Dear friends and family: Good morning! I received this wonderful story about an experience which Thelma Reeder (wife of my oldest brother, who passed away in an accident in 1948, )had when she was a child, and had the privilege of shaking President Heber J. Grant's hand after the dedication of their Stake Center which they struggled to build. The dedication took place in December of 1935. The story was sent to me by her son, Grant Lee, whom I love. You may enjoy reading it since we are studying his life and teachings this year. Have a wonderful day, and know that you are loved. Your friend and brother. Jim
----- Original Message -----
From: Elwyn Reeder
Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2004 8:58 PM
January 5, 2004
The Day the Prophet Heber J. Grant Shook My Hand
It was December of 1935 when our Prophet Heber J. Grant came to dedicate our lovely new Alhambra Ward, Hollywood California Stake building.
These were depression days and the members of the Ward had literally sacrificed to finance this lovely Spanish-style edifice. Looking back, I see now that the brethren who worked on the building were those with the most children and therefore in the most need of work. It was a time when many men were out of work, and the food lines were long.
My father and grandfather, along with several other relatives had left the mines in Eureka, Utah after WW I to come to California where there was more opportunity for employment. Five of these went to work for the Alhambra Fire Department, which turned out to be a real blessing of steady jobs for all of them. Even so there was much deprivation in different ways for every family.
I still remember the hobos who would come by looking in our garbage cans for food. Many were war veterans who had been injured or gassed during WW I, and who would hop on and off the freight trains coming through our town. My compassionate mother would often send me up to the railroad tracks with sandwiches and other food for them. Yes, it was frightening, but I had perfect faith that my mother knew what she was doing.
I had been baptized earlier that year, and after the baptism my mother took me to my favorite ice cream store to get a "double-decker". The cost was 5 cents for one scoop or 10 cents for two. It was a real treat for me because we only had an ice-box and a cooler at home, no refrigerator.
On the day of the dedication of our building we all sat in our usual places in the chapel, the deacons on the front row, and my class of eight year olds behind them. You can just imagine the thrill beyond measure when President Grant invited us all to come up on the stand to shake his hand after the dedication, which began with the deacons, and then it was my turn. I overheard many of the adults say they would never wash their hands again, and knowing that wasn't a good idea, I secretly made a pact with my Father in Heaven to keep my Sunday dress clean for as long as possible, which I did. This was my childish way of holding the event sacred.
On the way home with our large family in a small car, and standing in the back of my mother who was driving, I whispered into her ear, "what are we going to do about what the Prophet asked us to do about getting out of debt and storing our food?" My mother quickly said that we were doing all we could, and could do no more. This bothered me because the Prophet, himself, had told us what we must do, so I knew we COULD do it.
Upon returning home, while my mother prepared dinner, I went into the living-room, and with perfect faith put my small hand down the sides of the couch and chairs and discovered a nickel and a dime! The next day I went to the store and bought a can of tuna-fish for 15 cents and proudly gave it to my mother to start our food storage. When my father returned home from his work at the fire station, I overheard her telling him what I had done, and then she added, "A LITTLE CHILD SHALL LEAD THEM." This was an affirmation to me that my parents had learned an important principle of the gospel.
How did I know, at the age of eight years of the scripture, "The Lord giveth no commandment save he prepareth a way for the fulfillment of that commandment"? I believe I brought this knowledge with me from the Spirit World, for I had often raised my hand in Primary and Sunday School and told my teachers that I had a testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel. they, in turn, would tell me that some day I really would -- but I KNEW that I already had such a testimony. This was verified when I received my Patriarchal Blessing at the age of 14, when the Patriarch informed me that the gift that God gave to me was a testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel.