The Johnson Family
(Donald, his parents and sister)
Top: The Johnson family -- Bennie and Amelia, Donald (8) and Marjory (5) on trip to Austin, Minnesota, in 1921.
Bottom: Donald (age 22) and Marjory (age 19) in 1936 before California trip.
Excerpt from Donald B. Johnson manuscript:
"The most memorable licking I ever got was one Sunday. We went to the Presbyterian Church then, and we sat near the back because Marj was a baby yet in the spring, probably 9 months old or so, and she started to fuss.
"Pa just got up and carried her home. We had walked down because you didn't crank up a Model T just to drive two or three blocks in balmy, spring weather. I wanted to go home, too -- I was already plenty bored -- but Ma held onto me.
"I knew the secret of getting out, so I just screamed until the preacher had to quit talking because I drowned him out. Ma got me shut up some way, and I had to sit it out. She didn't say much on the way home, but she told Pa to get her a boxelder branch and I really got it. She gave me that one herself. I remember every detail and I must have been only 3-1/2 years old. I know it was in the spring [because] the boxelders hadn't leafed out yet." [4.11-2]
"One Sunday, when I was a 2-year-old or so, we sat in the pew behind Mrs. Everts, the retired banker's wife. She had a real fancy hat with big feathers on it. I can faintly remember it, but Pa said I kept trying to reach the feathers, so he held my hands. The next thing he knew I had my foot up and was trying to touch the feathers with my foot.
"This story would have been much better if he had paid more attention to the preacher instead of me, and I could have kicked her hat off." [4.11-3]
"A year or two later, when I was probably about 5 years old, I was given the job of passing the collection plate in church. It was cloth with a handle like a frying pan, and the first Sunday I passed the plate the preacher's sermon was 'A Little Child Shall Lead Them.' I know this was a fact because I heard it repeated many times afterward. [4.12-1]
"The plate was always on a little table up front and I would march up there, real dignified-like, and get it and pass it from row to row and return it to the table. I was supposed to have been well brought up (I used to hear said at that time, by Ma). But things always had a habit of eventually going wrong for me. [4.12-2]
"I guess I never showed how much things going wrong really bothered me, but one 'Communion' Sunday when I marched up to get the plate, there was no plate. There was a napkin over something, so I lifted up the napkin and peeked under, looking for it, and then turned around and looked perplexed. [4.12-3]
"Someone on the front pew, probably the organist, motioned to me and there was the plate, having been carelessly tossed on the front pew ... and things proceeded as usual. I'm sure the congregation appreciated having the routine spiced up a little. They had a real dry preacher." [4.12-4]