Alton Scott Foster
Summary of my 85 years of activities... so far
1941 at Age 24
1990 at Age 73
I have lived in the following areas during my lifetime and was employed at these places:
Church Experiences I have had:
Hobbies and Skills developed:
One of my first hobbies was building model airplanes.
At one time I had one stay air-borne and in sight for one hour and forty five minutes, after this time it completely disappeared out of sight. Later I got a call from a rancher in cave creek and he said he had found part of my plane with my name on it. His cows had eaten most of it.
One Saturday our Model Airplane Club decided to go to Phoenix Sky Harbor and fly our planes. At that time the road into the Airport was a narrow dirt road. This was about 1940. As we arrived in my 1932 Ford convertible climbed up the tower and asked the controller if we could fly our little planes, this was sometime early morning and he said "sure" because his next plane to land was late afternoon. Later I learned to fly remote controlled planes .These were hard to control with a "joy stick", consequently this proved very expensive.
All my life I have raised a garden. I love to grow tomatoes, pole beans and apple trees. I have helped many friends and family to plant their own gardens.
Early in my life I was interested in woodworking, however, I was never able to pursue any instruction or training. After retiring at age 62, I again thought about my desire to engage in this hobby. I purchased a Shop Smith wood working tool, and was on my way to become a wood working expert.
few years with this piece of equipment, I discovered that I needed to
purchase individual and more professional equipment. I became interested
in turning wooden bowls from natural logs.
I started attending arts and craft shows and realized that I was making money and having a good time at the same time. This new endeavor stimulated me to look for other items that I could sell. I found a plan for making rocking horses and made my first one, which my daughter still has. As I continued making rocking horses. I tried to improve on each one, until I think I was making the best rocking horse available. My customers agreed with me, and I have sold many and even beyond my wildest dreams.
I also found success in making a three legged foyer table which has been extremely popular. After about ten years of woodworking I finally had printed on my business cards, Master Woodworker. My source of sales was generated by attending arts and craft shows and county fairs. Meeting people at these affairs was very rewarding. It was also rewarding that I was allowed the opportunity to talk to people about the Church. One such opportunity was while I was at a show in Corrales. New Mexico. I sold this couple a Three legged Table one year and was able to get acquainted with them. Several years later at the same show I was talking to the husband and found out that he and I were stationed at Los Alamos Atomic Bomb Project at the same time. As our conversation continued The word Mormon was mentioned, at the same time that his wife appeared, and when she heard the word Mormon, she exploded with a litany of very abusive language, saying that she hated those damn Mormons. At this point her husband said to her to not say that because Al is a member of the Mormon Church, And has been a Bishop. Well all was quite for awhile, and then she grabbed me and apologized and asked for forgiveness. Then she said to me, "Do you really believe that Joseph Smith was a Prophet?" And I replied that I did. I asked her if she believed in earlier biblical times that we had Prophets on the earth? Then I asked her if she thought that we in this generation are worthy to have a Prophet today? Her husband said that he believed this and that he had never had any one suggest this to him. Then I told his wife that she had never had any one challenge her concerning her hatred of the Mormons. She again hugged me and said that she had gained a new friend and a better understanding of the Mormons.
Good Friends & Acquaintances:
After serving many years with other members of the church, especially in Bishoprics where you become extremely close through good and bad times. I believe that we become so close that in the hereafter not only will we be united with our families, but also with these great people. Testimonies are generated from associations with members who believe the same as you and set an example for others.
One of my closest friends is George Freestone, who happens to be 103 years of age at this writing. He bought several cars from me and gave them to his kids. Each time he would tell me qualities of each one and how he had an obligation to help them. He would often come to my office just to talk and tell stories.
George Dana and I were good friends and often shared church experiences together. One time at the car agency, I spoke to a customer and he only sneered at me. Later I told George about this and he said this man smiled once and didn't like it, so he never smiled again. George and I were on the same wave link. His son Tim would come to me for advice and help and once I asked him why he didn't he go to his father and he said his father sent him home. From a business stand point I was trusted with ability to write checks for cars that I purchased amounting to $50,000 and more. Humorously, one day I told George That I knew that I was smarter than he was, but that he had all the money. He agreed.
Janice's son Chris Layton and I have always been very close and share many experiences. Even when we met the first time we sensed that togetherness.
Another one of my close friends is Mervin Wilhelm from St. Johns, Arizona. He was the Bishop in the St.Johns 5th Ward when I was on the High Council there. He was one of the best informed Bishops concerning the Church Welfare Program, with the ability to explain this program to members. It was a delight to talk to him about gospel subjects and his experiences. We always tried to meet often, just to re-new friendships. He told me one time that he taught his kids to abstain from the normal entertainment that was accepted by others he then would provide a super activity each year for each of them. I marveled at his attitude, which was the same at all times. Come rain or shine, he was happy with life and was a good example to those around him.
I am impressed with Church members that regardless of their station in life, appeared to be happy with their circumstances. These kinds of people always seemed to be at ease and at peace with the world. Even their kids reflected the same spirit. I have always enjoyed associating with people, to feel their spirit and to learn from them.
One time I was talking to a real estate lady, and after getting acquainted with her, I asked her if she was a member of the Church without identifying the name of the church, and she replied, absolutely. I love to identify with these kinds of people. While traveling to the arts and craft shows, I enjoyed talking to people which always gave me a chance to talk to them about the Church.
My best genealogy story happened like this. One morning I a woke with a severe pain in my ankle and Janice said I should call a doctor. I called a doctor in Show Low, Arizona and a man answered, and I said, is this Doctor Wylie and he said NO, My name is Wylie, but I'm not a doctor. He then said I'm on my cell phone on the freeway, I'll pull off and talk to you. I repeated my intent to talk to a Doctor Wylie. He agreed that I had called the right phone number and that his name was Wylie but he wasn't a Doctor. I asked him where he was and he said, Kentucky. What a surprise! He said that he was on his way to another town to do some genealogy research. I immediately asked him if he was a member of the Church and he said no, but he had some friends that were. I then suggested that he contact them for help with his genealogy. He said he would.
We talked about this strange phone connection. It turned out that the numbers were the same, however I dialed area code 502, instead of 520. Now put all of this together and come up with a better explanation, other than the spirit of Elijah at work. As I hung up the phone Janice, said you forgot to get his phone number, and I said, it's the same as Doctor Wylie in Show Low except for the area code.
Good Advice I've learned & passed on to my Family:
Integrity has always been one of my goals, not only to my family, but to all people that I have associated with responsibility in all that we do in this life helps build integrity. After I joined the Church I soon realized that living all of the commandments and being active in accepting church callings prepared me to recognize myself and make me a better person and father. I also became aware of the blessings of family activity and a renewed association with other people, whether those that were members or not.
In my work experiences I soon learned that it paid great dividends to be truthful and honest in all my dealings. It always felt good to help customers make decisions for their benefit. One of my customers by the name of George Brown, was a horseshoer. He bought a new dodge truck and paid me cash for it. He counted out the money and then I counted and came out with the same amount. I put the money in the safe, because it was closing time. The next morning I counted it again in the presence of our office manager and counted $20 dollars over. I sent the $20 dollars back to George and never heard again from him personally. Now and then a customer would come in and say that George Brown had sent them. They came in with out the normal haggling that goes on when buying a new car. They were told that Al Foster would make them an honest deal.
I always tried to be honest in all my dealings. After working for George Dana for 20 years, he said that I was the most honest man that he ever knew. After closing the Dodge agency, I purchased some chairs from George and took them to Strawberry and used them on my front porch. One day George Dana's wife was visiting us and saw the chairs and said to George that he should get those chairs back for their cabin. George told her that Al Foster was the only one that paid for items that were left over after closing the Car agency. The chairs remained at my cabin.
Integrity builds character and gives purpose in life, it's like intelligence as it goes with us to the eternities. I also believe my children, wife & I will be sealed together as a family to continue to work and play together forever.
For the last 15 years, I have had severe dizzy spells, which has limited my activities somewhat. In 2001 I went to my family Doctor and he sent me to a specialist. After their preliminary examination, they had me examined with two different MRI's, thinking that I had a brain tumor. The tests proved negative. Then I had a brain scan, which also was negative.
The eighth of January 2002, I returned to my Doctor and he said that some time in my life-time that I had a serious injury to my brain. At first, I thought I never had such an accident. Later on I remembered a couple of experiences I had as Assistant Fire Chief at Williams Field Air Force Base in Chandler, Arizona. I was on top of the wing of an aircraft when an oxygen tank exploded and blew me some fifty feet away. I was a little shocked but apparently suffered no serious harm. Another time I was inside of a B-24 aircraft fighting a fire, when an explosion blew my protective helmet off. I immediately recovered and extinguished the fire. Apparently one of these accidents has caused my dizziness to show up in my later years.
This dizziness and arthritis have been my only physical problems in all of my 85 years.
At age 87 I moved into my son Gary's home in Tempe, Arizona where I enjoy turning wooden bowls with my lathe and visiting with my grandchildren and great grandchildren when they come to visit. I am still in good health and have learned to pace my energy. I really like watching the Phoenix Suns play basketball. Life has been good to me and I am ready to go to the other side when my Heavenly Father calls me home.
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