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Cutler Family Outings

Written by Alice May Cutler and contributed to Family Search by Ted Walker

Cutler Family Outings
Written by Alice May Cutler, 1976

The children of Ralph and Virginia Cutler learned to work together out on the farm and they played together when there was time. There was supper in the canyons if they couldn't spend all day and an occasional evening at Sugar House or Liberty Park for a picnic or to attend a band concert or to get an ice cream cone. Every summer they attended the delightful operettas at Nibley Park when Jesse Evans (Smith), noted Utah contralto performed in the outdoor stage production of Robin Hood, The Student Prince and other such productions.

          Every summer Ralph Cutler took his "flock" on one "superb" trip to the now historic Saltair Resort.  It seemed to the children like a long trip then, but once there, IT WAS FUN! "Mama" would never allow her "flock" to ride on that dangerous, rickety skyscraper roller coaster which the fierce winds kept blowing over, but they watched with gleeful shrieks and wide eyes as "Papa" tried to walk through the "barrel" in the fun house without falling and they always had one very special ride on the Merry-Go-Round. But most fun of all was the sheer joy of floating as a family on that (then clean) salty water of the great Salt Lake and feeling the biting sting when a salty finger perchance rubbed an eye. Now, the soothing sensation of those fresh water showers - the salty smell of the bath houses, the funny old fashioned rented bathing suits ("Mama" always made hers with elbow length sleeves) - the picnic like supper on that historic pavilion built over the lake on stilt-like beams sunken into the salty lake bottoms - the sound of salt water beating and lashing at the weathered beams beneath the pavilion floor - the seagulls gracefully landing on the water closeby to feed on bits of bread thrown to them - the colorful sunsets reflected on the waters edge in the distance - the quietness - the smell of clean salt water air - are all memories which still nostalgically linger. When night fell and the light of the moon carved a path across the waves of salt water, the Cutlers watched the young couples dance and sway to the soft melodious sounds of the dance orchestra in that great historical building. Later in the evening the family returned home, the children tired but happy, though sometimes cross that the day had gone by so fast.

          "One of the big occasions," recalled Douglas, "was the 24th of July when we went up to what they called "Thayne Flats" where the Boy Scout Camp is located today. It was an annual ward excursion. The Cutler and the George B. Williams families always got together. First they took a team and wagon. Then Father purchased his Willis Utility truck, the only truck there. Everyone else went with their teams and buckboard wagons.  George B. Williams made two or three benches to put in the truck and we all rode in it together to the celebration. We would go for breakfast, lunch and dinner and have real good times. It was a miracle that we ever arrived there in that truck.
But we did. One time as we came down the hill toward Highland Drive, the sound of the truck frightened a horse hooked onto a cart and my how he "flew." The driver of the carriage was thrown into a ditch. We stopped and stayed with him until he recovered, then helped him into his carriage. Father, an excellent baseball player, always enjoyed participating in the games at these traditional Winder Ward outings." There were other excursions and outings by the family to Millcreek Canyon, to Little Cottonwood to see the house owned by their Grandfather Burton when the Church was quarrying stone for the Salt Lake Temple, to Park City, Kamas, Heber, Provo and City Creek Canyons.

           Overnight outings were rare but the children remembered spending three days one time in Brighton at a large hotel owned by the Moyles, where they swam at Silver Lake, hiked and fished.
Another overnight trip was spent at their relatives, the Austin Burton Family in Roosevelt in the Unita Mountains where the children had a glorious time sleeping with their cousins on the haystacks. Later, when some of the older children were married, trips with the younger children were taken to Bryce, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone and up Parleys Canyon. Cars were not as well engineered as they are today so there was the inevitable flat tire or overheated engine.

          When there wasn't time for family outings, there was always the old swimming hole - the irrigation canal behind the Davis residence on 13th East. It was dirty and filled with water bugs, but it was cool. Sometimes the family roasted potatoes in the hot coals of a bonfire they had built after cleaning the yard or pruning the fruit trees or sometimes it would be a "weenie roast." The younger children white washed the playhouse or played "Ante-I-Over" the garage or "Kick the Can, or "No Bears Out Tonight" and Hide and Go-Seek." In the winter it was "Fox and Geese" or their most favorite sport - sleigh riding behind the work horse "Queenie," each child hooking his sled onto the one in front. They owned a very long sled which held several children and away they went, up and down the snow covered streets, picking up friends and neighbors, the sleigh bells ringing throughout the area. Later, they learned to ski on the foothills of the valley a few blocks north of Highland Drive and when more skillful, they skied in the mountains.

           Of course, the Cutler family didn't spend the rest of their life riding around in the noisy Willis Utility Truck, scaring the inhabitants of the valley to death, but they soon purchased a Dodge touring car so that their mother could drive to Relief Society. When the boys arrived at courting age, a Ford one Seater, known as the "Lizzie" was added and the family garage was enlarged to hold two cars. Then a Willis overland car, comparable today to the compact car, found a home at the Cutlers.

           During the growing up years of their large family when most of the children were home, the Ralph Cutlers purchased what became one of their favorites; a Hudson touring car with jump seats (fold down seats that pulled down from the back to the front seat like a small child's chair). The jump seats were so popular with the younger children that they sometimes fought over who would sit on them - but they provided extra room for an otherwise overcrowded car and perhaps were the forerunner of the station wagon today. After this magnificent car, they owned a Chrysler 1925 model, a Chrysler Plymouth, a Pontiac (the first one they owned with an automatic transmission) and a DeSoto.

Owner/SourceAlice May Cutler
Date1976
Linked toVirginia Louise Burton; Ralph Cutler

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