Just a warning this is pretty long, he wrote it himself.
School Picture November 7 1982
Personal History of Zenas Abram Burrows
I, Zenas Abram Burrows, was born of goodly parents to John William Burrows and Mary Magdalene Albrecht Burrows, on February 20, 1932. I was one of two boy-twins born to this couple, which made nine children; except the other twin child died at birth. I was born in a home located above the 1000 block of Buena Vista Street off Sierra Street in the Northern section of the City of Reno, Nevada. My twin brother was delivered dead at birth, and I was always told, the dead child was buried somewhere in the back yard. This story was told to me by my sister many years later. She stated that while we were being born, all of the other children were told to play outdoors, but were allowed to come in to see their new brother later. My sister, Myrt, also stated that I was delivered by a Negro midwife who made the delivery and a week later our family doctor came to fill in the birth certificate.
These were difficult times, the year was 1932, the Great Depression was well in bloom and thousands of people were without work and making a living for any size family very difficult, even though my father had been a successful practicing attorney in Reno-Sparks Nevada area.
From the age of birth to the age of three, I don’t know how many places we lived but at about the age of three years old, the family moved into a two story home on Sixth Street in Sparks, Nevada. At this time my father was serving as the City Attorney of Sparks, Nevada. It was at this time that I developed an acute appendicitis and was taken to the General Hospital located in Reno, Nevada. After the operation, I remember climbing over the crib sides to get out and head for home and in the attempt, ripped loose my stitches. I was caught and new stitches were put in and then one leg was tied with some cloth so as to prevent me from escaping again.
We moved to North Sacramento and lived on a pig farm and we visited my grandmother Marie Emma Rollin Albrecht. On one occasion or visit to Gran, I found a dime in one of the chairs, I can always remember this. We later moved to Sparks, Nevada to a place on Prater way in Sparks where Dad had rented a couple of auto court apartments and we lived there I can remember starting school at this time at the Mary Lee Nickels Elementary School. It seems that Mom took me to school for the first few days and I would cry when she started to leave, but finally one day I told here that I was old enough to go to school by myself, and I did. My brother Harvey raised rabbits in a vacant lot near the railroad tracks and started his freshmen year at the University of Nevada to study agriculture.
A few weeks later, the family moved to a small farm in the middle of Washoe City, Nevada and I attended kindergarten with my brothers and sisters in a one room school house. The teacher’s name was Miss Testelin. Each week she would give each child a candy bar which meant a lot to us in those days. The school h house was all white with wide steps leading into an ante-room where we hung our coats and lunch boxes and where we could get a drink of water from a water from a well which was located near the school house. There were about five to six rows of desks that ran the full length of the building except for a very large pot-bellied stove that kept us warm on the cold days. Some of the eighth grade boys would come in early each day and stoke up the cinders and add fuel to the coals.
We had one Holstein cow that my older brothers used to milk twice a day as well as caring for ducks, geese and chickens. It seemed that winters were very severe with snow sometime drifting six to eight feet high around the sides of the house. Fishing was always very good in Little Washoe Lake, with catfish and trout, and when we went to Big Washoe Lake in the summer, the family would make a day of it with our picnic lunch and swimming costumes, etc. Here the beaches were sandy and the sun was very hot. There were only three very tall trees near the water and the tree’s roots were large and exposed from the waves that washed the sand from under the tree.
One thing I do remember, Ty, an older brother, showed me how to set up model forms to build steps. We didn’t use cement but wet mud and when the mud dried, we took away the model forms and sure enough, we had steps of hard dirt that resembled steps I once saw in front of the County Courthouse.
A year later the family moved to a place in Sun Valley, which is located North of Reno and Sparks. There were only two houses in the whole valley at this time, and Dad prophesied that the whole valley would some day have hundreds of families living there, and at this time there was the old Grandmother to the Smith Family living there. Some said that the old woman was crazy and that was why the family kept her so isolated way out in Sun Valley. Some said that the old woman would come out in the yard at night when there was a full moon and bay at the moon and baying coyotes. I now think that these were stories that seem to go around to scare us away from her old shack so when we kids went to school, we would always giver her place a very wide circle.
I remember that I attended the Robert Mitchell Elementary School through the second and the third grade. I had a great amount of difficulty in school, I guess because of all the moves we went through. We still had our cow, geese, chickens and ducks as well as pigs, lambs and goats. My older brother, Johnny, and his family built a house above ours and lived there for a few years.
It was about 1941 now and on December 7th, we heard over the radio that Pearl Harbor had been bombed by the Japanese Air Force and all of America’s 7th Fleet sunk or destroyed. It was later that Churchill, the Prime Minister of England gave his famous speech saying that the people of England would fight the Germans in the fields, streets etc. that they would never take the Island of England.
Harvey, my second oldest brother, had been in the National Guard and going to the University of Nevada, was called up to active duty and shipped off to Georgia to boot training. He attended Radio school and later shipped off to North Africa to fight with the 5th Army under General Mark Clark. This Army helped to drive the Germans under Field Marshall Rommell back across the Mediterranean and followed his forces through Sicily and into Italy. It was 1944, and after receiving shrapnel in one eye, Harvey was Honorably Discharged and returned home.
Frank, my third brother, joined the Army Air Force after Dad died in 1942, and served in California working as an electrician on airplanes for the duration of the war. Elizabeth, my oldest sister, married Bill McLeory a terrific drummer and went to live in California. My sister Myrt, married a fellow name Tommy Whitlock, who was killed in a car wreck on his way home after a voyage out with the Merchant Marines.
Ty, another brother, joined the United States Navy at age 16, and served in the invasion of Laite and the Phillipines. He came down with malaria and was sent to a hospital in Australia for the remainder of the war. Howard, Myrt’s second husband, served in the Marines during the war and was with landing forces of Guan, the Phillipines and about to invade the island of Japan when the war ended.
When my father died in September of 1942, it left the family nearly penniless; with a mortgage left on the house, which my Aunt Edna paid off so that we wouldn’t have to move out. My brother Frank helped to move us into Reno where we lived in a home south of town where it would be easier to go to school. My sister Gladys and I went to school in Reno but Mother soon found a job at the Southern Pacific Railroad in Sparks, so we moved to Sparks. The new place was on B Street and I again went to school at the Robert Mitchell Elementary School.
Later, Mother married a man named Marvin Morley and we all moved out to Sun Valley again to his place. The first time that I remember Marvin’s place was about three years earlier and his whole family lived in automobile bodies covered with loose pieces of canvas to keep the rain water off their well weathered and soaked bedding. It seemed like he had many kids with two older daughters who served as a mother for the family. Marvin had placed his wife in the mental home when it got too difficult for her. No one worked steady except their oldest son, Bill who worked at odd jobs until he went into the army a few years later. Bill had a large scar on his head and they told the story that he, Bill was kicked by a horse earlier in his life and was a little strange ever since. They even told the story that Marvin owned 500 head of horses in Northern Nevada in the Gerlock Area, and one night after drinking, was shot by someone who had been waiting for him when he came home.
The place was like “God’s Little Acre”, about 40 acres, which showed signs of being mined. The terrain showed signs of potholes where Marvin had set off explosives all over the country sides looking for gold. I’m not sure if he even could recognize it if he came across a washtub full of the stuff. This was his great dream of finding great gold strikes. Before he was through, that whole country had little diggings where he would blast pockets of dirt loose and all the kids would muck the dirt out and he would rest in the shade of a juniper tree to keep cool. He used the excuse that his ruptured stomach would break. The only rupturing that might happen was when he was allowed to eat his fill before anyone else. He often had Mother digging when he thought his assessment of the rock looked good. When we moved to his little diggings, he talked himself and Mom into quitting their jobs because they could live on the money Mother was getting from the Military.
Marvin did talk Mother into buying horses, cows, sheep, that we got from the herders each year and many goats. We also had rabbits, chicken, geese, ducks and a few wild vermits. My sister Gladys came up pregnant and had the baby they called Joe Morley. Marvin blamed his oldest son Milton of being the father, but it was really his as he had been committing incest and used his own son as a scapegoat. When the war finally ended and there was no more free money coming in, Marvin sent me to live with my brother Harvey.
Mother and Gladys did come into live with us for awhile and I went to Reno High School. Later Gladys went to live with our sister, Liz and brother-in-law Bill McLeroy, in Herlong, California. Mother went back to live with Marvin.
After Tommy Whitlock died and the war ended, my sister Myrt worked for the phone company when she met Howard Wotring, a fellow who had buddied around with my older brother as kids. Later they were married and after a few moves bought a home on North Maddux, Reno, Nevada. Howard joined the Reno Police Department and Myrt took a job for Harold’s Club as a Keno Runner.
Frank married a woman whose name was Philis and soon had two children: Johnny and Barbara. Philis was a heavy drinker and in a few years drank herself to death. She was always a nice person to me; I guess it was because of her own mother as she was also an alcoholic and so forth.
Ty married a woman named Olga and lived in Sacramento, California. Their children were Johnny and Dinese. Ty died at the age of 46 of Leukemia. After they detected it he lived only two months. At the time I was going to school at Utah State University, in 1970. Terry, David (being the baby) and I went to Sacramento to his funeral. He had a closed casket funeral probably due to what the leukemia had done to him.
From the 9th grade through high school, I had a part-time job for Truck Parts and Equipment Company. I drove a delivery truck delivering all types and tires around town. When I first started I was paid 35 cents an hour. This job allowed me to buy my own clothes and a different car. These things affected my grades in school as well as missing good times when I would have to work and so would miss activities in my senior class at school.
I did go steady in my Junior and Senior year which did hamper my style, but as long as I had someone I could call up and go out with, it seemed a real plan. When we graduated spring of 1951, the young lady I was going steady with moved to Southern California and I started as a freshman at the University of Nevada in Pre-Law courses. I attended the University until November and decided to go into the Navy. I had been in the Navy Reserves for a year and had been to boot camp the first summer, but because most of my graduating class had joined the services to be sent to Korea, I decided to go into the Regular Navy. They told me I would have to wait until the following spring so my buddy and I moved to Sacramento and lived with my sister, Gladys, who was then married to Bill Hustler, and we both got a job for the McClellen Air Force Base.
On or about March 24th, 1952, Don Ashworth and I, went into the United States Navy and were sent to San Diego, California for our boot training. Boot Training took 12 weeks and I was sent to Treasure Island to wait orders to be sent to Korea to go aboard a ship called Whiteside. It was an attack cargo ship that made milk runs between Japan and Korea delivering cargo to the fighting ships located there. When I landed in Yokohama, Japan, I went aboard a Japanese train that took me to Sasabo, and then went aboard another ship that took me to Korea and then aboard the “Whiteside”. We operated in the Korean waters and then back and forth from Japan to Pusan, Korea, supplying the fleet with needed supplies. A few months later we left Japan for State side stopping in Hawaii for a few days and then back to Vallejo, California where I went aboard a ship for the East coast. The name of the ship was the Titania. We sailed South through the Panama Canal, stopping in Panama City and then northward to Norfolk, Virginia. My new orders were to go aboard an ex-German all purpose tanker, at one time used by the German Navy to supply the German U-boat Fleet. This ship was name the “Coneka”, and after it was put into commission, we left for the Mediterranean. We operated throughout the Mediterranean, making port in Naples and Genoa, Italy; Vilencia and Balboa, Spain; the French Riviera and Algeria.
We made two trips back and forth from the Mediterranean to the U. S. and finally I was Honorably Discharged from Norfolk, Virginia. I had purchased a new 1956 Pontiac Chiefton automobile and from Norfolk, I drove to Reno, Nevada where I spent a few days before starting spring quarter at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. Arriving in Salt Lake City, I went directly to register for classes. Not being too sure of myself, I signed up for too many classes and so didn’t do very well the first quarter. I found that I had never learned to study and being older than most students, I enjoyed playing too much and not putting in the time to study.
One night my friend, Otto Herdan, talked me into going to a dance which was held at he college Mormon Institute and it was here I met the Mormons and my future wife, Terry Maureen Heath. We dated many times and I guess that due to being in the service a long time we began to get serious. I was baptized by the Elders in the font in the chapel on the temple grounds in February of 1957. That summer we were married by now an Apostle for the Mormon Church, Joseph Wirthlin, as he was my first Bishop after I joined the church and was baptized. I continued going to school and Terry worked at a place called “Waterworks” and the following year our first daughter was born. I drove Yellow Cab when I wasn’t going to school and with money I received from the GI Bill, we made out OK.
Our first child we named Julie Anne Burrows and we lived in various places in Salt Lake until I finally graduated after 3 ½ years to earn a BS in Sociology. I made a trip to California and landed a job in Red Bluff, as a Deputy Probation Officer. We moved the family to Red Bluff in an old 1960 Plymouth station wagon and after a few weeks in a motel we bought a small new house west of town. I worked at this job for 11 months for a man, Mr. Parker, self made, and used to tell me that my college degree wouldn’t buy me anything. When I told a friend in the Church about my situation he talked to his friend Sherman Thompson, the Superintendent of the Corning School District, and landed me an interview for a teaching position. The starting salary was $4,250 a year. Two weeks had passed into the starting of the school year and the principal needed another 7th grade teacher and after a friendly interview, I was hired on the spot. I had never taken any practice teaching except for some Sunday School Primary classes and I started in very raw with 30, 7th grade students. We sold our home in Red Bluff and moved into a rented house in Corning so that I wouldn’t have far to school.
One boy I literally had to pick up and carry him out of the room once a week, because of his problems, to the Principal’s office and discharge there. The kid had some mental problems and his mother took him into a psychologist each week to take treatments. This same student gave me a case of Olives Christmas and the year was well spent. I probably learned more than my students. This school was located in Corning, California. Susan Elizabeth was born in the Red Bluff Hospital, a real toe-headed, blond beautiful child and the next year we moved to Sparks, Nevada where I was hired by the Washoe County School District and worked for a Junior High Principal, Roy Gomm, who was my Principal at the Robert Mitchell Elementary School. We bought a house in Sparks and attended the Sparks Ward on Prater Way. After 2 years, we moved back to Salt Lake City where I went to work for the Granite School District, at the Brockbank Junior High School and worked at this school 3 years and then I transferred to the Kearns High School and taught Sociology and Geography. It was there that Richard John Burrows and James William Burrows were born. The summer of 1967, I attended the University of Utah for an Economics Institute which was funded by the government. The fall of 1967, I became the Elementary and Secondary School Principal at the Wendover School and was there 2 years. The schools were experimental and had an open-concept curriculum. David Wayne Burrows, my fifth child, was born in Salt Lake Hospital as Wendover was very isolated, located 150 miles from anywhere. So, then I took a job as Principal in Coalvill, Utah over the Elementary and Secondary Schools. Richard was starting school and his teacher drove all the new kids around town to get to know them better. She was a short middle aged lady who all the kids loved. After a year I got a grant to Utah State University to finish a Master in Education in Curriculum and Supervision. Don Applegate was interviewing for an assistant director for the Learning Center and after my interview, hired me to work for the Coeur d’Alene School District as a Reading Consultant. This was 1972 and we moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and I started work in July of that year. Things went well with the job and I started teaching college classes for North Idaho College and the University of Idaho. My Dissertation for my Doctorate was going badly due to distance and time as well as committee members being replaced; and even starting over there were even thoughts of never finishing it. By the end of 1973, Terry was made Relief Society President and was very busy working with needy families and too closely with Branch President, Jay Critchfield, and decided to break up our marriage after 16 ½ years. She and Jay had decided to get married after he divorced. Jay even moved out into a trailer, but later went home. Terry and Jay received a Bishop’s Court, Terry received a disfellowship and Jay decided to go back to his wife. Terry was determined to go her own way. I finished the second year as a teacher of Seminary in Post Falls, but since I was now living in my duplex in Coeur d’Alene, I had to give up the Seminary job and it was assigned to someone else. I was made elementary principal of the Dalton Elementary Grade School that summer of 1973. By then Bishop Geddes called me to be the Director of the Singles in the Church in Coeur d’Alene areas and so I became involved in activities with the adult singles. Terry received the house because she had the children plus one of the cars and $250 a month for the children. We had just sold our home in Salt Lake and each took $7500 which I invested into two duplexes.
I continued working on my dissertation, but it was going terrible, so I turned to other activities. I buried myself into my work, now an Assistant Stake Clerk and the Director of the Singles. One Friday, I decided to attend the Singles Dance at the Chapel on Argonne and when I arrived no one was there and I assumed that I picked the wrong night, but I decided to drive around the block and when I pulled into the parking lot, another car pulled in and parked. I pulled beside the car and learned that it was the Director and Regional Director of Spokane area. He asked me to come and join him, his wife and another single lady; Sally Jo Leegarrd and we talked until others came to start the dance. I ended up dancing with Sally all night, we sat on the steps and talked and I even took her home. It was a square dance. After many dates and outings with Sally, her children and my own children, we were married in the Coeur d’Alene Stake Center by President Welch. We moved Sally and her two kids, Scott and Michelle, into my duplex on the Coeur d’Alene Golf Course. I had a Dalmatian dog named Jacob and one night Sally let him run and we didn’t see him again. He was just a pup, but when the kids came around Jacob would jump upon them and almost knock them down. After six months we moved to a little home on Davis and 17th, where we lived for about 3 ½ years. At this time my job at the Learning Center ended as the funding by the government was over and Don Applegate took a new position in Springfield, Utah. This was the time I should have started looking seriously for a new position somewhere else, but I didn’t want to get too far away from my children. I was given a position at the Lakes Junior High School as a Reading teacher for one year and was made librarian at the new Canfield Junior High School. This was one of the first times the Coeur d’Alene District really screwed me by lying that I didn’t do well at Lakes School after my evaluation was tops and so I asked for the Librarian position at Canfield. I was the librarian for 9 years at Canfield and during this time, I finished my Dissertation and graduated in 1977 with a Doctorate in Elementary Education in curriculum and Supervision form Utah State University.
Mother died in 1975, and our son, Paul, was born and later we moved to a place on Laurel Avenue in Coeur d’Alene. Scott went to live with his natural father and later Michelle went to live in Kimberly, Idaho with her Uncle Gene. Julie graduated and went to Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho and attended for two years and then to BYU, where she met her future husband, Gary Miller. When Susan finished High School in Post Falls, Idaho, she decided to go to Ricks and went for only one year and came home to marry Randy Adams. Richard transferred from Post Falls High School to Coeur d’Alene High School because he wanted a better band instructor, which he found in Mr. Terris. Rich lived with us and graduated from High School in 1982, and was awarded two music scholarships to attend Ricks College and Washington State University in Cheney, Washington. Jim came to live with us and was with us until he graduated and went off to Ricks for one year and then returned home. Jim has been working at Hauser Mill since his return from college in 1984.
Dave had been sleeping in his car and we invited him to come and live with us and he did. After he graduated, he started North Idaho College but dropped out while he was working for Zips Drive Inn. Working at Zips was band for Dave because after work, he would just go out with his buddies and drink. One night this kid drove his car into Dave’s car and so Dave took after him, but smashed his car into a parked boat, but later turned himself into the police and got three days in the county jail. We even got Dave committed into an Alcoholic Center in Spokane, but he had more of his friends visiting him and maybe bringing him stuff so it was like a vacation to him. He had other wrecks with cars, but his last one was when he was going to the boat races and this other kid was driving his truck and went to sleep at the wheel and went into an 18 wheeler and the whole left side of the truck was taken off as well as his friend’s arm. Dave has been working with his brother-in-law laying sewer lines for a number of years.
The Coeur d’Alene School District’s certain administrators, had been trying to railroad me with any abusive device or plan they could come up with and used all kinds of mental pressures to get rid of me, but wouldn’t allow me to get a position anywhere else. Finally due to ten years of stress, I acquired Cardio-Myopathy which is a virus of the left ventricle of the heart and I would have to get a heart transplant. I retired from the District and applied for Social Security. After my first diagnosis with a Coeur d’Alene doctor who wanted to send me back to Kansas, I decided to Spokane and get a second opinion from Doctor Canaday, a heart Cardiologist. After many tests, he stated that I would need a biopsy to determine the seriousness of the destruction of the left ventricle. When I entered the Deaconess Hospital in Spokane for a Biopsy and while it was being performed the metal rod probed through the side of the heart and I was literally bleeding into the sack around the heart and into other areas. My temperature went up and my blood pressure went down and it was at this time that the Chaplain went out and told Sally that they were losing me. Dr. Cantaneo, a surgeon on staff, that night came in and opened up my chest cavity and drained off the blood and gave me two units of blood and this was when my blood pressure came back to normal. Instead of being in the hospital for 60 minutes, I was there 7 ½ days and when I was released, I remembered nothing from the time I entered the hospital to when I woke up. I went back home to Coeur d’Alene, quit and retired from the District and applied for Social Security Disability and State Retirement, which both took from 6 months to one year to get.
While under the care of Dr. Canaday, he mentioned that a new heart surgeon, Dr. Timothy Icenogle, was trying to get the hospital certified to perform heart transplants, which the University of Washington in Seattle was fighting because even they were not certified to do them at this time. Meanwhile I continued to stay under Dr. Canaday’s supervision. One Sunday, we were watching a video on the life of Jesus and during the movie, my eyes clouded up and tears began to stream down my face and my memory came back to me about my experience during the previous biopsy and operation. As I recall when my heart was punctured and the doctors had lost me, I seemed to recall drifting through a lighted chamber and remained there for some time. I don’t know how long but ideas that came to me were that I still had unfinished work to do before I might have the chance to remain and join relatives who had passed on at an earlier time. I don’t recall any real ______, but everything seemed free and pleasant without worldly worry. The thoughts that came to me for coming back, was to complete 4 generations of ancestral files as well as to see to it that my sons and both daughter-in-laws have joined the Church and the possibility of activating two of my sons.
After talking to Dr. Icenogle, and taking a 2 day work-up which cost $5,000, I was accepted to be on the waiting list and was provided with a one-way beeper, so that if the right organ came up, I could be called in to have the transplant. I was placed #2 on the list.
We had been listing our home in Coeur d’Alene and the week or so after the New Year, 1990, we sold the house and had to move in two weeks. We called our church Social Services in Spokane Valley to have them help us locate a place to live and that same day a single sister had also called in to say that she had a place for a small family. We traveled to the valley and accepted the lower level of the duplex and folks in the Wards helped us to move after gigantic yard sales. We had to store most our things in storage and later found a motor-home dealer who would sell our motor-home for us because we no longer could afford the huge payment each month.
Thirty days later, after moving to the Valley, on March 25th, 1990, at about 11p.m., I was called by phone and told that a donor was found, that I would have to come to the Sacred Heart Hospital, but Pam, the coordinator indicated that I might have to go home if everything didn’t go right. We called our Home Teacher and the Bishop to meet us at the hospital, and a friend to take Paul. When we arrived at the hospital, they were there to meet us and after checking in, we found a room and they blessed me that everything would go well and that I would recover quickly. No longer than we did this, we were then taken down to a room near the operating room, and then I was taken to the operating room to be prepped as Dr. Icenogle had called to say that he was transporting the organ. Two and a half days later, I was walking down the hall with a forty year old lady’s heart in me. Two weeks later, I was allowed to go home. We had all three TV networks asking questions and followed Sally and me from my room on the 6th floor to the car in front of the hospital. The first weekend out of the hospital was Bloomsday in Spokane and since we had just moved into a new home, the Boy Scouts from the 5th ward came over to mow the grass and clean up the yard. On hand was TV channel 6 to interview me and the Scouts in action.
A few months later we sold our house and moved into a condo at 12423 E. Olive in the 18th Ward, East Spokane Stake, where we have been living better than a year now.
*Nov. 29th, I learned that I had right lung cancer (Hodgkins Lymphoma) and am being treated by Dr. Joni Nichols. (*Sally’s handwriting)
*Denise Fogel tells me that her Father Twyman H. Burrows did not contact Maleria in the Navy. "Also, my father, Twyman H. Burrows did not contract malaria in the Philippines while in the Navy as indicated on your father's blog site. My father was discharged from the USNR due to his epilepsy."