Sandra Shuler -- Biography (Part 1)
was born in Payson, Utah, on 8 Apr 1934. She was the daughter
of Howard Wayne Shuler and
Irma Lant Shuler. Sandra lived in Payson during her earliest years,
surrounded by relatives from both sides of her family.
When she was little her hair was quite curly.
Everyone (the relatives, anyway) said that she was as cute as Shirley Temple.
They signed her up for tap-dancing lessons, but Sandra couldn't tell her
left foot from her right, so she was never any competition for Shirley.
Sandra liked to play make-believe a lot. One of her favorite things to do
when she was about 3 years old, was to pretend that she was Snow White.
This was just after the Disney movie had come out. Sandra would walk around
holding her finger out imagining that a bird was perching on it, and
would tell everyone that her name was "Snow White".
She lived in Payson until she was 7 years old, attending first grade in
the old Peteetneet School (which is now used as a museum).
In the fall of 1941, the family moved to Salt Lake. At that time the
United States was hoping to stay out of active participation in the war
which was raging in Europe and Asia, but was trying to help the allies by
supplying them with weapons and other material necessary for waging war.
Jobs had become available in the defense industry, and finally the Great
Depression seemed to be ending. Just a few months later, on 7 December 1941,
Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and our country was forced to declare war. Sandra
remembers that day very well -- the adults were all huddling around the
radio, and wouldn't pay any attention to the children.
Sandra completed her elementary school years in Salt Lake, at the
Emerson School. This was in a neighborhood located about a half mile east
of Liberty Park. It was right on a bus line which went either to downtown
Salt Lake or to Sugarhouse. The buses came along every ten minutes or so.
Children could ride the bus for a nickel. The fare for adults was a dime.
It was even cheaper if you bought bus tokens. There were a lot of buses and
trolley cars in use in Salt Lake at that time. They were parked overnight in
a big building located at 6th South and 7th East, where maintenance was done.
In later years, this was renovated and turned into a shopping mall. It is
known as "Trolley Square".
"The family got along just fine without a car during the war years.
I remember often taking the bus by myself to the Salt Lake library, or to
visit Jenny and Madge in their apartment in Sugarhouse. By the time I was
about ten years old, I had the responsibility of paying the family's bills;
my mother would give me the money in an envelope, and I would take the bus
downtown, stopping in at the phone company, electric company, etc. and pay
them in cash. People in Utah felt perfectly safe in doing things like that
in those days.
"When the war ended (VJ-Day) in 1945, that was also a day to remember.
Traffic was stopped, and there was dancing in the street and confetti being
thrown around in the large open area at the intersection of 21st South and
11th East in Sugarhouse. The buses were not able to get there because of
the traffic jam, so we had to walk (it was about a mile from where we lived).
The apartment where Jenny and Madge lived was located just above this
intersection, and we all had a bird's-eye view of the big celebration.
"In 1946 the family moved to Tooele, where Dad had gotten a job at the
Tooele Ordnance Depot. Since the war was now over, the government had a lot
of cleaning up to do. Weapons and supplies were brought back from the war
areas, and had to be inspected. Decisions had to be made whether the
material was salvageable, or should be destroyed. Dad's job was inspecting
this war surplus material. During one year, not long after the war had
ended, he worked on the island of Guam in the South Pacific. He was working
there under the supervision of Tooele Ordnance Depot, doing the same kind of
inspection work. At that time, there were still Japanese soldiers hiding
out in the interior jungles of the island. Occasionally some would be found
and notified that the war was over, and that they could go home. It was
somewhat risky for the Americans on the island, because the Japanese would
try to shoot them from ambush if they had a chance -- not being aware that
hostilities had ended. Indeed, when any were captured, it was difficult to
convince them that Japan had surrendered -- it was very strongly ingrained
in them that Japan would NEVER surrender.
"I went to Junior High and High School in Tooele, and then attended
the University of Utah as a
bypassing my senior year of high school. The Ford Scholarship was given to
about 40 high school juniors each year for four years, and was for the purpose
of conducting a study to determine whether students of this younger age could
successfully compete in college. All tuition was paid, as well as the cost of books.
For out-of-town students, an allowance for board and room was also given.
I felt extremely fortunate to be given this opportunity, but also somewhat
guilty. (Why should I have all this good luck, when others do not?) My
mother reassured me by telling me that opportunities may be a matter of luck,
but being ready for an opportunity when it comes along is a matter of
preparing oneself beforehand by lots of study and hard work.
Our parents always encouraged all of us to do our best in whatever we did,
especially school work.
My brother John was also awarded a Ford Scholarship three years later.
Frieda -- Iona -- Sandra
(Click on picture to see more recent photos)
"During our first year at college we Ford Scholars took all of our
general education classes together. We made some close friendships that
in many cases have lasted throughout our lives. My three roommates were
also Ford Scholars, and we rented an apartment together during most of
our four years of college.
"Often the heads of the various departments were our instructors, so
we probably received a higher level of education than most freshmen do. During
our second year and beyond we mostly went our separate ways, as our various
interests led us, but still had some classes together.
We had a session at least once a week where we would usually be given a test
of some kind (aptitude, psychological, etc.) in order to compare us to
average college students. This was part of the requirement for the study
that was being done by the Ford Foundation.
"While I was in college I also played the flute in the band. We marched
at all the football games, and also played several concerts each year. We
travelled all over the state to give concerts at various high schools, and
once each year were taken to an out-of-state football game to perform.
I was also active in Lambda Delta Sigma, the LDS fraternity. I enjoyed my
college years very much."
Text by Karen Bray Keeley
and Sandra Shuler Bray
Go to Part 2
Adapted for the Internet
by Sandra Shuler Bray