Sunday, 28 June 2009
This is the second part of the taped interview that Randy Davis did with Mother. It has been such a joy to enter these posts and to remember these accounts. Again, I hope that everyone reading them will gain the same appreciation and love for our rich heritage.
Mother continued on how remembered the Wall Street Crash. She said it didn't affect their family, because her father didn't have a steady income. It did affect some very good friends. But then she didn't realize at the time how much her mother and father worried about how they were going to get along. She said that she would hate to have to go through that again and that she didn't think people could cope with it these days because we're used to having almost everything we want. Their family didn't, but that was their way of life. They learned how to get along better on what they had. This experience helped them learn how to spend money more wisely and to store things away. She said her mother bottled lots of fruits and vegetables. They did have to get some welfare help with getting some meat through what was called the welfare committee that was set up.
She related an incident about one of her snobby neighbors, of how the wife of a banker had to get a job like the rest of them and she said it kind of tickled her! This woman got a job as an investigator on the welfare committee and went into the homes to access how much they had and how much they needed. Grandma Bennett thought that it would humble her, but this neighbor still thought she was better, even when she went into homes and could see how much they needed and how they lived. It made her feel more important than ever. Grandma used to hate to see her coming and would always paint a better picture than it actually was and that they didn't need this or need help here unless it happened to be medical help or something we children would absolutely have to have. It was sad because there were people who needed help but felt the same way because this lady felt like she was so much more important than anybody else and she never had to go without. Mother said that her mother was a very proud woman and would rather work all her life than to take any welfare.
Their neighborhood had poor farmers and a few school teachers and all were very willing to share if they needed to. There were a few families a lot worse off than they were because their parents weren't ambitious. During this time, the families shared a lot of things in common and would have neighborhood parties and get together to help get through.
Mother said she learned how to buy, how to store, how to spend money much more wisely and that these lessons learned helped her when she got married and to not be a spend thrift.
She said that she could see now where times are going to be harder because prices are going up.
She said everyone needed to be more careful in their spending and to buy the necessary things rather than things just to be buying.
Many people during the depression panicked at the bank closings and some almost went berserk. There were people who didn't care what happened or what they did to people. She spoke very adamantly and wanted the people of today (remember that this is 30 years ago) and "you, too, Randy" to appreciate the good times they have now. Money was hard to come by and they learned to appreciate what they had. They looked for opportunities to get any kind of job and to get the things they needed most.
She ended by saying she didn't remember a lot of things, but it was a terrible time for a lot of people.
Mother's sharing of this part of her life had been invaluable to me. I have learned some very choice and valuable lessons from my Mother and I think that these stories and details of her life growing up have reminded me of what is important in life. They are right on with what we are learning about in our day and time from our church leaders...to be self-reliant and provident providers. Her example of cooking, sewing, canning, and careful spending has ingrained within me the desire to follow her choice example. This reminds me how and why she became the great lady she is.Mother and me taken at an annual get-together in Provo with her Bennett brothers and sisters and their wives
Friday, 26 June 2009
My Mother, Marcelene Bennett's Recollections of Family Life Growing up During the Depression (By Linda)
Mother related that she was one of 6 children and that her father was stone deaf. It was very hard for him to get a job. Her mother was a good women and a hard worker. She would go out nursing as a mid-wife for the family doctor, Doctor Cullimore, that lived in their neighborhood. She helped deliver babies in the home, they didn't deliver them in hospitals like they do now. She would stay in the home sometimes for 2 weeks and take care of the mother and the family until she was able to get up and do it herself. (I felt the spirit of her love and compassionate service as I bore witness of my Grandma Bennett's unselfish legacy.)
When her dad couldn't get work, he took care of them at home. When the kids came home from school, he had a cooked meal of a little meat if they had some and vegetables from the garden they raised.
Randy asked her about what clothes they wore at that time. Mother said they always had clothes and were more fortunate than others. Her dad and brothers wore Levi's and bib overalls to work and garden in, but never to go to town or church in. Her brothers were fortunate to have riding boots. She and her sister had to wear high top shoes and she never had a fancy pair of dress shoes for Sunday until she was in junior high school. Clothes then were always homemade, mostly make-overs from hand-me-downs. Even though they were always clean, they weren't like some of their neighbors that had store-bought clothes because their dads worked as teachers and bankers. She made it clear that she never felt they were different. Looking back on it now, she could see they were a better family for it. They had a loving mother and father who worked very hard to provide everything they could. They always had plenty of food and warm clothing, with lots of love in their family. They never starved or went without food or clothes, although at times her mom and dad probably did. She told of when her oldest brother laid away a blue suit for 30 or 40 dollars at a major department store. Her mother thought it was horrible that he paid so much and it took a very long time for him to get it out and wear it.
When asked about jobs they had, Mother told of her brothers working on farms and digging city sewers with a pick and shovel. Her dad did work on a farm some summers and fall, but mostly got vegetables for his work. One brother worked for the CCC government program. My Mother worked once a week on a Saturday for a lady doing her laundry, ironing, and changing beds. She worked for 5 to 6 hours a day and received 50 cents. Wages weren't very much and some jobs were only about a dollar a day, but it seemed like a lot of money then. They would all be very tired at the end of a day, but grateful they had work.
When asked what they did for fun, she said they didn't have a car until her oldest brother got a job at the Provo Roller Mills. He purchased a '29 Chevrolet and nobody could drive it but him. They thought they were really something then. It had a rumble seat but no top and they always got caught in the rain. Their family went to church, dances, picnics, socials, and family reunions together. Occasionally they were able to go to a Saturday matinee for 10 cents. Her brothers would give her and her sister 25 cents and they thought the 15 cents to spend was a big treat. For recreation they swam in the canal, played run-sheep-run, went sleighing and tobogganing down the hill in winter. Her two oldest brothers got them their first radio in 1934 from Sears and they thought they had it all again.
I am going to stop here and continue on at a later date with continued memories Mother had of when wall street crashed. I have learned so much and have come to love and appreciate my Mother and my grand parents from these choice experiences. It makes me think of the conference talk, "Come What May and Love It", because we truly have come from a rich heritage of unselfish examples, frugality, and family solidarity in hard times.
(Note: pictures were posted and labeled on a previous post.)
Saturday, 20 June 2009
I miss my wonderful Dad and I think of him and all he did for me throughout my life every year on Father's Day. On honor of him and to share what a great man he was, I am posting this poem I wrote and sent to him 31 years ago for Father's Day.
“The Special Man God Gave To Me As Dad”
(Written for Father’s Day June 1978 by Daughter, Linda Gauger Clark)
Before my life on this earth began,
I can imagine myself wanting the Heavenly plan
To come to earthly parents, for I could probably see,
What a special place God had just for me.
I know He must have known and sensed my eager call,
To be one of “daddy’s little girls” to that handsome man, Paul,
And that hope long fulfilled has always made me glad
Knowing the special man God gave to me as Dad.
I joined the Gauger family as baby number three
And really gave a good shake to our family tree.
For, even when I toddled, I refused maternal changing,
And thought “Daddy do it” was the best thing I could be arranging.
That young, I sensed the patience of eternity he had,
I began to love the special man God gave to me as Dad.
When storm clouds would send their claps of thunder,
I ran to his comforting arms and huddled under.
Yet, I’d hold the flashlight when I grew taller,
Behind my Dad at night, hunting night crawlers!
Soon those kinds of things didn’t seem so very bad,
I learned to trust the special man God gave to me as Dad.
The occasion of the Daddy-Daughter dates while still in Primary
Were fun for Dad and me, and a little scary?
For I remember telling everyone that not even Fred Astaire
Could match up to my Daddy, he was the best dancer there!
And as I danced on top of Daddy’s shoes, as was the fad,
I was proud of that special man God gave to me as Dad.
Dressed in uniform, complete with neckerchief and a smile,
He was the strength of those mountains he’d take his scouts hiking a mile.
He’d use his summer vacation to teach his Boy Scouts well,
To hunt, to fish and cook ‘round the campfires of Maple Dell.
But when he’d have to leave me home and I was a little sad,
I realized how unselfish he was, the man God gave to me as Dad.
Always working hard, a builder with nail and tack,
He fashioned with much love our camper, the Wicky-Wac.
Bright and early, we could hardly wait to get out of the garage
To get to Huntington fishing and a visit to Curley’s lodge.
Not only did I learn to fish and make the pot-guts mad,
I learned to love God’s creations from the man He gave to me as Dad.
Through my growing years, the times I needed someone there
To attend piano recitals, or give approval when I cut my hair,
He was always there…to chat as we would walk,
I could always see his beaming face when I gave a 2 ½ minute talk.
When I’d lay in bed, I could utter a weak command
For the blessings of the Priesthood, through my Dad’s strong hands.
I remember feeling so proud when I finally turned eight
Because my Dad baptized and confirmed me, it was great!
And my testimony grew, such faith in God I had
Because I learned the gospel from that special man, my Dad.
When grown, I always wanted someone for my mate,
Who had these qualities I’ve written about, that God chose to create
In that wonderful man, my Father, who raised me with such care.
I’ve always felt so lucky to have found one to compare.
I’ll always remember the words he said when Dale asked for my hand,
“If you love her half as much as I, then yes, I’ll understand.”
Yes, the strength of a mountain, the comforting arm of night,
The unselfish service given, teaching everyone what is right.
The patience of eternity, sensing a family need,
Being such a great Grandfather to each new little seed.
One can see why I love him and why I’m so glad
To have this special man God gave to me as Dad!
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY, DAD! I LOVE YOU!
Sunday, 14 June 2009
On July 30, 1918, the Provo Woolen Mills caught on fire. When Mary heard about the fire, she was washing. She ran down to the Woolen Mills in her housedress. Many people came to watch the fire and it had been roped off all around the grounds. Mary couldn’t see John outside, so she tried to get by the firemen, but they would not let her in. Mary said she was going in anyway. She told them her husband John was deaf and could not hear the alarm and would still be working. She told the guard that she was going in, but the guard said she couldn’t go past the rope. She straightened up, her black eyes flashing, and slipped under the rope. When the guard tried to stop her, she said “I mean what I say. I am going in after my husband!” She was right when she said he did not know about the fire. He saw people running past him, but did not pay any attention to them until someone touched him and told him the mill was on fire.
He was the last to come out. When he saw Mary and she saw him, they threw their arms around each other and they both cried. They were always a very loving and devoted couple.
Thursday, 11 June 2009
I remember the trip I took with Paulene and Dave from Connecticut – Maryland – through Iowa – to Utah! We traveled in their station wagon and Jef, Paul, Audrey, and Rikki all rode in the back. Alisa was just small and it was a hot, humid summer back East. Stopping at Grandma’s was a wonderful time…she was so amazed they we were all traveling together and loved seeing all the great grandkids. She was tickled that they were so astonished at the lightening bugs…my Jef was a little afraid of them.
When Dale and I moved from Maryland, we stopped and stayed overnight with Aunt Rosella and Uncle Ralph. When we got into town, we headed straight to Grandma Gauger’s to see her. She was very pleased that we stopped there first and was glad to see us and to meet Dale. Aunt Rosella told me later that I sure knew my Grandma and how she bragged that she got the first visit! I didn’t realize that I haven’t talked that much about my Gauger Grandparents. I will have to do more because I love them and I have these fond memories that will keep them close in my heart.
Below is a picture taken July 4, 1954 at our first Highland, Utah home. It must have been a "girls" shot. L to R: Grandma Gauger holding me; Aunt Rosella, Dad's brother Ralph's wife; Mother; Julie and Paulene in front.
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
I do not personally remember their trip to Utah that Dennis talked about, but know that Dad and Mother loved having them here to visit. Dad and Mom would remind us whenever we were riding in the mountains in American Fork Canyon that Grandma and Grandpa were in awe of the mountains and even frightened of the heights when they were on the Alpine loop road. This made an impression on me and to this day, I think of my Grandparents when on the loop road and look at the heights and expanse of the mountains and usually relate to whoever is in the car of my Gauger Grandparents experience.
The road trips to Iowa are some of my favorite childhood memories. There were no freeways and so the roads were two lane roads and to a child seemed endlessly long. Dennis spoke of the games that we would play. My Dad and Mother used to laugh and laugh at the Burma Shave signs. I remember looking forward to stopping at the gas station. The three of us always bought a comic book. We each bought a different kind and then would trade with each other. My favorite was Little LuLu and I believe that they cost 5 or 10 cents each.
I loved Grandma and Grandpa’s home and neighborhood. The Kool-aid water, the smell of pipe tobacco as we would enter on the side door of their house, and the large trees that lined the street are just a few of my pleasant memories. My Dad was always so happy and full of laughter on our visits to Iowa. He was home among friends and family.
My special memory of Grandma includes a letter and a visit in 1977. I do not remember Grandma smiling very much. I have a number of pictures of Grandma and only one of them is smiling. I sensed that she loved me, but didn’t ever want her to get mad at me. I sent her cards at Christmas and would include photos of my two little girls. She answered me with a personal letter on Dec. 26, 1975. I must have told her that David had graduated from BYU and that we were moving to California to work for GTE. This is part of her response:
“Well, I bet your folks will miss you and your little girls. I will never forget when my son Paul left out for Utah. I miss him just terrible and now when he isn’t feeling good. I wish that he could feel better. I guess that is the way it goes to all of us. The young will leave the nest to fly where their work is. Take care, Paulene, you have all my love and your little girls. One looks just like you did when we were out to American Fork one time when your folks lived out on the place where they had all those peach trees and in the mountains. I liked it there. I still have a box of stones which the boys picked up on the mountain. . . . . . All my love to you, Grandma. “
This letter gave me great insight to my Grandmother and I fell in love with her and as I read it again now I feel great empathy and love for her. On a trip to Utah from Connecticut, via a stop in Maryland to pick Linda up, Me, David, Linda, and our combined five kids (in one car) stopped to visit Grandma in Iowa. She was warm and happy to see us. We were happy to see her and it was the last time that I saw her. There is a special bond between a granddaughter and a Grandmother. I look forward to seeing her and Grandpa when we all gather again.
Do not know the dates or ages of this photo
Paul and Ralph approx. ages 9 and 3.
Monday, 8 June 2009
Sunday, 7 June 2009
Left to right front: Elain, Grandma, Grandpa and Marcelene Back left to right: Stan, Les, Lynn and Johnny
Raising a family of six children was difficult enough, but with a husband who was deaf, Grandma Bennett relied on her patience, love and understanding. These traits were characteristic of her and I especially noted them in my mother, Marcelene. My mother often commented that although her Dad was deaf, the children loved him and learned to communicate freely with him. Grandma and Grandpa were faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The only personal recollection I have of Grandma is a brief and vague one, when I was three and one half years old. Grandma’s last days were spent at the home of Elaine, her youngest daughter, in Midvale, Utah. Again, an example of the love and caring that Grandma instilled in her daughters. I remember visiting Grandma at Aunt Elaine’s home and that she was bed ridden and weak. She died shortly after this visit on October 14, 1955.
Grandma is best remembered for her charity – see the article posted below of her dressing as Santa Claus and serving the children of her neighborhood.
I did not know my Bennett grandparents, but I know the faith in God, service, love of family and other Christ-like traits that my Mother possessed came from these wonderful individuals. They must also have had a great sense of humor, despite hardships in their lives, for each of their children had personalities and senses of humor that made them fun to be around. Mother always made it a point of visiting her brothers and sister and this became a blessing to me as I grew to know personally and enjoy being with my Bennett uncles and aunt.