Sunday, March 30, 2014

Some Quack

When World War II broke out in Europe in the 1930s, my grandfather, Harold W. Hoopes was serving an LDS mission in Holland. 

Harold W. Hoopes

Eventually all LDS missionaries were evacuated and chose to either return home or transfer to state-side missions where they could finish up the remainder of their service.  Harold received transfer papers to the Boston, Massachusetts mission. 

He never got there.

The story goes (and I wish I could get the first-hand source) that a certain mother of an evacuated missionary -  upon learning of her son's fate to wrap up his mission in St. Paul, Minnesota - was so aghast at the idea of a mediocre, non-prestigious locale, she immediately telephoned church headquarters and demanded a change. 

I have often imagined this phone call.  Did it go something like this?

Church Missionary Department?  Yes, this is Mrs. XYZ.  Yes, that's right.  THE Mrs. XYZ.  And I'm calling to tell you that your office has gotten it ALL wrong...

I don't know what this quack-of-a-mother happened to say, but apparently it was significant because by the time Harold had boarded the plane for the States, his spot in Boston had been swapped for the "less glamorous" location of St. Paul, Minnesota.

C'est la vie...

Someday, when all is said and done, I fully intend to track down this quack-of-a-mother.  I want to meet the woman who had the gal and arrogance to think her son's importance/esteem and her family's reputation hinged on a mission location.  Part of me wants to bonk her over the head and give her a darn good lesson in humility.  But the other part of me wants to hug her fiercely and tell her how grateful I am for what she did. 

Because this quack mother played a crucial role in my existence. 

Harold went to St. Paul.  The same mission where Virginia Lee Divers was serving...

Virginia on the right.


kj said...

I love this story! And those dresses, and pretty much everything about this post. You have inspired me to go find the stories that I have been planning to find. Thank you!

Jen T said...

Funny how things work out. That is crazy she called SL to complain. Can you imagine what they would say now with over 80,000 missionaries? Um, yeah right lady :)

Britt said...

I had no idea that's how they met! What a fun story!