January, 20, 2011

Camilla Eyring Kimball: It Was Cold Then, Too

Cereal, cup of noodles, macaroni and cheese – that’s the checklist I recite to myself as I put on my boots, gloves, hat, scarf, and coat to go to the grocery store.  Despite being bundled up I still freeze when I have to make the hundred foot dash from the car to the sliding doors.

Courtesy of

A long time ago, in 1912, there was another girl at BYU. But she was even colder than I am. She came to Provo as a refugee of the Mexican Revolution. She didn’t have boots, gloves, hats, scarves, or even a coat. She too had a checklist of the food she could afford to eat daily: boiled wheat flakes, mashed potatoes, bread and milk.  Her name was Camilla Eyring Kimball. Although we may now her best for the wife of the beloved Prophet Spencer W Kimball, her life wasn’t always so ideal sounding.

When the revolution started in Mexico, her father sent Camilla and the rest of the family to take refuge in Arizona. The family, consisting of brothers, sisters, grandmother and mother only had time and means to back one trunk between them all.

Once they were in America the only house they could find that was affordable had only one bedroom. It had no kitchen and only a single bed, which her grandmother slept on. There was so little floor space that the children took turns sleeping under the bed at night.

Camilla’s parents decided it would be best for her to finish her education. So as a teenager Camilla traveled by train from Arizona to Provo alone. It was the dead of winter. She had no winter clothing.

However, Camilla made the best of her circumstances. Education was so important to her that she worked her way through high school and college.  She even saved enough to attend Berkley for a semester. After her schooling she became a teacher at different academies, eventually settling down in Gila, Arizona, where she met and married Spencer Kimball.

So, as I dash back to the car with my shopping cart full of instant calories, I know that everything is going to be okay. Being a college student, a poor college student, still has its trials but I can make the best of any situation as I trust in the Lord, believing that everything will turn out for the good.

—Anna Silver, Theater Education Major and Education in Zion Gallery Educator