Saturday, December 15, 2012

Wallace Owen Anderson

Vivian Darrington Anderson and Wallace Owen Anderson
Wallace Owen Anderson
I was born December 17, 1917 near Blackfoot, Idaho.  Neils Anderson, my father, was the son of Swedish immigrants and my mother, Mary Wilson, descendant of a grandmother who traveled with the ill-fated Willie Handcart Company.  Raised a farm boy, I always wanted to go to Sweden on a mission.  My call came in November 1937, and I arrived in Sweden on my 20th birthday, December 17, 1937 with four companions: Corwin Larson, Lynn Norris, Vance Ravsten, and Woodrow Nelson.  Elder Clifton Flint met us and saw to our needs.
I always will remember that first Christmas.  The other missionaries were invited out and we were left to fend for ourselves.  All stores were closed and we had no food.  We spent the few ore we had for chocolate bars from a vending machine.  Then Elder Flint arrived and seeing our distress notified Sister Larson, who prepared a Christmas feast for us.
We attended school for a month to help with our Swedish.  I must have impressed our instructor because several months later when Lavon Elison was in the class the teacher asked if he were from Blackfoot, Idaho.  Elder Elison said that he was and the instructor told him that he was just like a young man from Blackfoot who had been in an earlier class.  
I was assigned to Jonkoping.  My companion, Dwain Johnson, was great.  We read the Book of Mormon for an hour or more every day, helping me greatly with my Swedish.  My next companion was Wayne K. Johnson, followed by Lynn Toolson and then John D. Anderson.  We got along well but none of us like our co-tenants, the bed bugs.  In Eskilstuna, my next assignment, my companions were Rigby Lindquist, followed by Martin Johnson.  This was a low point of my mission because Elder Johnson was made my senior companion even though he had arrived in Sweden two months after I came.  Despite early problems he became one of my best companions.
I was transferred to Karlstad, with Fred Ahlander as my companion.  Edward Johnson became my last companion before the war broke out and we all came back to America.  I spent my final two months in the Central States Mission, but it was not as good as Sweden.  After the war my brother, Homer, went to Sweden and lived in the same room we had in Karlstad.  He told me that the tracts and small books we had left were still there.
Probably my most memorable experiences were preparing two sisters for burial.  The first was a sister in Eskilstuna who weighed over 350 lbs. and the second, a sister near there who had been dead for two days.  I never had the opportunity to convert any Swedish people, but I will always be grateful that I found out how much time I had wasted on things of the world and converted myself to what I should be doing.  My testimony has grown through the years.
After arriving at home I taught Sunday School and served as scoutmaster.  Less than a year later I met an attractive young lady, Vivian Darrington of Declo.  We were married on March 21, 1941, in the Salt Lake Temple.  Of our nine children, six were boys and three girls.  One daughter was hit by an automobile and was unconscious for several weeks but recovered fully.  One son, autistic and unable to talk, was taken home to his Heavenly Father when he was eleven.  Another son had heart trouble and died at age 20.  Our oldest son was killed when his plane crashed into Mount Timpanogos near Prove.  We have 23 grandchildren and one great grandson.  We have enjoyed many memorable experiences with our children and family.
We have always been active in the church assignments and community affairs.  I farmed, owned school buses, and did land leveling and commercial ditch cleaning.  I also worked at American Potato, a processing plant, and for Exxon.  I now am retired.  I helped to organize child development centers in Idaho and served on the school board for many years.  I also fulfilled numerous church callings: Sunday School Superintendent, Elders Quorum president, High Priests Group leader, and Idaho Falls Temple worker.
My life has been great despite real sorrows and problems.  I have been blessed with a choice helpmate, who taught school to enable four of our sons to serve on missions.  Most of all, I am glad for my testimony, which got its real start in Sweden and has kept me going all my life.
--written by Wallace in 1989 for 50 year missionary reunion.  Wallace passed away Feb. 21, 1994.

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