This blog is dedicated to my parents, brothers, sister, and cousins who are descendants of Johannes (John) Gutke and Johanna Mork Gutke (pictured above). I am in the process of posting everything I have, so that I can back up documents/photos and also access the info from any location. There are likely to be mistakes, so check back often and feel free to comment if you have corrections!


Deniane Gutke Kartchner


“Grandma, Where Have all the Gypsies Gone?”

--an interview with Gladys Anna Monson Gutke

            This is an interview conducted on October 1, 1988, between me, Deniane Gutke (D), and my grandma, Gladys Anna Monson Gutke (G), at her home in Holliday, Utah.  I was with my boyfriend (Lorin Kartchner) and his family to pick up a brother returning from an LDS mission in Spain.  His plane was delayed, so I had the opportunity to spend the night at Grandma's and visit with her in the morning before returning to the Salt Lake Airport.

G:        Deniane has got the tape recorder on and wants me to say a few things.  I said I ought to have a script to read from!   Sometimes you have one memory that kind of stays with you over the years.  If we go back to the first thing I can remember—I wasn't very old—I remember having a little cupboard when we lived in Sandy.  I think it was on what we called a washstand—a basin where you washed your hands and things and it would have a little cupboard underneath.  I can remember going to that cupboard and getting out these red shoes—these shiny red shoes that I was so thrilled with.   There were so many people coming to the house, and I'd run out and show them these red shoes.  I was so proud of them.  Then I found out later that it was my father's funeral.  It was the viewing and people were coming to the viewing, but that didn't even register in my mind at that time.  All I was concerned with was these little red shoes.   That's my first memory and I was only two.   I have another recollection of not wanting to go into the room that we called the parlor, so that must have been where he was.  In those days they didn't keep them in the mortuary; they usually took them to the home. 

            My other early recollections aren't too many, but I remember Harold[1] and I sitting out in the great, big sand pile in the back playing with little cars and little jars and bottles that grandma had given us.  That was a fun time, just the two of us playing there.  We didn't have anyone to play with; the neighbors weren't very close to our age. 

But one other incident stands out.  There was a slag dump about a mile from our place and gypsies use to camp there.  Erma, who was a lot older than we, used to scare us about it all the time.  One day she said, "The gypsies are coming!  They're going to take us!"  She was suppose to be watching us, and she took both of us and ran out to the outside toilet—that's when we had an outside toilet—and made us stay in there until those gypsies went by.  I don't think they would have hurt us at all, but that stands out in my mind because we were so little.  I can remember her grabbing Uncle Harold by the hand and me by the other and running us out to the toilet so we wouldn't get stolen!  (laughter)  

            We moved to Salt Lake when I was six.  I do have a little recollection at school.  I was supposed to give a poem, and I can remember all the parents in this auditorium.  I was so proud of my pretty, white dress--it had a great, big pink sash --and I can just see myself walking down that aisle and up on the stage to give this poem.  I can't remember what poem it was, but it was a fun [one]. I do remember that!  Other than that I don't have any recollections of Sandy. 

However, before we moved to Salt Lake I used to go out and spend the summers with my sister Norma who was married.  She was expecting a baby and had to be very careful, so I had to rest on the bed every day with her.  I didn't like that so well.  They were thrashing and—I don't know whether you know what thrashing means, but in those days they had the thrashers come—so we'd lie on the bed and listen to that thrashing.[2] 

            But it was fun to stay there, because every Saturday night—they lived in West Jordan—they'd go over to Midvale, which was a big town in those days.  We would shop, and she'd get all of her groceries.  Then we would usually have some dinner and then go to a movie before we'd go home.  They had one of these cars that had open windows but they had some kind of shields that they would put across—I don't know what they were called, curtains or something, to keep the air out.  We'd have to get down in the bottom so we wouldn't get too cold if there was more than one of us there. Sometimes they had another niece that would come and stay.  She was about my same age.  

            We use to buy a lot of goodies that I liked to have, what we called pineapple tarts and chocolate bonbons, and bananas and oranges, a lot of things I didn't have at home.  It was fun to have all those good things to eat, too!  The only thing I didn't like was when Norma use to go out and get chickens. She would cut off the heads, and then they'd flop around, you know, without their heads.  Oh, that used to scare me!  I didn't like that very much.   Then she used to make me help her pick the feathers.  I don't know whether you've ever smelled hot water on feathers. . . .  Have you ever smelled it?

D:        When I went to that BYU Pioneer Trek we plucked a turkey, and it stinks pretty bad!  (laughter)

G:        Oh, isn't that a stinky thing.  After she'd got the big feathers off she'd make me pick what they called the pin feathers—the little feathers.  Boy, I didn't care for that.  I did like the chicken!  It tasted so much better than the chicken you get now!  When it was just freshly killed and cooked, it was very good.  Norma was a good cook.  She used to make the best sour cream cake.  I never was able to make that!  She had a lot of cream because they had cows and things, and she would make this sour cream cake.  It didn't have shortening or anything in it; it was just made with this cream.  It was really good! 

            We'd have to go up to the dry farm they called it, and take lunch to the men that were working there, so we went for little rides all the time.  I had a lot of fun out there in the summer before we moved to town. 

            I do have one other little recollection when Harold and I were little.  Mother had a buggy—we didn't have a car—pulled by a horse, and she'd make us sit way down in the bottom of the seat when we'd go somewhere.  She'd go out to see Alice or she'd go out to see Norma.  We'd have to sit down in this bottom, and I can remember one time the horse ran away!  There we were, sitting in the bottom, and Mother couldn't make that horse stop!  (chuckle)  It was just going lickety-cut!  She was yelling, "Now stay down there!  Don't get up!  Don't get up!"  She was so scared we were going to fall out of the buggy!  But I do have that recollection.  As I think back, lots of times little recollections come back.

            We moved to town when I was six.  I was in the first grade, and Harold was only four.  I remember my mother took me to school, and she showed me the way home and everything, and I got lost on that way home!  I can remember. . . . We were in this little, tiny house, and it was up on M Street.  Now, I don't know whether you're familiar. . . .

D:        No.

G:        Well, do you know where City Cemetery is?

D:        Yes, I know where that is.

G:        You go up M Street and go right into that place.  It was up almost to Second Avenue on M Street, just a little three-room place.  It had a bathroom sort-of, but it was not connected with the house.  It was out a few steps.  It didn't have a tub, but it had the toilet, and there we lived. 

But anyway, coming home from school the first day I got lost.  I thought sure I knew the way home—you'd think maybe Mother would have met me that first day, but she didn't—and I can remember crying and some woman came out.  She took me in, and I was able to tell her my name and what-not.  But of course she didn't know my telephone number or anything.  I don't even believe we had a telephone, to tell you the truth.  But she said, "Now, we'll go for a walk, and then maybe you'll recognize something."  So she took me out, and we walked.  Finally I recognized a grocery store that was on the corner where we lived, so I finally got home.  I was mighty glad to see that little, tiny house where we lived!  (laughter)  That was my introduction into school in Salt Lake City!  I don't remember too much about my first and second grades.  I didn't have anything outstanding happen, I guess!  I don't know.  But, do you remember much about your first and second grades?

D:        No.  Well, I remember a bit.  I remember that's the year I got glasses, and I hated that so bad!

G:        Did you get glasses when you were that young?

D:        Mm-huh. First grade.

G:        Oh, I thought you were a little older when you got your glasses. That is hard for a six-year old to have glasses! 

D:        Yeah, I know it's been hard for Karen.  But, she looks really good in hers!

G:        Does she wear them?

D:        Yes.  Steve gets mad at her when she doesn't  wear them, and everyone else gets mad at her when she does!  (laughter)  Not in our family, but little kids get teased a lot.

G:        Carl doesn't wear his, does he?

D:        He doesn't have to anymore. 

G:        Did his eyes get stronger?

D:        I guess! 

G:        Anyway, to get back to this poor little. . . .

D:        (laughter)

G:        I  was  always  one who  liked  to  read  and  to  act.  We had a neighborhood cast, if you'd call it that, and this woman across the street had a big, kind of barn-like thing in the back.   It had second floor, and we put on plays.  Oh, they were fun!  My mother was so good at sewing, and she'd make costumes for us.  We'd charge a penny, and they'd all come and see these plays! 

D:        Cool!

G:        I don't remember what plays they were, but we had a lot of fun.  Then, the avenues are steep there, and we loved to roller skate.  Boy, we could really get going!

D:        I'll bet!  (laughter)

G:        Did you ever like to roller skate?

D:        Yes.

G:        Oh, we used to go lickety-cut.  There was a neighbor that had a cement driveway, and so we'd go over there.  It went down lickety-cut, and then we'd have to turn quick to go down the sidewalk.  We really got expert at that!  We were good roller-skaters!

D:        I bet you were. You'd probably kill yourselves if you weren't!

G:        We had a lot of fun  there.  We stayed there, oh  a couple of years I guess, and then we moved over to a place on P Street.  The only thing I can remember about that was the bathroom.  It had this big tub that Mother didn't ever use!  All we had in it was dirty clothes.  I can't remember ever having a bath in it!  I don't remember whether something was wrong with it, whether it didn't work properly, or what.  I should've asked Mother about that I guess.  All I can remember is that we had this big tub, and it always had all of the dirty clothes in that we needed to wash.  Instead of a hamper, we used that for the dirty clothes.

            I did get very close with a little girl who lived next door.  For years we kind of kept in touch with one another, but now I haven't seen her for a long time.  The next place we moved to was down on Dewey Court.  I remember that really well.  We use to have so much fun!  Did you ever play "Run Sheep, Run" and "Kick the Can" and all those games?

D:        I've played "Kick the Can!"

G:        It was a court, and every time we'd gather at our place and go play "Kick the Can" and "Run Sheep, Run."  I was about eight then, I guess, and we had so much fun.  The mayor, Nelson was his name—he was the mayor of Salt Lake City at the time—lived at the top of this court.  I tended his children.  I wasn't very old, but I'd just stay with them for a little bit in the afternoon.  I thought that was wonderful to get some money like that. 

            I remember one Christmas there.  We didn't ever have very much of a Christmas because Mother was having a struggle just trying to keep us fed and clothed.  One Christmas was really wonderful.  At least we thought so.  I got a doll.  I can just see it now. . . . It was one of those with the kid bodies kind of, but the face and the hair were just beautiful.  Nowadays a doll like that would really cost a lot of money because they're antiques.  Harold got a krroom set.

D:        What is that?

G:        Well, it's a big square thing with  pockets  on  each corner and little sticks like pool sticks.  Then they had little round things--I think they still have them--these little round rings.  You'd shoot them with this stick and try and get them in the pocket.

D:        So just like a little pool table.

G:        Yeah, sort of.  A krroom board it was called, and for a long time they had them.  Whether they still do or not, I don't know.  I had one up in the attic for a long time, because I bought one for the kids when they were little.  But anyway, that was a pretty nice Christmas for us.  Now when you think of all the things you get for Christmas, it seems funny to be so thrilled with a doll and a krroom board. 

One day we were left alone for a few hours, and we loved to play on the bed.  Did you ever jump on your bed?  (chuckle)  We were told not to.  Anyway, I turned a somersault on the bed, and my feet went right through the window! 

D:        Oh, no.  (laughter)

G:        My bed was right close to the window, and SMASH!  There went the window.  Well, we knew we'd get the very dickens for that.  We thought up story after story.  What could we tell Mom, what could we tell Mom. . . . Finally we said that the ball went back there, and I went back to get it.  When I stooped over my head hit the window.  We thought, oh, that would really be a good story.  She'd be so worried about my head that she wouldn't think much about the window!  It was a long, long time afterwards before she found out it was my feet that went through the window instead of my head.  But we had a lot of fun on Dewey Court.  When I was ten years old we moved down to West Temple.  They had just built all these new homes, and the road wasn't finished or anything when we moved down there.  It was kind of a messy place.

D:        Is that the house that they have the picture of me in front of it with my dad and mom?

G:        Yes, it's where Grandma  lived, and where your Mom and Dad were when you were born.  I was in the fifth grade when I came down there and Harold was in the fourth.  But somehow or other he got held back for a half of a year. I don't know why or anything, but he was in an uneven class for a couple of years.

(Phone shrills.)

G:        Oh, there's the phone.  Let me get it.


[1] Harold is Gladys’ younger brother.

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