Tom Perry's Childhood

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(This is an excerpt from the biography L. Tom Perry, An Uncommon Life by L. Tom Perry.)

During the 1920s and 1930s, the Perry family income improved from the $290 the senior L. Tom Perry made in his first six months of practicing law in Logan but not dramatically. He averaged only about $200 per month of combined income for the first fifteen years of practice, and this included the salary he received from the First National Bank of Logan. In his personal history he made special note of the blessing it was to be allocated $30 a month by the Church for his expenses as bishop. Some months, he said, it “kept the wolf from the door.”

The other saving grace for the Perry family was Nora’s careful management and frugality. My father has often called his mother the ideal Depression-era wife and mother. When he took out the garbage, he always noticed how little his family threw away compared to other families in the neighborhood. Ted Perry once commented about how he and his brothers were proud of the patches his mother sewed on their trousers. He claimed they actually improved their appearance.

The Perry family’s careful management over the decade before the Great Depression in many ways immunized them against it. It also set an example for the members of the Logan Ninth Ward when the economic shockwaves hit. The Perrys, out of necessity, had learned to discern between wants and needs. This allowed Bishop Perry to teach the members of his flock ideals he and his family were already living.

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