Mrs. Farnsworth’s story: After the reality of our wedding set in, I recalled our courtship…I remembered with great clarity the day Phil (Philo T. Farnsworth) and I met. Agnes Farnsworth and I had been good friends since the day we met at Provo High School, becoming even better friends after her father’s death. One day in the fall of 1924 she invited me home for a hot lunch. I needed no urging, because my usual lunch was a cold sandwich. As we entered her kitchen, I detected the tempting aroma of delicately seasoned stewed beans. Agnes explained that her mother usually left something for a warm lunch on the back of the wood-burning cook stove. The room was bright and airy, with a well-scrubbed look. The large oil cloth covered table by the window was surrounded by six chairs. I visualized heads bent studiously over nightly lessons.
Offering to help, I was shown where to find the things to set the two places at the table, and Agnes disappeared to comb her windblown hair. I was interrupted by the entrance of a young man, his arms filled with books. I thought this must be the wonderful brother Agnes had talked so much about, who was recently returned from the Navy. Embarrassed at being found alone, I went to find Agnes.
We were introduced, and Phil said, “So this is Pem Gardner who you wrote me about.” I wondered what she had told him about me. I knew Agnes liked me, so I decided it was nothing uncomplimentary and relaxed. I had ample opportunity to study this young man as he excitedly related to Agnes his good fortune.
“Well I’m all signed up at the “Y” (Brigham Young University), again Agnes. President Harris made arrangements for me to get a student loan to cover my books and tuition. He also gave me a janitor’s job to help with living expenses. I signed up for physics, on top of all my other courses. That will be a breeze, because I went through it with my cousin Arthur, so I have only to go through the motions to get credit. Wait till you hear this! I joined the chamber music orchestra, and when they had us try out, I was assigned first chair in the violin section. That really surprised me. I also crowded in classes in drama and public speaking. It’s going to be a busy, lots-of-fun year! “Whoa! That’s wonderful, Phil! But come and have some of mother’s stewed beans with us. You can tell us the rest while we eat. We have to get back to class.”
I had to agree with Agnes—Phil was certainly a brother to boast about. He radiated a sense of strength and vitality, no doubt due to his arduous boot camp activity and, before that his hard work on the farm. He had a good sense of humor and the deepest blue eyes I had ever seen. Our eyes met, and frantically searching for something to say that would not betray by dumbness, I blurted, “How did you like Navy life?” “It was quite an experience,” he smiled broadly, and his twinkling blue eyes met mine. “I can’t say I really enjoyed it, especially when we had to drill in dress uniforms in 110 degree weather. On the plus side, though, I learned a lot…but I’m glad to be back.” “I’m sure glad you’re home Phil,” Agnes said. “We really did miss our big brother.” “What did you like least?” I asked, determined to keep the conversation going. “Guard Duty,” he said. The guys in the brig acted like animals and had nothing to do except bait us guards and make us angry, but I was actually sorry for them and ignored their insults and that improved my concentration. Yes, I had to agree with Agnes there was something special about her brother. To be continued…
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