names of the three prize winners in the 1946 Eliza R. Snow Memorial Prize Poem contest.

This contest was announced in the June 1946 issue of the Maga- zine, and closed September 15, 1946.

The first prize of twenty dollars is awarded to Ethel Newman Eccles, 3453 Menlo Road, Shaker Heights, Cleveland, Ohio, for her poem "Our Hands In Thine."

The second prize of fifteen dollars is awarded to Eva Willes Wangs- gaard, 818 28th Street, Ogden Utah, for her poem "Release From the South Seas."

The third prize of ten dollars is awarded to Miranda Snow Walton, 165 West 5th South, Salt Lake City, Utah, for her poem "Centennial Conversation."

This poem contest has been con- ducted annually by the Relief So- ciety General Board since 1923, in honor of Eliza R. Snow, second gen- eral president of Relief Society.

The contest is open to all Latter- day Saint women, and is designed to encourage poetry writing, and to in- crease appreciation for creative writ- ing and the beauty and value of po- etic verse.

Prize-winning poems are the pro- perty of the Relief Society General Board, and may not be used for pub-

lication by others except upon written permission from the Gen- eral Board. The General Board re- serves the right to publish any of the other poems submitted, paying for them at the time of publication at the regular Magazine rate. A writer who has received the first prize for two consecutive years must wait two years before she is again eligible to enter the contest.

There were sixty-six poems sub- mitted in this year's contest, entries coming from many of the states, as well as from several foreign coun- tries. Many of the poems were written on the suggested subject, the Utah Centennial. Of the three win- ners, one had not previously placed in the Eliza R. Snow Memorial Prize Poem contests.

The General Board congratulates the prize winners, and expresses ap- preciation to all entrants for their interest in the contest.

The General Board wishes, also, to thank the three judges and all who assisted, for their care and dili- gence in selecting the prize-winning poems. The efforts of the poetry committee of the General Board are very much appreciated.

The prize-winning poems, togeth- er with photographs of the prize win- ning contestants, are published here- with.

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[Prize-V(/inuing Lroems

ibliza uioxey Snow 1 1 temonal Lrnze [Poem Contest

ETHEL NEWMAN ECCLES

First Prize Poem

(cyur ulanas o/n cJktne

Ethel Newman Eccles

Inspiration

Only a thread across the desert sands, A twining thread, held by the Master's hands;

Taut at the time when check was needed there. Unleashed again and free as the heaven-sent air.

Unleashed, for well God knew this sturdy band, Whose footsteps he had turned toward desert sand.

Hand-picked from all humanity's great store- Weighed in the balance; you could not ask for more.

He knew their trials, and yet he knew their power; Pledged as they were to make each changing hour

A hallowed part, to firmly plant anew Christ's Church, revealed in latter day and true.

Page 9

10 RELIEF SOCIETY MAGAZINE— JANUARY 1947

Dedication

"This is the Place"— the leader raised his hands, The challenge of the mountains or the sands

To this small band of weary pioneers; God help them see the future in the years.

"And it shall truly blossom as the rose/' And lo, it did, and so the story goes:

Great homes were builded well, with mountains 'round, Irrigation, too, to wet the thirsty giound;

And temple spires in majesty rose high To link the holiness with azure sky;

And government became integral part, And schools and colleges and cultural art.

All these and all that makes humanity Unchained from lower life on land and sea,

Unfolded there with every passing hour, Man's will upheld by God's majestic power.

By Faith We Walk

What now? A hundred precious years gone by. In gratitude, with dauntless heads held high,

We face the future with its atom fear, And pray, dear God, that thou art ever near;

So near that thou wilt touch us with thy power And give us courage through each changing hour—

Our heritage from pioneers before. Hold thou our hands as we pass on through the door

Into that age that no man dares to think- There is no turning; we are at the brink.

So may we face it without torturing fear, Our hands in thine, dear Lord, again we pioneer.

Ethel Newman Eccles, a native of Salt Lake City, now living in Ohio, was awarded first prize in the Annual Relief Society Short Story Contest in 1944, for her story "Rock Roses of Nazareth." This is her first appearance as a winner in the Eliza Roxey Snow Memorial Poem Contests. She has for some time been writing poetry, prose, and fiction. Her early work was pub- lished in the Gold 2nd Blue, a Latter-day Saint high school periodical, and later in Playground, issued by the playground system of Washington, D. C. She was at one time a special reporter for The Deseret News, with a column in each Saturday edition. She is an active Relief Society worker, has been presi- dent of the North Ohio District Relief Society of the Northern States Mis- sion, and is now president of the Cleveland Branch Relief Society.

Her husband is Parley P. Eccles. There are two children, a daughter, Mrs. Van M. Smith, of Washington, D. C, and a fourteen-year-old son, Parley Eccles, Jr. Mrs. Eccles also has two small grandchildren.

PRIZE-WINNING POEMS

11

EVA WILLES WANGSGAARD

Second Prize Poem

LKelease cfrom the South S(

eas

Eva Willes Wangsgaard

I

I'm going home to trees unleafed, each bud Hooded from cold, clean limbs that web the sky; Already, I can feel along my blood, A leaping, feral as a coyote's cry. Whetted by frost whips in the morning hush, I'll follow sharp-hoofed tracks a deer has made; My shoulders will shake crystals from the brush Before the back-thrown antlers clear the glade. With towering mountains hid beneath their swirls, I'll watch again the darkening snow clouds form; And when the wintry down escapes and whirls, My long heart hunger will be fed by storm. Rain-rivered skies, farewell. Again I'll know Fine-needled balsams feathered white with snow.

12 RELIEF SOCIETY MAGAZINE— JANUARY 1947

II

I'll see the spring creep back through lilac buds And smell brown furrows fresh from snow's retreat; The ivory-petaled cherry's fragrant suds Will vie with peach tree coral, cool and sweet. The tall, clean tulip stems will speak of lands Fertile, but frugal as my grandsire's thumb; I'll warm a snow-damp clod in grateful hands, And kneel in bluebells till the kind tears come. Some day, shut-eyed, I'll view this tropic isle, Bathed in warm rain, and be a little fond Of leaves too lush and hues too loud, and smile At endless waves and all that lies beyond. Tonight, my heart resents the hours between Me and my home, where wand-slim aspens lean.

Eva Willes Wangsgaard, Ogden, Utah, is the author of three books of poetry: Singing Hearts, Down This Road, and After the Blossoming. One of the best-known literary women of the West, Mrs. Wangsgaard has had her poems published in many magazines and newspapers of national circulation, including the Saturday Evening Post, the New York Times, "Washington Post, and in such poetry magazines as Wings, Spirit, and the Florida Magazine of Verse. She has won first place in several national poetry contests, and has four times received the award in the Deseret News Christmas Poem Contest. Mrs. Wangsgaard has placed four times in the Eliza R. Snow Memorial Prize Poem Contest: 1939, 1942, 1946, and 1947. She *s a number of the League of Utah Writers, and of the Sonneteers. Mrs. Wangsgaard, the mother of three children, has several grandchildren. Her oldest son, a lieutenant, served in the Pacific area during the war. The poem "Release From the South Seas" is wov- en around the homing thoughts of this son.

Miranda Snow Walton was born in 1900, in the Bear River country, Wyo- ming, a daughter of Henry Brooks Snow and Anna Danielson Forbes. Writing poetry has, for many years, been a great joy to Mrs. Walton. In addition to the Latter-day Saint Church publications, her work has appeared in Railroad Magazine, the Utah Magazine, Our Army, The Vet, some twenty-five poetry magazines, and five anthologies. Mrs. Walton is the mother of a daughter Vivian (Mrs. Delbert Owens), and two sons, Jack and Claude Walton, who were the fourth generation on one line, and the fifth on another, to serve their country in the armed forces. Mrs. Walton, now a resident of Salt Lake City, is interested in writing about the Bear River Valley, in poetry and fiction.

PRIZE-WINNING POEMS

13

MIRANDA SNOW WALTON

Third Prize Poem

e

eatenata

at C<

oaversation

Miranda Snow Walton

A Great-Granddaughter Speaks:

Great-Grandmother Ann, were you sad that day In the long, long ago, when you sailed away From your home in a land far over the sea? Did your young heart harbor perplexity? Did you face your future in doubt and fear, As your great-granddaughter is doing here? Of what did you dream in this alien land, As your tired feet plodded through sage and sand? You could not have visioned the things I know When you entered this valley so long ago, This Inland Empire, where temples raise

14 RELIEF SOCIETY MAGAZINE— JANUARY 1947

Their arms in rejoicing at heaven's ways;

You could not see then, as I do today,

The gold of the grainfields, the orchards gay;

The cities that lie on the valley's breast,

Each one a jewel that God's hand has caressed;

Then, what was the vision that made you strong,

What dream gave you courage to journey on?

The Great-Grandmother Answers:

Great-Granddaughter Ann, the dream I had Was a simple one, and it made me glad; Though I knew the heartbreak of goodbye tears, It banished my doubts, and dispelled my fears. I dreamed of a home in a peaceful place, Of a good man's love, and a baby's face. My home was a dugout where wild sage grew, But our love was there, and my dream was true. Oh, child of my grandson, resolve this day To set your feet on your rightful way: No matter what struggle a true love brings, Hold fast to the good and the simple tilings, A home where no evil nor hate abide; Keep faith, and virtue, and truth inside; Hold love as a treasure that has no price, And a baby's laughter as paradise; Do your woman's work in this world of woe, For out of such things great empires grow.

It should be satisfactory evidence that you are in the path of life, if you love God and your brethren with all your hearts. You may see, or think you see, a thousand faults in your brethren; yet they are organized as you are; they are flesh of your flesh, bone of your bone; they are of your Father who is in heaven; we are all His children, and should be satisfied with each other as far as possible. The main difficulty in the hearts of those who are dissatisfied is, they are not satisfied with themselves (Discourses oi Brigham Young, page 271).

JnLward vi/t

tnners

*sLrtnuai LKelief Society Short Story (contest

HPHE Relief Society General Board is pleased to announce the names of the award winners in the short story contest which was announced in the June 1946 issue of the Maga- zine, and which closed September 15, 1946.

The first prize of thirty-five dol- lars is awarded to Margery S. Stew- art, 1474 Hollywood Avenue, Salt Lake City, Utah, for her story "The Return."

The second prize of twenty-five dollars is awarded to Rhea Smith, 181 East Gregson Avenue, Salt Lake City, for her story "Cast Thy Bur- dens."

The third prize of fifteen dollars is awaided to Olive Maiben Nich- oles, 340 East 2nd North, Provo, Utah, for her story "The Sound of Bugles."

This short story contest, first con- ducted by the Relief Society Gen- eral Board in 1941, as a feature of the Relief Society centennial ob- servance, was made an annual con- test in 1942. The contest is open only to Latter-day Saint women who have had at least one literary com- position published or accepted for publication by the editor of a period- ical of recognized merit.

The three prize-winning stories are to be published consecutively in the first three issues of the Magazine for 1947.

Twenty-two manuscripts were submitted in the contest for 1946. None of the prize winners for this year had previously placed in the Annual Relief Society Short Story Contest.

This contest was initiated to en- courage Latter-day Saint women to express themselves in the field of fic- tion. The General Board feels that the response to this opportunity will continue to increase the literary quality of The Relief Society Maga- zine, and will aid the women of the Church in the development of their gifts in creative writing.

The Relief Society Magazine now has a circulation of nearly eighty thousand. There are subscribers in every state of the Union, and in many foreign countries, thus pro- viding a varied and interested group of readers. Writers, recognizing this large and appreciative audience, realize the importance of entering in the contest their very best work.

The General Board congratulates the prize-winning contestants, and expresses appreciation to all those who submitted stories. Sincere gratitude is extended to the three judges for their discernment and skill in selecting the prize-winning stories. The General Board also acknowledges, with appreciation, the work of the short story committee in supervising the contest.

Page 15

[Prize -Vl/iaaing Story

iSlnnual [Relief Society Snort Story Contest

First Prize Story

The Return

Margery S. Stewart

"S

ALT Lake City!" someone said. Paula opened her eyes and sat up. She peered down through the windows of the plane. How the town had grown, almost up to Saint Mary's, and right up to the mouth of Parley's. "It's incred- ible!" she said aloud.

Had she changed as much in ten years? She took out her compact. Her cleverly painted mouth quirked wisely at one corner. "You're charm- ing," her mouth said. Her eyes gazed narrowly at her unlined, clear- skinned face. Naturally, at forty- two, one couldn't hope to look twenty-two, but she was doing very well. She pulled the Lille Dache beret to a more rakish slant, brushed the shoulders of her Valentina suit. Sally would be wide-eyed at the sight of a Valentina suit.

Paula obeyed the order to fasten the safety belt, and slumped back in her chair. The familiar irritation, indecision, and misery settled upon her. Why had she come? Just for the fun of surprising Sally? To daz- zle her with the names of great peo- ple? Or to crawl into this corner of nowhere and lick her wounds? "I shall lie down to bleed awhile, then rise and fight again," she quoted wryly to herself. She reached for the brief case at her feet. She put it

Page te

MARGERY S. STEWART

in her lap, and let her hands lie on it, crossed, like little swords. Which is really what they are, she reflected, because very soon, they are going to open this brief case, and very neatly destroy a woman's hopes, plans, and dreams. What a fool the girl was to give me her advertising ideas. Did she really believe me naive enough to take them in to Mr. Hanover? It would be just like asking me to put my neck in a noose. One look at her work, and mine— and me with it, would be tossed out the window.

THE RETURN

17

Couldn't she guess what my job means to me? She smoothed the brief case. I've got to do it. A few changes . . . my name on it, and an end to the long nightmare about someone newer and younger sup- planting me.

She closed her hands over the safety belt, as the plane landed. Slip- ping into her fur coat, she followed the other passengers into the biting, snowy afternoon.

She found a cab and gave Sally's address. Sally had moved since the last time ... to a larger place, Paula hoped. She shuddered, remember- ing the last time, ten years ago, when she and Sally had tried to renew their friendship over the shrieks of little girls, and the stamping, mis- chievous feet of little boys. Six chil- dren! Paula's mouth tightened. It was a sin and a shame, and nobody's fault but Sally's. Such a waste of Sally's marvelous mind and unbe- lievable energy. She could have been a greater success than I, by far, Paula reflected. She could have had the world under her little pink thumb, and she threw it all away for some perfectly mad idea on re- ligion.

CHE sat stiffly, watching the famil- iar streets unroll. South Temple Street. How many times she and Sally had walked under these trees in the spring, half delirious from the smell of lilacs and rain-wet leaves, and their own marvelous dreams. Why, it was right here on South Temple Street, in the fall of the year, that Sally had told her about Don and their marriage plans.

Paula remembered, as though it were yesterday, her own sick fury and disappointment. "But you told

me you were going to New York with me. Oh, Sally, you can't mar- ry Don. He's just a dumb Mormon boy, whose highest ambition is to have a family of twelve kids and send them all on missions."

Sally had laughed. "You make it sound so dull. What a thrill twelve children will be." She added sober- ly, "The missions, too. I . . I . . guess I've always felt this way. The career business was just a foolish dream."

"No!" Paula had cried, turning to shake Sally. "Don't you see? It's all that matters. We'll climb right up to the top. We'll have money and clothes, gorgeous clothes. We'll meet the most fascinating people..."

Sally said softly, "Listen to me, Paula." Her lovely eyes were misted with shyness. She faltered for a mo- ment. "In Sunday School they tell us sometimes about the . . . the still small voice?"

"Oh, sure, sure, I know."

Sally touched her breast lightly. "In here, there is something that tells me it's right and good to stay and marry Don. Even though everything cries out to go with you, the small voice says, 'Stay'."

For a brief instant Paula had hesi- tated, "I know," she said, half laugh- ing, half in tears. "I have it, too, tell- ing me to stay and marry Joe."

"Darling!" Sally flung her arms around Paula. "You told me you would. Oh, let's have a double wedding."

"No." Paula had stepped out of the circle of Sally's arms. "No. I'm not going to get caught like that. Not like your mother and mine, and all the women who let love and re- ligion rule their lives. You can come with me or stay. It's up to you."

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Sally's fingers had dug fiercely in- to the pockets of her polo coat. Paula could remember still the out- line of them, against the brown cloth. "I guess I've got to stay, Paula."

"Okay, chum. I'm leaving next Tuesday night. Dad's giving me five hundred dollars for my twenti- eth birthday."

"But Joe? What about him?"

Paula had kicked a stone out of her path. "Joe? Joe will have to find someone else . /. so will I." But in all the twenty- three years be- tween, there hadn't been anyone like

loe.

> »

OAULA looked around her. The neighborhood was very good. Don must be doing a little better. Well, he needed to. Sally had looked terrible ten years ago, just terrible. Her face, drawn and haggard with fatigue, her hands like a washwom- an's. Her feet, in their flat, sensible shoes, had run endlessly on house- hold errands. In her arms, Paula re- membered, she had seemed to hold constantly, a wailing, teething baby.

Paula regarded the tips of her trim alligatoi pumps. "I shouldn't have come. I'll wire and have them call me back."

"Here's your address, lady."

Paula looked out. "But it's love- ly ... I never dreamed . . ." She paid the driver and walked before him up the winding, neatly swept path. She climbed the shallow steps of the brick terrace and rang the bell.

The door was flung open by a young and amazingly lovely girl. Paula had a swift impression of dark blue eyes in a heart-shaped, eager face, of very white teeth that flashed

vvelcomingly. "Hello," she said. Then her eyes grew wide. "It can't be!" she breathed. "Aunt Paula, how perfectly wonderful. Come in! Mother will be so thrilled."

The warmth of the girl's welcome reached deep into Paula. "You know me?"

"Know you?" The girl reached out slim brown hands and drew her into the great hall. "Your picture is in my room. I'm going to be just like you. Oh, Mother . . ."

Sally came into the hall. Paula stared at her, disbelief and a dis- mayed envy warring within her. Sal- ly was radiantly beautiful, more so than she had ever been as a girl. The new upsweep was enormously becoming to her small face.

"Paula!" she cried, "Paula!" and ran forward with arms outstretched.

Paula lifted her face from Sally's shoulder and saw her reflection in the hall mirror. But I look so sharp, she thought, in bewilderment, so sharp and clever. There is no soft- ness anywhere. She held Sally out before her. "Let me look at you, angel. You look wonderful. I love your house." She turned her head as a sudden burst of laughter tumbled from the living room. "Guests?"

Sally laughed. "Just my family. Come and meet them all over again." She put her arms around the girl who was standing wide-eyed beside them. "This is Louise, she was nine when you saw her last, ten years ago."

This lovely creature, the skinny little girl in glasses and braces? It couldn't be!

Louise seemed to read her thoughts. "Wasn't I revolting? Mom worried about mv matrimonial chances."

THE RETURN

19

Her mother gave her a hug. "You were a charming child." She led Paula into the large, battered, but lovely living room.

Three young men rose swiftly to their feet. Paula gasped in sheer ad- miration. "Sally! You certainly cornered the market. I never saw such handsome children/'

Sally laughed. "Time helps. You weren't too impressed the first time you saw them, remember?" She in- troduced them. "This tall, red- headed young man is Don, Junior. He's leaving for a mission next month. He just received his call."

Dimly, as from down a long cor- ridor, Paula heard a younger Sally say, "It will be a thrill, sending them on missions."

"And these are the twins, Phillip, he's going to be a doctor, and Ste- phen, he can make a car out of an old spool and a piece of wire, I do believe."

They smiled at her from young, gay faces, impressed, Paula could tell, by the tales they'd heard about her. She shook hands with them gravely. Sally's sons! These tall young men were bone of her bone and flesh of her flesh. No wonder Sally's face held that deep content- ment. Paula shivered. Instantly the family sprang into action. The boys stirred the fire. Sally forced her into a wing-backed chair. Louise brought a footstool.

"You look so tired, Paula. You must rest here."

"Mother!" A girl of ten catapulted into the room. "Guess what? I get the lead in the Primary play. Isn't it supreme!"

An older boy trotted dejectedly after her "I gotta be in it, too. I

gotta be somethin' awful— like an old prince."

Paula looked up at the children. They looked like Sally. "I used to go to Primary all the time, with your mother. Once I was the lead in the play. What do they do these days?" She curled her lip. "The same thing, I suppose."

"We're studying about the Cen- tennial. We're making decorations for it."

"The Centennial. Once that would have thrilled me," she mused aloud. "I never think about Mor- monism any more. Too busy."

"It's been our life," Sally said simply, as she knelt to place another log on the fire. She sat back on her heels. "Tell us about New York. Every single thing."

Paula couldn't remember when she'd had an audience like this, so eager, so delighted with the anec- dotes of people she knew. The mo- ments flew by, until suddenly it was dusk and a car was turning into the driveway.

"It's Don, and I haven't started dinner." Sally sprang up in pretty dismay.

Don came in. He was grayer and heavier, but time had carved all his wrinkles into laughter lines and put a twinkle in his eye. "Welcome, wel- come, my dear. We've hoped for a long time for this visit."

To her amazement, tears thick- ened her throat, "Why— why thanks. Don. I'm so very glad to be here."

A LONE in the little room Sally had given her, Paula lay face down on the bed. She felt so old. so tired, so finished. But I can't be old. She sat up. Sally and I are the same age, and no one could call Sallv

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RELIEF SOCIETY MAGAZINE— JANUARY 1947

old. But why do I have this desolate feeling that I'm standing outside in the cold, looking in on warmth and laughter? She got up and began to rub cold cream vigorously into her skin. Come, come Paula, you'll feel differently after a day or two of rest. When you hear the squabble and watch Sally try to do a hundred things at once.

She dressed swiftly and reached for her brief case. She could be work- ing on that advertisement while she waited to be called down for dinner.