Jernberg Family Stories

 In 1982 Elaine Munns and her sister Kay Bare stayed in Phoenix with their parents Dave and Cleo Jernberg.  While there, they recorded 3 tapes, both sides, of stories told by Dave and Cleo of their early years, homesteading in Idaho, and raising a family. This is part 6 of the series.

1957 Dave and Cleo Become Snowbirds 

ELAINE:  When did you first start coming to Arizona for the winter?

DAVE:  19 … we’ve been down here a couple of years before, but the first time we moved down here and stayed three or four weeks was 1959.

ELAINE:  What year did you go on that Mexican trip that you rode the bus through Mexico and really had a good time?

DAVE:  That was February 1960.

ELAINE:  1960.  That was after you’d been down to Arizona one year for a while.

Grandma:  This is our 22nd year.

DAVE:  Yeah, yeah.  We’d been down here one year.

And you went down to Mexico.

DAVE:  Was it 60 or 61?

CLEO:  Well, this is our 22nd winter down here so it must’ve been 1960 or maybe it was 61.

DAVE:  The first year we come down here was 59 and it must’ve been in February of 61.

KIM:  Where did they live in Arizona when they first came?

KAY:  Where did you live when you first came down here?

DAVE:  I lived out on Deer Valley, Woodland Park.

And it was off of Bell Road, too, wasn’t it?

DAVE:  It was north of Bell Road about three miles.  Down by the Black Canyon hiders but the Black Canyon hider wasn’t there then. (What is a “hider”?

Was this racetrack there then?

DAVE:  Yeah, the racetrack was here.

KAY:  The racetrack has been here as long as you can remember then, as long as you’ve been coming down.

How expensive was it to stay, what did you pay for your trailer when you first came down here.

DAVE:  $25 a month.

And that took care of your electricity and your water?

DAVE:  No. 

You had to pay extra for those?

DAVE:  That was extra.

CLEO:  Not water.  We never paid.

DAVE:  Not water, just electricity.

Just electricity, and then when you went back home in the summertime, it only cost you $5.00 to store the trailer while you were gone?

DAVE:  Yeah.

There were lots of years you pulled the trailer back and forth, too.

DAVE:  Oh yeah.  Well, we did the first two years.  We pulled it back and forth.  Then we finally got so we left it here.

KAY:  Uh-huh.  So, it was too much work to travel with it?

DAVE:  Yeah.  Then we graduated from that to a mobile home.

What year did you buy this house?

CLEO:  We moved in here on Elaine’s birthday in 1973.


CLEO:  We’ve been here 9 years.

KAY:  When did you get your house out to Mud Lake?  Your double-wide trailer.

CLEO:  How old is Kliff, 19?

You got it when I ….??  You moved in it remember.

KAY:  He just turned 18.

ELAINE:  You came over and stayed with me and went home from when Mike was born and moved in your new trailer.

CLEO:  Yeah, we lived in it 18 years last May then, because Kliff was born our first Christmas after we lived there.  The very first Christmas so if he turned 18 in 1981 so we got our trailer in May of 1963, whatever year he was born.

KIM:  I remember you lived at Bremmer Drive in Idaho Falls the year that Kraig was born cause I came in and stayed with you.

KAY:  You moved in your trailer in May, 1963.

CLEO:  Uh-huh, 14th of May or June, 14th of June on Flag Day.  I remember it was Flag Day and it was and Sheila’s birthday.

KAY:  And the year we were gone to North Carolina and our house burned down you guys were all having Christmas dinner there.

CLEO:  That’s right.

What year was that?

DAVE:  We bought the house in Idaho Falls in 1959 didn’t we? 

CLEO:  Uh-huh.

DAVE:  And when we come down to Arizona in 1959 and we went back and decided we’d sell the house right now.

CLEO:  Decided it was nicer to be down here and might as well be out to Mud Lake in the summer.

DAVE:  Yeah.

KAY:  Cause I remember Mama saying that even after you moved to Idaho Falls, you were out to Mud Lake all of the time anyway and she was there by herself so she decided if she wanted to be where you were, she was going to have to move back out to Mud Lake.

DAVE:  Sort of a side of that, we bought that house figuring that when we got old, we’d settle down in Idaho Falls and after we made the trip to Arizona, we decided the heck with Idaho Falls.

KAY:  Yeah.  That was a nice house in there.

DAVE:  It’s still a nice house.

ELAINE:  That was on, what was your address?  Something Bremmer Drive.

DAVE:  Bremmer Drive.

ELAINE:  Do you remember what it was?

KAY:  Takes a while to think of the numbers huh?

CLEO:  It’s, what’s the name of that club, 2030 club.

KAY:  2030 Bremmer Drive.

CLEO:  Uh-huh, I think so.

Drilling their Well in Mud Lake

ELAINE:  Were you there when they drilled that well where you live now that has all that nice soft water? (Meaning the trailer house by where Ben and Peggy lived, and then Joe and Bertha lived)

DAVE:  Yeah.

How deep is it?

DAVE:  311 feet.

Who did that?

DAVE:  Copes.

Do other people have soft water out there?

DAVE:  Not many of them at that time, no, well except the wells.  Well, they didn’t have wells.

CLEO:  Kazdit well is deep and it’s harsh.

DAVE:  Ours yeah.

So really that’s the nicest water isn’t it.

CLEO:  It’s the nicest water around.

1963 or so – Bud Jernberg Dies

ELAINE: Do you remember when Bud got killed?

CLEO:  Uh-huh.

DAVE:  Who?


DAVE:  Oh yeah.

ELAINE:  What happened then?

DAVE:  He come over to our place to borrow a kind of a cultivator outfit he was going to stir up some ground up there that he’d found on a desert claim up there on the, by the Kelkampton??

CLEO:  On the hill we call it.

DAVE:  The hill.  He come into our place and borrowed this kind of a digger, cultivator digger outfit and he was going to stir up the ground and hooked on and went up the ditch bank and got up pretty near the reservoir and one bolt come out of the hitch on the side and it come sideways and it knocked him, hit him and knocked him off the derrick, I mean off the tractor and Benny come along later and he was still laying there and Benny picked him up and brought him in and he went into the hospital and after a week, a few days, he just seemed to get all right to come home and then he had a blood clot that went to his heart, killed him.

ELAINE:  Did he ever come home from the hospital?

KAY: I don’t think so.

DAVE:  No.  He didn’t ever come home from the hospital.

KAY:  No.  He was getting better.

CLEO:  Yeah, they thought he was getting better.  That was 19 years ago this summer because Patty was just born and I remember, I stayed with Patty while Peggy and Benny went to the hospital with Elaine and all, I was with her.  Patty was just a baby.

DAVE:  That old guy takes that camper he’s got and keeps it over in one of his, well it’s over here by the wash house and brings it up here and turns a few bolts on it every day.

Keeps him busy huh?

DAVE:  I don’t think he goes anywhere with it.

CLEO:  Bud was just 40 years old.  I know that they had to maneuver a little bit not to have his funeral on his 40th birthday.

1967 Ken and Kay’s House Burned Down on Christmas Day

KAY:  That was a pretty brick house.  Yeah, tell me what happened when you, when our house burned down.

CLEO:  Oh gosh, that was awful wasn’t it Elaine?

ELAINE:  Right.

CLEO:  We, there was a big snowstorm and we had just gone out and met them and they’d come in to dinner and I had everything on the table.  I had the table all set and everything and, who called us?  Somebody called us and says, “Kay’s house is on fire.” 

ELAINE:  It was ?? Mitchell it was.

CLEO:  So they just left the table and everything and run up there and tried, they saved as many things as they could.  You had brought your sewing machine down to me before you left cause, I don’t know.  You must’ve had a premonition or something, you said, if anything should happen, that would be the hardest thing for me to replace so you’d brought it down there.

DAVE:  About the only thing that we could get out of the house was the piano and then after Ken come back, why he was going to take the piano somewhere and they put it on the back of the pickup, driving along and it fell out and busted.

KAY:  Yeah, I’ll never forget that.

Glen and Roy really all those guys had a terrible time getting that piano out.

Piano out of there, yeah.

KAY:  And now every time somebody moves, they call Ken and they say we really don’t want to take this piano with us, do you want to come and help us move it.  That was in.

CLEO:  That was at Christmas time.

KAY:  Let’s see, Kliff was born in 63 and he was 4 that year, 63, 4, 5, 6, 7 so it would’ve been 1967.

Grandma and Grandpa Go Square Dancing!

You and Mother used to do a lot of square dancing.  Did you enjoy that?

CLEO:  Uh-huh.

DAVE:  Yeah, we done that for 10, 15 years.  That was a lot of fun.

You went with Ed and Della?

CLEO:  Yeah, most of the time.

DAVE:  Yeah.

Where did you go?  Where did you dance?

CLEO:  Everywhere.

DAVE:  Well, we danced at the Menan most of the time and then we would go to Rigby and sometimes we went up to West Yellowstone to dance and then we went up to.

CLEO:  Jackson.

DAVE:  Jackson, Big Hole … Big Hole, Montana.  Jackson and Big Hole, Montana.

CLEO:  And then we went up to that girl’s camp up there.

ELAINE:  Alpine.

DAVE:  Alpine, yeah.

CLEO:  We just went everywhere.

DAVE:  We went up to that, we danced on the cement pretty near all night.   They had shacks there, and we had brought a little bedding with us and we slept all night.  When we got up in the morning, why, did you have a Charlie Horse?

CLEO:  No I didn’t.

DAVE:  Ed and Della and I had Charlie horses, and Cleo had a nightmare.

CLEO:  No, it was the other way.  Ed had a nightmare and you and Della had Charlie horses; and I said, “I guess I was the only one without a horse last night.” 

1982 - Grandpa’s Advice for Going into Business

DAVE:  Get into business, have controlling interest.  Don’t go into any business unless you’re running it.

You have to be the boss, huh?

DAVE:  Yep.

ELAINE:  You kind of ... I remember you hated to go in debt after the depression didn’t you?

DAVE:  Oh yeah. 

You got everything with cash.  Do you remember how bad we wanted a radio? 

DAVE:  No I don’t.

We were kids and Freddy and Roy had one that had push buttons and all those fancy things but you wouldn’t buy one until you could pay cash for it.  Remember when we got that?

CLEO:  I remember when we got it and we took it to Roy’s and he said his was so much better than ours and so I had him go in the other room and then I would turn one on and then the other one on, and he couldn’t tell the difference.


1982 - Grandma Mary and Grandpa Charles Stories

Grandma Mary (Eriksson) As a Child

ELAINE:  Do you remember stories and things that Grandma (Mary or Maja Lisa Eriksson Jernberg) told you about when she was a little girl?

DAVE:  Not too much, no.

Or Grandpa?  You don’t remember what his Dad did or?

DAVE:  No, I don’t know that much.

CLEO:  I remember Grandma telling her wading through the snow and had to walk to school and how wet they would get and then she’d say we’d have awful colds and stuff like that.

ELAINE:  I remember she said they used to ski to school.

CLEO:  Oh, did they?

CLEO:  And she said that when she was 4 or 5 when her Dad died or Mother or somebody.  Her Mother died and they went to live with her Grandma.  She told me how her Grandma used to sit and smoke a big pipe all the time and then she’d see funny things, she had hallucinations …but she said she was really good to her.  But after Grandma died, the Aunt and Uncle that were taking care of her wouldn’t let her go to school. 

Teaching kids table manners

ELAINE:  When you were a little boy and Grandma used to try to get you to have table manners, what did she do to you?

DAVE:  She used to, we used to set it on the table and she had a little stick and if we didn’t do just so, she would tap us on the fingers with the stick.

Mom said, too, that when Grandma used to get mad at you guys, she’d wait and spank you all at once.

DAVE:  Well, yeah, she didn’t, we’d do all kinds of things and she wouldn’t do nothing and then she’d get mad and then she’d work us all over all at one time and I know I was under the bed and she pulled me out from under the bed and I says “I never done nothing.”  And she says, “I know but then you need it anyhow.”


ELAINE:  I remember Grandma used to make real good sweet rolls and things like that.  Did you, did she used to do those for you, too?  What about skorpers?  Is that what you called them?

DAVE:  Skorpers? 

Uh huh.

DAVE:  They were kind of a sweet bread that she made and then she’d make them into kind of oblong deals and put them in the oven and let them kind of dry out.

They were good weren’t they?

DAVE:  Uh huh. 

Charles Jernberg Shipping in Herring from Chicago

I remember you talking about Grandpa used to ship in herring, did he ship stuff in from Sweden to eat?

DAVE:  No, he bought it, he’d send back to Chicago for it.

What was that?  What did he get?

DAVE:  Herring.  The fresh herring he had to send back there and they shipped it in and had it packed in ice.  Shipped it in.

CLEO:  How about those little tiny fish that looked like sardines.

DAVE:  Yeah, anchovies.  They were little tiny fish.  They were.

 ow did he eat those?

DAVE:  Well they’d just eat them raw a lot of times.

They had insides in them, too.

DAVE:  Little bitty things, yeah.

CLEO:  Little bitty insides.

They had insides in them when they came.  They were all pickled with the insides in them, huh?  Did they eat the insides?

DAVE:  They would just eat the whole fish.

CLEO:  One time Roy went out and got some.

DAVE:  Minnies.

CLEO:  Minnows and he put some in his anchovies and then Grandpa chewed on them and he couldn’t figure out why those anchovies were so tough.

They were raw minnows.

CLEO:  Raw minnows.

ELAINE:  That’s funny.