Part II of II
See Part I in last week’s issue.
Yvonne got married Aug. 14, 1958 in Salt Lake City. She had been discharged from the Navy and was working in Utah when she got engaged to Lee Edwin Krebs, a young man she knew from before. At the time he was serving in the Army in Alaska as a fixed-wing aircraft mechanic. Their honeymoon consisted of driving 2000 miles of dirt road called the ‘Al-Can (Alaska-Canadian) Highway,’ “averaging thirty-five miles per hour,” she said. “We barely made it back to his camp before his leave expired.” She said they lived in Alaska for about five months where she worked at the National Bank of Alaska; then they were transferred to El Paso, TX for a year and a half; then he was assigned to Germany, an unaccompanied tour. “So we were separated for six or eight months,” she said, “until President Eisenhower changed the rules which allowed dependents to accompany spouses to Europe. We were together in Germany for two years from September 1960. Finally we were assigned to Virginia for five years.”
It was while they were in Germany that they adopted their daughter, Tracie. “There was an Army couple there with five children, and they felt they couldn’t support all five,” Yvonne said, “so they put her up for adoption and we jumped at the chance.”
Lee and Yvonne were divorced while in Virginia. “The divorce was traumatic to say the least,” she said. “If you ask how I coped with it, I’d have to say not very well; but I did cope.” In Virginia, then, couples had to wait a year for their divorce to be final; “so I just worked, and then hired a truck and had all my and Tracie’s belongings moved back out west. I had primary custody of Tracie, but she would go with her dad some summers. He remarried, and there were tough times with not a lot of child support coming in.
“We had some struggles, but it was all worth it,” said Yvonne, “Tracie and my four grandchildren have come to mean everything to me, along with my son-in-law, Wade Poulsen, and our two Samoan boys.” The Samoans, George and William Vea, were nephews of a girl Yvonne met while attending a BYU Hawaii summer course. “They later moved to Las Vegas,” Yvonne added, “and the boys just weren’t adjusting to life there, so they happily ended up living with us till they graduated from Pahranagat High School.”
She said most of her college years were at BYU, Provo. “I was 39 and not making enough money at my government job; so someone suggested I go to college using my GI Bill. At first I thought that would be impossible, but eventually I figured it out. When I started, the GI Bill was paying about $150 per month, and with that extra help, I was able to earn my bachelors in Education, specializing in Home Economics. I and my classmates earned the same degree, but I think I worked ten times harder than most of them.”
“I can’t think of anything particularly memorable about college, but one incident has had a lasting impact,” she continued. “One day I was walking to my swimming class on campus, and I fell and shattered my right wrist. The college covered initial treatment, but nothing beyond that, and I had no insurance; so I’ve had slight impairment of that wrist ever since.”
Things fell into place nicely for Yvonne after BYU graduation in 1974. “I simply looked at the job board postings for students,” she said, “and there was a listing for someone who could teach Home Economics and Art at the high school in Alamo, Nevada. I applied and got the job. Home Economics was an obvious match, but I’m not an artist by any stretch of the imagination,” she continued. “However, I found that I could get my students interested in the subject without using me for their example. I got the boys involved in leatherwork, which is quite an art in itself; and I took some additional art courses which helped me expand upon the subject.”
“Before this, I had never heard of Alamo, Nevada” Yvonne said, “and my mother thought I was going to the ends of the earth! But, with the help of some men from church, I loaded up my U-Haul truck with car in-toe, and I, my daughter, and our kitty cat, headed out. The day we arrived must have been the hottest and dustiest of the summer. Not a soul, not even an animal could be seen venturing out; and Tracie, who was twelve at the time, just jumped in the back seat my Rambler and started crying. In fact she didn’t stop crying until we got back to Cedar City!”
The school principal, Gerald Wilson, told his secretary, Lois Higbee, that ‘if that new Home-Ec. teacher could drive a truck, towing her car, all the way from Provo, she could probably drive a school bus. “And so I became a school bus driver, among other things,” said Yvonne. “I used to drive the 60 miles of dirt road from Hiko to Lund for ball games. Ruts in the road six to ten inches deep were filled with powdery dust. What a ride!”
“I first moved into a little house on “Broadway,” owned by MK Stewart, where the beauty shop now stands. It wasn’t much of a house, and I remember hounding Sandy Higbee to let me rent a nicer place across from what would be the new junior high/high school. The house was in trust,” Yvonne continued, “so Sandy was reluctant to rent, but eventually she did and Tracie and I lived there for fifteen years. Finally, I heard of a place for sale in Yoppsville, so I moved there and it’s been my home until just a few months ago. I’ve been so independent for so much of my life, it was hard to give it up; but I got to the point where I could no longer keep up with the upkeep” (she recently moved in with Tracie and Wade).
“The first year I taught, was in the old high school which is now the Lincoln County Annex,” Yvonne said. “The building had been condemned, but we continued there for seven more years waiting for construction of the new building. I used two rooms, a larger one for Home-Ec., and a smaller for Art. I was the only female teacher among the likes of David Thomas, Ed Hansen, Darrel Hansen, Fred Laird, and others. Lois Higbee and I became best friends for life.”
Yvonne said the kids told her they had chased every previous Home-Ec. teacher away; “but I told them, ‘Guess what, I’m staying as long as I want to.’ Eventually I got to saying ‘I’ve probably stayed too long;’ but the kids came to accept, and even like me, and I them. One year at the carnival, I was in the dunking chair. Oh, they thought that was wonderful to dunk Mrs. Krebs!”
“I loved teaching; loved the students, and I’m still in touch with several of them,” Yvonne said. “In addition to teaching, I was FHA Advisor, Cheerleader Advisor, Freshman and Senior Class Advisor; and I even taught PE one year–boys and girls! Once the kids realized I wasn’t one to mess with, everything settled down and they started coming to me for friendly advice and conversation.”
“At the end of one semester that first year,” Yvonne continued, “the kids were milling around waiting for their report cards. One of them asked me for something so I went to my room and opened the desk drawer, and there I saw a rattlesnake! I looked for a few seconds to see if it was dead or alive, then noticed its head was missing; so I picked it up and walked to where the kids were congregated. I held it up and said, ‘Who left their snake in my desk drawer?’ The kids scattered; but then I found out which boy did it, because he (Joey Lang) wanted to save the skin for a hatband. Fred Laird later told me I couldn’t have taught Joey a better lesson, making him apologize and beg for his snake back.”
“I taught school for a total of twenty years,” Yvonne continued; “so I retired in 1994. I was 63, and decided I just couldn’t hack another year. Of course I soon started missing it, but I became an ordinance worker at the LDS temple in Las Vegas, and ended up doing that for fourteen-and-a-half years.” There were other activities as well. “I was always involved in church and civic activities,” she said. “One thing I’m especially proud of, is that, with minimal musical ability, I was able to improve and participate in various church and community musical groups, even conducting a few.”
Visit LCCentral.com for a bonus Q&A with Yyvonne.
Is there someone you know who would be great for a community profile? Let us know by emailing email@example.com