- OF THE GUATEMALA-EL SALVADOR MISSION, 1972
A complete tour of the Guatemala-El Salvador Mission
June, July, August and September, 1972
In May of 1972, Elders Teel, Cameron, Mundy, Eddo and myself, were assigned
to develop a musical show promoting the Family Home Evening program of
the church. We had the opportunity of visiting all 29 cities and their
individual areas on a 101-day tour performing a total of 78 times. I will
attempt to relate a few of the highlights of each area along with a brief
description of each city. I welcome any additional information/interesting
stories anyone might have concerning this particular period of time and
the cities visited. So sit back, relax, and enjoy my own personal biased
view from inside La Familia Unida.
GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA - JUNE 1, 1972, THURSDAY
GETTING OUR ACT TOGETHER
I bounced into the mission home from Escuintla to meet the other elders.
A load of greenies had just arrived. I remembered some of the older missionaries
saying to me on my first day, "If I still had 22 months left I'd slit
my wrists!" Most of the ones who said those kind of things were the
ones everyone else wished they really would. I thought many times about
offering razor blades to a few of them myself. The new group of greenies
included Elder Don Dodge who would later be my junior companion up in San
Guatemala City had a population of just under 700,000, about 45% Indians,
55% Latinos. It is up on the plateau about 75 miles north of the Pacific
Ocean. The original capital was set up by Spain in the city of Antigua
in 1570, but when an earthquake destroyed the city the "Audiencia"
or court of judges was moved to Guatemala City in 1776. The dominant religion
was Roman Catholic
Guat City had the coolest temperatures I had experienced during my mission
so far. It reminded me of the summers in the Idaho mountains, with the
exception of not having many palm trees in Idaho (they just don't grow
well in the snow).
A ROOM WITH A VIEW or ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST
We moved into a house directly in the flight path of incoming aircraft
by the airport. Flights of 747's had just begun and we would run up on
top of the flat roof to watch the monsters gliding in. We were often shaken
from deep sleep by the screaming thunder of the giant jets just a few hundred
feet above. The best part of the house was HOT SHOWERS! I had forgotten
they were even possible.
The five of us were to be a district with Elder Randy Teel as our DL. He
was a big Texan that played guitar better than anyone I had ever seen.
I had known him since the previous November back in San Salvador. Eddo,
from Sepulveda, California, was his junior companion. I had been in the
same district with him in Escuintla. Elder Randy Mundy, from Topeka, Kansas,
was a great singer/guitar player/drummer, etc. I had been in the same district
with him the previous October in San Salvador. Elder John Cameron was the
architect of the group. He had received permission from President Glade
to organize the group. He was from Lyndhurst, Ohio, and had been a member
of "The Young Ambassadors" at BYU. All of us had been in various
rock bands and groups which presented a problem: Can five egos that large
co-exist for any reasonable amount of time to any degree of harmony? The
answer of course was absolutely not, but we gave it a shot anyway and lived
to tell about it.
We began practicing our songs, did errands and then went with Teel to interview
some baptisms. Mundy threw up in the street. Not a good sign.
Elder Cameron's main effort was to teach me how to sing. I had sung in
rock bands, but there was a difference between singing and what I had been
doing. I enjoyed much more whatever I had been doing.
GUATEMALA CITY, LONELY HEARTS CLUB
JUNE 5, MONDAY
I received word from home that my girlfriend was anxiously engaged in a
cause other than myself, though she insisted such was not the case. In
my righteous indignation I decided to write her off (before she wrote me
off). I announced to the others what I had done and suddenly I noticed
them with their heads together. They were all bigger than I and jokingly
crowded me into a corner and said, "Elder Shirley, you're stupid."
Then holding up a picture I still had of her they added, "Anyone who
would write off someone who looks like this when you look like that is
stupid." Then they just walked away shaking their heads. At first
I did not know what to think, but then I began to wonder. I wrote her another
letter as if nothing had happened, she wrote back, and we have now been
married for 22 years and have 5 children. Thank goodness for friends who
are willing to tell you the truth about yourself.
GUATEMALA CITY, LA FLORIDA
JUNE 6, TUESDAY
While we were practicing at the Stake President's house lightning knocked
out the power. We got soaked in the rain and had to take a taxi to Colonia
La Florida to do a show. We had our first taste of hecklers when a couple
of teens took our guitars and would not give them back. Elder Dodge, a
world-class wrestler, convinced them to give the guitars back.
GUATEMALA CITY, EQUIPAJE VIAJE
JUNE 7, WEDNESDAY
We beat the streets trying to find appropriate equipment for the show.
It was not clear if we should go electrical or acoustical. There were pros
and cons about both. We also could not agree as to what we were to wear.
Because we could not agree on materials for matching ties we returned with
nothing. Nothing egotistical about that particular group!
GUATEMALA CITY, STRANGE DUDS FOR STRANGER DUDES
JUNE 8, THURSDAY
Three heads can arrive at a decision faster than five, so Mundy, Cameron
and I picked out the ties, shoes, and belts. With our little tennis shoes
we looked like rejects from Gilligan's Island.
GUATEMALA CITY, CAPILLA BARRIO DOS
JUNE 10, SATURDAY
We were asked to sing at the funeral of Ruth S. Jacob who died of cancer
while working among the Guatemalan Indians in the Union Church. An Indian
choir sang and did an excellent job. We had tried to put together a song
none of us had ever heard before. We had little time to practice and it
was evident such was the case. We regretted we could not have sung better
for Sister Jacob.
We spent the evening practicing much harder. Funny how a wake-up call can
provide impetus for more intense rehearsal.
GUATEMALA CITY, PARQUE ZOOLOGICO
JUNE 11, SUNDAY
We took my street display to the zoo and began teaching about the Book
of Mormon. Zoo security guards came and asked us to leave, so we went outside
the park and set up by the huge statue of the Indian next to a pond. It
was good to be a missionary again.
GUATEMALA CITY, REHEARSAL
JUNE 12, MONDAY
"What if the upcoming performances at the zone conferences don't go
well. What if the other missionaries don't buy into supporting the tour?
What if the entire project falls flat? What if we keep worrying about it
and waste time we could be practicing?"
GUATEMALA CITY, COMBINED GUATEMALA AND XELA ZONE CONFERENCE
JUNE 13, TUESDAY
We felt extremely odd in our double-knit blue pants, matching plaid ties,
matching leather belts, and slip-on boat shoes. Gilligan would have been
We were so nervous about what the other missionaries would think we completely
blew our guitar duet. President Glade just smiled and asked us to play
it again. We needed a good humbling.
I saw Elder Dominguez and had a great visit with him. We have followed
each other around ever since the LTM.
ON THE HOMEFRONT
It seemed one thing after another was happening to make me humble in the
midst of all the show biz and glitter. I received a letter from my family
saying my sister-in-law had just had a baby and that things did not go
well. The baby did not survive. They had decided to give the baby my name
as his middle name and they hoped I would understand. I excused myself
from the rest of the guys and went up onto the roof of our apartment. It
was just getting dark yet the last remaining rays of sun outlined the tops
of some distant thunderheads. The tears flowed like they had never done
before. Then came the peace I had hoped would come, the peace that cannot
be explained. Funny how it took something like the death of a child to
help me begin to understand a little more why I was there, the meaning
of what we were all involved in, and the joy of serving others. The view
from that roof was one I needed to see.
SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR, ZONE CONFERENCE
JUNE 15, THURSDAY
We left the mission home at four in the morning and headed for the land
southward. We spent the entire trip either sleeping or practicing our songs
for the conference. We seemed to blow some of our songs again and it was
most discouraging. We wondered if it was all worth it. The trip took about
POP'S WAS TOPS
Any visit to San Salvador was not complete without a visit to Pop's Ice
cream emporium. My personal favorite was a banana split with three flavors
of sherbet covered with caramel and whipped cream. I never could figure
out why no one else ever ordered the same thing nor why the employees would
giggle and nudge each other while preparing my personal delicacy.
THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD
The Pan American highway from San Salvador to Guatemala City required seven
hours of sheer endurance. We left San Salvador at eight in the evening
and got home at three in the morning. I understood why the President flew
home. We needed seven hours of humbling that can only come from driving
seven straight hours through infierno. I wish I hadn't needed so much humbling.
On the lighter side, we told jokes all the way back and somewhere along
the way ran over a dog. I'm sure he felt much better the next morning that
GUATEMALA CITY, RECORDING STUDIO
A member made arrangements for us to do some recording for a tape at a
local recording studio. We were a little in awe about the entire thing.
We didn't stay serious for long because Gomm and Blacker were on the other
side of the glass windows of the recording booth making faces at us. I
didn't realize someone could get their finger that far up their nose. Anyway
it helped ease the tension.
GUATEMALA CITY, CUCKOO'S NEST
JUNE 17, SATURDAY
We listened to the tape we made yesterday and it was so absolutely horrible
we erased the entire thing. We must have been in denial because we refused
to believe we really sounded that bad. How accurate can a recording studio
ASSORTED MOVES AND TRANSFERS
Rumorvill reported that Elder Golightly went lightly to another area. Dominguez
went from Chimaltenango to Esquintla Quetzal, and my former greenie Elder
Williams left Escuintla to work with Elder McDonald in Guatemala City.
Reintjes made senior and went to work with Mack in La Florida.
DOES "PR" STAND FOR "PROMOTING THE RIDICULOUS?"
We thought we might be more successful taking pictures of ourselves for
public relations than we were in making tapes. At least the pictures didn't
make any sound. Bryant Glade took his camera and we took some shots at
the Camino Real. We used the pictures to give to newspapers, etc. Bryant
did a great job considering the subject matter he had to work with.
GUATEMALA CITY PARK
JUNE 18, SUNDAY
We took our street display to the park to do a little street preaching.
There was a small cement wall behind the display and Cameron got the idea
of standing on it and teaching from over the top of the display. It worked
rather well and we attracted quite a crowd. One guy told me he was not
interested because he believed it was Columbus who discovered America,
not the Nephites. I tried to explain but the brain was closed for the day.
I'm glad Columbus did discover America. Can you imagine every October 12
celebrated as "Nephi Day" or the capital of Ohio being "Laman?"
It just wouldn't have been the same.
"FILLING" THE SPIRIT
I went to a dentist who said he would give me a good deal on my teeth.
He started poking around and before I knew it he had drilled and filled
four teeth, without bothering with the nuisance and additional cost of
Novocain I might add. After all, it takes much too long for the numbing
to go out of your face anyway.
GUATEMALA CITY, LA FLORIDA
JUNE 21, WEDNESDAY
One of our better shows was in La Florida. We took the bus over there and
played our guitars on the bus and sang all the way. We had a captive audience
and had a great time entertaining the people on the bus. We got to the
show late and had no chance to tune up, so we just jumped right in and
started. We had a great time, then went to P&P restaurant to celebrate,
compare notes, and make plans.
ASSORTED MISSIONARY FLORIDIANS
Barrus, Dodge, McGaughey, Mack, Reintjes, Shelley DL.
GUATEMALA CITY, GOLD AND GREEN BALL
JUNE 24, SATURDAY
The ward had hired a band for the Gold and Green Ball. Looking at all the
equipment they led us to some serious coveting. We just knew if we had
the proper equipment we could sound so much better. We asked the band members
if we could play during intermission and they said it was all right with
them. Keep in mind we had not practiced anything whatsoever that was compatible
with electronic equipment, we simply believed we could do it. There was
some hesitancy due primarily to wondering what it would do to our reputation
if we did not do well, but when decision time came Teel said, "Go."
Teel played the electric guitar and I played keyboard. Mundy played the
drums and sang at the same time. Lippencott played electric bass. We played
for some time, I played an organ solo and Mundy played a drum solo. It
was something like a live jam session that we were fortunate enough to
live through. The verdict: Reconsider the use of electric equipment and
consider practicing before any public performance.
GUATEMALA CITY, WARD 6
JUNE 27, TUESDAY
We were still not seasoned performers in that we were still reacting to
the audience and how things were going in general. In the middle of the
performance I broke a guitar string in the middle of a song. There was
no opportunity to restring, so we just continued hoping Teel and Eddo could
play loud enough to cover, then Teel broke a guitar string. Other than
the fact our guitars were all out of tune we lost the spark and the spirit
of the show and it went so far south everyone was speaking with a twang.
We officially pronounced the show DOA (dead on arrival).
GUATEMALA CITY, FIRST & THIRD WARDS
JUNE 30, FRIDAY
We looked through the curtains before the show and rather than seeing the
136 people in attendance we could only see the chairs that were still empty.
We were still somewhat shaken from the last performance in Ward 6. We thought
it was going to be so much easier than it was. We were beginning to wonder
if the entire project would fold.
We knelt behind the curtain in prayer and asked the Lord to help us put
on a good show and that everyone there would be lifted from the performance.
Cameron started the show by sitting on Mundy's lap pretending to be a ventriloquist's
dummy. It was so bizarre and hilarious it set a relaxed tone for the entire
show. The performance was such a success that people were asking us for
autographs after the show.
ASSORTED FIRST AND THIRD WARD WIZARDS
Richard Adams, Anthony, Blakesley, C. Davis. Elder McDonald operated the
spotlight for the show.
TOP 10 RECUERDOS FOR JUNE, 1972
10. Pushing a stranger's car three blocks to a service station.
9. Working street displays in the park and at the zoo.
8. Finding my lost contact lens in Mundy's boot.
7. Paying $65 a month for room and board (Do you missionaries really need
a clean white shirt EVERYDAY?).
6. Talking to my parents on the phone on my dad's birthday.
5. Trying to decide between electrical or acoustical equipment.
4. Movie of the month: Let It Be.
3. Getting rumbled out of bed by approaching jet aircraft.
2. Playing songs on the bus on our way to do a show.
1. Hot showers.
GUATEMALA CITY, ZONE FIRESIDE
JULY 2, SUNDAY
I found it interesting that missionaries (including myself) were often
more critical than the members and people in general. Latins were so loving
and accepting of mistakes we made in our grammar while some missionaries
took it upon themselves to save everyone else whether or not they wanted
such rescuing. We were more nervous about performing for small groups of
missionaries than for entire theaters full of strangers. Why was it we
were so concerned about what the other missionaries would think of us?
I have noticed that with age and maturity comes the ability to not be so
concerned about peer perception. Perhaps it is senility. Yes, that must
be it. I must be getting older. Now, what was it I was writing about??
In spite of our worries about performing for missionaries the show went
very well. We knelt in prayer before the show which calmed our nerves.
Elder Dominguez offered the closing prayer which left everyone with a special
spirit. We felt good about the show.
GUATEMALA CITY, WARD 2
JULY 4, TUESDAY
The mission had supplied us with $60 to buy some equipment for the show.
We tried to get it on line for the show in Ward 2 but did not have time.
We were not about to do another performance without proper rehearsal. We
had learned not to do that from the Gold and Green Ball on June 24.
In spite of our best intentions we started the show without much enthusiasm
and energy and went downhill from there. The best part of the show was
when it was over. It was yet another opportunity to learn humility.
JULY 7, FRIDAY
A little over 20 miles to the west of Guatemala (as the buitres fly) was
a small town of under 10,000 called Chimaltenango. Elders Heggerhorst and
Maurent were working there. We also saw Dominguez, Roundy, Lemus, Stumpy
We arrived at the theater and set up all our amplifiers and speakers. When
it was time to start the show the seats were almost completely empty. Elder
Teel got upset with the whole thing and told us to follow him. When a Texan
that large gets upset, you had better do what he says. Teel, Mundy, Eddo
and I went outside and crossed the street over to a little park in front
of the police station that looked like an old castle. We sat on a stone
fence and started playing "Jumping Jack Flash." People gathered
around as Mundy sang and then shouted an invitation for everyone to follow
us to a free concert across the street. We felt like the Pied Piper as
we started playing and everyone followed us to the theater. I went out
in front of the curtain to play guitar solos while Mundy and Teel went
out to gather in more people.
Elders Dominguez and Lemus had persuaded the local Catholics into letting
us borrow their PA system. We needed it because the theater was packed.
It turned out to be a tremendously successful show. It can be very beneficial
to get a Texan all riled up.
GO SOUTH YOUNG MAN
We went back to the nest then grabbed a TICA bus for El Salvador. It was
a nice Greyhound-like bus. "TICA" most likely stood for "This
Is Costing A lot." After bouncing up and down the long roads the name
was changed to "This Is Coming Apart."
We checked into El Salvador at the boarder then on the road again to Santa
SANTA ANA, EL SALVADOR, ZONE FIRESIDE
JULY 8, SATURDAY
Santa Ana was always one of my favorite places. I finished up my mission
there ten months later. It had the coolest temperatures of any place in
El Salvador I had the opportunity of working.
It was one of the larger cities in El Salvador with a population of under
100,000. It is located about 80 miles to the southeast of Guatemala City.
Kusch and Wright were the zone leaders and we stayed with them at their
place. Cacuango was the district leader. The zone fireside went rather
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Teel and I left the others in Santa Ana the following morning because we
wanted to get to San Salvador early and visit some people in our old stomping
grounds. We hitched a ride in the back of a pickup and ended up laughing,
playing our guitars and singing our way to the capital. We spent the afternoon
with the Sanchez family in Santa Lucia. It was great to be back in my first
LAYCO CHAPEL, SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR
JULY 9, SUNDAY
San Salvador was the largest of all the cities in El Salvador. The population
was somewhere around 380,000. Keate and Paulson were the ZL's. Other assorted
Layco-Psychos consisted of Bowen, Haack, Johnson, Keate, McCracken, and
We tried something different at this show that ended up being a trademark
of all the rest of our shows. The final number was "I Am A Child of
God." Cameron and Mundy went out into the audience and gathered up
as many little children that would come and brought them to the stage.
We played and sang surrounded by those precious little ones. It is hard
to describe the feeling generated by those innocent smiles and loving spirits.
The spirit was stronger than it had ever been before. We were congratulated
and praised, and to some degree thought the show was a great success. We
often tended to judge the success of a show by the number of people in
attendance, not realizing that the real power was in the message, not the
Each of us had only 730 days or so to learn and be fluent in Spanish. Those
who had the opportunity of working day after day in the towns and pueblos
learned the language much better. We had spent the previous month singing,
playing, and conversing primarily in English and were beginning to lose
some confidence in our conversation skills in Spanish. We seldom, if ever,
spoke very much Spanish. I found myself envying those with superior skills.
We stayed overnight with the Sanchez family in Santa Lucia. It was great
to speak Spanish again.
JULY 10, MONDAY
We boarder a bus in San Salvador and began the 120-or-so-mile seven-or-so
hour trip back to Guatemala City. I sat by Elder Bowen who was taking Cornish's
place as First Assistant. There were several others who were on their way
north that day for transfers.
PURSE OR SCRIPT - YES, CAR OR VAN - NO
We had interviews with the President and were told we were not going to
be provided with a car. We would be going by bus, taxi, whatever we could
find. We found that hard to believe and were not happy about it, but in
retrospect it was one of the best things that happened to us. We would
have missed out on hitching rides with so many nice people, visiting on
"chicken busses" with people we otherwise would never have met,
talked with others at bus depots and had time to visit with street kids.
I'm grateful we were not provided with a car.
Realizing there was no appealing the decision about transportation there
was only one thing we could do: Go to the Camino Real for baked Alaska.
Now there's true comfort.
JULY 11, TUESDAY
GUATEMALA CITY, ZONE CONFERENCE
The day started off with zone conference. President Glade gave a great
talk then Brother Arnold spoke. He was Seminary Coordinator and also Mission
Representative for all of Central America and some of South America. The
five of us were asked to bear our testimonies at the end of the conference
(we did not mention the fact we did not get to use a car).
GUATEMALA CITY, ROTARY WIVES LUNCHEON
After conference we were whisked away to do some numbers at a luncheon
for the Rotary Wives. Teel was getting a cold and his voice was not its
usual high quality. The purpose was to audition for a performance at the
Conservative of Music. I had never been to such a swanky place before.
I wondered why a person would need more than one fork to eat a meal.
We left the "luncheoning ladies" and headed for Antigua. It lies
about 15 miles west of Guatemala City with a population somewhere around
17,000. Cheney and Kuehne were working there. They had booked a huge auditorium
and we were expecting to be a huge success. The place was almost completely
empty for the first show with what few people there were scattered around
the auditorium. The attendance was such a disappointment we had a quick
meeting of the minds to figure out what to do. The missionaries then roped
off specific areas for the second show. All the missionaries that had come
for the show scattered themselves throughout the audience to initiate applause
and laugh at the appropriate places. We went into the audience to gather
children for the closing number and it was a great success. The heroes
of the show were the other missionaries, not the five of us.
GUATEMALA CITY, COLONIA CIPRESALES
JULY 12, WEDNESDAY
This was a rather tough neighborhood, or at least it had the reputation
of being so. Hardy, Henrie, Hone, and Stapel were working there. We did
the show in a school hall and the crowd was tough. One of the rowdies passed
gas so loud the entire audience heard it. We did manage to get some good
references from the 90 or so people there.
GUATEMALA CITY, COLONIA JOCOTALES
JULY 13, THURSDAY
McDonald and Williams were working this area. We performed in a barn-like
place with very few seats. We arrived in a taxi and had a very difficult
time tuning up. No one but members were in attendance.
There was an outside balcony on the theater, so we went up there and began
to play some songs to attract attention for the show. We used the theater's
public address system for additional sound. We managed to attract a few
McDonald had developed a great lighting system. He had learned a few tricks
in his theater training before the mission. The attendance was sparse but
the spirit wasn't. We had a great time.
LA PRENSA LIBRE
Our picture came out in the paper and a blurb about what we were doing
and where we would be performing. We did not get the coverage we anticipated
but it was OK. We did not make the front page, so I cut and pasted the
paper into my journal so it looked like we did. I never could figure out
why the other guys in the group always accused me of being vain.
GUATEMALA CITY, WARD 5
JULY 14, FRIDAY
We took a taxi out to ward 5 for the show that night. Two of the "Ward
Five Fanatics" consisted of Gwilliam and Nielson. They had the stage
all decorated with posters of the group on the wall. They had worked very
hard to get ready for the show.
We decided not to use our electric equipment and discovered we actually
sounded better. We did not have access to mixer boards and the technology
that would come years later, nor did we have a sound technician necessary
to run the equipment. Simple was better, and believe me, we were simple.
Once again the closing number was crowned by singing "I Am A Chile
of God" with the stage filled with children brought up from the audience.
GUATEMALA CITY, COLONIA LA FLORIDA
JULY 15, SATURDAY
Performers are an odd lot indeed. I don't know how many times we arrived
late for performances. I wonder if we got an additional adrenaline rush
from the challenge of the moment, of improvising. Who knows. Perhaps we
were just not as organized as we should have been.
The chapel at La Florida was packed. The missionaries had built a portable
stage that was very effective. It was the same stage we used the night
before in Ward 5.
Some of the local Floridians were Barrus, Borgquist, Dodge, Gardea, McGaughey,
Mack, Reintjes, and Shelley. After the show some hecklers were fooling
around with our equipment. One of them took Elder Dodge's pen. Big mistake.
Dodge was 2nd in the nation and 4th in the world at 191 lb. wrestling.
It was nice to have a bouncer like him around.
A pregnant lady got rather excited at the performance and went into labor
after the show was over. Elder Dodge went for an ambulance while Shelley
and another elder gave her a blessing. A large crowd had gathered to see
what would happen. She was given a blessing that the baby would not come
at that time. The bomberos took her to the hospital where the doctor said
it would be a miracle if the baby was not born that night. It was indeed
a miracle because the baby was born the next morning. Due to complications
and the fact the baby was so premature it died shortly after birth. Once
again the real heroes were not the ones on stage.
GUATEMALA, QUEZALTENANGO, XELA ZONE
JULY 17, MONDAY
Xela was about 70 miles straight west of Guatemala City. Unfortunately
you could not go straight west, rather around, up, over, down, and through
mountain passes. Though we were riding on a TICA bus we were nevertheless
nauseous from motion sickness by the time we arrived. It was a city of
around 50,000 people nestled high in the western highlands of Guatemala.
We did the show for the missionaries, then had a zone volleyball game and
some refreshments. We boarded the bus and headed back for Guatemala City.
Mundy got some good references from some French tourists on the bus. Tourists
we would have missed had we been traveling in a private van.
GUATEMALA CITY, WARD 4
We all felt like we had been dragged through a knot-hole backwards after
traveling the roller coaster bus ride to Xela twice the same day, but we
still had another performance ahead of us at Ward 4.
Two of Ward 4 Fantastics were Gunnell and Hillery. Their entire district
also helped in getting references for the show. Things went well and we
got some good references, then home to nest a bit.
JULY 19, WEDNESDAY
LEAVING THE NEST FOR GOOD
The day had finally come to leave our "permanent" living quarters.
We would now be on the road, sleeping at various apartments of other elders
or staying in hotels as we could find them. Goodbye to hot showers and
continuous roaring of incoming aircraft and regular meals. Hello to doing
our laundry wherever and whenever we could, to irregular meals, sleeping
on busses and in depots. Ah, that was the life. Just another day in paradise.
The overall plan was to leave Guatemala City and go west through the highlands
to Xela, then down to the coast and back to the capital, then swing east
around Zacapa and down through the boarder to Santa Ana working our way
to San Salvador, then west down along the coast and up through San Vicente.
At least that was the plan.
GO WEST YOUNG MEN
JULY 20, SATURDAY
Due primarily to our superior planning we promptly missed the bus to Solola
and had to wait for another. We and all our equipment were let out at Los
Encuentros in the middle of a rainstorm. Luckily we got a ride into the
city arriving too late to get into our performing clothes and had to do
the show in our levis.
Solola was a small Indian town nestled on the north shore of Lake Atitlan.
It is often featured in travel brochures. It is about 50 miles straight
west of Guatemala city.
We performed in an old theater to a very polite audience of primarily Cachiquel
and Quiche Indians. I'm not sure how much of our gringo Spanish they could
understand but they smiled and seemed to enjoy the show nonetheless. We
gathered some good references.
Gomm was there with the mission van. Why we did not ride with him I do
not know. We stayed with McQuarrie and Landeen.
JULY 21, FRIDAY
We left our equipment in the mission van with Gomm and traveled the 15
miles east to Patzun. It was a small Indian town of less than 3,000 people
situated about 30 miles straight west of Guatemala City. The city was typical
of Indian culture with narrow unpaved streets, multi-colored miniature
houses and even shorter people. At about six feet in height I felt like
a giant. The people all dressed alike in red and yellow typical clothes.
The Sister Missionaries wore long skirts. The cool temperatures of the
highlands reminded me of Idaho in the summer.
Telephones were scarce so we had to use the telegraph to send some messages
to the district office. We spent the afternoon sampling something called
chuchitos which consisted of some kind of mystery meat wrapped in tortilla
dough and fried in oil. We learned to be very serious and sincere about
blessing our food. We also learned to drink lots of Coke (something about
faith without works being dead, you know).
When it was time for the show to start we had to go outside and play again
to drum up an audience. Once again the closing number with all the children
on stage was the best part.
We got up the next morning and went to a public shower. Now that was certainly
different. I felt like I was back in high school.
LET THE LITTLE ONES COME
Mundy and I were to travel together so we went down to the bus depot to
wait for the next ride out. We sat there on the curb of the cobblestone
street talking, laughing and joking. We noticed some little Indian children
eyeing us a little way off. We smiled and with that assurance we were suddenly
surrounded by a group of miniatures. We laughed and joked and played with
those precious little people. It was indeed the single-most memorable part
of trip for me. When I think back to those days in Indian country I can
still see Mundy and myself sitting on the cobblestone streets of Patzun
playing and joking with the children. We came from different countries,
different cultures, were of different ages, yet the kinship of youth spoke
fluently the language of love.
JULY 22, SATURDAY
Patzicia was a small town of less than 3,000 people about 7 miles southwest
of Patzun and 25 miles to the west of Guatemala City.
We got off in the middle of the town and began walking down the road toward
the chapel. Fields on both sides of the road were filled with towering
sugar cane plants. We were shocked to see a clearing in the middle of some
corn fields the white spire of one of the newest and most modern chapels
in the country. It was absolutely gorgeous and highly revered by the members.
Nothing like it existed in the entire city. In back of the chapel was a
basketball court where some Indian girls were playing basketball in their
long typical skirts and braided hair. We leaned over the fence and sampled
some sugar cane which we chewed on for hours, sucking the sweet juice and
spitting out the woody pulp. What a life.
We walked back to the main plaza in the center of town and started playing
our guitars and singing. Almost instantly we were surrounded with a crowd
of curious onlookers. We invited them to the show and then sang as we walked
the half-mile back to the chapel followed by a small crowd of people. The
show seemed to lack spark which forced us to work harder. Sometimes working
harder is not as good as working smarter. We could have done better but
got some good references anyway.
QUEEN OF DENIAL
There was a city celebration that day, so Salazar talked an drunk member
of the city committee into letting us perform at the coronation of the
Queen of the city. A local radio station was covering the big event and
the crowd was enormous. The stage was set up outside. We played a few songs
as loud as we could but I was sure they could only hear us three-fourths
of the way back.
When we finished playing, the candidates for Queen came parading across
the stage in front of us. Suddenly fireworks went off and the Queen herself
entered the stage in a cloud of smoke. Everyone cheered as the bombs exploded.
I could hear Bert Parks singing in my mind, "Here she comes, Miss Patzicia."
HARD DAYS NIGHT, COLD NIGHT'S DAZE
We spent the night sleeping in the kitchen in the chapel on the floor.
It was so cold in the night that we had to keep getting up to turn on the
gas stove to prevent hypothermia. I never imagined anywhere in Central
America could be so freezing cold.
JULY 23, SUNDAY
Cameron and Eddo were so uncomfortable sleeping on the cement floor that
they went into the chapel and curled up on the benches. When Elder Salazar
got there early he quickly got them up and out before the members came
in. He explained that the chapel was held in such high regard by the members
that it would be a great disgrace for anyone to be seen sleeping in there.
We figured we would not have any problem because we certainly hadn't been
doing any "sleeping."
When it was time for Priesthood Meeting to start no one was at the piano,
so I sat down and started with some preliminary music. Most of those little
places had no members who could play. I guess my piano teacher "Mean
Old Mrs. Mortensen" was right when she forced me to learn all those
hymns I hated so much. Darn her anyway.
A SPRINKLE IN TIME
In order to get something to eat we had to do a little traveling, so we
walked in the rain over to the bus stop and hitched a ride in the back
of a Volkswagen pickup truck. Did I mention it was raining? Did I mention
we were in the back of a VW pickup? We got so soaking wet we were freezing
to death. Eddo tried to cover himself with a red plastic bag and started
clowning around sticking his head above the cab of the pickup and over
the sides of the truck to the point we thought he was going to fall out.
The drivers of the truck must have thought we had lost our minds. At least
we weren't the ones hauling around a truckload of laughing, freezing, soaking
We finally got to the restaurant and warmed up with some good food. The
clouds hung down around the mountains like huge grey curtains. It was beautiful.
We got back in time for Sacrament meeting, then I found a roll-away bed
on the stage behind the curtains and slept like a rock for three hours
before someone found me. Sisters Magyar and Draper took pity on us and
prepared us a tuna casserole. I had never been fond of tuna casserole in
my pre-mission days, but I gladly consumed every ounce of that delicious
dish. My compliments to the chef-ettes.
AT PEACE ON THE PISO
Contrary to popular belief it is possible for a floor to become soft if
one is sufficiently exhausted.
JULY 24, MONDAY
The first of the Shirley's arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in the 1850's
and promptly boiled some water for a hot bath. There I was, some 120 years
later, in the mountains of Guatemala, boiling water on the stove for a
hot bath. Some things never change.
Elder Salazar guided Mundy, Cameron and myself to Katok, the fancy roadside
inn at Tecpan. Mundy and Eddo wanted to take their chances hitching, so
we crowded onto a chicken bus with all our speakers and equipment and headed
for El Quiche. We picked up Buttars and Sanders who were going there to
help work the show. Buttars and I had a great time conversing about Idaho,
our favorite native state.
EL QUICHE, GUATEMALA
We traveled up one hill and down another to the little town of El Quiche
30 miles to the northwest of Patzicia and 50 miles west-northwest of Guatemala
City. It had a population of somewhere around 7,000 people. Cammack and
Kellett were two of the missionaries working there at the time.
THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT IN QUICHE
The local bomberos were the sponsors of the show. We were scheduled to
perform at a local theater. The firemen gave us a ride to the show house
in the fire truck with the red lights flashing all the way. We started
the show and the power promptly went off. We had the bomberos drive their
fire truck up to the front door and shine the lights up onto the stage.
We used their hand-held loud speaker as a sound system. Fortunately the
power came back on after we had suffered through only two songs and we
were able to complete the show in a more appropriate fashion. It certainly
gave us an opportunity to improvise under adverse conditions.
We spent the night in a little pension getting well acquainted with the
"Pulga" family. They weren't much for conversation but had us
for dinner nonetheless.
JULY 25, TUESDAY
"Toto was only about 20 miles southwest of El Quiche so we decided
to take a taxi. It ended up costing us $10 which was much more than the
bus toke would have been. The city had a population of somewhere around
8,000 and was situated about 60 miles west-northwest of Guatemala City.
A REAL CLIFFHANGER
On our way to Toto we were bouncing up and down a dirt road on the edge
of a deep canyon when we came to a sharp turn around a corner and came
face-to-face with a jeep coming the other way. There was nowhere to go
for us because the drop off was to our right and he was in the lane closest
to the mountain. Our driver hit the skids and we slid toward the edge of
the cliff coming to a stop a few inches from going over. We nearly had
to change our name from "La Familia Unida" to "La Familia Partida."
We continued driving into a rainstorm that continued throughout the night.
We arrived at Elder Adamson's house. Marsh, Reynoso, and Tueller were also
in Toto-ville. Adamson cooked us some chicken and dumplings. He even had
pie for desert. Such hospitality was unparalleled. As the rain drizzled
outside the warm chicken and dumplings sizzled inside of us. How delicious.
The theater in which we were to play was absolutely gorgeous. It was a
Shakespeare-type design being round with several layers of balconies up
above. I expected to see John Wilkes Booth come jumping from one of the
box seats just above the stage.
Attendance was low again so we went outside the theater and started playing
to attract a larger crowd. Some street punks tried to give us a bad time
but it didn't bother us much. The show went very well and we walked in
the rain back to the pension. When we got there the owners of the boarding
house had given our beds away but arranged for some others.
WHAT CONDITION OUR CONDITION WAS IN
Up to this point in time we had worked primarily out of Guatemala City.
Now we were on the road and things were a little different. The weather
was cold and we were not accustomed to the food. We were often able to
eat only one meal each day along with the few snacks we could find along
the way. We were not used to sleeping in a different place each night,
not to mention spending nights on the floor. It was getting harder each
time to get excited about the show. It was also getting more difficult
to get along with one another. We had expected a little more glamour. What
we were finding was work and lots of it. Some of the other missionaries
told us they wished they were in the show instead of us. We were finding
it easier each day to agree.
TOTONICAPAN, GUATEMALA, STATE OF CONFUSION
JULY 26, WEDNESDAY
We thought the night before that we had told each other when we were going
to leave in the morning, but Teel and Eddo left early without telling us.
It turned out they thought we had already gone without telling them but
we had told them nothing because we were still there. They told each other
what they thought about us for apparently leaving early and we told each
other what we thought of them for really leaving early and Sisters Marsh
and Tueller told us to knock it off and they would fix us eggs and pancakes.
We told them we thought that would be fine. That's what we told them, I
The sisters then guided us to Cuatro Caminos where we waited for a bus
in a heavy rainstorm, then off to Momos.
JULY 26, WEDNESDAY
Momos was only about 10 miles in a straight line to the northwest of Toto
but it was impossible to go in a straight line from one to another. Much
more distance was covered going up, down, over and around all the mountains.
Momostenango was about 70 miles northwest of Guatemala City and had a population
of about 3,000 or so.
SUGAR, SPICE, AND THE SALT OF THE EARTH
We arrived too late in Momos to see the typical dancers scheduled to perform
that day at some type of celebration. Everyone was a little upset about
the miscommunication that morning, so Mundy tried to fix things by preparing
everyone some hot chocolate. He accidentally grabbed the container of salt
instead of sugar. It was not until we tried to drink it that the mistake
was discovered. Sometimes even the best of intentions backfire.
MISSIONARY WEDDING BLANKETS?
No missionary recuerdo collection was complete without a wedding blanket
from Momostenango. They were specially made blankets with Quetzal birds
woven around the edges and the words "Los (insert your family name
here) por las eternidades." I suppose it focused attention on where
the missionaries intended at some future time to be married. What I found
disconcerting was me actually buying something for my marriage! I found
it very useful later in life. It has been successfully taking up space
under the bed in the spare bedroom in my house for the past 25 years. Something
has to go under there.
The show went rather well but was really beginning to be a drag. We were
in need of some kind of spark.
CUATRO CAMINOS, GUATEMALA
JULY 27, THURSDAY
Cuatro Caminos was basically a transportation hub where four major roads
met. We waited to there for the next bus to from Momos to Huehue. There
were a few Indians there also and suddenly Mundy and Eddo decided to have
some fun. There was a rather steep grass embankment going down from the
edge of the road. They pretended they were in a movie and began to have
a rather lame argument. Mundy then pushed him and Eddo rolled and rolled
and rolled down the hill to the bottom, much to the amusement of the spectators.
Eddo got up speaking as if he were a super hero and narrated what he was
doing as he struggled to the top of the hill where Mundy stood like Superman.
Just as Eddo got there, Mundy pretended to punch him. Eddo sprawled backward
and rolled once again all the way to the bottom of the hill, only to return
in much the same fashion only to, once again, be struck by a hay-maker,
sending him back to the bottom of the hill. The Indians laughed, applauded
and cheered the struggling Eddo on. It was some of the best entertainment
we had seen on the tour. It is no wonder Eddo ended up in the motion picture
business after his mission.
JULY 27, THURSDAY
Huehue was a small town of around 11,000 in population about 20 miles to
the north of Momostenango. It was about 80 miles northwest of Guatemala
City and 40 miles from the Mexican boarder. It was about 35 miles north
of Quezaltenango. There were some ruins there, but we were unable to find
time enough to go visiting. Jones and Symmes were to of the way-out Huehue's.
Our first performance was at a high school and it was very successful.
We did an evening performance that was not that well attended. We were
competing with a popular movie at another theater.
JULY 28, FRIDAY
We got up early to take an ice-cold shower at the Branch President's house.
What a wonderful way to start a day. It must have been a combination of
strange food and hypothermia for I got stomach cramps and so much internal
gas I thought I was going to explode. By the time we dropped a few hundred
feet in elevation to Xela bouncing along on a bus I felt much better. I
guess atmospheric pressure does have its merits.
QUEZALTENANGO A.K.A. XELA, GUATEMALA
JULY 28, FRIDAY
Xela had a population of about 50,000 making it one of the larger cities
in Guatemala. It was 70 miles due west of Guatemala City.
XELA PREP SCHOOLS
We spent the afternoon performing at two all girls schools and two all
boys schools. The girls were rather awe stricken with Teel and started
screaming when he began singing. He didn't do much for the boys.
We did another show for the army generals and recruits and a military base.
When we finished our first song everyone waited until the generals started
applauding before they would begin. After the show we were invited to the
officer's bar. They found it amusing we would only have soft drinks. They
had a ping pong table and we played a few games. I loved ping pong and
was rather proficient, but I also learned that when playing against generals
and other officers it was prudent to know when to lose.
IT'S A GAS, GAS, GAS
It's strange how things happen in patterns. On the way to the theater in
Xela the van we were riding in ran out of gas. The show was not one of
our best and we seemed to run out of gas on stage even though one of the
songs we sang was "Jumping Jack Flash" which has the line "it's
a gas, gas, gas." After the show the van that was taking us home ran
out of gas. We stayed the night at District President Mesaia's house drinking
- you guessed it - gaseosas.
QUEZALTENANGO A.K.A. XELA, GUATEMALA
JULY 29, SATURDAY
Not as many people came to the show as did the previous night, though the
show went smoothly and we were able to get some promising references for
the missionaries to follow up on.
We stayed once again at the stake president's house which was still under
construction. We were provided with great beds and had candles for lights
because the house was still not wired. Very homey.
QUEZALTENANGO A.K.A. XELA, GUATEMALA
JULY 30, SUNDAY
We went over to the ZL's to shower for the first time in over two days.
Zollinger and Purdy were the ZL's. We attended church then got a ride with
the branch president's brother to El Quiche for another show.
EL QUICHE, GUATEMALA, SHOW II
JULY 30, SUNDAY
Kellett and Cammack were working the city. They had done a great job arranging
the hall for the performance. The last time we were there the lights went
out on the entire show. This time I forgot my contact lenses as well as
my glasses and had to do the entire show guessing where I was. The show
went very smoothly and was one of our best. Too bad I missed seeing it.
We headed back for Xela, got into our beds at the branch president's house,
blew out our candles and hit the sack.
OUTSKIRTS OF XELA, GUATEMALA
JULY 31, MONDAY
As our bus was leaving Xela we were suddenly stopped by a roadblock. Everyone
on the bus was ordered off by military soldiers with rather imposing weapons.
We were lined up and had to put our arms up leaning against the bus while
we were searched. It seemed someone had escaped from the local prison so
every departing bus was suspect.
SAN MARCOS - SAN PEDRO, GUATEMALA
JULY 31, MONDAY
The twin cities of San Marcos/San Pedro were up in the nose-bleed part
of the mission at an elevation of 7289 feet above sea level. It was 20
miles west of Xela and only 25 miles from the Mexican boarder. If you could
have seen in a straight line to the east you would have seen Xela, Solola,
Chimaltenango and Guatemala City, one behind another with Guat City 90
miles to the east. The population of San Marcos was about 5,000 people.
The two cities were very picturesque. Practically every road was paved
with cobblestones. San Marcos was famous for its San Marcos Lion.
We arrived in the twin cities and the bus dropped us off at the home of
Gonzales, Smith, Rigby and Akin. We ate supper with them then headed out
in the rain for the theater. The show went well and afterwards a policeman
was giving Rigby a bad time. He wanted to see our license to perform. Teel
told him we didn't need one. We figured he was upset because he did not
get a free ticket to see the show.
We stayed that night in a small hotel. I worked in San Pedro later in my
mission and never had any difficulty sleeping there at night. The cold
temperatures reminded me so much of my native Idaho.
AUGUST 1, TUESDAY
By the time we had traveled from San Marcos/San Pedro at 7289 feet above
sea level to Xela and down to Coatepeque on the coast my ears refused to
adjust to the elevation change and were killing me.
Coatepeque was about 25 miles southwest of Xela, 25 miles from the coast,
and 20 miles from the Mexican boarder. It was 90 miles straight west of
Guatemala City and had a population of about 15,000. We were greeted at
the city limits by huge clouds and buckets of rain.
When the rain stopped we went out to the theater by the railroad tracks
to set up for the performance. The local fire department were our sponsors
and the place was absolutely packed with people but we only managed to
get 30 references or so. There were member-kids there wearing Familia Unida
T-shirts. I bought a few of them and still use them today, that is every
time I paint the house.
AUGUST 2, WEDNESDAY
We caught a bus for Reu and traveled the 20 miles to the southeast of Coatepeque.
The City was 30 miles south of Xela and 80 miles west-southwest of Guatemala
City. The population was somewhere around 18,000. The small coastal town
reminded me so much of Escuintla where I had worked earlier. Both Mundy
and Cameron had worked in Reu before so they left to go visit people.
I went with Elder Jenks to do some advertising for the show. He had the
idea of walking around playing a tape of our songs. We quickly found out
that was not very effective. We went back to the house and suddenly a huge
rainstorm hit. I wondered if that was all it did in Reu was rain.
We played in the Rex Theater. Not too many people were there but we did
manage to get a few references. We then took a taxi to the church and it
was packed for the performance. There were a lot of members there but they
needed to know about the family home evening program also. We had a great
We then celebrated by hitching a ride to the movies to relax a little.
AUGUST 3, THURSDAY
After breakfast and lunch in Reu we grabbed a chicken bus for Mazat. It
was about 10 miles east of Reu and 70 miles west of Guatemala City. It
had a population of somewhere around 20,000. Cuff and Nye were the seniors
working there. Gomm and Mahoney came by in the mission van to deliver mail.
It was good to hear from home.
We performed in a small theater inside a radio station owned by a member.
Cameron and Eddo had put on a show in Mazat several months earlier that
did not go very well. Many members had the idea that it was just another
singing missionary thing. We were determined to redeem ourselves.
The entire show was broadcast live on the radio. Everything went rather
well with the exception of running out of pencils necessary for writing
GUATEMALA CITY PREP SCHOOL, GUATEMALA
AUGUST 4, FRIDAY
We got up early and traveled the 70 miles to Guat City. We went straight
to the Biltmore for some first class grub, a haircut, shave, etc. We then
took the mission van out to the school where President Glade's son was
going to school. We were somewhat nervous about it until Cameron and Mundy
started hamming it up on the stage and got everyone laughing. Things went
much smoother after that. The show went well except for the fact we were
not used to seeing young ladies in hot pants and mini skirts. We found
that a little distracting to say the least.
We played a little basketball with the kids then grabbed some fried chicken
Got up early, grabbed a bus and road over 70 miles to Guatemala City. Went
to the Biltmore and had Chef Salads. Haircut, shave and facial massage.
Great except for the popping of my pimples. Teel and I went to the P&P
to eat french fries, then got a van out to President Glade's son's school.
COLONIA SANTA LUCIA COTZMALGUAPA, GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA
We arrived at the theater just before it was supposed to start. Both the
balcony and the main floor seating area was packed. It seated somewhere
around a thousand and many people were standing. The show went smoothly
and we had a great time performing.
Elder Lemus delivered some mail to us which included a tape from my girlfriend.
I always did like Elder Lumus.
GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA
AUGUST 5, SATURDAY
We camped out with some members in Guat City. I learned never to be surprised
about what I might see. In a tub of water by the shower where the clothes
were washed were live fish swimming around in the wash water. I'm still
not sure what that was all about.
AUGUST 5, SATURDAY
We got a bus to Escuintla which was about 30 miles southwest of Guatemala
City. It was a coastal town of about 30,000 people about 25 miles from
the Coast. I had worked there prior to being in the show. It was good to
be back home.
We had lunch at La Sarita restaurant, then off to visit members and old
investigators. We had planned a quick trip to the beach but thought it
would be better if we didn't, so we just lounged around listening to tapes
until the performance.
COMEDY OF ERRORS
The theater was large and looked even bigger with so many empty seats.
The electricity kept going off during the show. My guitar cord broke and
we decided to put Eddo's cord on my guitar and he faked it for the rest
of the show. I stepped on Teel's guitar cord and pulled it out. Some kind
of strange bug lit on my face while I was playing a song and would not
get off. I finally got it to fly away when a moth landed on the back of
my neck. The audience was noisy. I couldn't blame them, I wondered what
strange insects were landing on them also.
After the show we got a taxi back to Guatemala City and soon discovered
the driver was drunk. The good part of the trip was he did get us home
safely, the better part was that he was so tipsy he didn't charge us much.
We spent the night in a small hotel.
VILLA NUEVA, GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA
AUGUST 7, MONDAY
We got to take the mission van to Villa Nueva which made the trip much
easier. The mission staff were asked to drive and were not too happy about
it because they had just climbed Pacaya Volcano and were still exhausted.
They were good sports anyway.
The performance at Villa Nueva went very well. At the end when we had little
kids sitting all around us as we sang "I Am A Child of God" the
little girl sitting next to Teel started turning the knobs on his guitar
string. Everyone laughed.
THE GRASS WAS ALWAYS GREENER SOMEWHERE ELSE
Several of the missionaries wished they were in our singing group. We were
quickly growing tired of the show. Mundy talked about going into the Indian
program. Cameron wanted the public relations job. Eddo wanted a greenie
in his own area. Rumor had it that Teel was going into the office as 2nd
assistant. I didn't really care, I just wanted to do something different
after the show had completed its run.
As a rule, man's a fool.
When it's hot he wants it cool.
When it's cool he wants it hot.
Always wanting what it's not,
Never wanting what he's got.
AUGUST 10, THURSDAY
We had something to eat in the P&P and then hopped a mini bus for Zacapa
some 70 miles east-northeast of Guatemala City and 80 miles from the Gulf
of Honduras. The population was somewhere around 11,000. We went down out
of the mountains and followed the river at the foot of the Sierra De Las
Minas mountain range. It was a long horrible trip and I was sick when we
The theater in Zacapa was outdoors. It was a round theater with a cement
stage nearly surrounded by a pool of water about 12 feet wide between the
performers and the audience. It was as if an orchestra pit had been flooded
We hadn't worried about being rained out because it almost never rained
in Zacapa. We got ready to start and the rain that never fell in Zacapa
began to fall. We went into a small backstage area and Elder McDonald led
us in a special prayer that the rain might stop. We waited 10 minutes and
sure enough the rain ceased. We hurried out, set up, began playing, and
the rain started again. We hurried back inside again and amused ourselves
playing songs for some of the member kids. The rain did not stop, but we
did. It ended up being our only no-show.
We found a giant moth with about an eight-inch wing span. It looked rather
spooky which seemed to intrigue Elder Teel. He loved to tell stories and
started telling all kinds of evil-spirit type accounts he had heard. Some
of the other missionaries we were with joined in, some in fun, some fully
believing the absurd, the bizarre and the strange. Though it was meant
to tease and amuse I noticed there were some lights left on that night.
AUGUST 11, FRIDAY
We had breakfast, then jammed into a mini bus and headed down the winding
road for Chiquimula some 15 miles straight south of Zacapa. It was about
60 miles east-northeast of Guatemala City with a population of around 15,000.
Eddo and I hiked up the mountain to the west and had a wonderful view of
the area and the entire pueblo. It was a picturesque little town but much
more arid than what I was accustomed to. It was more like desert Mexico
than the typical jungles of Guatemala and El Salvador. Various varieties
of cactus struggled for life in the arid climate. There were also strange
looking trees with flat tops. I never knew what they were called.
The advertising had been excellent but nevertheless few people were in
attendance. We went to the park and played some songs to attract more people,
but still had very little luck. Another band was playing in the park so
Mundy asked them if he could play a drum solo. They thought that would
be fine and Mundy went to work. When a crowd came to see what the crazy
Gringo was doing we invited them to the show and filled many more seats.
The timing of the show was off but it got worse as we went along. Elder
McDonald was running the lights for the show and very tactfully told us
the show stunk. We agreed. We hadn't had a real good performance since
we played back in Cotz.
"GUATEMALA, WE HAVE A PROBLEM....
AUGUST 12, SATURDAY
We boarded a bus and blasted off for Guat City, then within about an hour
of the city limits the bus broke down and we were stranded. We changed
busses and thought everything would be fine when the second bus blew a
fan belt and we were stranded again. We were getting anxious because we
were supposed to play at Ward 6. Finally a member came by, spotted us and
took us right to the house where we were to stay. We had time to eat, then
off to the show.
WARD SIX, GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA
AUGUST 12, SATURDAY
We were about as discouraged as we had ever been on the tour. We were wondering
if it were possible to have an above average show. We were in for a surprise
at Ward 6 because the show was an overwhelming success. Things went so
well we actually thought someone else was performing. We learned that we
simply could not do a good performance every time we wanted. Without the
Lord's help we had no show, and we knew it.
AUGUST 14, MONDAY
We spent the morning in Guat City celebrating Eddo's birthday and doing
some errands, then took a taxi to Jalapa for #30 and promptly had a flat
tire on the way. Jalapa was 35 miles straight east of Guat City and had
a population of around 12,000.
The show went very smoothly. The rain did not start until after the show
The Elders in Jalapa were most accommodating. Not only had Call and Evans
worked hard for a successful show, they even moved out of their beds so
we could have a good night's sleep. We certainly did not deserve such consideration.
AUGUST 15, TUESDAY
Teel and Cameron were not ready to go when we were so we left them there
and headed for Jutiapa some 25 miles to the south. It was about 50 miles
southeast of Guat City with a population of around 7,000.
At the edge of town was a large hill with a huge cross on top. Eddo and
I liked to hike, so we made our way to the summit and had a great view
of the little town and the surrounding landscape. We were enjoying ourselves
rolling large rocks down the sides when the guy who was paid to guard the
hill told us we should think of doing something else. We thought that was
a good idea.
We played in a small hall and the sound was very good. We had a special
prayer and dedicated the performance to the Lord. Everything went very
well. Our stage presence was good and our timing was finally clicking the
way it was designed. The show was really fun to do.
RADIO SHOW, JUTIAPA, GUATEMALA
AUGUST 15, TUESDAY
Later that afternoon the city was having a celebration of some sort. There
was a marathon radio broadcast being made from the city park. Andelin and
Lee had arranged for us to be on the broadcast. We did a live 15-minute
show in front of several hundred people in the park. Everything went very
well. I think the marathon announcer was glad to have a break.
RUN FOR THE BOARDER
AUGUST 16, WEDNESDAY
We got out of bed in Jutiapa, had breakfast and then headed for the boarder
about 20 miles south. The bus took us half-way there then we had to wait
for another. We thumbed a hitch that would take three of us and all the
equipment, so Eddo and I stayed to thumb some more. We got a ride in a
sports car that zoomed right along but left us still short of the boarder.
A TICA bus came along but wanted more than we were willing to pay, so we
ended up getting a chicken bus to the boarder. It took 45 minutes to check
out of Guatemala and into El Salvador.
AHUCHAPAN, El SALVADOR
AUGUST 16, WEDNESDAY
We traveled the remaining 10 miles to Ahuchapan, a city of about 18,000
people some 65 miles southeast of Guatemala City and about 50 miles northwest
of San Salvador. We had forgotten how much more street dross there was
in El Salvador. Guatemala had been rather tame compared to what we were
hearing in El Salvador. Nonetheless I felt comfortable in Guanacolandia.
Something about it seemed like home.
Eddo and I got off in town and saw a marching band coming up the road.
Eddo said he thought it would be funny if the band was promoting our show.
When the band came by some girls in front were holding a banner announcing
our show. Blake, Davis, Matheson and Maurent had done a wonderful job of
promoting the show.
We left our bags at the theater then looked for a place to eat. The other
elders had sent a car back to find us, but we weren't lost, we knew where
we were all the time.
The show went smoothly and the references seemed promising. The charging
of ticket prices always seemed to keep attendance lower.
CHALCHUAPA, EL SALVADOR
AUGUST 17, THURSDAY
The morning paper had our picture and a small write-up about the show.
I cut out the picture and pasted it into my journal so that it looked like
it was on the front page. It wasn't. Did I mention the other guys kept
accusing me of being vain?
Eddo and I grabbed a bus and bounced the 12 miles east-northeast from Ahuachapan
to Chalchuapa, a town of about 20,000 or so people 10 miles west of Santa
Ana and 35 miles northwest of San Salvador. A member drove us to where
the Elders were staying. We quickly grabbed our cameras and went to see
the ruins of Tazumal. It was fun climbing all over them and imagining what
life would have been like so many centuries earlier.
Elder Averal got out his guitar and we had a great jam session. He and
Teel both made me look like I had never played guitar before. We had a
great time playing and singing. I learned much more about the guitar and
even more about myself.
We played at the Lions Club and the show went very well. Elder Kilgore
was the bouncer and had to bounce a few rowdies out the door. I found it
rather ironic that someone with that particular last name would be the
bouncer. It was obvious they didn't want any trouble and that they had
picked the right person to keep things in order.
CHALCHUAPA, EL SALVADOR
AUGUST 18, FRIDAY
The lady of the house we were staying with said she was going to San Salvador
and would be able to take everyone and all our equipment except for two
of us. Eddo and I decided to have some fun and sneak out early so that
we would not have to decide who would have to hitch and who would get the
We stuffed blankets in our beds to make it look like we were still in bed,
then just as we were almost outside Mundy started talking in his sleep
and nearly woke up. We froze in our tracks and waited until he had finished
his soliloquy the slipped out the door.
We managed to hitch a good ride and traveled the 50 or so miles to San
Salvador. The population of the city was somewhere above 350,000. We got
there in time to have breakfast at the ZL's, then when Teel, Mundy and
Cameron got there we went bowling, shot pool and then out to McDonald's
for burgers. Sounds like a tough life, verdad?
COLONIA SOYAPONGO, SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR
AUGUST 18, FRIDAY
It was great to see some of my old friends from Santa Lucia at the show.
I also saw Elder Paul Nielson, one of my old senior comps. He was the DL
and was worried about the show being well-attended. His concerns were all
for naught because the applause was more enthusiastic that we had been
accustomed to. They made us do our comedy number twice. Up to this point
we had never had any curtain calls. Does that reveal more about the audiences
or the quality of our performance? I wonder.
COLONIA SANTA ANITA, SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR
AUGUST 19, SATURDAY
The Elders from the Santa Anita area wanted us there early to do some promotional
activities so we worked splits with them to cover more territory. Later
we stopped over to leave the equipment at the theater but it was locked.
We had to huddle under a shelter to keep out of the rain.
PARQUE SAN SALVADOR, SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR
AUGUST 19, SATURDAY
The elders had arranged for us to do a short performance in the park where
we used to do street displays when I first started the mission. I had a
hard time keeping on pitch so Cameron sang right in my ear. The result
was I couldn't hear myself to see if I was on pitch. It was not one of
our greatest performances. I worked splits with the Santa Anita Elders
after the show. They were conducting a special fast.
IBERIA THEATER, SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR
AUGUST 19, SATURDAY
We had excellent facilities for the show but did not fare as well with
the weather. Do to rain not many people were there. We also used some new
electrical equipment we were not familiar with. In spite of all that the
show went rather well and we got some good references.
LAGO DE COATEPEQUE HOTEL, EL SALVADOR
AUGUST 20, SUNDAY
The ZL's got a call from the guy who owned the hotel at Lago Coatepeque
wanting us to perform even though it was Sunday. He said he could guarantee
two- to three-hundred people, so the decision was made to go. Big mistake.
A driver was sent from the hotel for our convenience. The hotel was very
posh. I did not feel comfortable. There were young ladies in bikinis everywhere.
We were fed a three-course meal. I was given a hot bowl of crab soup. I
had never eaten crab soup before. It was not one of the more common dishes
in southeast Idaho. Anything prepared with potatoes was just fine with
me. I discovered a complete crab in the bottom of the bowl. One of the
other guys was happy to take it off my hands. We were both happy until
the waiter came by and refilled my bowl with more little crab bodies. I
was not impressed with his kind service.
When the time came for performing we went backstage for a prayer. Kusch
and Wright, the ZL's from Santa Ana were there along with Averal and Lloyd
to help get references. As we were performing everyone just ignored us
and kept eating, so we left the stage and moved over by the tables. The
wine at the tables was beginning to take effect on the customers. One guy
that looked just like Shemp on the Three Stooges kept coming up to us during
our performance giving us a hard time. Elder Lloyd convinced him his conduct
was not appropriate and ushered him away. Things got increasingly worse
until there was no applause whatsoever.
Kusch really felt bad about the whole thing but it was not his fault. We
decided to try and salvage things by going from table to table doing individual
numbers for selected customers, that is those who appeared interested.
We even got Averal into the act talking him into displaying some of his
superior guitar playing abilities. We still did not realize the show had
gone so far south we were somewhere in Antarctica. The audience was just
The owner of the hotel then asked us to go to the other side of the hotel
and do another show. Our masochistic tendencies knew no limits. We set
up and began playing but only about 20 people or so were in attendance.
We got half-way through the performance when a big band back on the other
side of the plaza started playing loudly, drowning us completely out. Our
small audience jumped up and started dancing. It finally realized that
particular "dog was not going to hunt." We packed everything
up and called it a very bad day. The guy who booked us gave us all kinds
of free ice-cream, etc., and even said we could come back anytime and stay
for free. I wonder if he will still make it good after 25 years.
It was the second week in a row I had not been able to go to church. Strange
how a missionary could feel inactive.
TEATRO CAESS, SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR
AUGUST 21, MONDAY
The theater we played in was the fanciest and most elaborate we had played
in on the entire tour. The show went very well in spite of the fact Teel
broke another guitar string in the middle of the show. We had to make the
best of it and continue, trying to quickly tune the remaining strings during
the applause between songs.
I was able to spend some time with Elder Baria, one of my buddies from
the LTM. It intrigued me that his Texan accent was reflected in his Spanish
as well as in English. We had a great time reminiscing about the past.
CHANNEL 2 TELEVISION STUDIO, SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR
AUGUST 22, TUESDAY
The local elders had arranged for us to go the TV studio and do some taping
for an upcoming show of "Buscando Estrellas" which was one of
the top shows on the two channels serving El Salvador at the time. It was
somewhat like the "Star Search" format used by Ed McMahon years
I was somewhat intimidated by all the cords, cameras, lights, etc. We taped
the songs "Primera Cosa Bella" as well as "Jumping Jack
Flash" and "Impossible Dream." It was much more work than
I had imagined. The lights kept reflecting off the scratches in my contact
ZACATECOLUCA, EL SALVADOR
AUGUST 22, TUESDAY
We left the recording studio in time to catch a bus for Zacate some 30
miles southeast of San Salvador and some 15 miles from the ocean. The population
was somewhere around 20,000. We were greeted by a rainstorm. How unusual.
In spite of the rain the place was packed. We had a very successful show
and the local Elders had done a fantastic job promoting. We spent the night
with them and once again got into telling spooky stories. There was always
someone who thought it was hilarious. Most everyone else didn't.
The month of August was "dedication month" but we never would
have known it. We had set goals and failed to attain any of them. Perhaps
the change of routine had something to do with it, who knows.
SAN VICENTE, EL SALVADOR
AUGUST 23, WEDNESDAY
We arrived at the train station in Zacate too late to catch a train for
San Vicente so we had to take the bus some 15 miles north to San Vicente
on the other side of a volcano. The weather was so incredibly hot we got
up on top of the chicken bus with the luggage on the roof rack and rode
the rest of the way to San Vicente. It was by far our most memorable ride
so far. We had a fantastic view of the countryside as well as a bit of
cool air. The only down-side of the ride on top was the fact we all got
San Vicente was about 30 miles east of San Salvador with a population of
around 20,000. Only eight members were in the entire town. I had heard
rumors the missionaries had been invited to leave sometime before and now
the city was being re-opened.
We performed at the big show house in the center of town. We were surprised
at the large turnout. The show was a big success. We visited with Elder
Martinson & Co. It was great to see him again.
Our mail finally caught up with us again. It was not easy keeping in touch
with home while going on tour.
The following morning we went over to the central park where there was
a huge tower with a clock. You could see the tower from all around the
town. We climbed the stairs to the top and got some great pictures.
USULUTAN, EL SALVADOR
AUGUST 24, THURSDAY
We left San Vicente and traveled east along the coastal plain toward Usulutan.
It was about 60 miles southeast of San Salvador with a population of around
23,000. The ocean was just visible on the southern horizon and to the north
huge volcanos towered above us.
We performed at a school where the kids had just finished their final exams
and were rather rowdy. A few families attended and the performance went
well. Abrams was working there and had done a great job getting things
SAN MIGUEL, EL SALVADOR
AUGUST 25, FRIDAY
We traveled the 25 miles by bus to San Miguel some 75 miles east-southeast
of San Salvador with a population of about 70,000. It was the eastern-most
point of the entire mission.
We arrived at the theater and the show went very well. We played to a full
house. Now we would start the final swing back toward Guatemala City.
COLONIA SANTA LUCIA, SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR
AUGUST 26, SATURDAY
We took the bus 75 miles west-northwest ack to San Salvador. We stopped
off in Santa Lucia to leave our equipment, then off to McDonald's for some
We did an outside performance in the afternoon behind the chapel in Santa
Lucia. There was not a very large crowd but we had a great time anyway.
CHANNEL 2 TELEVISION STUDIO, SAN SALVADOR
AUGUST 26, SATURDAY
After the show in Santa Lucia we grabbed a taxi and hurried over to the
TV studio downtown. We met with the host of the TV show "Buscando Estrellas." He briefed us on what he was going to ask us during the
show, but when we were on the air he asked us none of those questions.
We were featured as "guest stars" on the show. Teel was the most
"silver tongued" so he did the lion's share of talking which
was fine with the rest of us. The MC would visit and joke with us, then
go to a tape of one of the numbers we had taped back on the 22nd. It was
by far the easiest performance we had done because we just got to sit back
and watch what we had already done.
The MC kept telling jokes we did not understand but we laughed anyway.
I was not paying much attention to what he was saying when he suddenly
asked me where in the U.S. I was from. My mind went totally blank. I couldn't
remember where I was from nor which language I was supposed to answer in.
Such a mental condition has now been identified as "mentis gaseosis"
or "brain gas." I found it was better to keep my mouth shut and
have people think I was a fool than to open it and remove all doubt, at
least on TV anyway.
CHILDREN'S ORPHANAGE, SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR
AUGUST 26, SATURDAY
We left the studio and prepared for our evening performance at the orphanage.
Teel and Eddo went to get hamburgers and forgot the address of the orphanage.
The time to perform arrived but Teel and Eddo did not. Mundy and I got
up and started improvising. It was kind of fun because Teel had all the
good songs we wished we could do so we gave it a shot. It was not the same
without him or Eddo.
When we were half-way through the show Teel and Eddo came. We had a quick
huddle and improvised a continuation of an already-determined-sub-par performance.
Even Mother Nature did not approve of our performance because it began
to rain with such force the noise did not permit us to continue. The show
was called on account of rain: No hits, two runs, and five walks.
TICKET SELLING, SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR
AUGUST 27, SUNDAY
Elder Curtis was working a threesome so I split with him to go to church
in Santa Lucia. Some of the members were excited because they had seen
us on TV.
We had dinner with Elders Gomm and Curtis, then to sacrament meeting with
Mundy in Monserrat to visit some old friends. We then went selling tickets
with Elder Keat who outsold me by one. Mundy wouldn't quit until he had
sold what he thought to be sufficient. I spent the evening with Baria because
his comp was on a boarder change.
PUERTA DEL DIABLO, EL SALVADOR
AUGUST 28, MONDAY
Baria and I bought some kite string and headed for Puerta Del Diablo just
outside of San Salvador. A street drunk was giving us a bad time but we
just ignored him. Then he made the mistake of slugging Baria who held a
brown belt in karate. Baria held his cool rather well. When the guy came
at him he just put a foot on the guys chest and shoved him back. The street
drunk decided on his own that it was time to leave.
Puerta del Diablo was up in the mountains. The view from there was fantastic.
We launched our kite but the low hanging clouds quickly soaked it with
rain and it flew no more. The Elders from Santa Anita were there also.
When the rain hit we had to run for cover. Elder Clark put on quite a comedy
show trying to stay out of the rain.
DE CAMARA THEATER, LAYCO, SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR
AUGUST 28, MONDAY
We got back in time for the show at the theater. The place was packed and
we had a very successful show. It was getting increasingly more difficult
to maintain enthusiasm for the show.
ZACAMIL THEATER, SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR
AUGUST 29, TUESDAY
We arrived at the theater in a pouring rain. The theater was huge and modern
compared to many of the other places we played. The large spotlight had
a difficult time cutting through all the rising cigarette smoke.
The show went very well and many good references were collected. We celebrated
by hitching in the back of a truck to McDonald's for some burgers, then
off to Pop's for ice cream. We had a great time joking with Elder Rhodes.
CENTER FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION, SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR
AUGUST 30, WEDNESDAY
I was dubious about performing at the Center for Special Ed. I wondered
if there was any real point to doing the show for the mentally impaired.
I had thought the object of the show was to strengthen families and get
references from people interested in the church. Fortunately my doubts
were not heeded. The show had a special spirit about it, one that was different
from the other shows.
We did the show outside for all the mentally and physically disabled children.
Looking into those distorted yet innocent little faces, the half-closed
eyes, the deformed little bodies had a profound effect on all of us.
The final number, "I Am A Child of God," was the most simple
yet powerful performance of that song we had ever done. All of us had tears
in our eyes following the singing of that beautiful song.
It was finally beginning to dawn on me that the real purpose of the show
was not to conduct a public relations tour, not to advertise, not to do
radio and TV shows. It was about love. Pure and simple love for other people.
The love of sharing, lifting, offering hope. Those little children provided
all of that for us. We were the recipients of their pure and innocent love.
Suddenly it was not as difficult to get excited about performing. It didn't
seem so much like work anymore.
COLONIA SANTA TECLA, SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR
AUGUST 30, WEDNESDAY
SHAKING AND QUAKING
People started entering the theater as soon as we began setting up the
equipment. The place was filled in no time at all. We expected a peaceful
and solid performance. We were wrong.
We had just finished a number half-way through the show when suddenly the
floor started shaking accompanied by a low rumble. The shaking quickly
intensified and multiplied in strength so quickly it all seemed quite unreal.
The sound was deafening as were the screams of people pushing and shoving
for the exits. I looked up at the ceiling and saw dust and dirt falling
from the ceiling.
Though it only lasted a few seconds it seemed much longer. For some strange
reason all five of us remained unusually calm. One of the guys in the group
stepped to the microphone and said he hoped everyone enjoyed our special
effects. People started calming down. A few left realizing aftershocks
would undoubtedly would occur. They were wrong. We finished the rest of
the show without further incident and the show was a success. We hitched
a ride home and hit the sack. What a day.
SONSONATE, EL SALVADOR
AUGUST 31, THURSDAY
We had our last meal at McDonald's then got things ready for the trip to
Sonsonate. Mundy and I had the idea that we could hitch a ride with all
our equipment. The other guys said we were crazy. We already knew that,
so we accepted the challenge. We got lucky and hitched a ride on a truck
and then another car that brought us all the way into town. Never tell
Mundy he can't do something.
Sonsonate was about 40 miles west of San Salvador out on the coast about
12 miles north of the ocean. About 36,000 people lived there. Mundy had
worked there before and was anxious to look up members as well as former
investigators. We often got the opportunity to follow up on people we had
taught before to see how the seeds were progressing.
A local band asked if they could be our opening act. Oh, how I wish we
had said no. The theater showed a movie before we were to perform and the
people waiting outside for our performance got soaked in the rain. Then
the drummer for the warm-up band did not show up, so they wanted us to
warm-up the audience for them until he got there. Imagine that. Imagine
we agreed to do it.
The band started playing, then refused to quit when we asked them to. I
guess they were trying to stretch their 15 minutes of fame. The audience
was still wet and by that time very tired by the time we took the stage
at 9:30 p.m. Then our PA amplifier burned up and we had to borrow the warm-up
band's equipment which we were not familiar with. The best part of the
show was when it was finally over.
My second senior in the mission, Elder Woodman, came down from Guatemala
to see the show. He had missed each and every performance until that night.
How I wish he had missed that particular show.
MOVIES OF THE MONTH
Nicholas and Alexandria
Lawrence of Arabia
The Godfather, "El Padrino" (didn't see it).
SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR
SEPTEMBER 1, FRIDAY
Because we had played for a hospital fund raising project the hospital
had paid for our stay in a rather fancy hotel. We took advantage of the
air conditioning and left it on as long as we could. Did I mention we also
slept as late as possible?
We then carried all our equipment to the outskirts of town where we got
a great hitch all the way to Santa Ana some 35 miles northwest of San Salvador.
SANTA ANA, EL SALVADOR
SEPTEMBER 1, FRIDAY
Santa Ana was about 25 miles north of Sonsonate with a population of around
100,000. Kusch took us to the courthouse where we put on a short show for
the government employees. Kusch also took some slides for us with my camera.
We ate some hamburgers then on our way to the church for the next show
we heard a sound behind us. We looked back and saw a curtain of rain rushing
toward us. We had to run for cover and just made it to the chapel before
the rain hit us.
The chapel where we played was a new modern one. We were surprised at the
support of the members, the acceptance of the audience, and the smoothness
of the show itself. It went off without a hitch and was one of our most
successful shows of the entire tour. It felt great.
While walking home after the show we got soaked in the rain. We relaxed
with the people we were staying with and played some songs for them. We
also watched some of the 72 Olympics on TV. Eddo and I then played a late-night
game of chess, then off to bed.
SANTA ANA, EL SALVADOR
SEPTEMBER 2, SATURDAY
Mundy and I had to do some errands and noticed we were being followed by
a rather mysterious looking guy. When it became obvious we turned around
and asked him what he wanted. He said he had an address that he knew was
very important to us and for a certain amount of money he would let us
have it. Mundy told him to forget it because we were "in the FBI and
already knew everything we needed to know about addresses."
We then did yet another show at the chapel, but the janitor had changed
the settings on the electrical circuits and the sound was terrible. We
finally had to stop in the middle of the show to make an attempt at rectifying
the situation. The janitor meant no harm but things always seem to turn
out fine. He sold me his mandolin for $6.00. It was worth a bad performance
to get a good mandolin for $6.00.
GOODBY EL SALVADOR
SEPTEMBER 3, SUNDAY
We left Santa Ana at 4 a.m., met the others at the church, packed our equipment
for the last time in El Salvador and headed northwest back toward Guatemala
City. We did not have any luck getting a hitch but then a TICA bus came
by and we rode in style to the boarder then on to Guat City. When we got
there the lady we were renting from had rented out our room so we stayed
with the Arnolds.
FIRESIDE, GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA
SEPTEMBER 3, SUNDAY
We got into the office in time to perform a few numbers for a fireside.
It went rather well, then we had interviews with President Glade. He told
us Teel was to be the new second assistant. The decision has been made
not to continue the show. It had served its purpose. I looked forward to
getting back to regular missionary work and speaking Spanish again.
After sacrament meeting we went to the Biltmore for chef salads, then back
to the Arnold's to listen to Bro. Arnold talk about the recent conference
EL TEJANO, GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA
SEPTEMBER 4, MONDAY
We celebrated our last D-day together at the local bowling alley, then
off to see the show "Mary, Queen of Scots." Then off to El Tejano,
one of our favorite places to eat. We were now in the process of saying
goodby and had mixed emotions: Mostly joy and happiness. We had enjoyed
what we had been involved in for the past three months but we were all
the type of individuals who looked forward, not back.
CHURCH NEWS STORY
GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA
SEPTEMBER 5, TUESDAY
Some reporter from the church news was doing a story of our tour. Teel
suggested doing a film strip. President Glade approved of the idea.
With the show now completed, what was there to do with five extra Elders?
This was a rather difficult part of the tour for we were accustomed to
being on the road and at least doing something. Now there was nothing to
do but spend the days doing errands, bowling, shooting pool, going to movies,
all the things we thought would be so much fun but were now hollow and
meaningless. The good side of this particular time was that it made us
even more anxious to "return to the mission field."
We could not stay at the Arnold's anymore so we made arrangements to move
to the Ashford home. He was a military man who had been baptized three
years earlier. Their stories about their conversions were just what we
needed to hear at that time. Sister Ashford said her only regret was that
her family had not been able to benefit from the church much earlier. I
had always taken for granted the fact that I was a fourth generation LDS
on both my father's as well as my mother's side. Sister Ashford wished
she could have been so lucky. I felt very ungreatful.
TRANSFER DAY, GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA
SEPTEMBER 7, THURSDAY
We went to the office to get the moves. Not knowing what was going to happen
to us was wearing on our nerves. We were surprised to find out that Mundy
and I were to continue as companions in San Vicente, El Salvador. Mundy
and I had known each other since we were greenies back in San Salvador
nine months earlier. Before our missions were over we would spend almost
the entire 22 months either as companions, in the same district, or the
Cameron would be going to Barrio Nuevo, Eddo to Ward 2 in Guatemala City,
and Teel was the new second assistant. We were all excited to know what
directions we would be taking. We still had some loose ends to wrap up
before we would be shipping out next Monday.
TAKING SOME SHOTS
GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA
SEPTEMBER 8, FRIDAY
We dressed up in our uniforms and then went downtown to the recording studio
to take some pictures for the Church News. The reporter then interviewed
us on tape to get some additional information. I was uncomfortable being
interviewed and was relieved when it was over.
We then hurried back to the mission office and got into the van to head
for Zacapa to redo the rained-out performance we almost had back on August
SEPTEMBER 8, FRIDAY
We rode the 70 miles east-northeast of Guat City in the mission van. It
was a much more enjoyable trip than the previous one in the chicken bus.
We set up on the same outdoor circular stage with the water pond between
us and the audience. I wondered if the purpose of that was to keep us safe
from hostile spectators.
There was a different feeling about this show. As we finished each number
we knew it was the last time we would ever be performing it in front of
a live audience. As spectators applauded for each number we would look
at each other with a different kind of smile, a look reflecting a sense
of accomplishment, of memories both good and bad, of challenges as well
I also had the opportunity to say a final goodby to Elder Roger McDonald.
He would be leaving soon for his home in Woodland Hills, California. I
had come to know him as a greenie back in October of 71 when we were in
a play together in San Salvador. He was one of my mentors whom I greatly
RECORDING STUDIO, GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA
SEPTEMBER 9, SATURDAY
We spent the morning making tapes in a recording studio where a member
was employed. We made one final tape of our songs on professional equipment
and finally did a decent job. When the Teton Dam collapsed in 1976 and
took out my house I lost my copy of the tape we had made. If anyone reading
this still has a copy I would be most appreciative to have a duplicate.
GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA
SEPTEMBER 10, SUNDAY
Teel, Cameron, Eddo, Mundy and Myself went to church together then out
to a small steak house for a last meal. We had a little awards ceremony
and I received the "Vanity Award." I can't imagine why.
Our final meeting was exciting yet somewhat nostalgic. We had worked together,
traveled together, helped each other through sicknesses, laughed, quarreled,
as well as testified of our common belief in the truthfulness of the church.
I remember President Glade telling us that the bonds we were forming as
missionaries would bring us joy and happiness throughout our lives. He
said we would always have a common sense of belonging and that whenever
we would get together we would almost instantaneously revive old friendships,
that our conversations would be accompanied with smiles and remembered
joys. He was right. I never imagined the Internet would be one of the means
for realizing his prediction.
We had our own private awards ceremony to celebrate the new beginnings
we were now making. We had always called Elder Randy Teel by the name of
Dobb Allwood, a southern radio announcer. He was our district leader as
well as my individual guitar teacher. He taught me flamenco style guitar
playing as well as more Cajun songs than the average person would care
to listen to. Twenty-five years later I can still play all the songs he
taught me. Perhaps some day I'll master them. I have lost contact with
him and have been unable to find him anywhere. Anyone with knowledge of
his whereabouts, please let me know.
Elder John C. Cameron was nicknamed Clarence. If I remember correctly his
middle name was Clarence. He was a genius at organizing and directing,
using his stage experience to the benefit of all of us. I have also lost
contact with Cameron and would appreciate any clues as to where he is hiding.
Elder Scott Harrison Eddo was given the name of Fester Harrison. We first
called him Festus, then he cut his hand and when it got infected we changed
it to Fester. He was born to be in show biz and is presently Sylvester
Stallone's make-up man. He has traveled all over the world and loves every
minute of it.
Elder Randy Mundy was given the nickname of Ralph Emery, also a southern
radio personality. I have yet to know anyone as determined and, yes, stubborn
as Mundy. When he decided to do something there was no turning back. After
our missions we attempted to form a band in Topeka, Kansas, and spent about
three more months trying to get it off the ground. He is still working
in show business working to make music in Nashville.
My road would take me in another direction. I had enough of show biz and
longed for a quieter life. I returned to southeast Idaho and married the
girl Teel, Mundy, Cameron and Eddo told me I was a fool for dumping and
we have been married since May of '74. We have five children, one daughter
and four sons, one of which just returned from a mission to Harrisburg,
I still perform locally on the guitar, but only when it fits my schedule.
I am as famous as I want to be, and that is not very much. I am an elementary
principal of two small rural schools and love everyday of work. I spend
the summers with my children swimming in the irrigation canals and going
to baseball games. My first priority is being a full-time father. I am
one of the richest people I know.
After exploring so many roads, I took the one less-traveled, and that has
made all the difference.
JUNE 6 LA FLORIDA GUATEMALA CITY GUATEMALA
JUNE 10 RUTH S. JACOB FUNERAL GUATEMALA CITY GUATEMALA
JUNE 13 ZONE CONFERENCE GUATEMALA CITY GUATEMALA
JUNE 15 ZONE CONFERENCE SAN SALVADOR EL SALVADOR
JUNE 21 LA FLORIDA GUATEMALA CITY GUATEMALA
JUNE 27 WARD 6 GUATEMALA CITY GUATEMALA
JUNE 30 FIRST & THIRD WARDS GUATEMALA CITY GUATEMALA
JULY 2 ZONE FIRESIDE GUATEMALA CITY GUATEMALA
JULY 4 WARD 2 GUATEMALA CITY GUATEMALA
JULY 7 CHIMALTENANGO THEATER CHIMALTENANGO GUATEMALA
JULY 8 ZONE FIRESIDE SANTA ANA EL SALVADOR
JULY 9 LAYCO CHAPEL SAN SALVADOR EL
JULY 8 ZONE FIRESIDE SANTA ANA EL SALVADOR
JULY 11 ROTARY WIVES LUNCHEON GUATEMALA CITY GUATEMALA
JULY 11 ANTIGUA THEATER, SHOW 1 ANTIGUA GUATEMALA
JULY 11 ANTIGUA THEATER, SHOW 2 ANTIGUA GUATEMALA JULY 13 JOCOTALES GUATEMALA
JULY 14 WARD 5 GUATEMALA CITY GUATEMALA
JULY 15 LA FLORIDA GUATEMALA CITY GUATEMALA
JULY 17 XELA ZONE FIRESIDE QUEZALTENANGO GUATEMALA
JULY 17 WARD 4 GUATEMALA CITY GUATEMALA
JULY 20 SOLOLA THEATER SOLOLA GUATEMALA
JULY 21 PATZUN THEATER PATZUN GUATEMALA
JULY 22 PATZICIA CHAPEL PATZICIA GUATEMALA
JULY 24 EL QUICHE EL QUICHE GUATEMALA
JULY 25 TOTONICAPAN TOTONICAPAN GUATEMALA
JULY 26 MOMOSTENANGO MOMOSTENANGO GUATEMALA
JULY 27 HUEHUETENANGO HUEHUETENANGO GUATEMALA
JULY 27 ENGLISH HIGH SCHOOL GUATEMALA CITY GUATEMALA
JULY 28 XELA GIRLS' SCHOOL QUEZALTENANGO GUATEMALA
JULY 28 XELA BOYS' SCHOOL QUEZALTENANGO GUATEMALA
JULY 28 GIRL'S SCHOOL QUEZALTENANGO GUATEMALA
JULY 28 BOYS' SCHOOL QUEZALTENANGO GUATEMALA
JULY 28 HIGH SCHOOL QUEZALTENANGO GUATEMALA
JULY 28 MILITARY BASE QUEZALTENANGO GUATEMALA
JULY 28 XELA QUEZALTENANGO GUATEMALA
JULY 29 XELA THEATER QUEZALTENANGO GUATEMALA
JULY 30 EL QUICHE THEATER EL QUICHE GUATEMALA
JULY 31 SAN PEDRO/SAN MARCOS SAN MARCOS GUATEMALA
AUG 1 COATEPEQUE COATEPEQUE GUATEMALA
AUG 2 RETALHULEU THEATER RETALHULEU GUATEMALA
AUG 2 RETALHULEU BRANCH RETALHULEU GUATEMALA
AUG 3 MAZATENANGO MAZATENANGO GUATEMALA
AUG 4 PREP SCHOOL GUATEMALA CITY GUATEMALA
AUG 4 SANTA LUCIA COTZMALGUAPA GUATEMALA CITY GUATEMALA
AUG 5 ESCUINTLA THEATER ESCUINTLA GUATEMALA
AUG 7 VILLA NUEVA GUATEMALA CITY GUATEMALA
AUG 10 ZACAPA THEATER ZACAPA GUATEMALA
AUG 11 CHIQUIMULA CHIQUIMULA GUATEMALA
AUG 12 WARD 6 GUATEMALA CITY GUATEMALA
AUG 14 JALAPA JALAPA GUATEMALA
AUG 15 JUTIAPA JUTIAPA GUATEMALA
AUG 15 JUTIAPA RADIO SHOW JUTIAPA GUATEMALA
AUG 16 AHUCHAPAN AHUCHAPAN EL SALVADOR
AUG 17 CHALCHUAPA CHALCHUAPA EL SALVADOR
AUG 18 SOYAPONGO SAN SALVADOR EL SALVADOR
AUG 19 SAN SALVADOR PARK SAN SALVADOR EL SALVADOR
AUG 19 IBERIA THEATER SAN SALVADOR EL SALVADOR
AUG 20 HOTEL COATEPEQUE (1) LAGO DE COATEPEQUE EL SALVADOR
AUG 20 HOTEL COATEPEQUE (2) LAGO DE COATEPEQUE EL SALVADOR
AUG 21 THEATER CAESS SAN SALVADOR EL SALVADOR
AUG 22 TV 2 STUDIO TAPING SAN SALVADOR EL SALVADOR
AUG 22 ZACATECOLUCA ZACATECOLUCA EL SALVADOR
AUG 23 SAN VICENTE THEATER SAN VICENTE EL SALVADOR
AUG 24 USULUTAN THEATER USULUTAN EL SALVADOR
AUG 25 SAN MIGUEL SAN MIGUEL EL SALVADOR
AUG 26 SANTA LUCIA SAN SALVADOR EL SALVADOR
AUG 26 TV 2 BROADCAST SAN SALVADOR EL SALVADOR
AUG 26 ORPHANAGE FOR CHILDREN SAN SALVADOR EL SALVADOR
AUG 28 LAYCO, DE CAMARA THEATER SAN SALVADOR EL SALVADOR
AUG 29 ZACAMIL THEATER SAN SALVADOR EL SALVADOR
AUG 30 SPECIAL EDUCATION CENTER SAN SALVADOR EL SALVADOR
AUG 30 SANTA TECLA SAN SALVADOR EL SALVADOR
AUG 31 SONSONATE SONSONATE EL SALVADOR
SEPT 1 ALCALDE DE SANTA ANA SANTA ANA EL SALVADOR
SEPT 1 SANTA ANA BRANCH SANTA ANA EL SALVADOR
SEPT 3 WARD FIRESIDE GUATEMALA CITY GUATEMALA
SEPT 8 ZACAPA THEATER ZACAPA GUATEMALA
We did 78 performances in 101 days, 51 in Guatemala and 27 in El Salvador.
We covered 29 different cities, 9 in El Salvador and 20 in Guatemala.