Mary Bannister Russell
1896 - 1986
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Click on the asterisk (*) to jump to the indicated section
Prologue July 30, 1962*
Maryís Freedom - An Appreciation of Her Husband *
Maryís Testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ - Stronger than Ever *
CHAPTER ONEPermission is Given *
CHAPTER TWOLooking Backward *
CHAPTER THREETo The Land ĎDown Underí *
The Sheep Ranch*
Children, and Gold *
Death Stalks the Family *
Donít Grieve for the Children, Prue..... *
Where Those Children Have Gone, Iíll Be Glad to Go *
Homeward Bound *
CHAPTER FOURHome Sweet Home *
Maryís Birth *
The Elders Conduct Annieís Funeral *
Prudence and Dan Baptized *
Young Prudence ("Peggy") is Born *
CHAPTER FIVESchool Days *
Maryís Love of School*
Mary Asks Permission to be Baptized *
CHAPTER SIXMarking Time *
Dan Leaves for America; Kate Weds*
Bannisters Entertain Elders: a ĎHome Away From Homeí *
German Bombardment of West Hartlepool *
Cleaning the Chapel on Osborne Road *
Lusitania Moves Up Maryís America Plans by Two Years *
CHAPTER SEVENZion Bound *
"I will manage champion" *
"Do You Believe In Polygamy" *
CHAPTER EIGHTI Reach Zion *
Looking For Work in Zion*
CHAPTER NINEA Few Trials *
Letter From Home*
First Patriarchal Blessing; Prayers Answered *
First Job; A Friend *
CHAPTER TENI Pay A Real Tithe & Travel Further *
A Real Job*
George Bannisterís Conversion and Emigration *
Duty Calls Mary to Pontiac; Prudence Joins Them *
Maryís Tribute to Her Dad *
Feathering The Nest *
CHAPTER ELEVENWe Find a Branch *
Mary Meets Clyde*
30 Mile Courtship *
Mary Is Left Waiting At The Altar! *
Wed At Last *
Clyde Teaches at the Michigan State Auto School *
A Home of Their Own *
Baby Irene Annie Joins the Family *
A Family Sealed for Eternity, Plus Temple Work for Kindred *
Lois Marion Joins the Family *
CHAPTER FOURTEENA Happy Period and a Parting *
Clyde Digs a Basement and Installs a Floor Furnace*
Mary and Clydeís First Automobile *
The Big Move West *
Don Murray Russell Joins the Family *
A Job and a Home in Zion *
Mary Leaves to Help Her Mother *
Prudence Morley Bannister Passes Away *
Mary Comforted by Heavenly Presence for Two Nights *
CHAPTER SIXTEENMove On, Move On *
An Idaho Christmas; Clydeís Father Passes Away*
California, Here We Come! *
Maryís Mother Visits and Comforts Her *
George Bannister Passes Away, in Detroit *
A Dream of The Prophet Joseph *
Clyde Bannister Joins the Family *
Maryís Parentsí Family Sealed together *
CHAPTER SEVENTEENWe Finally Settle Down *
Mary Begins Family History Research in Earnest*
Joan Bannister Joins the Family *
The Shack on Coolidge Avenue *
Clyde Obtains a Business of His Own *
Oakland Temple Site Dedicated *
Maryís and Clydeís Prayer for their Children *
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN1962 - 1974 *
Mary is Overwhelmed by the Goodness of God*
The Lord Calls Mary and Clyde to be Ordinance Workers in the Temple *
Mary Walks Back from the Car; Kisses Clyde Goodbye For the Last Time *
Mary Once Again Comforted by a Visitor From Heaven *
Maryís Second Trip to England *
Mary Visits the London Temple *
Mary Moves to Santa Rosa *
Kate and Harryís Visit to America, 1952 *
CHAPTER NINETEEN1975 - 1982 *
Mary Moves to Hayward, to be with Bill and Irene*
One Thousand Family Group Sheets *
Mary called to be an Extraction Trainer, in Old English *
Kate Bannister Passes Away *
Mary Takes Another Fall *
Maryís Parting Testimony of Work *
Letter from Clyde to Mary - "My Jewels Three", 1928*
Letter from Clyde to Mary - Oakland period - "Four Bachelors & Joan" *
Letter of James Hood (Clydeís Uncle) to his sister Jean Hood (Clydeís Mother) -
"Ma Ain Folks" *
Biographical Sketch of Nicol Hood and Angelina OíNeil *
Excerpts of Letters from Kate Turnbull, Maryís sister. *
Articles & Letters on the Death of David Johnston Russell 1865-1929 *
Letter of Recommendation given to Clyde A. Russell when he left the Michigan State Auto School *
Patriarchal Blessings for Mary & Clyde *
Princess Merri Eyes *
Talk, given by Irene on Mothers Day, 1981 *
Extracts from Maryís Setting-Apart as Name-Extraction Trainer *
It is with deep love and appreciation that we, their children, pay tribute to this couple.
Although we cannot realize in the physical sense the hardships and trials they have been through for the gospelís sake and for their children, we can in a spiritual sense appreciate the strength of testimony that came from these trials; for this testimony which they possess has been burned into our hearts.
They are a living witness that God lives and answers prayers. Their life demonstrates the blessings that come from living each commandment.
It has been a privilege and a blessing just to live in the same home with this couple, to hear from Motherís own lips her experiences in the gospel, her love for the church, how the Lord was with her every minute; and see Dadís creativity, his love for the gospel in the way he lived it and demonstrated it so consistently to his children.
May the Lord bless our children and their children that they may have the courage and testimony that their grandparents lived and taught. May we meet together on the other side with no regrets but only the knowledge that we will live eternally together in our Heavenly Fatherís presence.
This story is dedicated to my posterity - all of them - known and unknown. It is written for one purpose only: to show them that God lives and answers the prayers of those who keep His commandments and to teach them that nothing in life, be it wealth, education, or position, is worth one cent if it is gained by sacrificing our service in His Kingdom or by neglecting to keep His commandments. Keep the Lordís work first in your lives and you will find the way to accomplish all else you wish, and life will be full of satisfaction and joy.
Your loving "Pioneer",
Mary Bannister Russell
"For he will fulfil all his promises which he shall make unto you, for he has fulfilled his promises which he has made unto our fathers". Book of Mormon, Alma 37:17
This has been my life story until this day, July 30, 1962, my 66th birthday. All the lovely promises of my first patriarchal blessing have been fulfilled. I got my worthy man of Israel, and my children have the very finest kind of father that any children could have. No work has been too hard, no trouble too much, to make his children happy and keep them safe from harm, or to give them a good time. It has been our excellent team work that has made it possible to pass through our experiences and yet raise our children so strong in the faith, and keep them as happy as we did.
Not many men would drive down to Yosemite, set up a camp and make his family as comfortable as he could, then drive back again the next day to his work; and then come back the next three or four weekends to see that everything was all right. Incidentally, not many women would stay as long as four weeks to give their kids a good time when they hated the dirt of those camps as much as I did (why couldnít we have nice green lawns to camp on?) But between dad and me, they did have fun--lovely hikes, dancing at night, fire falls, and programs at night, with mother as chaperon always. Fun in the river, even when the bear ate all our watermelon and just left the rind. The Jacobs were with us that time, and we had a camp by the river. Another time in Big Basin, when Clyde was the baby, I heard the lid of the bread pan rattling through the night. "Oh, Iíve got you fooled. That lid is tied down tight. You canít get in there." But by golly, it was still tied down in the morning, yet all the bread excepting a shell of one loaf had disappeared. How long can the tongues of the deer be?
Joan got her first camping as soon as she could walk. I had no car, of course, Dad took the car to get back to work so we walked a little, then talked and rested a little, as we absorbed the sunshine and the beauty of the trails. We went to the sunday school in the pines on Sundays, and I am very sure we saw Yosemite at its best, before the increased population made so many changes.
And let me not forget the lovely poems written by Clyde which added so much to our fun. Poems about every little thing that happened to the children, and those children learned them off by heart, and sat on his knee as he made up more stories. The poem that Clyde wrote me when I was moving back to Eureka from Payson has never been surpassed to my mind. ("My Jewels Three" see Appendix) Clyde was inarticulate, in fact absolutely tongue bound to my great regret many a time, but thank the Lord he could write, and the quality of those poems showed the depth of his good mind. The above poem must be added to the collections which Irene gave us last Christmas, 1961, copied in her so scarce spare time, bless her heart. And I think it would be very fitting to read it as a last tribute to him when that day comes. Only of course, he will have more than the three jewels he owned when he wrote the poem.
Maryís Freedom - An Appreciation of Her Husband
The big item I have perhaps appreciated above all others in my husband has been that he never curtailed my liberty. I was raised in a country where women were truly subjected to their husbands. They could not move without first considering and getting permission from their husbands. My father was domineering over mother, and I was raised with a fear of men which has never quite left me. For years after I was married I was expecting the moment when Clyde, Sr., would change and play the heavy role. But he never has, and perhaps no other woman could appreciate this better than I can. It has been the means of giving me my freedom to do my genealogy work, and other church work which otherwise I could not have done. I was able to go back to England and once more see my home and folk. This was in 1949. I stopped off to see Don on his mission, in Gallup, New Mexico, on my way. I enjoyed six months with my sister. I had one more trip by plane. When Don returned from his mission, he, Clyde Jr., Joan and I drove with others to the Mesa Temple, where Clyde performed around 75 baptisms for the dead and Joan around 40. Don and I attended to the endowments. We stayed a week then left for Long Beach where dad joined us to drive back along the coast.
When the Temple is built I will be free to work there all I want to, as I do now in the library, and I am sure he will never object or complain. And because he has been so kind, I have been careful not to take advantage of that kindness, by anticipating his needs, and preparing for the times when I am absent. And by taking in work to help out our income. Indeed, it is by these mutual considerations that any marriage grows in peace and families are raised in security and strength. In Latter-day Saint families above all others, this is the way it Ďshould be.
Maryís Testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ - Stronger than Ever
I was promised that my testimony would never leave me, and that is certainly true today. It is stronger than ever. I was promised that my children would draw near unto me, and I would be able to impart my testimony to them. That was surely demonstrated to me when I stood in the Temple when Joan and Dick were married and saw all my children and their spouses there with us. Another Patriarch (Hill), in Payson promised me, (this was in the Fuller Brush period) that I would have means enough to do all that the Lord had sent me here to do. Well, many times I have thought He didnít want me to do very much, for I had little means, but we have never lacked the necessities of life. We have managed two missions, three, counting the one of Clyde Sr. to England, twelve years of higher education for the boys and some for the girls, and I have gathered all that can be found so far on my direct ancestors. Clydeís were done by his own relatives as far as they could go. So perhaps I can feel that that promise has been realized. Certainly there have been times when I could not have believed that we would accomplish so much.
I look forward with enthusiasm to the coming years. I hope I donít break any more bones, for I have already broken both legs, both arms, and one thigh at different times, which didnít seem worth mentioning. But this is enough. I love my grandchildren, God bless them all, and may they be leaders in His Kingdom and bring many others into the fold at home and abroad. How wonderful it is to serve the Lord, everything He wants us to do means joy and satisfaction for us. We get strong bodies, clean minds and hearts, and love in abundance just for keeping His laws. His commandments bring their own pay with them. How foolish people are not to walk in His ways. What joy it will be now and later to be qualified always to enter His Temples together. For I am sure there will be Temples over there, too, if only to get instructions from our Saviour. May we always be brave to live through the hard days, to keep the hope of better days in front of us, to always empty our troubles on the Lord and receive His peace in our hearts.
Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
Iíll strengthen thee, bless thee, and cause thee to stand,
upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand."
"When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
the rivers of sorrow shall not thee oíerflow,
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
May this story convince you all that the above words are true is the hope of your mother and grandmother.
And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day, that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocksóBook of Mormon, 1 Ne. 14:1
"All right, you may go to America but remember, as you make your bed you must lie on it. I have seen quite a bit of that country, and I will never live there because I donít like it. Your mother will stay with me, so you will never see either of us again."
The grey haired man, my Father, had stopped his pacing back and forth in front of the fireplace long enough to give his decision. The vigor of his steps belied the sixty years that the calendar reckoned to be his age, and his voice was strong and forceful as he gave the verdict to me, his daughter, Mary, as I sat near the fire.
It had been a stormy session, the arguments had flown back and forth since nine oíclock p.m. and it was now midnight. I had dreaded this interview, but my father was a mariner and his ship was leaving soon. There were no return dates put on voyages in World War 1. I wanted to sail on November 26, 1915, this being the last ship that would sail under the protection of the Priesthood while the war lasted. I had prayed long and hard for this permission, and knowing that Dad had been bitter against the church for the last fifteen years gave me a good idea that I would need divine help. Every device had been used to change my mind; and now the final stab was turning and bleeding in my heart. Those words "You will never see your mother again" had done what the rest of the three hour storm had failed to do - I was shaken. The bond was strong between mother and daughter. Our mutual love of the Gospel of Jesus Christ had drawn us close, but the man was head of his home, and well I knew his words could come true.
And then, happy thought, I remembered words said years ago, but they came back now to stiffen my faith, and with a mighty surge of courage I turned to my father and for the first time in my life I spoke up to him saying, "It may not be so, Dad. Many years ago the Mission President told my mother that if she was faithful she would gather to Zion. I believe that promise, and all obstacles will be removed, even if itís you."
My fatherís face registered astonishment, disbelief, and anger. His hands clenched and unclenched as he struggled to absorb this new experience. His child speaking back to him in that manner! It was not to be born. If only he could have seen how shaken I was, how the very outburst had left me limp and drained and numb. I trembled as I looked across at Mother. She, I knew, was feeling every emotional vibration, but knew better than to interfere.
Enough was enough. I had his word, and it was his bond. He would not break it, of that I was sure. I decided to retire and let things settle down as long as father was home. There would be time enough to prepare for the journey after he had returned to his ship. But oh, I was almost weary already of the struggle for my faith. Why should my way be hedged up so much? What forces had combined to bring me to this crossroads in my life? My thoughts went back over the scenes I knew and the stories I had been told, seeking for the thread of divine guidance.
...and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. D&C 2:2
When motherís parents, Sarah Fearn and Daniel Morley, my grandparents, left Derbyshire to move to West Hartlepool, Durham County, with their family, far reaching events were set into motion. Longford and Sudbury, Derbyshire, had been the home of their ancestors for hundreds of years; many of them earning the epitaph "Over one hundred years" at the time of their burials. However, Daniel Morley had acquired a good job in West Hartlepool and was soon comfortably established in a home of his own - a much more rare event than it is now. When their daughter, Prudence, (my mother-to-be) reached her late teens she started working as maid in the homes of the gentry, which was about the only work available for females at that time. Her wonderful cheerful personality, coupled with a rare sense of humor and a beautiful soprano voice made her very popular in her circle of friends.
Because Daniel Morley was a rigid Church of England man, it followed that Prue would be required to attend that church, also, and she became a member of the choir of Stranton Church.
This beautiful church was situated on a hill, and was surrounded by the graves of those who had long ago passed on. There may be a good point here for this custom of having grave yards surrounding churches. After all, we go to church to learn how to merit a good place in the next life, and maybe the presence of the graves would remind us that no man knows the hour he will pass over to that life, and so make us more serious in our worship. Be that as it may, the custom certainly was prevalent over the whole of Britain for many years, and people were very silent by the time they reached the church door. A lovely peal of bells called the people to worship and the singing, at least, was a joy to young Prudence Morley.
A young mariner, waiting for his ship to sail, decided to attend services at Stranton Church one Sunday morning, and a beautiful soprano voice attracted his attention. Not lacking in diplomacy, he managed to arrange an introduction, and George Bannister met his future wife.
The handsome couple had many things in common. George, too, had a fine voice and loved music. His favorite instrument was the banjo, on which he produced a harmonious accompaniment to any melody. Duets by this couple, with the banjo harmonizing, were to bring many happy hours to their future family.
Many fine handwritten pages, later found by me in the family Bible, testified to the serious subjects discussed and studied in this period. I can imagine Prue telling her young man that she did not believe in infant baptism, for one thing. She did not believe in sprinkling either. Many times in later years, I heard her tell that the minister came to the pulpit weaving on his feet, while he advised the congregation to "Donít do as I do, do as I say." Prue was determined to leave the Church of England as soon as she was twenty-one years old and free to do as she pleased. However, the couple were married from the old church on February 16, 1884. The handwritten sheets showed plainly that George continued to make a real study of the scriptures; also Darwinís theories and Bedeís Ecclesiastical History of the Church of England.
Hardly had the first home been furnished and set in order, when George began agitating to move to Australia, that fabulous land of opportunity. "Iíll never go to Australia or anywhere else as long as my mother lives. Her health is poor, and I canít bear to leave her." So George had to be content, but he managed to extract a promise that the subject could be reopened later. One year was all he had to wait, and after her mother, Sarah Fearn, was laid to rest, the young wife sold her lovely furnishings to her brother-in-law, Tom Adams. and prepared for the nine weeksí trip to Australia.
Fifty-three years later, Tom Adams was writing to me as follows: "I remember your father and mother going to Australia. I bought their furnishings and attended their farewell party. Your father was a very good business man as well as mariner, and he and his wife made a handsome couple. Your mother came to the party wearing a hat trimmed with a lovely bird wing. ĎKitty Wellsí and ĎI Have Caskets at Home Filled With Precious Gemsí both accompanied by your father on his banjo, were among the fine songs they sang for us that night. George expressed his thanks and gratitude for the good feeling that existed among the assembled family and friends. Even after nearly fifty-five years I can still see Prue Ďs lovely smile as they left us that evening." The letter from Uncle Adams continued, "Do you realize I am living in the city of your fatherís people, the Younghusbands? (This was Berwick on Tweed, Northumberland). The various tablets in the walls of the parish church are a splendid heritage to this line -Naval and Military. "Your fatherís mother, Catherine Younghusband, used to tell me of her going to sea with Captain William Carvosoe Bannister, her husband, and how they had their own lovely state rooms as they traveled around the world. You come of a wonderful lineage."
Perhaps this is as good a place as any to say that my grandfather, Captain William Carvosoe Bannister, lost his life at sea when his son George, my father, was thirteen years old. The older sons were engineers and captains by this time and Catherine Younghusband must have been trying to follow the family tradition of her people, service to the crown, when she entered George into the Army service while still in his teens. (I have a picture of him as a soldier). He later explained to me that the discipline was unendurable, and his mother paid a considerable sum to buy his freedom. Most of his life thereafter was spent at sea. His older brothers all lost their lives at sea. George was the sole support of his mother in her late years.
Book of Mormon, Moroni 8:12+
12 But little children are alive in Christ, ... Behold I say unto you, that he that supposeth that little children need baptism is in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; ... And he that saith that little children need baptism denieth the mercies of Christ, and setteth at naught the atonement of him and the power of his redemption ....
Nine weeks on a sailing vessel gave Prue time enough to find her sea legs, and she enjoyed the voyage until the last week. Refrigeration being unknown and vegetables scanty towards the end of the trip, many sicknesses broke out among the passengers and crew. When the ship landed at Brisbane, Queensland, it was necessary for the young husband to put his wife into a hospital, for she suffered from a bad case of dysentery. She had also discovered that she had started the journey to mother-hood. After a week of restless tossing and suffering with no relief gained, Prueís feeling began to sink. She had been watching the unusual activity in the hospital, visiting hours seemed to last all day, and now a pleasant man at her bedside was giving an explanation.
He repeated what the young couple already knew, that labor for hire was almost non-existent in Australia; every man wanting to strike out for himself. Because of this condition, prospective employers were allowed to visit in-coming ships and patrol the hospitals in an effort to obtain help. The visitor now made an offer, saying that if Prue and George would come with him and work for six months on his sheep ranch, he would cure the dysentery.
The offer being accepted, Mr.---- proceeded to fill a saucer with brandy. He then lighted it and after the alcohol had burned away, Prue was told to drink the residue no matter how long it took. Thinking that she would become drunk, the young bride asked for her husbandís promise that he would not leave her, and sip by sip the nasty stuff disappeared, and with it, the disease. As soon as strength returned, the three people set out for the sheep ranch. In later years Prue never dwelt on the journey to the ranch, but when the six months were finished and she desired to move into comparative civilization, her description of the treatment and the return journey waxed eloquent.
The Sheep Ranch
"There I was in the bush from ten to fifteen miles from any other women in any direction and my time running out." The rancher offered only one way to travel, and that would be with the bullock team that was to call for the sheep skins. This business was done periodically, but when the driver arrived, the rancher tried to bribe him to not take the young couple. My mother-to-be thanked God that the driver refused the bribe saying, "If the missus wants to leave I will take her." So off they went under the broiling sun in a partly covered wagon full of sheep skins and drawn by six oxen - no, they were called bullocks. Being possessed of a fair skin and auburn hair and fearing the heat, Prue had provided herself with a hat and an umbrella.
The first few days went by, there was not too much worry as long as the water supply lasted. But as one water hole after another proved to be dried up, giving no opportunity to replenish their supply, there came a day when there was no water to pass around. The first whirlwind carried Prueís hat away, another one took the umbrella and the wagon cover, but by this time she was not exactly rational. What little water could be found was given to her, and at last they came to a small settlement named Torrens Creek. Judging by the name, it was probably a small place located near some of that so precious nourishment called water. We could not live very long without it, especially in extreme heat.
Children, and Gold
In this settlement the first child, a daughter, was born on January 22, 1886. They named her Kate after her aunt (George Bannisterís sister) and Prueís good health soon asserted itself giving her a chance to examine this strange country that reversed the seasons. In a short while they moved to a larger town called Black Jack. Here Dan was born and later they moved to the town of Charters Towers. Here the dayís supply of meat was delivered early in the morning and was cooked immediately. Vegetables were sold by peddling Chinamen whose sing-song voices were often imitated by mother in my childhood. "Turn-e-up (turnips) and lett-us-see (lettuce)", they called as they tried to sell the greens. I forgot to mention that the first son, named George William Bannister was also born in Black Jack on April 17, 1887, Dan being the second son born on January 6, 1889.
By now the young father thought it was high time to try out his original idea of gold mining. I have heard him tell of mining for others - they had even their eyelids and finger nails and teeth examined as they came out of the shaft. However, I never heard whether he ever tried to mine for himself. If he did, he could not have become rich. On one occasion in 1978 when I was visiting with Lena Bannister, my brothers widow, with whom dad spent his last year or so, Lena told me the following: That dad had bought a mine and worked it with little success as far as gold was concerned for some months. He decided to sell the property and the week after the sale the new owner found a vein of gold which made him a millionaire. Still quoting Lena, dad said, "It was probably a good providence, for it would never do for the Bannisters to be rich - they are too proud."
If dad said that, I would advise him to speak for himself, for my nature has never given room to pride, except it be in independence and clean living. But I am very skeptical about the above conversation. Was dad doing a little bragging to make conversation in his old age, or was Lenaís vivid imagination running away with her? In all the many conversations I had with mother and Kate, who remembered Australia very well, the above incident was never mentioned.
Death Stalks the Family
Homes were very hard to find and their only choice in Charters Towers was between a very large mansion and a small home. For reasons they thought good they chose the small home which was to prove so costly a choice. This home had a veranda over a creek and on November 4, 1891 little Thomas Carvoza Bannister (named after his fatherís grandmother) arrived with rejoicing -no one dreaming of the tragedy creeping up on the lovely family. In June of 1892 little five year old George sickened and died with diptheria. Quickly, in the terrible heat, as soon as possible after death, he had to be buried. There was no known cure, and the other children must be protected. The efforts were futile; one month later eight month old Thomas was laid beside his brother struck down by the same killer and the grieving mother knew that another child was on its way to the fold. Many years later my father told me, "Oh, it was so hard to see the babies fight and struggle for breath. The little ones flung themselves all over the bed. We could not hold them still, but the doctors could not help."
Now the doctors started to blame the house, it must be the creek somehow. They must move at once. Now they moved into the mansion, health seemed good all round and perhaps it was at this time that the mother began to think of returning to England. At any rate she started taking boarders, and Kate and Dan started to school. These two remember buying mangos, bananas, pineapples, etc. Bananas were bought by the stalk. It was hung from the ceiling where they could help themselves. It seemed that most of the soil cultivation was done by the Chinese population. Here too, George got a blast of rock in his eyes which made him blind for some time. He took much comfort in his banjo to pass the time away. Kate always remembered this period: the house, and the events, and was later to describe her mother as she looked at this period, lovely auburn hair, pink cheeks, always smiling and singing in her pretty light colored dresses. Her children were always dressed in white. The children loved the outdoor shower. As the husband and father waited for his eyes to heal, the mother cared for the home, family, and boarders. But underneath the happy surface she grieved for the lost children and at this time there came to her an experience which she always cherished, and which proves beyond doubt that the Lord is mindful of his children everywhere when they try to keep his laws - even if they have never heard of the gospel.
Donít Grieve for the Children, Prue.....
After the work of the day was done, Prue sat in her rocking chair and went into a sleep. It seemed to her that the unborn child she was carrying was already born and she held it on her lap and cuddled and crooned to it. The child must have been beautiful beyond compare, for her later descriptions were so wonderful that I heard her say years later, "If the Lord had asked me, I would have said ĎDonít take this one, Lord, take anyone but not this one She raised her eyes feeling someone else in the room, and was surprised to see her own mother, Sarah Fearn, coming toward her; the mother who had left this life before Prue left England. Sarah took the baby out of her daughterís arms saying, "Donít grieve for the children, Prue, I will take care of them for you." With these words she left the room with the new baby in her arms. And so came the conviction that the soul about to be born would not be allowed to stay with her. God had sent her mother to comfort her and give her strength.
In my batch of cherished papers there should be an article I sent to the Ensign. It describes the same incident in the life of Pres. Joseph F. Smith, son of Hyrum Smith. He is grieving for the loss of a loved child and his wife comes to show him that she will care for the child. His sorrow changes to joy and I saw a great demonstration of the love and justice of God to his children. Here were two experiences much alike, about the same year. In motherís case her mother spoke, thus giving her stronger comfort. One person was President of the restored church, the other did not even know there was a restored church. But the Lord judges by the desires of our hearts, and both these hearts, the man and the woman were equally worthy in His sight and He comforted them.
The article was not accepted - I had anticipated that it would not be, because of the mention of Pres. Smithís name. It would not be wise, but every word is true and the incident of Pres. Smithís can be read in his history. It is a precious memory to me that my motherís thoughts turned back to this experience again just about an hour before she suddenly left me. After nearly forty years it was still vivid in her mind and heart, and in the telling she never varied by a word.
Where Those Children Have Gone, Iíll Be Glad to Go
William Bannister was born and named on March 9, 1893, and after twenty days on earth, he returned to his Maker and was laid beside his brothers. His birth and death were registered at the same time. A local minister, hearing of the tragedy, and feeling bound to do his duty, astonished Prue by walking into the house and asking, "Madame, were your children baptized into a church?" "No sir, I donít believe in infant baptism, least of all in sprinkling." "Then your children have gone to hell," he said. Prue flung the door wide open and pointing to it she said, "Where those children have gone I will be glad to go, and if that is all the comfort you have to offer me, there is the door."
Now the family joined a Baptist church with the Reverend Houchins as minister. Here they were baptized by immersion and enjoyed their membership. This minister was a great friend to the children, taking them into the country for a change, and giving them a kangaroo for a playmate. Kate was given a doll for a present with a china face, black hair and dressed in black velvet. This was a fine reward for being confined to bed under mosquito netting with a case of measles Then George, Jr., came to mother on March 27, 1894 to help fill the vacancies left by the other three boys, and the idea for a returning to England continued to simmer under all other cares.
Schools continued on schedule, and Kate had to leave her kangaroo to return to the city. She remembers seeing her mom and dad baptized in the font in the chapel platform, and now she and Dan went to school together. Notebooks had to be provided by the parents, and when Kate bought toffee instead of a notebook, the inevitable spanking followed. She was now nine years old, Dan was six and George, Jr., was a babe one year old.
Prue decided that the time was right for going home - time to leave this land which a song described as "the scorching sunburned land of hell." For the second time her home was broken up, furnishings sold, pictures taken (I have one of Kate and Dan taken at this time) and goodbye parties held. Kate was asked to recite "The Three Little Kittens" and received her first colored dress. The boys still wore the customary white, which was Prueís favorite color for children. The four of them arrived in Sydney with time to spare before sailing. A good time was ahead, and the naturally effervescent nature that belonged to Prue was ready for some fun.
She left the children in good care and while looking around the town, saw the usual card advertising palm reading. This would be fun. She would fool the woman and slipping off her wedding ring she entered the store. One minute was all it took to break the deception as the chagrined mother heard the words, "You are the mother of six children, three of them you have buried. You will have three more and the last one will be the same sex as the first. You are going across the sea on a long voyage in an easterly direction, but later on in your life you will take another ocean voyage traveling to the west. Either on the day you arrive at your present destination, or the day after, you will attend a wedding of someone very close to you. Your life will be filled with many experiences, and your bones will not lie in the country to which you now journey." Prue walked out of the shop in a daze. She had got more than she bargained for. Served her right for trying to act a lie. Oh, well, it was only a joke anyhow; what could anyone see in a hand? She was going to rest on the ship. But who could it be that was going to get married soon? That palm reader must be a mile off. Nobody close to her was thinking of marriage, she was sure.
Kate and Dan were great favorites with both crew and passengers on the ship and for eight weeks my mother-to-be had a chance to take life easy and think of the future. To start off she was going to visit her brother William who had no bairns (children) but loved them dearly. She reached Southampton feeling ready to face the future. In due time she was saying "Hello" to her father in the station (depot) at West Hartlepool. He directed the little family to a waiting cab, and offered an introduction to a very prim lady already seated there. "Meet my future wife, Prue, this is Sally Douglas. We are being married tomorrow!"
...and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, ... And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.:Jeremiah 3:14,15
"Mama, mama", it was Kate who had run in from the street and the neighborhood children. "Mama, the children are saying ĎAway, awayí and they laugh at me because I donít know what they mean."
"Why, honey, they mean ĎCome alongí. They must want you to play with them."
Many incidents like the above soon earned the children the title of Ďforeignersí. Not that these Australian born youngsters did not speak English, but that they spoke it too well. Most of their homes, until the last one, in the never never land, had been sufficiently isolated so that Prue had the children to herself, without neighborhood competition. She saw to it that they used only correct speech. Idioms, dialects, brogue had no place in their conversation and an effort was made always to maintain this custom. "Dialect is just lazy peopleís English," the mother would say, and if you mean to say Ďnothingí then say Ďnothingí and donít say Ďnowtí like a Yorkshireman. School teachers were loud in their praise of the childrenís speech and also their politeness.
But sometimes, in my childhood, when my father was in a playful mood, he would recite some dialect to make us children laugh. "Would you like to hear the Yorkshiremanís advice to his son?" he would ask, and with the slightest encouragement he would say,
"Hear all, see all, say nowt (n-out, meaning nothing)
Eat all, drink all, pay nowt,
And if tha (thee) does owt (anything) for nowt,
Do it for thysen (thyself)"
Then he would slap his thigh, and his hearty laughter would drown out all the rest.
In due time the children became familiar with the local idioms, but never used any themselves. And as long as Kate was home, or near her brothers and sisters, she never tolerated its use by them either. Pronunciation was absorbed with the air they breathed. Some local idioms such as bairns for children, and other Scottish words crept in, but the Kingís English was never murdered as the letters and writings of my people confirmed. One of my wishes for all my children has been that they would learn to read, write and speak fluently with a good vocabulary. Whether the words are pronounced English fashion or American style is not too important.
It was good air, too, in the North East of England, on the shores of the North Sea, humid and cool, but heavenly to those who had known the scorching heat of Australia. A school for Kate and Dan was nearby, and Kate looked with longing at her Uncle Willís organ, on which she later took lessons and which was given to her just before Will died. However, by then she had an organ and piano of her own, for she loved music dearly, and with an inherited earnestness in religion, her music was mostly of a sacred nature.
Burn Valley Gardens was not far away from Cumberland St. It was always a nice spot for a walk. The sea shore provided never ending entertainment for the children when time permitted. The promenade was miles long on the ocean front, and the sand white and clean. Bare feet felt good paddling in the waves and concerts and bands were there to provide amusement. Pierrottes, dressed in white frilly suits with high pointed hats, all trimmed with black pom-pons, sang catchy songs and were highly popular in the summer time. Here is one I liked:
I do like to be beside the seaside,
I do like to be beside the sea,
I do like to stroll along the prom, prom, prom,
While the brass band plays fiddely om pom pom,
Oh I do like to stroll beside the sea side,
I do like to stroll beside the sea,
And theres lots of girls besides
That I like to be beside,
Beside the seaside, beside the sea.
But the family could not remain too long in two parts. Prue Faced her situation squarely, and decided she would not go back to Australia. She felt that pioneers in a new country needed some stronger inward help to sustain them than any she then knew. She had her picture of the three little crosses on a rock bound mound--no- she could not go through that again.
When the husband and father received this ultimatum there remained only one thing to do. He prepared for his return to England and by July, 1895, the family was united. George resumed his seagoing occupation, working on the engines of the ships. Sometimes he was on a ship that plied only between West Hartlepool and Germany, probably LeHavre. If the ship, when it came home, unloaded quickly and at once took on a new cargo, there was not time for George to leave the engine for a visit home. Then George Jr., and myself would get the job of taking a duffel bag filled with the next weeks food and also clean clothing to the ship and return with soiled clothing and messages. It was motherís practice to bake a supply of new bread, and in case the bread did not last out she included a bag of shipís biscuits. These were large plain affairs, very hard, but they seemed to make the trip to the docks a bit shorter when George and I chewed them on the way. There came a day when dad was home between voyages, and said "Prue, you sure cut me down on biscuits the last few trips, I could hardly make them last out." But, of course, I am around eleven years ahead of my tale in telling this now, seeing that I have not yet got myself born.
Any ship going on a longer voyage than one week, provided meals. Some were gone a week, some went to the Far East, and would be gone many months. My father was familiar with places in all parts of the world and entertained his family with stories galore. Anytime his ship touched France, he was sure to bring my mother a large plain bottle of Eau do Cologne, the real unadulterated stuff. It made a powerful astringent when a person had a headache, and was the only perfume my mother ever used. It became part of her personality to me. She never used too much, but always smelled so refreshing.
While speaking of ships and voyages, I may as well describe one scene in this connection that was indelibly printed on my mind in the nineteen years I lived in England. Dad would have returned, bathed, eaten, and relaxed. Then he and mother would sit at the table with lists and money before them. She had collected half pay from the shipping office periodically and Dad had been paid the other half by degrees in various ports. Now they were making an accounting and the lists were of money spent.
Father may have been stern, but he was true, and his shopping list was never long. Some perfume, a new blouse for mother, some tobacco was about all. One white blouse he brought home was covered with small glass beads all over the front, and it took all the courage mother had to wear such elaborate trimming. She was very conservative in her dress. Motherís list was longer; she having to meet the needs of the family, but the balance of the money on both sides was always there and some was set aside for the bank. It was a good example for a girl to see.
The father was at sea on July 30, 1896, when a flurry of excitement permeated his home, on 22 Cumberland Street. Here he had settled his family after their re-union, and no doubt previous arrangements had been made with Mrs. Ward, the neighbor and a doctor had been engaged. It was this doctor idea that had Prue worried, a man doctor? Old Granny Bland had been the only doctor she had known in childbirth in Australia, and everything went o.k. Why did George insist on a doctor now? Well, she would give the fellow little enough to do--such new fangled notions. So the children went to bed as usual, and around midnight Mrs. Ward heard the knock on the wall that partitioned the adjoining houses. This was the signal that she was needed, and the baby girl born that night heard the description of the event from Mrs. Ward later. "There I was having a beautiful sleep and I had to wake up, just to help a little bit of a baby, and what good is a baby?" But the laughter on the dear face told her real feelings.
With no telephones one wonders who else had to be wakened to go for the doctor, a good thirty minutes walk. But even when he arrived, mother wouldnít have him in the room. "You just wait downstairs, Iíll call you when I need you," she said, having decided she would not need him. When labor was far advanced "and not until" she boasted later, Prue opened the bedroom door a crack and called, "quick, Mrs. Ward, quick." I donít know if Dr. Jack was able to help, but he never seemed to bear a grudge for being ostracized. From then on he was our family doctor and friend, and women came to realize that doctors had much skill to offer them, though the ease of anesthesia was still unknown.
Thus began my life and I was named Mary after my motherís sister, who was to claim so much of motherís time during the next year. Kate was my mother for many months as Prue walked back and forth each day to nurse her sister until she finally passed away due to dropsy.
Still being mindful of the worth of religion, the family started to attend the Baptist church on Tower Street. As in the other Baptist churches the font was built under the pulpit platform and at stated times the boards were taken up for baptism by immersion.
After the birth of Annie on December 29, 1899, Kate became real serious about Ďbecoming a Christianí, which meant that she wanted to become a member of this Baptist church by baptism. But mother had found a tract under the front door, entitled, "Little Children Need no Baptism", and this being the subject nearest to her heart and mind she gave a hearty welcome to the two men who called later to see if she had read the tract. She postponed Kateís entreaties while she studied this new religion.
Elders Jones and Spencer were the titles by which these men were known. They were married men of thirty odd years, and were dressed in frock coats with satin lapels, and wore high shiny hats. It may have been to make themselves look more like the prevailing ministers, thinking it would give them easier access into peopleís homes, that made them dress in this manner. The idea was kept up for many years, and all missionaries were married men for many years thereafter. They explained that they were missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and in their pleasant way they discussed the subject of the tract. As evidenced by her reply to the minister in Australia, my motherís native intelligence told her that little children do not go to hell, so to know that "they are of the Kingdom of Heaven" fit right in with her idea.
The Elders Conduct Annieís Funeral
Many conversations followed on various religious topics, and when dad came home he was drawn into them also, with the result that when Annie passed away on June 15, 1901, Elders Jones and Spencer were asked to conduct the funeral services. I have a faint memory of standing beside a coffin in our home, but the recollection is very strong of riding in a cab to the cemetery. It happened that two acquaintances were walking along the main road on our route, and I remember waving to them, quite excited with these unusual proceedings. I had on the usual dress of white embroidery, and was too young to realize the heart break of my parents.
The week previous to Annieís sickness Kate had been baptized into the Baptist church, and as mother could not leave Annie, she went alone. Mother tried hard to persuade her to wait, and listen to these two men, but Kate was obsessed with the desire to be a Christian, and Mormonism had no good reputation in those days. This decision cost Kate the company of her own family in the last forty years of her life, as one by one her folks gathered to Zion. But she was truly a Christian all the days of her life. In service to her fellowmen she had no peer. She was never so happy as when doing a good turn for someone, and she remained a spectator towards Mormonism always. (See letters at end of book). Mother now made the decision that Mormonism, so called, was a divine restored Gospel, but in her new found joy she allowed her enthusiasm to lead her into an indiscretion that caused a rift between her and her husband for fifteen years or more.
Prudence and Dan Baptized
Instead of waiting Dadís return from sea and securing his permission and possibly his company, she and Dan were baptized on July 16, 1901. George was baptized on October 15, 1902, his eighth birthday, Dad being at sea on each occasion. If this was not the reason that Dad was hurt and became stubborn, some other item must have crossed him, for he told mother, "You have got the boys, but you will never get the girls." How he stuck to this resolution will be told later, but the bitterness encompassed all my life in England, and Dad never attended any church in that period of time.
But I was still undisturbed by these events. My life was the usual happy carefree life of a loved child. The "Belle of Durham Street" was welcome in the homes of the Calderwoods, the Hopes, Wards, and the little bakery shop of Mrs. Pybus. How delicious the fresh teacakes and the bread and cakes smelled! There was a yearly outing in Winyard Park, for the free Gardeners, whoever they were. Oh, the joy of getting in those Char-a-bancs. They were like a high open buss (no top) drawn by horses. When they came to a bank all the occupants let go---Eeeeee---weíve come to a bank! Lunches were handed around in a bag. Always there would be large red gooseberries, the size of large walnuts, and so sweet. So little it takes to make a child happy.
Now we moved to the other end of the street, No. 97 Durham Street. Possibly because it was close to the school. Here on July 12, 1903, my sister Prudence was born.
I remember that Sunday so plain, it being just 18 days more to my seventh birthday. George and I had been to the LDS Sunday School, which was held in one room of the Odd-fellows Hall. Rushing into the house we found Kate fixing the dinner. As soon as she said, "Your mother has a surprise for you," I shouted "A baby, a baby," and was already half way up the stairs.
How pretty my darling mother looked! Lovely embroidery frills round her neck and all over the front and cuffs of her nightdress--her own beautiful handmade lace all around the pillow cases and sheets. No seven year old girl ever had a more adorable parent. As I approached the bed she held out her arms for me, and I looked all over for the new addition. "Where is it mother, let me see," and then she moved down the covers on the other side of the bed and took up a tiny, tiny bundle. Filled with tremendous disappointment, I burst out crying, "Youíre teasing me, its just my doll." I could not be comforted until I heard the baby cry (dolls were not yet made to cry). Not until then did I believe that "it" was real. So tiny she was; a head no bigger than a teacup. My doll was indeed as big as this baby.
Young Prudence ("Peggy") is Born
It was while mother was still confined, ten days in bed being the rule then, that with the help of Dr. Jack I blew my nose for the first time. Two large blocks of semi-solid substance were discharged, and I have often wondered if this was the beginning of the injury to my ears which left me partially deaf from then on. Anyway, I was real proud of my new accomplishment and used a handkerchief constantly. Mrs. Hewlett, who owned a drapery store nearby dropped a note of caution. "Mary, if I were you I wouldnít blow my nose so much, you might blow it off." The Belle of Durham Street would look funny without a nose. So I took the hint.
See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
The English schools around 1900 were a lot different from the schools of America, 1962. Girls and boys had separate schools, the boys having men teachers and a Master, and the girls having women teachers and a Head Mistress, as we called her. The only time we ever joined efforts at all was at Christmas time when the high grades joined to sing the Hallelujah chorus. The schedule of classes for each class room was fastened to the class door each Monday morning so that teacher and pupils alike knew exactly what was coming up. As each school followed the same schedule, a child could change schools at any time and never miss a class or feel interrupted in any way. The emphasis was on study, with two physical education assignments per week. These took the form of learning fancy drills with dumb bells and clubs which ended in a huge assembly of all schools giving a show in fancy drills of every kind once a year. Once in a while we got a short period to jump our ropes or play ball, these being our only diversion from concentrated study. Each morning and afternoon a certain bell summoned the children to form into lines (according to classes) in the school yard. They marched into class rooms and the huge gates in the high brick walls around the school yard were then locked.
No doubt this last fact was an influence in having the teachers allow me to stay in school when I started to sneak into the lines. It was a nuisance to show me the way out through the buildings, I suppose. George was allowed to take me to school occasionally when I was three years old. Once I had my picture taken with his class, and I can see a shy little girl in a white dress with her finger in her mouth. I must have loved to be there. I knew the exact time to be at the school gate to get into line and march in. After a few of these incidents I was allowed to stay, and in spite of some trials, my love for school has never left me to this day. I have just finished a course in journalism by correspondence, earning a diploma, and was told I could earn a living by writing. Each year as schools start even now, I ponder over the programs of classes and wish I could hear well, for then I would take this and this, Oh, well--
We did have one more wonderful day in school each year when I was nearing twelve years. That was on Empire Day. The kids sang "Empire Day is the 24th of May, If you donít give us a holiday, weíll all run away." The children from each school walked to the promenade. I suppose an airplane, if there had been one in those days, would have seen double lines of children moving like the spokes of a wheel through the city toward one spot on the beach promenade. This was the park area around the band stand where there was a large circle of bleachers and we children moved into these seats forming a vivid bank of color. Here we sang "Land of hope and Glory, mother of the free How can we extol thee, who are born of thee, etc., Lord God of Hosts be with us yet, lest we forget, lest we forget" in all Rudyard Kiplingís famous words. "The Maple Leaf Forever" was for Canada, and each part of the British Empire was represented by song. The dashing of the waves against the huge rocks added to the band which was our accompaniment. "God Save Our King or Queen" is still sung, but the Empire is practically non-existent as of 1962.
Miss Ogle was my first teacher. She is on the picture mentioned above with George and me. Now when I see a pedigree of that name, I often wonder if it would belong to her. Of course, she may only have been around twenty-two, but to a f our-year old she looked like an old women, and I held her in much awe. We had our painting lessons in the very first grade, with brushes and real paint. It needed a real good twist with the brush in the paint to get a nice point, then we pressed the brush on our paper, point first, lowering the brush gradually until it touched the paper to the bottom of the brush. Then we had to lift it carefully and it should have left a nice shaped blob. Alas, the paint was too thin one day and it ran in a stream from the bottom of the blob to the bottom of the paper. Oh, dear me, such trouble for a little girl! Miss Ogle ordered me to the corner to stand with my pinafore over my face. Just then the head mistress came in (Iím sure she was an old women) and inquired the reason of my tears, for by now I was crying hard. Some diplomacy she used must have satisfied Miss Ogle and justice, and I was allowed to return to my seat.
Maryís Love of School
But nothing daunted my love for school. Such fine sewing we did! Hemming that took just one thread of the material, and fine gathering which we stroked with our needle until it looked like some machine had set it in fine rows. Then later my favorite was English, using Shakespeare for parsing and analyzing, for drama, for memorizing, for spelling, too, until we certainly knew our Shakespeare. Of course, we used other poets and authors, too. Wordsworths "Daffodils" was a favorite, which I still recite to myself along with many more, being as word perfect now as I was when I learned them. In fact, it is easier to remember those chapters or memorizing than it is to remember what happened last week. Wonderful thing - memory, how important that we build happy ones.
Another favorite period was the first hour of school each morning. A non-sectarian minister came to teach us the Bible. We were required to memorize many chapters of scripture, and we studied all the books in the Bible. Each year we had an examination of the yearís work, and on my book shelves is the Bible I won one year. Many times and still today, I am grateful for that schooling in the scriptures.
It was a questionable honor, albeit one I worked hard to earn, that I invariably sat on the back row of the class, the one furthest from the teacher (and requiring the best hearing). This was the coveted row of the highest grade scholars, and I never remember being less than third from the highest seat in that row. Because I didnít hear the teacher too well, I knew I had to depend on my own resources, so I studied extra hard. This trait has been helpful to me all my life, but it didnít help one day when the teacher asked me to take a message somewhere. I heard or deduced that much, but to whom the message had to go or what it was about I had no idea. Too shy to admit it, I left the room as if I knew, and hid in the cloak room until the yard gate was opened and then ran home. I suppose mother must have made it right, for I never heard anymore about it, but there was nothing done for physical defects of that kind in the early 1900ís. Dr. Jack used to have me fill my mouth with water, and he filled a syringe with water, when he said "swallow", he also let go in my ears with the syringe full at the same time. It was like a cannon going off in my head and was supposed to blow away any obstacles in the ear canals. I suppose this was the extent of knowledge in that day.
Eight grades of learning was the general rule, but they were crammed with real value. I never was very fluent in French possibly because I didnít hear the tones, but anyway, Dan and George and I were all through our eight grades when we were twelve years old. As mother did not want them to get a work permit, nor me of course, we just stayed at school and repeated the work until we were 14. The rest of the boyís education was taken along with their vocation, part work and part school, until they were twenty one.
My choice was to be a teacher, but poor hearing made this impossible as also was secretarial work for the same reason. Then mother met a friend who had a daughter in a tailoring shop, and this not needing hearing, I was started in this trade. Six months for no wages, and six months for a half crown per week (60 cents) was the price I had to pay for carrying two meals and working from eight a.m. to eight p.m. six days a week. All I ever learned there was how to pick out bastings and make buttonholes. When the head cutter went into business for himself, I went with him and learned to make vests.
Mary Asks Permission to be Baptized
Now was the time that I plucked up my courage to ask Dad if I could be baptized. I had been studying a lot of theology, had good arguments with my associates, had read much of Theosophy through Marie Correlliís books, and wished very much that the Mormons had a nice church to meet in like the Baptists did, but they did get a new hall called the Villiers Hall, and it was nice and clean. At this time my father was having a spell on land, in charge of the electrical plant that generated the power for the city in East Hartlepool, so he was home the same as any other man. We lived in Bath Street, Hartlepool. Our house faced the North Sea and was lashed with its gales in the winter. George and I were walking around five miles each way to the Mormon Sunday School in West Hartlepool, a most interesting walk through the docks, but still a long way. Many times I had broached the subject of baptism to Dad only to be put off, and mother would say nothing, thinking no doubt of the fuss that was made when the boys were baptized. So it was up to me.
"What do you want to be baptized for? Youíre good enough for me the way you are." "Dad, I have studied hard, and I know Mormonism is for me. Itís the truth, please let me be baptized." "Oh, forget it, here take this and buy some candy," offering me some money.
"I donít want your money, Dad, I want to be baptized and nothing else." By this time I was crying hard, it was like knocking my head against a stone wall. That night Dad said to Mother. "Mary asked again if she could be baptized. She certainly must be serious, because she wouldnít touch my money."
"Why donít you give your permission, George?" mother said. "You have nothing to lose and your continued refusal will only build up a bitterness against you.
"All right, tell her she can go ahead."
When mother gave me the news the next day I was overjoyed. We made a date with the elders at once, for I was afraid Dad might change his mind. Carpets along the hall, up the stairs, and in the parlor were taken up. Large tubs were placed in the parlor for the men, the women got the bathroom. Dad was not present when Elder Ben A. Crichelow walked with me into the North Sea.
The night was cold and windy and to make matters worse the tide was going out. Just as there seemed to be plenty of water for a dip, the wave receded and left us high and dry. We walked further out and further out and finally the ordinance was performed. When I witness baptisms today in the warm-water fonts and notice how careful they are that the candidates are fully immersed, I wonder how anybody could have seen if the job was well done that night. Perhaps I missed a hand or something, because there came a down pour of rain, as if it would make sure that I was wet all over. There was no moon or light of any kind and it seemed miles back to the folk on the beach. We scrambled up the cliff and over to the house in our wet clothes, dragging in a load of sand for me to clean up the next day.
After dressing we assembled in our kitchen, which was like a dining room with a fireplace, and there I was confirmed by Elder Laws. At last I was a fully accredited member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
About this time the West Hartlepool branch gained some new members, Nellie, Annie, Auntie, and Arthur Bolton. The two sisters and their brother were professional banjo players (The Bolton Trio) and mother invited them to our home knowing how much it would please her husband. The marvelous skill the artists showed gave us all a thrill and arrangements were made to purchase a zither banjo for me (Dad and the boys used the open back six string type) with Nellie as my teacher.
How proud I was to carry that banjo over five miles or more each way between our house and Nellieís. I never became a marvelous player, and never could tune the thing correctly myself (to Dadís great annoyance) but the chance to be with Nellie meant as much to me as the lesson for I used to think that if I could grow up to be like her I would be satisfied. Little did I dream that she was going to be related to me. She is now (1962) my brother Danís widow.
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.Matthew 24:6
Dan Leaves for America; Kate Weds
Not long after my baptism, Dan decided to go to America. He was keeping company with a young lady named Miss Ghent and had finished the schooling that made him an electrical engineer. The Elders had told him of the good opportunities for a young man of his caliber in the United States. He decided to try his luck in Michigan. Motherís sister, Matilda, or Aunt Till as we called her, lived in Pontiac, so to Pontiac Dan went. He took the position of electrical maintenance engineer in the Oakland Auto Plant and in due time the correspondence with Miss Ghent died away.
My brother George entered the shipbuilding trade and with a mixed course of school and work he came to the last month or so of graduating as a machine tool maker when Kitchener called for troops in World War 1 (1915). George and many others were given their diplomas and joined the Army.
On the 21st of April, 1908, Kate had left her employment among the gentry to marry Harry Edward Turnbull who was a member of the same Baptist church as she. 1908 was something to remember. The world was at peace, such terms as "cold war" were unknown, and a wedding could be planned with all the frills of the period. A long line of cabs with white horses waited outside the church to take the guests to Villiers Hall for the reception. How beautiful those horses looked with white ribbon rosettes on foreheads and ears. Tails were braided with white ribbons, the whips had long white streamers, and drivers dressed in formal attire with white flowers in their coats. The chapel was full but sufficient cabs had been hired to take all to the hall. (The same hall used by the Mormons on Sundays).
The reception started at 2:00 p.m. and lasted until 2:00 a.m. The dining room, off the main dancing floor, was open continually for those who needed refreshment. Three large urns kept tea and coffee going (remember these people are not LDS) and large trays such as they use in bakery vans were coming with fresh goods every hour from a nearby bakery. Plenty of women served at the long tables and dancing was enjoyed by the young people in the main hall. The book of life did not have a wedding with so fine trappings for any of the rest of us but Dan and I did get something even better, which was a marriage for eternity. By the time I was working for Mr. Atkinson, Harry and Kate had a daughter named Kathleen.
Dadís years on shore at the Electrical Station had been much brightened by the company of Prue. She was never a strong child, suffering much with a kidney ailment. Dad taught her to sing well, and also to clog dance, which was one of Dadís own accomplishments. Prueís fancy wooden soled shoes had hollow heels with bells in and had black leather tops with fancy white and red trimmings and ribbons. She became an expert dancer. (It is called tap dancing now)
When Dad left the Electrical Plant we moved back to West Hartlepool and were much nearer the LDS branch. I started to attend the M.I.A., which consisted of six members from teens to sixty odd years. We studied the Apostasy and the knowledge I gained then added much to my testimony of the Restoration.
Ever since I had been baptized the spirit of gathering possessed me; so when I began earning wages I also started to save towards this end. There was no hope that I could go before I was twenty-one and lawfully independent, but a project of this size needed much time to save the amount necessary.
Although the parents of the Bolton family never joined the church, they were willing to move to Utah to please their children, and by this time were settled in Salt Lake City. Others gathered to Zion periodically and the spirit was contagious.
Bannisters Entertain Elders: a ĎHome Away From Homeí
When father was home from sea he gave the elders wonderful entertainment with songs, music and dance. Motherís sweet soprano seemed to me to be the most lovely gift a person could have and young Prue could do her part in song and dance. A banjo solo or a reading or a banjo accompaniment to Prueís step dancing was all I was able to volunteer. I feel sorry for the modern missionaries who have no time to visit and mix with the Saints. Undoubtedly they make more converts, but I am glad to have known the joy of having missionaries in our home. We never forgot that they were servants of the Most High, and their presence helped us to bear some of the domestic and other problems incident to joining the church.
The Elders regarded our home as their home away from home. They said "Mother" far more often than they said "Sister Bannister" when they spoke to mother. When landladies found themselves unable to bear the gossip and ostracism incident to sheltering missionaries who would then be asked to leave, our home would be the richer for a week or two by their presence until a new boarding house was found. On one of these occasions Elder ....... was very sick, and mother nursed him back to health. His parents sent a fine letter of thanks, saying that they would welcome an opportunity to return the service. This chance came sooner than any of us expected.
As my sewing skill increased I became the official tailor for all the missionaries. Most of them had to be very careful to make ends meet, and were grateful for my help. I also began to do sewing for others in the evenings to increase my savings. I even tried mending my own shoes on the last Dad had used for that purpose through all our growing days. Between voyages he did a fine job on our shoes, but my work was mighty clumsy. The war that was expected to end each week dragged on its weary way, and men became more scarce.
German Bombardment of West Hartlepool
One morning about 7:30 a.m. I was coming down stairs for breakfast when the silence was split with loud roars. Shells were flying overhead and people were filling the streets shouting "the Germans have come, the Germans have come." Mother was kneeling on the floor in front of a huge brown basin about the size of a small wash tub in which she was mixing the ingredients for our usual big Christmas cake. Leaving the dry mixture, she told Prue and me to stay indoors while she left to see if help was needed.
The firing lasted about half an hour, and it proved to be the first overt act of modern warfare. Heretofore wars had been conducted according to rules in which civilians were protected; but from this point on, rules were forgotten and civilians were part of the spoils of war as far as the Germans were concerned. Four German warships had fired broadside on our defenseless city, coming to the coast under the protection of the fog. Hundreds of innocent people were killed, their blood flowed down the streets, and the populace rushed to get into the country.
"Well," said mother, as she returned home and reported that the dead and wounded had been carried into schools and churches, "if I have to run Iím not leaving my good cake for any German." So she proceeded to finish baking the mixture. The day quieted down, the defense became alert to these sneak attacks, and an era of bloody, senseless cold blooded killing of any and all had come into existence.
This was a period of baking cakes to send to George Jr., in France supposing they would make the trenches somewhat easier to bear. Lots of carbolic soap was sent too, with woolen socks. Women were knitting like fury. One sock per day was motherís boast. The time came when George said "Never mind the soap mother, the only way to get rid of the vermin is to hang our clothes in front of the machine gun and blow them away, clothes and all." Mud and lice were the daily portion of men raised to refinement. Three times George was the sole survivor of his group, but he lived to return home at the end of the war which was a long time after the bombardment.
Cleaning the Chapel on Osborne Road
The Latter-day Saints of West Hartlepool had acquired a small chapel of their own on Osborne Road. The members used to carry their buckets with soap and brushes to clean it quite often. Remember, we had no cars to pop our buckets in. I canít honestly say I enjoyed carrying my bucket and soap and cloths through the street. It made me conspicuous and people stared, wondering what a young girl was doing - going through the streets with a bucket. The whole building floor, which was like a box, was covered with plain brown linoleum. We women got down on our knees and started in different places and washed and scrubbed until the whole area had been covered. The job must have been much harder when soap was rationed, but I was in America by then. We were proud of the big sign at the back of the pulpit saying, "The Glory of God is Intelligence." The men of the branch were taken into the war, one after another, and then came an order from Mission Headquarters to the effect that all missionaries were to be evacuated from England by November of that year, 1915. The branches were to be left under local management and all Saints desiring to go to Zion must be ready to sail on that same date. The Church would sanction no more emigration from then on until the end of the war.
The history of the church in Britain is a history of emigrants who sailed with full faith of a safe voyage when they sailed under the direction of the Priesthood. Captains not of the L.D.S. faith did not worry about storms with our people on board. Many stories were told of the Lordís protection over the ships on which the LDS people sailed. Many sea captains gained a knowledge of the care of the Lord over us.
Lusitania Moves Up Maryís America Plans by Two Years
The sinking of the Lusitania at this time, May 1915, was a jolt to the whole world. Exactly 1,198 people perished, sent to their death by one submarine. But the power of the Priesthood was stronger than submarines, and though few saints would have ventured on the ocean on their own responsibility, we were still unafraid when we had the blessing of the servants of Almighty God. So all the Saints who had any idea of gathering, began to get ready for the set day, November, 1915, to travel under Divine protection.
I now began to do some close figuring, only to learn that though I saved steadily until the last week allowed, I would still lack around $40 of the necessary amount. I knew the uselessness of expecting my father to help me financially; in fact, my best chance of getting his permission would be to wait for two more years, both for my age and money. (Many times I wished I had waited for the end of the war).
Missionaries were well used to these family problems, for it was very rare that a complete family belonged to the church; and knowing of my ambition to gather to Zion, Elders H.... and......soon learned how matters stood.
But bread cast on the water, as the Scripture says, returns after many days. A few weeks later Elder.....came to say that his parents had sent the balance needed to purchase the ticket. (It was around $40 I think. Maybe not so much. I canít remember). They saw the chance to repay motherís kindness to their son in sickness. Of course, if I used it I would repay it as soon as I was working. There still remained the $30 that was required for each one to have, called landing money. This was to take care of us until we found work; insurance against Uncle Sam having to support us. Well, what could be done?
I have many times since had occasion to think what a difficult period this was for my mother. It was now June, 1915. I would be 19 years old in July and she made no protest to my plans to leave her--alone except for 12 year old Prue, and in war. She knew from her own experiences that I would become homesick; in fact, Dan wrote from Michigan at this time saying that if I got only half as homesick as he had done, he would say "God help me."
"Do you still want to go?" mother asked. And in the ignorance that is bliss, or else filled with the faith of a child in its simplicity, I answered, "Yes, mother, there is no problem really. The Lord says that if I pay my tithing it will be a land of Zion unto me, and I know I will pay my tithing." So it was decided that I should ask dad for his consent the next time he came home from sea, which turned out to be July. Mother had the spirit of gathering, too, and she wanted me to have companions in the church. It was a right move, she thought, so we let the matter of landing money drift, until we learned the results of the interview with dad.
Well, it was over now, I could go, dad said, but my heart was sore already. Would mother ever see Zion? My brave front to dad not withstanding. Would dad ever join the church? In spite of his heated denials? I would have liked to see into the future, but a wise providence denied the vision. Father in Heaven seemed to have guided events so far. He could be trusted with the future. When that future proved harder and almost more than I could bear, I was led to wish that I had waited until I was 21, when I would have had sufficient money to be independent of the charity of friends. But maybe this was the Lordís way to bring dad to his knees.
"And it shall come to pass that the righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with songs of everlasting joy." D&C 45:71
"If I had known she loved me so much, I would not have had the courage to leave home."
This was my thought as I sat beside mother in the third-class compartment of the train that was going to take us to Liverpool. I was looking at Kate standing on the platform and wiping her eyes. She had come to see us off and I canít remember if her baby was with her. We had never been a family that gave much demonstration of our affection, and Kate had been away from home so many years before her marriage that we had had no chance to bridge the ten years between us. But she had spent many hours caring for me when I was small and loved to brush and train my hair into lovely curls. Now I was realizing the depths of blood ties, and my heart was nigh to bursting.
"All aboard," shouted the conductor as he came along the platform, slamming the door in each little compartment. I let down the window and leaned out waving until she was out of sight. The definitness of this journey was sinking into my soul. A journey of this kind in November, 1915, meant forever. Goodbye was a word used only on occasions of this kind because it was so very very seldom that a return trip could be afforded. I thought of my farewell speech in church the previous Sunday night and the book the saints had given me seemed very precious, "Jesus The Christ," by James A. Talmage. It gave me many hours of comfort later.
"Well, mother, off we go," and the optimism of youth bubbled to the surface. She smiled bravely, and I, in the bliss of ignorance, had no conception of her suffering.
Reaching Liverpool after dark, we took a taxi to the L.D.S. Headquarters at Durham House, Edge Lane. I do not remember who was Mission President then, but Sister Aspinall of West Hartlepool branch was cook at that time, and she took us into the kitchen to show us the cooking range. This was the first time mother and I had seen an American coal range, and mother thought it was wonderful. There were six lids and plenty of space on top, a large oven, and a water tank on the side.
"Fancy having all that room for pans," mother said, mentally comparing it with the trick of juggling one pan on an open fire and trying to keep another boiling on the hob, at the same time keeping enough fire pushed under the oven to keep the roast cooking.
"It would be fun to cook on a stove like this" she said, and I mentally resolved that she should have one when she followed me to America. I had full faith that she would come, and I was glad to see her momentarily uplifted.
We were given directions by the Mission President to spend the night at a certain home and to be at the docks by dawn the next morning. The town had no glimmer of light as we walked through the streets. It was a total war black out, and a dear sister opened the door just wide enough to let us slip through. After a short sleep we entered the dark night again, and made our way to the docks. Here everything was camouflaged. We went through a maze of temporary passageways until we were halted near the gang plank.
Now came the dreaded moment. How can one describe such an overpowering rush of heart to throat, and a mind full of things shouting to be said! I loved my mother dearly, the Gospel ties were strong between us. Prue was only 12, Kate had no knowledge of Mormonism, Dan had left home, George was in the trenches, Dad was somewhere on the ocean, and now I was leaving and all the missionaries in Britain were leaving on this ship!
God gave us strength and we shed no tears in each otherís sight. One last hard embrace, and I started up the gang plank. When I found my way to the railing at the dock side of the ship, the morning light had broken enough to show a small person where I had left mother. We waved and when the ship slipped from the shore, she turned and entered the maze of passages again.
"Come on now, letís have a run around the deck and see what we can find." It was Elder H..... who had been one of mothers "sons" and how grateful I was for his thought of me. He grabbed my arm and started talking fast until the crisis past. Days on board were not bad, I had a lovely room, 2nd class, private bath and shared with only one person. Nights were long, no lights being allowed at all after dark. We just had to retire and talk.
Being November it was cold on deck and one needed to dress warm. There came a couple of days when I felt squeamish and preferred to stay on deck all the time. The steward bundled me up in blankets on a deck chair and trays were brought around every hour with delicious items of food, so I had no need to go to the dining room at all.
The luxury of these pre-war steamers was almost beyond belief as compared to the tourist accommodations offered in 1949, when I returned to England. In 1915 stewards were always on hand to make a person comfortable and service, food, and cabins were superlative.
After some hours on deck, dressed in my suit, plus overcoat, I decided one day to go to the dining room for supper. Kind Elder H..... was in the next deck chair to me when I announced my decision, and he immediately offered to see me safely to my state room to prepare my toilet for this event. It was customary then for second class passengers to don evening dress for dinner, however, we could pass muster with the addition of some lace and imitation jewelry. This is all the evening dressing up I could do and though it never got me an invitation to the Captainís table, I was well content.
"I will manage champion"
"No, no, never mind. Please donít bother. I will manage champion" and I succeeded in leaving the deck alone. It was instinctive with me not to bother anyone. I would rather serve than be served. This night was to teach me a lesson.
The ship was pitching and rolling, but I passed into the salon from the deck and reached the first flight of stairs which ended on the dining room level. Here I was to turn about face and descend one more flight to my stateroom. I remember seeing the first stairway, and my next remembrance is being in bed, undressed of all my clothing with a doctor and nurse and some of the Elders in the room. Someone had picked me up at the bottom of the second flight and how I got there is a mystery to me.
Anyway, the Elders administered to me and I was kept in bed for three days. So between one thing and another I didnít have many dinners in the dining room.
"You are too independent. You will never be liked in America if you donít change!"
It was Elder H..... speaking and reminding me that I should have accepted his help. This was a new idea to me, for I had been trained to be self-sufficient and it disturbed me to bother anyone. I was later to learn that love and service are synonymous and children taught to serve in the right spirit develop love towards those they serve. I made a resolve then to remember the lesson and to try to conquer my shyness at least to the point of being able to accept a favor and deliver an honest compliment. Insincerity was not possible to me, the talk that is tossed off without meaning baffled me then and now. But from this time on I looked for some item, no matter how small, that I could sincerely praise in my associates.
Nine days at sea were nearing an end. We had been protected from harm and one night before entering New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Canada, the ship was gaily lighted from bow to stern. America was neutral and it was reasonably safe that no submarines would lurk near her coast. Men still showed faith in the old-time standards of conducting war; faith so soon after to be shattered forever.
All through the voyage the Elders had been cautioning all emigrants about the stern exam we would have to pass concerning polygamy and our church. In those days elders went abroad only to bring girls to Utah to make them into polygamous wives, so the people thought, and the U.S. authorities believed it as much as anyone. So the coming interview with U.S. immigration authorities was dreaded by all of us.
"Do You Believe In Polygamy"
"Are you going to Utah to be married?" the officer asked as I sat in front of his desk.
"No, sir," I replied.
"Do you believe in polygamy?"
"Are you going to marry one of these fellows on the ship?"
"None of them have asked me to, sir."
"Would you be a second wife to anyone?í
"No, sir" and the questions went on and on, always trying to get an admission that polygamy was practised in Utah. One woman admitted she was going to marry a man in Utah and she was turned back.
But the red tape came to an end and we left the ship to enter the train, which was standing close by. We travelled through Canada to Niagra Falls at which point we crossed the border into America. Imagine our astonishment to see young men all over and cities lit up like Christmas trees! I thought, "these people donít know there is a war on." And it was certainly true. I had hoped that Dan would be in Chicago where we changed trains, but I had no idea of the size of America and the hours of travel between Pontiac, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois. So I did not see him. I was Zion bound! No Pontiac would do for me!
I wanted to be near the Temple and the crowds of Latter-day Saints Immigration authorities or not, I had told mother I would marry a Yankee Mormon and my children were going to be raised among the Saints! I would pay my tithing and it would be a land of Zion unto me, the Lord had said, and I believed Him. And so with these and other thoughts in my mind the train took me into Utah.
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations;
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ;1 Peter 1:6,7
As the train wound in and around the Rocky Mountains I gazed in awe at the deep snow. It was a strange and rather frightening experience for a girl who had never seen a mountain, nor more than a few flakes of snow. The scenery in Ogden Canyon was breath taking, but after we pulled out of Ogden "station" next stop: Salt Lake City, my breath was caught in a different manner.
"Mary, I surely would like to buy a new suit while I am in Salt Lake City. Could you lend me $25 until I get home. Then I will pay you back." It was Elder..... speaking and I was a bit flustered. I knew how shabby his suit was, for I had been trying to make it last out his mission with frequent repairs. But what to do? I had only a little change over the $30 landing money which $30 I had promised to return to mother as soon as I got a job. I was hoping and praying that I would find work in the first few days I was in Salt Lake so that I would not have to be dependent upon anybody. But if I had only $5 I could not stay so long in Salt Lake nor were my chances of work so good. However, although I felt it rather hard to be put on the spot, I was forced to remember that I was indebted to this manís parents for the loan of part of my passage money. Anyway, I had not yet learned how to defend myself. I gave Elder ..... the $25 and entered Salt Lake City with only $5 and a little change in my purse. Although the loan multiplied my difficulties, I could see how the young man would want to look fine when he went home. I think now that he knew too, if he had not used this strategy, he would probably have had to wait quite a while for a suit, for, I was later to learn, ready cash was almost non-existent among farmers. And when I learned that eggs were taken in exchange for other items, I felt that I had really come among pioneers.
The train pulled into Salt Lake City and I looked eagerly around for Nellie Bolton. Although her people did not belong to the church, they had graciously consented to my staying there for a few days while I looked for work.
Looking For Work in Zion
Nellie was now engaged to my brother Dan. He had been touring the United States and called on her while in Salt Lake. At that time Nellie was trying to decide whom she should marry among a few eligible batchelors who were pressing for an answer. She related to me, "I found myself telling Dan about it and he suggested that I Ďchuck them all up and marry him. As soon as he spoke I knew that was what I had always been waiting for." Now Dan was back in Pontiac, Michigan, superintendent of electrical maintenance for the Oakland Motor Car Company, and Nellie was waiting to join him.
We walked up South Temple and my eyes looked upon the Temple of our Lord. I thought "How can it be built here in the centre of town where all eyes can see it?" I smile now wondering if I expected it to be wrapped in cotton wool or in some other way kept from the light of day? A tour of Temple Square was taken immediately and then we went to Nellieís home in Highland Park. It was almost in the open country in 1915, but Mr. Bolton and Arthur had built a fine home of cement and had begun to feel really settled in Utah.
I started at once looking for work, only to find that the stores had hired all the extra help for Christmas that they needed. Tailoring was slack and would not be busy until spring. I could not find even housework. There was no Welfare Plan to help out in those days and now began that terrible feeling that maybe I wouldnít have a chance of work to pay tithing on and so prove my faith. This was a possibility that I had never included in my plans at all!
It was during these few days that I went to my first house party in America. On the way over Nellie coached me. "Now the first thing they will tell you, Molly (Nellieís own version of my name) is that you have a beautiful complexion." This was news to me, I was just an ordinary girl in England, and I had never heard any remarks about complexions. We had always used rain water for everything but drinking. Everybodyís skin was soft as a babyís and cheeks were rosy red, even on the men! Sure enough, at the party I heard American girls "rave" about English complexions and mine in particular. I guess I liked it in a way, but I squirmed, too, for I was very shy yet, and this open talk about someone in the company was not "done" in England.
It was heady stuff, to be flattered and told you were beautiful, but it couldnít have done much damage, for when a few months later I was asked what I thought about the American people I replied, "They talk an awful lot, but they donít mean half of what they say.
Perhaps I was thinking of the terrible effort to find a job when, on the same occasion I was asked "What do you think of Utah?" and I shot back "It covers a lot of territory but there isnít much to it!"
A week, ten days passed away and no work had been found. needed to make a decision. My big hope of being independent right away was rapidly fading away. However, before taking advantage of the home offered me so kindly by my sponsor, the parents of Elder .... I decided I would like to try my luck in Ogden.
This was the residence of Elder Hancock who had loved mother so much and who had helped at the parting. We phoned him up and I received a hearty invitation to join his family for the Christmas season. Elder Hancock and his parents were living with his married sister in a huge three-story house. What a glorious Christmas tree they had; and food galore.
A teen-age son had the job of taking me around town, but I had no luck at all. I needed a friend with some pull, I guess for I could not find a job for myself. I have never lost the feeling of fear that smothered me then. Each time I am in Salt Lake it returns as strong as if it were yesterday. This new world that had no work was crushing all my plans. It was terrifying!
Because Elder Hancock and his parents were themselves only guests of his sisterís bounty, they could not keep me long and I had no choice left but to accept the hospitality so kindly offered me by my sponsors. I counted my remaining change and had just enough to buy a ticket to the small country town near Logan, where these people lived.
"...and if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou .... that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.D&C 122: 7-8
How beautiful and serene are the small towns of Utah. The peaceful quietness, the spaciousness, the surrounding mountains, all make lovely scenery. How many times then and in later years after my marriage when I returned to Utah, did I have cause to wonder that anybody could be unhappy among such beauty. But all my problems needed work and wages to resolve them, and how utterly impossible it was to find any.
My new friends marvelled at my pretty nightgowns and underwear. The young girls felt and fitted and raved over the tucks and embroidery, etc.
Letter From Home
Now I received the first letter from mother who was very lonely. The war that was going to end every week dragged on; she did not know where my father was on the ocean nor when, if ever, he would be back. Submarines were ending many ships in the merchant trade. George was living a hell with a machine gun in the trenches of France, to whom mother sent lovely wool socks every week, carbolic soap, etc. He finally told her to save her efforts, for the only way to kill the bugs was to put his clothes in front of the machine gun and blow both bugs and clothes away. Mother wrote to me, "The days are long enough but the nights are endless, and almost I wish I could die and be done with it all." Only one who knew the merry heart of my mother through many years could realize all those words told to me. The dam broke, the tears that had been held back in Liverpool, in Salt Lake and Ogden when no work appeared and up to this time, now rushed out like a torrent. My sobs choked arid strangled me and nothing Sister....could say was heard until the storm past.
"I wouldnít like you if you didnít care so much," she said, "but you know you have an appointment with the Patriarch soon so you better dry your eyes and go." I went into my room and knelt by the bed. Through my sobs I prayed, "Oh Father, grant me two promises. I think if you will give me these two promises I can stand anything." And strange to say, though my mind was obsessed with the need to find work, paying work, that was not one of my requests. I asked, "Please promise me that my people shall come to Zion and that someday I shall go to the Temple to be married." No one heard those words but my Father, and I never met a soul on my short walk to the Patriarch.
First Patriarchal Blessing; Prayers Answered
The good manís wife had a lovely chicken dinner ready for us and the Patriarch came from the fields to join us. The sobs were still with me though, and I could not restrain the tears when he started to bless me. But what warm comfort flooded my soul when he told me of my parents early life, of things I only knew from hearsay, having happened before I was born. I listened intently, and then came the words I so longed to hear. "Your loved ones from whom you have parted, the Lord will bless and protect them. Many of them will follow you to Zion. With them you will sing the songs of Zion and have much joy in their society. You will be united with a worthy man of Israel for time and all eternity and you will be blessed as a mother with patience and in the management of your household. Thy children will draw near unto thee and thy love will ever hold them from bye and forbidden paths."
The tears started again, but they were quiet now. My Father had spoken. He had answered my requests as surely as if He had been present in person, and my heart was strong again. I thanked the good man and his daughter who was scribe and the good wife who had made so nice a dinner and I went back to my room. I reached for the writing paper.
It is all right, Mother, the Lord has said it. You shall come to Zion, and we will be together again. I donít know how it will happen, but it will surely be as the Lord has said. Be brave, Mom and God give you peace.
First Job; A Friend
I soon found that I did not need to be dressed so warm here as I had been in England. This in spite of the fact that the snow was up to the top of the fence, something I had never seen before. Finally when my good friend and benefactor took me into Logan in his cutter and found me an opening to work in a laundry, I knew for sure that something would have to be done to relieve the heat of my tailored clothing.
(I feel sure now that it was only because the manager of the laundry had been on a mission to England that even such a small job was made open for me. I used to get so tired of standing up ironing handkerchiefs that the bathroom was used quite often to rest my feet a minute.)
First, I tore off the brush braid around the bottom of the hem of my dresses and suits. Then out came the canvass that kept the hem stiff. Next out came the linings, so that there was only one thickness of material in dresses and skirts. I noticed the other girls were wearing thin cotton sheaths called magyars, but I had neither magyar nor money to buy one, so I suffered in a brown wool serge dress, even though it was minus linings and trimmings. There came a day when the only girl among a hundred in the plant who was not LDS and the only one who was ever to notice me, asked me to go home with her to her lodgings. She was homesick, too, and I suppose she detected it in me. Her home was in New York and she boarded with an LDS family whose head was on a mission in Scandinavia. I stayed overnight one night and what a treat that was. She had such a nice room, clean as a pin. The lady of the house made us a lovely dinner complete with a nice chocolate cake. And then she made us lunches for the next day. Such kindness will never be forgotten.
The name of my friend has long been forgotten, but her face is strong in my mind. And when she asked me if I would like to have a cool dress for the plant, I was overwhelmed. I was offered a light print magyar, but as my friend was much smaller than me, it was quite a tight fit. However, no dress of satin was ever worn with more pride than I wore that little cotton dress. It was a step into America, the first real move forward into my new land.
I should explain here that this job paid me one dollar per day for eight hours, my car fare cost me 60 cents so I had 40 cents left for my dayís work. Exactly five cents per hour. Not exactly a money making scheme, but the activity was good for me. It kept me busy.
Since raising my own children and noticing their concern for a stranger among us, especially a young person who was Mormon, I have often wondered at the aloofness and the complacency of those girls in the laundry. They never spoke to me, nor included me in their conversation. I heard them talk of parties, dances, boys, dresses, etc., but I was on the outside, never invited in. No wonder I have always been a soft touch for any girl who needed a place to live.
Each noon hour I made it a practice to call on every tailor in Logan but they were pitifully few. After several weeks of this, one tailor told me, "I donít have a job, but I know a man in Salt Lake that wants a vest hand, and if you want to try I think you will get it with a letter from me."
"Oh, Father," I prayed, "Please let me have this job." That night I counted my pennies and there was just enough for a ticket to Salt Lake. Hurriedly I packed my trunk and caught the next train to Salt Lake, praying all the way.
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
As soon as the train got to Salt Lake I headed for the address on the letter. It was about 3rd or 4th South, I remember quite well the big sign from one side of the street to the other, like a bridge. On the north side of the street I think it was a theatre, on the south end of the bridge was the shop I had come so far to see. There was nothing about it to impress anyone, just a second class tailoring joint. I went inside, asked for the man named on the envelope, and handed him the letter. He read it and asked a few questions about my experience. Then he said I could have the job. I wonder if he knew how much it meant to me.
So now I had a job, but I was penniless. I found my way out to Mrs. Boltonís and asked her if I could stay until pay day at least, and the good soul let me share Nellieís room. Now I was beginning to feel like there might be a Zion for me someday, with a pay day each week and tithing to pay.
On the Logan job, my good guardian High Priest had told me to pay tithing only on the 40 cents I had left after paying car fare which was only 12 cents a week! Now I was getting $1.50 for making a vest. I would need to make two a day to pay my way, and I soon learned that I couldnít take time enough to do the fine custom tailoring that I had done in England. I learned to do a sloppy job, and I also took work home at night. This suited me fine, the more I could make, the sooner I could pay of f my debts!
I was surprised to see that I had to use old fashioned sad irons. Those we pushed and pulled with long iron poles in and out of a big fire. In England we had used gas irons, and I had thought that America was really modern!
Things went along pretty good for a few weeks, and one day when I was going home to Boltonís, I saw a van in the street which said, "Simís" (I believe it was furniture, or some such business). Right away I thought "I wonder if this is the same family as Louis K. Sims who was on a mission in England." Quickly I wrote down the address, and with faith still in the friendship of the mission field, I found my way to the home.
Imagine my joy when Elder Sims opened the door and made me as welcome as I had hoped he would. He introduced me to his mother, and soon made himself familiar with my experiences. I was invited to stay for supper, and his teacher sister joined us. After dinner she went upstairs to prepare for a dance, and her boy friend joined our talk. To my great joy he was a tailor of fine quality clothes, and he offered to set me up in a room of his suite on Main Street in business for myself! I would make his vests, and he would get me extra work from his friends. He also offered to show me some American tricks in tailoring, and I was to start work in a few weeks.
Glory be, this was Zion indeed! Now I would be able to really pay a good tithing! It just showed anybody that the word of the Lord never failed. I started paying just a few cents, and got a better job and paid more, and now I would be able to pay more still! Oh, glory, now I would begin to feel at home! As the conversation lagged the young lady came down the stairs ready for the dance. She was wearing a dark red taffeta dress, a formal, and I thought I had never seen anything so lovely, in my life. The young man rose to greet her, and take her coat, and then I was swamped with my feelings. I thought to myself, "I wonder what you could have done in your pre-existent life to make you worthy of being born here and having all these wonderful things, and I have to go through hell to get to first base?"
The thought was so stupendous, it almost bowled me over, and it was only after many years that I wondered if my foundation for the reasoning was right or wrong. For I was taking it for granted that she had all the biggest blessings but I later decided that only a life time of living could give the right judgment. Did she live all her life with a living testimony, one tried and tested in the fires of adversity? Did she live to pass on to her children the same burning assurance of Godís goodness? All this and more was not yet known that night. But now I know that my trials were real growth, and the beginning of understanding. I do hope the lovely girl has been true to the heritage that someone else handed down to her!
George Bannisterís Conversion and Emigration
While getting ready for my new position, I was surprised one day by receiving a letter in my dadís handwriting! It was June now, 1916, and I had not heard if dad was home from sea yet. And here was a letter with a Michigan postmark and from dad! I learned that dad had had a most hazardous voyage, during which time his ship was fastened in the Baltic Sea by the German navy. All the crew abandoned the ship at St. Petersburg, Russia (now), and crossed the Baltic sea on a sled. Somehow he managed to cross Norway and Sweden safely, and found a small ship that was willing to risk the crossing of the North Sea to the English coast. He lost all his possessions and was sick most of the time. This was the only alternative to being caught and put in a concentration camp.
On reaching home, dad had asked for baptism into the LDS church. Fifteen years had passed since mother was baptized, but now dad said he had known for sometime that the Book of Mormon was true and could not have been written by any man. He had been taking the book to sea and was very familiar with all the doctrines. So he and Prue, my sister, were baptized on the same day in the North Sea, and then nothing would do but that he should come to America. He would look for Mary, he said, but as he would not come any further than Michigan, his idea of looking for me was to have me go to him. The letter informed me that he was homesick, and if I did not go to Pontiac to take care of him, he would return to England.
Oh, dear me, I was just getting a toe hold in the place where I wanted to live. I could have gone to Pontiac in the first place and been near Dan, but there was no branch there, and I wanted company - Latter-day Saint company and lots of it. And now I was just beginning to get on my feet, why should I give up this good chance?
Then I thought of mother. If dad went back to England I did not suppose they would have money enough to come a second time. Ocean voyages were not taken often in those days. Oh, what to do? I wrote to my good friend the High Priest, and I explained the situation. He did not think I should go for he said, "If there is no branch there, how will you meet your worthy man of Israel?
However, even with all the reasons I had for not wanting to go, this was not one of them. I replied that if my duty took me to the Sahara desert, and I was doing what was right I was sure I could meet my mate even there. Because Mr. Bolton was going to Michigan in a short while, to join Nellie and Dan who were now married and living there, it was finally decided that I would go with him. My father sent my train fare.
I worked at my $1.50 vests until the last day, then off to Pontiac we went. Dan and Nellie met us at the station, and I was warned not to expect any big changes in dadís disposition because he had been baptized. For a short time I lived with Dan until I got a room of my own. I found good paying work with a tailor on Main Street and spent my spare time with dad. He was building a four room house outside the city limits, getting ready for mother.
Duty Calls Mary to Pontiac; Prudence Joins Them
The environment in this city was more like the city life I had been used to in England, but as far as church life was concerned, I was worse off than I had been in the old country. At least there were a few of us Latter-day Saints there; here, my own people were the only ones, and none of them were very strong Latter-day Saints At least they used Sunday as the day to get the most building done on their houses. Dan was building one of cement bricks and making his own bricks at that. Mr. Bolton helped him. At the opposite end of the town dad was building his little four room place, and I used Sunday to wash his clothes, mend them and cook some food for him. So I was no better than the others. On Sunday night we two dressed up and went to the Baptist church.
I soon saved up enough to pay off my debt in Utah, and I paid dad back his $30 (my landing money). Now I was independent but it was not bringing me any of the church association that I had worked so hard to get. Things went on in this manner for more than a year and then mother and Prue joined us. Mother had been hoping the war would end each week, but there was no end in sight, so now that she had seen Kate through the birth of her second child, a son, and as it seemed that Harry, Kateís husband, would be exempt from military duty, mother thought she should wait no longer. ). Harry was the head of a first class menís clothing store, and he was also a marvelous window dresser. I used to enjoy studying his windows when we went down town each Saturday. He always made them so artistic with tiny models of the real articles he was using each particular time. But before the war was much older, America was drawn into it, and England called up every able-bodied man. Harry was sent to Mesopotamia, and Kate was left without any of her own people in the country. The price of gathering to Zion was paid both by those who went and those who were left!
Food was strictly rationed, much more so in England than it ever was in America. The men that were to be seen on the streets when I came to the U.S. (a surprising sight) began to disappear as they were taken into military service. Hard though this experience was for Kate, it was also the means of providing the money for them later to buy their own business. Harry exchanged his wages in a manner that increased the amount and Kate saved all she could, and this saving later made them independent.
Now that mother was with us, things began to look up. The first thing she did was to get rid of the old coal range I had bought, because she said it would not bake a decent batch of bread. When dad saw the lovely new range she bought with warming ovens he nearly hit the ceiling! "Oh," she said, "wait until you eat the bread it bakes," and sure enough, after the first good baking there was no more grumbling.
Next she picked a pretty linoleum and some pretty scatter rugs for our floors, and she brought out the nice spreads and crochet work that we had always had around, and the first thing we realized was that we had a nice comfy home. Dad had not to my knowledge ever built a house before, but he watched how other people did this and that, and he copied them. Whatever might be said about dadís dour disposition, he certainly was a hard worker. He never failed to take on an extra job if it would help us out, and now he built one place after another, and each one was better than the last. The house I liked best was two story, and this was the house my Irene was born in. But this is a long time to come yet.
Maryís Tribute to Her Dad
I do want to pay tribute to my dad right here. It could well be that my Don inherited his grim determination from his grandfather, George Bannister, Sr. When my father joined the church, in January, 1916, he was 61 years old, and though he had been used to a pipe and a glass of beer most of his life, he gave them up and never touched them again! It was not easy to come to America and pioneer at his age (no social security then). But he worked steady throughout the days and built his homes at night and so got ahead. He always gave his money to mother, but in the old country he used to keep out half a crown which is 2 shillings and sixpence, one-eighth of a pound. And in those days would be worth around 55 cents. This he used to buy his tobacco, and sometimes he bet a sixpence on the horses.
One time when he was working at the Electric Plant I remember he had won a few shillings. He was so elated he just bubbled all over! He gave the money to mother to get something for herself and me and Prue. I donít remember what mom and Prue got, but I remember the nice sky blue summer suit I got. I loved that suit, horses or no horses! But these little extravagances always came out of his own pocket money, and after he joined the church there was no more need for pocket money at all. Dadís eardrums were damaged due to working so much among the noisy engines of the ships, and his hearing was affected as much as mine is now. This was a trial to him and all of us, hearing aids not being used at this time. It is only since my hearing has become worse in the last two years that I have realized how much frustration can be felt because of it; and I have had a greater realization of some of the reasons for my fatherís bearishness. I think I will feel much closer to him when I see him again. I know he really had a very loving heart, but he was scared anybody found this out. So much for dad.
Feathering The Nest
Now my folks got the garden fever. We had not had any ground around our homes in England. At least all the ground around us was paved with white bricks, which we kept scrubbed so clean. Even our back streets, or alleys as they are called here, were paved with white bricks, and we kept them scrubbed, too, as also we did our front sidewalks. A whole street full of women, one from each house, could often be seen scrubbing their sidewalks together, so that the whole street was as clean as a pin. The men came round with a watering cart, which washed the middle of the streets, and they scrubbed up all the pieces, and the streets looked lovely.
But now, here we were on the outskirts of Pontiac. We had no sewers in this section, so of course it was a good thing that we had a very large lot, at least 250 feet deep. Dad made a very neat little house on the back of the lot, and this was my first introduction to this most necessary piece of architecture. Pioneering was taking us on a reverse movement, back to nature.
One day mother brought in some radishes. "Look," she said, "what Iíve got." "Gee, mom, where did you get those?" "Well, I got them out of the ground." "Did you grow them?" "Sure I did," this quite proudly. "But how did you know which way to lay the seed?" This last was me speaking, so anybody in Utah who had ever had any idea of me marrying a farmer should have heard this remark! Next thing mother started fussing over chickens, and soon we had our own eggs, too.
Now we heard that my Aunt Till and Uncle Fred had taken a job on an estate in Bloomfield Highlands. (This is where George Romney of Rambler car fame and President of Detroit Stake and Governor of Michigan, 1962, now lives). This was an era of super-delux homes, in super surroundings. Aunt was the cook and Fred was busy outside. He had to milk the jersey cow they kept for their own cream, among other duties.
Ah that cream! There was a very large refrigerator in the maidís pantry. It opened outside the house, so that it could be filled with ice two or three times a week. (No electric refrigeration then!) When that cream stood a short time it was solid like butter and I had to put it through a seive so that we could pour it on our fruit. I could make pats or balls of butter for the table. And the southern beaten biscuits that Aunt Till made (Mrs. Rice taught her) oh, they were lovely.
One day when I went out to visit them the maid had quit her job in a temper and Mrs. Rice was left with company and no one to wait on table. She was a southern lady, had been a private teacher, and was now married to a dentist who had his offices in Detroit. Each day the chauffeur drove him back and forth, about 25 miles, to his work. Mrs. Rice came into the kitchen where I was sitting and asked me if I would help. Now I had never waited on table, and I knew nothing about serving to society. But the lady pleaded, the dinner was waiting, and I said I would help. My good memory was useful here, for before each course Mrs. Rice came into the kitchen and coached me on the next course. The four courses were finally finished, and I was required to wash the silver and china used in the dining room. The kitchen off the dining room was built to house only these two items. Everything was very lovely, and I was persuaded to leave tailoring for awhile and try this job. My wages were more than I got for sewing, and I thought the change would do me good. It was really a nice job. We had our own apartment, with our own bedrooms, living room, baths etc. Very nice!
A fellow by the name of Lansing was the chauffeur, and Mrs. Rice was very kind in finding opportunities for me to take a ride with Lansing. He was a nice fellow, and we remained friendly long after I had quit the job. He was quite willing to join my church, and by this time we had found a branch in Detroit. But that deserves another chapter.
Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.D&C 88:63
I longed so much to find some LDS people, I coaxed mother into letting Prue and me go into Detroit to try to find some. Now that was an idiotic idea, but please bear in mind that we knew nothing about Church Offices or any other place where we could get any information. We had not seen one missionary since we came to Pontiac, but Dan had said there was a branch in Detroit. Neither mom nor Prue nor me knew how big Detroit was. We just prayed that we would find a branch, and I had full faith in prayer.
So with a lunch in our hands we left Pontiac one Sunday morning about 8:00 a.m. to go the thirty miles to the outskirts of Detroit. But I chose to go clear into the city to the city hall, having the funny idea that I could get information in that place. We got there all right, but found it closed (Sunday). However, I asked a man in the building if he could tell us where the Mormons were meeting, and he gave us an address, also telling us what street car to take. An hour or so later we found the place, but the Mormons had moved. Someone gave us another address, which we never reached, and the conductor called out "end of the line."
Now we were on the fringe of the city, in a strange direction, and getting a bit scared. This would be like entering San Francisco at the ferry terminal and then ending up near the Presidio. "Lets both sit on this grass and eat our lunch," I said, but Prue was feeling pretty blue, and I was too, to tell the truth. She was only 12 years old and started crying. "See, you knock on the doors on that side of the street and I will knock on this side, and we will ask them if they know where the Mormons meet."
This we did, and after some time a man answering one of my doors said he had seen a sign in a Danish Brotherhood hall. I called Prue over and told her to listen good for I was scared I would miss the directions. We asked if we could walk, and the man said it was a long long way. But we were afraid of street cars so we started off, and at 4:00 p.m., after walking three hours, we walked into the basement of a Danish Brotherhood hall. They were just going to start Sunday School. After Sunday School they had Sacrament Meeting and then M.I.A. So we had not missed anything for all our wanderings around Detroit!
When all was over, the missionaries took us on the city street car and put us on the interurban for Pontiac. It was turned 11 p.m. when we reached the outskirts of Pontiac, and my poor mother was pacing up and down, waiting in agony for us to step down from the train. Poor soul, I had to be a mother myself before I knew the suffering behind the words, "Oh, girls, you will never know what I have suffered this day".
The next week we took mother with us, and from then on I went in steady, and became a Sunday School teacher. It was not a large branch and there were very few young people. I was still not getting the church association that I longed for, but I decided that I could not put Lansing to the test. Even if he joined the church, I was afraid that the condition of his eyes which made very thick glasses necesssry was inherited. I did not want to see this handicap on my children, so I broke the friendship.
This is when I became so well acquainted with the McLeans. They just had one daughter, Ellen, a baby and she was so pretty. Sometimes I used to stay overnight at the McLeans. Here also I met Nellie Wattell. She invited Prue and me to have dinner at her house, and I became acquainted with creamed corn. She was very kind to us, as was her sister Catherine and John Kest. These people were converts, too, and from other lands, and these experiences make strong bonds which we were fated to renew in Oakland, California, many years later.
The war continued until November 11, 1918, and it was the following Christmas that I was repaid for faithful attendance at church. Mother and I had gone to attend the Christmas party, the usual programme had been given and now it was time to take the gifts off the tree. The officer in charge called to a young man in the audience to come up to the front and help, and I noticed the spring in his step and the height and the build.
"Thatís the kind of man I would like to marry," I said to mother. "My goodness, you make up your mind awful fast," she replied. "Well, I didnít exactly mean that man, but he is the right height, etc."
Mary Meets Clyde
After the party broke up I was introduced to Clyde Russell who had just returned from a mission to England. Now according to fairy tales we should have fallen in love at once, but it wasnít that easy. Clyde was interested in another girl, which filled all the spare time he had. But with the return of troops from France, this young girl decided to return to Salt Lake to await her fiance. When I learned this I invited Clyde to our home in Pontiac for the next Sunday. He was still very miserable with missing his girl friend, but with a bit of arm twisting, he consented to come. Mother had a nice chicken dinner, and I imagined he looked a bit happier when he left that evening.
The following Sunday, after meeting, he walked with me to the interurban stop. These cars did not run very often and it was now about 9:30 p.m. and I heard Clyde say, "I wish these cars would hurry up." That was all it took to stir up the Johnny Bull inside me, and I said very quickly, "Oh, you donít have to wait, Bro. Russell, I have been getting these trains for quite awhile now, and I donít mind waiting alone."
Imagine my chagrine and amazement when he retorted, "But I am going to take you home, Mary."
"Oh no, you canít do that. You might miss the last train back!" But he did, and he had just time to see me to the door and run back to the train stop and catch the last train back to Detroit, about 35 miles back again. I imagine this sets a record for distance to see a girl home, remembering we had to use street cars.
30 Mile Courtship
From then on we saw each other about every weekend at one place or the other. I was working at the Overland Motor Car Company by now. I had a fine job, inspector of scrap parts. With a new office built right in the plant near the assembly lines, it was my job to inspect and report on all waste parts. Each part had its symbol number of which I learned dozens. I reported which operation made the error, how many operations it had run after the fault was made and many more items that determined waste cost. Also I had to report on the special runs of trial metal that were put out from the foundry each morning. Certain men were told to turn the parts as I inspected them, and then haul them away. I liked the work and the pay was good.
During the winters I did not have the snap that my youngsters have. I left my bed at 5:30 a.m. and built a fire in the kitchen stove. One needed gloves because the metal was so cold to touch. With a fire going, I broke the ice on the pail of water and got some boiling so that I could wash. Then I left the kettle boiling for mother and made my breakfast and put up my lunch. With no pavements in our district, I had to pull on high boots, knee high, to get through the snow and mud to the plant. Work started at 7:00 a.m., and we worked until 6:00 p.m.
With the stoppage of war work, many plants were closing down and Clyde lost his job in Detroit. A word to my foreman who was a scotsman, got a job for Clyde in the Chevrolet plant and he went to board with the foreman and his wife. However, the schools in Pontiac did not have the courses Clyde wanted to take, so he did not stay in Pontiac long. We finally decided to get married on my birthday July 30th, but this was set ahead to July 12th to suit the convenience of the Mission President.
It was arranged that Clyde would bring the Mission President to my motherís home at about one oíclock. The day arrived. Mother had invited a few guests, and I had invited a young couple who had bought dadís first four room home. Freda Maechler worked at the Chevrolet plant with me, and they were a nice couple trying to make a stake to buy a farm in their home town of St. Louis.
Mary Is Left Waiting At The Altar!
One oíclock arrived and no Clyde showed up. By the time it got to 3:00 there was a definite strain which was relieved somewhat when Prue said, "Well today is my birthday, letís have a birthday party." I said "You can have everything but the cake." Poor mother was trying so hard to keep up a front and kept saying, "Well, no matter what has happened I know it isnít Clydeís fault." We had no phone, but a phone call to the McLeans brought the information that Clyde had been there looking for me. So we were worse puzzled than ever. At last about 4:00 p.m. I heard mother say, "Here he is, coming round the road." And I, with mixed feelings ran into my bedroom. Clyde soon joined me and when I was calmed down I was told, "Well, come on. Letís go." "Go where?" "Why to get married of course!" My face must have been a study in amazement as I blurted out, "But, I thought you were coming here with the Mission President." It was Clydeís turn to be flustered, "Didnít you get my telegram?" It seemed that he had wired that the Mission President would not have time to come to Pontiac, but would be at the home of Brother Snow in Detroit that night, and would marry us there. I was supposed to have met Clyde in Detroit, and he had been calling hospitals, police stations, etc., fearing I was hurt or lost.
Now I hurried into my new dress, and with only the Maechlers for company we caught the next train into Detroit. This was certainly not according to plan. I wanted my mother to be with me, but she could not leave her friends and all the mess of a big dinner. All her nice plans were going astray, but it seemed right to us to be married by some Latter-day Saint official. Clyde had been through the Temple, and I had not, so that we had received permission to be married, planning to be sealed in the Temple as soon as we had the money to go to Salt Lake. No time to change anything now. It was nearly 9:00 p.m. when we finally arrived at Brother Snowís in Detroit.
There was quite a company of people assembled, seemingly enjoying a farewell party for this retiring mission president. I went upstairs and asked that the ceremony be performed there. By this time I was just about in tears, and didnít feel like meeting all those people. I just wanted to be married and slip away. However, President..... came up and teased me about the British not being afraid, etc. and I was persuaded to go down to the party. Why my own feelings never got any consideration is something I have often wondered about. I am sure now that this ceremony could have been performed by the District President and our own plans catered to in our way, but nobody seemed to think of this, and we knew little of church procedure.
Wed At Last
After the wedding was over, the four of us left to go to our rooms. I was simply exhausted. I had worked at my job until the night before, and this disturbing day just about broke my nerves. The condition was not relieved when I found that the McLeans had been up to our rooms and tied all our clothes in knots. The bed was filled with rice, and a couple of black dolls were on our pillows! Right then, I am afraid I did not appreciate the joke!
As housing of any kind was almost impossible to get in Detroit in 1919, Brother Alger who was president of the Detroit Branch kindly rented us two rooms in the upstairs of his house. One had a gas range in and we managed fine. We had bought two leather covered rockers, bed, and dresser, and with my piano and sewing machine, we set up housekeeping. Clyde was getting $40 a week as machinist and went to school nights.
It soon became evident that night school would be a slow lifetime process to get anywhere, so I suggested that he go day and night to school, and I would get a job to keep things going. A year of this brought Clyde to the place of going to Ann Arbor where he passed the entrance examination.
However, he was told that the engineering he wanted would be very, very tough, because he lacked still some of the essential background which would have to be made up. This would make it impossible for him to continue working, and Ann Arbor was not big enough then to supply me with regular work. I would need to stay in Detroit meaning we would be separated. This seemed too much to sacrifice, but maybe Sister Snow was right when she said we had made the wrong choice; that everything should be sacrificed for education. If we could have been in the same town, we probably would have gone through with it, and been richer the rest of our lives. None of our parents were financially able to help us and there were no government loans. Education then was not so easy to get as now, scholarships were very few, work jobs were scarce. Only the rich went to college at all. Had conditions been like they are now we may have had more courage. Anyway, we looked around for the best opportunity we could find in Detroit, and decided to try for a home of our own.
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.Psalms 127:3
Since the end of the war, plants had continued to lay off men, and when we were faced with our big decision there was considerable unemployment. I was employed in a first class tailoring shop in Detroit when Clyde was laid off work. He had finished all his preparatory schooling, and had taken a course in auto electrics in the Michigan Automobile School. A remark I made to my foreman about Clyde being put off work, led him to talk to the owner of the business, who was also the cutter. The owner asked me if I thought Clyde would like to learn the cutters trade. It was thought that because Clyde had taken drafting of machines, etc., that he should not mind drafting suits! With considerable misgivings, Clyde started on the job and stayed some weeks. When the Michigan State Auto School advertised for draftsmen to make drawings for a book they were going to publish, it was much more desirable than drafting suits so Clyde applied and was employed. This work lasted several months, and when the book was finished my good man was asked to stay and teach a class in auto electrics.
Clyde Teaches at the Michigan State Auto School
This was a big step to take. I can see Clyde now as he looked in those days, so thrilled yet so scared. Each evening he studied the material he wanted to present to the class the next day and so kept just one jump ahead of the pupils. The classes included men from all nations, some of them very highly educated. but all wanting to learn some of Americaís "know how". It must have been a strain sometimes to put over the material to those whose English was limited, but Clydeís unfailing patience stood him in good stead. There was no trouble too great if he could help a student. Clyde was very happy for several years in this school, but my old dream of living in the heart of Zion was always in the background and now I had a husband who was born in Salt Lake City.
However, before the dream protruded too much, we longed for our own home, and often visited new suburbs which were going up all over Detroit. Our total assets consisted of $300 which we could borrow on Clydeís insurance.
Alas, for our big hopes, they seemed doomed before we got to first base, for no builder would take less than one thousand down, most wanted $1500. And this was before the days of fabulous wages! At this time I was earning $30 a week which was excellent pay, so I decided to try to make a deal. We found a new five room bungalow, with unfinished second floor, and it seemed lovely to us. Payments were $55 per month (very high at that time), so I offered the builder $100 per month for a year and $300 down. After consulting his family, he accepted the offer, and we left our two rooms with Bro. Alger and moved in. Jack and Chrissie McLean said, "What do you want to go live out there for?" But within two years or so the district was like a young town itself.
A Home of Their Own
How wonderful it was to clean my own home! We bought just a small two burner gas stove, with small oven below. The wash tub was at the side of the kitchen sink with a cover on the top to be used as a sink board. Mother bought me a 100 piece set of dishes! God bless her soul, I know now exactly how she felt when she bought those dishes! Seems like I have bought dishes for all of my youngsters. It is so hard to pass a bargain in dishes! We unpacked them with the biggest thrill. How wonderful life was, and those dishes from my loved mother added so much to the fun. Little did I realize the work I was going to have to re-pack those dishes for move after move until I wished that dishes had never been invented. It is one of lifeís mercies that we cannot see the future!
My piano looked real good in this house, and my sewing machine was a wonderful addition. Our two leather rockers ($25 each) now had the company of an overstuffed sofa and chair. This kind of furniture was just new on the market, and of course we were enthralled by the story of the merchant who would give us a custom made job! The lovely shade of taupe blended well with the draperies I made of pongee silk with heavy silk fringe. We bought rugs of a chinese pattern, mixed blue and tan. Everything shone with newness, and all we needed was a chance to stay home and enjoy it. Detroit was too big for Clyde to come home until he was finished for the day, and three days a week he taught night school, coming home around 11:00 p.m. But I kept busy. I put extra coats of varnish on the floor, and made enough stew to last us several days at a time! Patient Clyde never complained; he knew we had to watch pennies, and never having cooked a meal before I married, stew seemed so easy to get ready.
During all these adventures we never lost sight of the fact that we wanted a family. But we never got the slightest reason to hope. Oh, well, we did have enough delay in nature to send hopes soaring once in a while, but we were always disappointed until Clyde came to the place were he would not even hope with me. "Donít lets talk about it, you are always so disappointed afterward," he would say. But with the home launched (we even had one of the new oak dining room sets with brown leather covered seats!) my heart cried louder than ever for a child to love.
One day I was visiting mom in Pontiac and she took me to see a doctor. He soon made an appointment for another date, when he performed the operation that he said would give me a chance to make my wish come true. So in due time I knew for sure that life moved within me and anticipation ran high.
I often wish I had saved some of the baby clothing I made in those days! How I loved to set in every stitch. The tiny pleats, tucks, and the hand made lace set in by hand, the scallops on dresses and petticoats made with a single thread. Oh how I loved that baby to come! Pieces of silk made lovely bonnets which I padded with a little wool and quilted with blue knots! No child ever came to earth with nicer preparations and with more love waiting.
Came the end of November, and I could hardly wait. The doctor said another month, but I must have thought that if I went home sooner, the baby would come sooner! So home I went, but the baby had its own ideas, and one morning I said to mother, "Other babies are born, but mine is never going to be." "Just you wait for the new moon, Mary, it will be here then." Well, what my mother said was gospel to me, and I knew about the moon and tides. (I was raised on that stuff) so what was wrong about the moon and babies! Besides, mother had brought hundreds of babies into the world, and she ought to know.
From this point on the daily column about the movements of the moon was studied religiously, and all signs pointed to around Christmas day. That day passed, but on the morning of the 29th of December, when mother came into my room and said, "Well, how do you feel this morning?" instead of saying, "Fine, worse luck," as I had been doing, I hesitated and said, "Mother, I have a pain in my back."
Baby Irene Annie Joins the Family
A phone call to Clyde kept him from going to school that day and he was with me in time. Women didnít go to hospitals for births then, and I am glad my children were born at home. At least I had the comfort of my family around me. These experiences brought us closer together. But sometimes we had scary moments, and this time the doctor knew it would be tough. He refused me any anesthesia, saying that he would need all my help. The baby was born, after severe travail, breach first, and nearly dead. Submersion in alternate hot and cold baths, with much slapping, finally brought a gasp, and I asked, "Well, mother, what is it?" Never one to mince words, my mother replied, "It will be a little girl if it lives." "Come on, mother, more hot water please." This from the doctor, and finally they gave me a tiny wrinkled person wrapped in a blanket. She was all red, so tiny, and so different from the developed picture of beauty that I had fixed in my mind. My weary body could not absorb this added shock and I started to cry.
"Mary, you just dare to cry, and Iíll slap you good." Motherís indignant voice was like a bucket of cold water on my face, and she went on, "You are so lucky to have your baby alive in your arms,"---and then she too cracked from the strain. In my case ignorance had been bliss, but mother had been living with facts all through the labor, and she knew how close the line between life and death. Just once she had tried to make me realize something was wrong when she had said, "Bear down, Mary, for heavenís sake, your babyís lifeís at stake." I heard her, but it was only through a nightmare of painful unreality, and I did not absorb her alarm. After her remark ending, "if it lives" I replied, "Oh, it will be all right, youíll see." Goodness, had I not made all those pretty clothes and waited so long - my mind refused to consider any fatal complications. The God who had walked with me so closely for the last few years still felt mighty near, my faith was in Him.
So I called her Irene because I liked the name, and Annie because she was born on my sister Annieís birthday. That sister whom I have yet to meet and know. My little Irene Annie was not a picture book baby. She had very little hair, and a birthmark on her head. But she had something better than beauty, and it showed when she was very young. Hers was the gift of diplomacy and discernment. Oldsters loved her company when she was only a little tot. One gentleman told me, "You know, I donít belong to this church, I come just to see that lovely child. She does something to build me up." Her toes were born with the love of dance that belonged to her father, and people in the theatre got as much fun watching her dance in the aisles to the orchestra music, as they got out of the show. But Irene was oblivious to all about her. She felt rhythm, and she danced as she felt. Strange that such a girl should marry a man who did not care for dancing. When very young she talked to oldsters as if she were one of them and somehow, not one of them ever seemed to see anything incongruous in the fact. This gift stayed with her to be a comfort to me many times in later years.
And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, ... it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world ... which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.
When Irene was six months old we made preparations to go to the Salt Lake Temple to be sealed for eternity. This would be the first time I would meet any of Clydeís people. His mother had written me regularly, and had sent us a crate of various jams in two-quart jars for our wedding present. I looked forward to meeting her, and my visit to the Temple was close to my heart. The Relief Society ladies had one or two who had been through the Temple, and they were kind enough to make my robe and veil, even to putting hand stitches in the veil. None of them gave me the slightest idea of the ceremony or the routine. After three days and nights in a chair car with a baby, I was tired when I reached Salt Lake City. Mrs. Russell met us, and we proceeded straight to the Temple.
I wish I could say that the day was all I had imagined it would be! Maybe I expected too much! This was a dream that had been associated with heaven ever since I joined the church, and I had not considered the fact that it was still on earth and run by human beings.
The first thing needed was a nurse for Irene. Too bad for us, this was a Granite Stake Day, and the crowd was huge. The Temple had no accommodations for taking care of children then, and I waited and waited while someone was found to help me. Finally, a Scandinavian woman came to me and said, "You want help for your baby, it will cost you (so much). I long ago forgot the price, that part of it never bothered me, but the sound of that woman talking about money in the Temple gave me a shock that I still remember. I said, "Couldnít we go outside to talk about these things?" But there was no time. Now nature decided that all this excitement was too much for a body to stand, so she restored the monthly function that reminded me I was a woman, with all the torturing cramps I had always suffered. There was no help for it. I had to go on. Clyde only had two weeks vacation, and he wanted to see his folk, so on with the ceremony. I leave those of my sex to imagine the difficulties!
Girls are lucky to enjoy the lovely facilities of the Temples of today. I had to share one big room with benches around for our clothes, and sitting, too. It was a community affair, with lots of mix ups. When we came to the first ordinance room we found ourselves at the rear, and Mrs. Russell feared that I would not hear. After the gentleman had called the roll she went to ask him if I could move to the front. Imagine our embarrasment when he told her, in effect, that was our bad luck. He was not interested. The tears came to her eyes to be so humiliated in front of all those people. I was just finding out that my husband would not be near me which thing I had not supposed, and all these shocks were building up into hysteria, (aggravated by my weariness of travel).
Luckily for me as we moved along all new candidates were invited to go to the front, so that I had a chance to hear what was said. Things began to quieten down inside me, and I began to feel the spirit of the place when my peace of mind and the quiet of the room was broken by a loud wail. I knew it at once for my Ireneís cry. I was reminded that she would be hungry, and in all the confusion I had brought no bottle. For all I had known I would only be in the Temple fifteen minutes. Nobody had prepared me in any way. In came the lady with the baby crying at the top of her lungs, and I had to fumble among strange clothing to nurse her. It was too bad for Irene. Her luck had run out with nature running another function. The breasts were empty. But I let her pull with that crowded room full of people all waiting until I was through. Imagine my embarrassment. I wished the ground would open and swallow me up. But all such moments pass away and finally the lady took Irene away again.
A Family Sealed for Eternity, Plus Temple Work for Kindred
All went well then until we reached the last room, and the Temple was filled again with the screaming. I was rushed through the veil and again I had my baby in my arms, but now I could keep her for she was to be sealed to us for eternity. All was calm now and the words sank into my soul, "And it shall be as if you were born in the new and everlasting covenant." It was over, I turned to Clyde, "Now let us go where I can ask some questions." "What do you mean?" "Oh, there are so many questions I want to ask. Isnít there someone I can go to talk to?" He said no, he didnít know of any, so I went back to the room and prepared for the street. Ever since this day I have done all I could to prepare young people for the first trip to a Temple. Anyway, it is a good thing that this ceremony was for eternity, for I came to the conclusion that Clyde is a hard fellow to get tied on to and I refuse to marry him any more!
After a visit with the family in Eureka, Clyde returned to his teaching and I went to visit my friends near Logan. While there I did some temple work for my kindred in the Logan Temple. I found in this temple all the peace and joy I missed the first time. The nursery took complete charge of Irene, and I returned to Detroit feeling fully satisfied.
Lois Marion Joins the Family
About three years later we rented our home and went to live in Pontiac for the winter. Clyde got leave of absence from the auto school and went into a shop for practical experience in auto electrics.
It was here that Lois was born on January 19, her daddyís birthday. I had the same doctor as before but better luck this time. Anyway, after Clyde and the doctor had stood there and talked shop for awhile, ignoring me, the prima donna, completely, I was angry enough to have given birth to five! Men have some of the most maddening tactics sometimes!
So now I had Lois Marion. Lois because I liked the name, and Marion was a variation of Mary. She was a little larger than Irene had been, but loved and wanted just as much. I was pleased to have two girls, it seemed just right. Lois, too, had fairy feet, and no little family ever held more joy than did our little family of four. Truly I lived heaven those days.
Raising Lois was much easier for me than the first experience. All the babies I ever saw were breast fed and they thrived. So, of course, I put Irene to the breast. She cried so much the first few weeks, I was puzzled until one day mother was with me, and she put her ear down to the breast as Irene was feeding. "Mary, no wonder she cries, the poor child isnít getting anything!" My gosh, there was no end to the things I had to learn, so now I am told I donít have enough milk. Mother started to fill me with gruel, bowls of it to make milk. And Irene got a bottle to help out in her filling process. Mother put me hep to cod liver oil, orange juice, strained oatmeal, to add to the bottle and egg yolk, too, and gradually I accumulated the knowledge that helped me raise five children. If readers think this is funny, I hasten to tell them that we did not have medical knowledge thrown at us from dozens of magazines, formulas were almost unknown, and Gerbers prepared foods did not scream at us from ads and grocery shelves. There were no concentrated drops either. My babies smelled of cod liver oil, the real variety, and I hated it! The word pediatrician was unknown to me. I called in a family doctor when I needed him, but that was not often0 My mother was years ahead of her time in informing us girls on the facts of life, but how to raise babies was not included until we needed the information.
In the Spring of 1925 we returned to our home in Detroit. Clyde returned to teaching and continued to advance in school and experience.
And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of Heaven...
Hymns, 1985, p. 27
Winters in Detroit were something that made you wish you could earn enough in summer so that you neednít go outdoors in winter, and summers made you wish vice versa. In winter we put up storm doors and windows, and our huge base burner took up a lot of the dining room. The fire stayed on day and night, and the cheery glow from the isinglass windows made up a little bit for the fireplace that I did not have. Houses with fireplaces cost thousands more than this one, and we had maneuvered enough to get this one. Still the cold had to be fought all the time with tons of coal. Now we decided to be real ambitious and build a full basement where we would install a furnace.
Clyde Digs a Basement and Installs a Floor Furnace
There was a closet off the kitchen that was just made for a stairway entrance to the basement, and this was done. It was a real hard job for Clyde to do alone, and our yard was certainly much higher by the time we got all that dirt out of the basement. We built an outside entrance, too, and it was a mighty proud couple that installed a floor furnace in that basement.
By this time I was the proud possessor of one of these new electric washers and ironers. The washer was not automatic. These were still unknown, but even if I had to stop it and put the clothes through the wringer, it was a big step up from the rubbing board. The ironer had 22 inch rollers and was gas heated and electrically operated. My how I wish I could have kept that ironer through my wanderings! I hung on to the washer until I landed in California, but in Payson I had no room to bring the ironer indoors even, just to save its life. I could not have operated it for lack of gas, but outdoors it just rusted and rotted, and it broke my heart to see it.
But that was in the future. Right now it is in our lovely big basement; big enough to have made a wonderful rumpus room, furnace room, and laundry room, too. However, rumpus rooms had not been heard of yet, so we just revelled in having lots of room. In the winter I dried my clothes on the second floor which waited to be finished into bedrooms and another bathroom.
So now the base burner was sold, and I missed the glow through the windows, but how our neighbours envied our basement and furnace and laundry facilities. There were few of these luxuries used then, and Clyde felt proud that he could provide them for me. We felt that we were getting better heat value for the ton of anthracite coal, $20 a ton at that time, which we had to buy each month.
Church continued to be a Sunday affair, except for Relief Society getting together once in a while through the week. On Sunday we had Sunday School, Sacrament meeting, and M.I.A. one after the other. The city was so huge, and nobody had cars, so we had to do it this way. In summer we would carry a lunch, take a folding baby buggy on the street car with us, and then after meetings we made our way to a park, probably another hourís ride. I gradually gathered a dislike for big cities. They are too inconvenient.
Now one of our members bought a new Ford! Happy day! The branch was also trying to buy a lot on which to build our own chapel, and Sister .... conceived the idea of having her brother in Idaho send us a car load of honey which we would sell at a profit for the building fund. My mother-in-law wrote that this was the sweetest way of getting a building fund she had ever heard of! The honey may have been sweet, but the idea sure was sour long before we finished selling that honey. We sold it in gallon cans, we sold it on hot biscuits at parties until finally we were ready to give it away! But that new Ford belonged to the originator of the plan, and Iíll bet it was half worn out carting honey around on its wire wheels and high seats, with canvass curtains to hang up if a shower threatened. But now Ford was paying $5.00 per day and people became fired with the idea of big money and owning cars.
Mary and Clydeís First Automobile
Clyde and I were among the enthusiastic souls. Chrissie McLeanís brother was about to return to Scotland and he had a car to sell. We were told it had new tires and was in good condition. So we borrowed $200 to buy this car. The McLeans wanted us to have the benefit of this bargain. However, before we got the car it was stripped of its good tires and poor ones put on, and nothing was left that could be taken off (unbeknown to our friends). We took one trip to Pontiac to see mother, and we had three blow outs on the way. We finally were towed into a garage where we left it! We never drove it again and still had the note to pay. McLeans never got over the shame, but they were not to blame. The owner had fled! So ended our first car experience, but cars were being improved rapidly, and becoming more popular, so we could not hold out forever.
While Irene was a baby I had also taken care of Peggyís baby Leon for a few months, but now mother was taking care of him. With the money Peggy gave her she bought a Ford, the first model with an automatic starter. This was the end of the cranking each time the car was started. Clyde taught mother how to drive. I donít remember anybody getting licenses then. If you owned a car you had a right to drive it. Mother enjoyed her car very much. Leon was a big boy, but with the car mother could get around. I marvelled at her nerve at her age. She was now 63 years old and had never even had the chance to see people drive or to absorb any of the know how; but now she drove from Pontiac to Detroit, 35 miles, and the traffic of Detroit did not seem to bother her. Her courage was to be a source of inspiration to me many times. At this time Prue married again and she and Doctor Lopez bought a beautiful home in Detroit. Mom and dad came to keep house for them while both Prue and Lopez worked. Now that little Irene was nearing school age, our hunger to raise the children among L.D.S. seemed too big to delay longer.
It was a hard decision. How I loved my home, and my mother. We consoled ourselves with plans to build a home in the West, preferably in a Utah town, where our children would never have to leave home for any kind of schooling. Why, we could even make bricks of adobe and build our own home! A basement didnít seem such a marvellous thing when one could buy lots of land and build a home as big as they felt they needed with their own hands. So we talked and planned to build us up against the break. As soon as I got this wonderful home mother would join us. Somehow we would break down all dadís objections and bring them to the West.
So we sold the home that had known as much of heaven as any home on earth ever did. Clyde gave his notice and was given a wonderful letter of recommendation, and was assured that he could return anytime he wanted to. Before leaving the East, we bought our second car, which was a Dodge and though we still hung canvas curtains on the sides, it was a pretty good car. Now I had my first experience at re-packing those dishes. In time I became so expert I could have hired out as a packer. Clyde crated all our furniture. It seemed enough to leave the home; we could not bear to leave furniture, too.
Before leaving for the West, we decided to take Mother and see some of the church historical places. Finally we locked the door, picked up mother and Leon, and set out further East. We travelled through Canada and visited Niagra Falls, then on to Palmyra. Mother was allowed to sleep in Joseph Smithís bedroom: the very room where the angel Moroni visited him three times in one night, so we were told. The rest of us camped in a tent outside. We saw the sacred grove and Cumorah, cooked meals on a sterno stove, and enjoyed every minute. I can see my mother now, sitting in the back of the car as I asked her, "How do you feel, Mother." "Gracious, lass, I feel like royalty, a real lady having a wonderful time." I am very grateful for that memory.
The Big Move West
After a wonderful two weeks with no car trouble, we were once more in Detroit, and for the second time I was saying goodbye to mother. Even with husband and children it was no easier. Nobody filled my motherís place. Maybe it was a presentiment, maybe it was just the result of the first experience. I only know that I suffered intensely all night as I lay in our tent the first night out. Why was I so driven with this devotion to my church when it did not seem to bother others so much? But there it was. I had left England with the determination to marry a Yankee Mormon and raise my children in a good church environment. My own feelings were secondary and had to be borne and put aside. I know mother suffered as much as I did, but she never said one word to hold me back.
I have lived to compare the results of my course with the lives of those who stayed in Detroit, and I see my children strong in the faith, marrying in the Temple, while most of my former friends have seen their children marry outside the church and fade into inactivity. But I could not see into the future then and the present was obscure.
We visited Nauvoo and Carthage, and arrived at my husbandís home in Eureka just as Mr. Russell, Sr., was taking his vacation. By this time I didnít care if I got into another car or not, but we joined the Russells and set off for Marysville, Utah, where we would join up with Edna and John Robinson. We had the back of the car built into a bed for the girls, so they could sleep day or night. The arrangement continued to be very useful.
I was going to have my first taste of canyons, and my first experience with the wide open spaces of the West. We went up the Spanish Fork canyon to Price and on to Emory. Here Mr. Russell had trouble with his car, and had to wait for parts to come from Salt Lake City. This gave me a scary feeling. I felt afraid to be so far from the beaten track that a car had to wait for parts! What sort of a country was this anyhow! So it was decided that we would eat the chicken Mrs. Russell had prepared, and we sat around a picnic table. That was a joke on us, for the flies had other ideas about that chicken. Never have I seen such big flies and so many of them! As soon as the smell of food was in the air they descended in a cloud, and they stayed. To get a bite of chicken one had first to fight the flies and try to win the race from covered hand to mouth. We ended that battle as soon as we could and now it was getting dark. So we tucked Mrs. Russellís 200 pound odd in our car and decided we would go through the canyon and camp for the night in Richfield Park. Bill Russell and his dad would wait for the car parts and join us in Marysville as soon as they could.
I have been through many canyons since, and on many tortuous roads, but this was the first time, and we were all scared. Dark came on, and we turned and turned. Mrs. Russell kept saying, "Clyde, I donít see how you can see a yard ahead. It is pitch black, please go slowly!" After some time of this, Clyde looked at his mother and discovered she still had her sun glasses on. With them off we proceeded in peace and finally reached the park. We spread our quilts in one big bed and all were glad to lay down together.
We reached Marysville the next day. Here John and Edna, Clydeís sister, had the general store. Their busiest times were when the sheep herders came in to stock for the season. Business was very good, and kept them both busy. Here we awaited the arrival of Bill and his father.
As soon as these two persons arrived we journeyed down south to Panguitch Creek, in the neighbourhood of Bryce Canyon. The men put on hip boots and went fishing as they walked down the middle of the stream. These men were the nice kind that clean the fish they catch, so grandma Russell kept two big pans full of fresh trout frying just right, while all of us proceeded to reduce the number that was caught day after day. It was a treat of eating, and the fresh, dry air was lovely. However, there was not much comfort for the handling of two babies, and Edna and her mother had not seen each other for some time so naturally had much to talk over, leaving me much alone. The vast spaces being new to me were rather depressing except when the crowd was together, so I was not sorry when we packed up to return to Eureka.
Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.
For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.D&C 58:3, 4
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.John 14:18
Now came the big test. Now was the time to carry out our plans for a business and a home. Clyde left me in Eureka with his folks while he went to Logan first. Here he rented a shop and was going to start a business in automotive electrics. Before long he discovered another shop of the same kind and not feeling that the place was big enough for two, he gave up the idea. Then followed a dark phase of life, for there did not seem any place in Utah that had an opening for such a business and our money was going down fast. Mrs. Russell told us we would have to leave, so there seemed nothing to do but rent a couple of rooms, and tuck our babies in as best we could. Anybody who has seen Eureka should have an idea what this meant to me after giving up a lovely home. But worst of all was the fact that Clyde went back to work in the mines. He had thought he was through with that years before.
Such is life. I hated Eureka, and after some time we went down the valley to Payson. It was beautiful, and I felt it must be heaven to live in such a place if you had some income to live on, which we did not have.
Don Murray Russell Joins the Family
But what a trifle that is when there is such a business as the Fuller Brush game. My goodness, the brush business will make anybody rich, so of course we fell hook line and sinker, never quitting until the car fell apart. Another dead end, until Frank Russell got dad into the car repairing business back again in Eureka. This time I had a four room cottage to myself, and here Don was born. I missed my mother sorely at this time, the birth was another breech. Bad to go through. The system of finding the doctor was to phone everybody in town to try to locate him. However, he got there in time. The only drawback was a large cyst in Donís throat. It looked large while he was small, but he soon "outgrew" it.
So here we were at a standstill. I knew Eureka would never hold me in any degree of happiness. It was so totally foreign to anything I had ever known - the lack of trees and grass, the lack of orderly streets, etc. were real torture to me. One has to be born to that kind of home to assimilate it.
Here we came to a decision - Clyde to take the last few hundred we had and go to Salt Lake City to try for a job. If he did not succeed when down to $200 he was to buy a ticket to Detroit, and we would start over again there. He found two jobs. One was for him and one for his brother Frank, who has been in Salt Lake City ever since. That was one piece of good fortune that came out of our troubles if no other did. With a job., Clyde looked around at homes and found a good brick home near Liberty Park. He put our last money on it, and I could not have been more pleased if I had chosen it myself. Lovely big rooms, lots of play equipment for the children, an electric range - I loved it. Our furniture came, and we spread it out to the best advantage. Surely now we could relax and enjoy life, near a Temple, too. It was wonderful. This was Zion? Yes, it was wonderful, but my life was not intended to be wonderful in an easy way. Oh, I know, we do not grow in ease, but many times I thought I would have managed to be as good with less un-ease.
A Job and a Home in Zion
It was now nearly a year since we had left Detroit, being August, 1929. Now it seemed I could begin to expect the ideals I had planned for when I left England. I had a Yankee Mormon husband, here was a temple and L.D.S. schools, and mother would surely join us. This was just right. How kind the Lord is to hide the future.
The furniture was arranged nicely, the children loved their playground, we joined the ward which met in the chapel on the next street. And then came the wire. Mother had fallen down some steps, broken leg, hip, and arm, was pretty badly shocked. I fought down the panic and started planning. I put an ad in the paper to rent the house, reserving one room for Clyde, and asked two monthís rent in advance. Clyde wired his father for a loan, and I burned all personal letters, etc. cleaned out drawers, closets, left all clean for the tenants.
Mary Leaves to Help Her Mother
Within 36 hours I was saying goodbye to Clyde at the depot. He did not dare to leave his job, nor could we afford it. I boarded the train with three children, one just about six months old, and no pullman. About 3:00 a.m. the porter told me of a vacancy, so we had bunks for two nights to Chicago. Here we had to cross the city to change depots, and the 8 hours or so to Detroit were the longest ones I ever knew. The girls were restless and chased all over the train, baby was cross, and I was glad to meet Luis Lopez at the Detroit depot.
Here I learned that mother had been transferred to Dr. Lopezí home and put under his care. It was about 5:00 p.m. when I reached his home, and he left to meet Prue at her job. As mother looked up at me from that sick bed, she said, "Mary, you must have moved mountains to get here." "Well, mother, if I didnít move them I surely travelled over them."
That evening my father and George came from Pontiac to visit mother, and I could see that father was terribly upset. He told mother that if she would just get well, he would do anything she wanted. For some past years dad had been rather tyrannical, imagining all kinds of ailments, and keeping mother continually waiting on him. Now he was ready to make amends, and promised to sell his house and go West, live with me or Dan, in fact just anything, if only she would get well.
The next day was a time of great rejoicing to mother and me. We made plans. I would stay and nurse her until she was well enough to travel, then we would all travel back together. She and dad and us Russells and live in my lovely home in Salt Lake City. She and dad would have the large bedroom that looked out on the garden plot. There was a place for a few chickens, and a two-car garage would give room for some activity. Now she would be able to go through a Temple, go to Conference, etc., etc., etc. and we continued our conversations which had started in England years before, and for which we had already paid a big price. But bury the past, we had life and enthusiasm, and many years. Now the dreams were coming true. Mother laid on her bed and gazed out an open door. "Mary," she said, "I wouldnít change places with the Queen of England." Such was her description of all that was the ultimate in happiness, and I was as full of ecstasy as she. To have that beloved mother with me in the heart of Zion was a cup full and running over, for which we had waited, planned, and suffered so much.
"Look at those children, Mary. Do you know I can see everything they are doing, and yet they are three streets away. These are surely good glasses, but then they ought to be. I paid a good price for them." I looked, but at three blocks away, I couldnít make out any action, so I agreed they were fine glasses. Could it be that she already had use of her spiritual eyes? She had my girls and Prueís Leon sit in a circle around her bed while she told them stories of Rin Tin Tin, but with the children down for a nap she called me to her side. "Mary, did I ever tell you about the time my mother came to me?" "You know when I was in Australia," and then she told me the experience I have related in an earlier chapter. She seemed to be in a reminiscing mood. Finally looking down at the cast on her arm she said, "If only I had left my bloominí arm so I could crochet or something."
It was nearing 5:00 p.m. and Prue would be home from work, so I was told, "Go and start the dinner and put the baby in my good arm" which I did, and went into the kitchen. One minute later my Irene ran to me "Come quick, Mother, grandma wants you." I found her struggling for breath and called for Dr. Lopez, who gave a shot of adrenalin into the arm. She opened her eyes and saw this and then she struggled to say, turning to me, "I love you so much." Still without knowing the truth, I ran to the neighbouring doctor, "Come quick, my mother needs you." He left his patient and came to stand in the bedroom doorway. "Come on, man, what do you want? Hot water, medicine? We have everything." Instead of speaking he went over to the bed and put the sheet over motherís face. Still refusing to believe, I said, "Donít do that, man, youíll smother her."
Prudence Morley Bannister Passes Away
But facts have to be faced sometime, and the fall from the heights of ecstasy to knowing all dreams were finished was too much to absorb without shock. I lost my speech. Oh, who can describe the loss of not only a mother, but the dream of so many years, which had been our reason for existing in the face of war, separation, and hardship. It was like the Lord said, "You had some nice dreams, but I have some better ones, and I like mine best." Prue put it in other words. She said, "I feel like the Lord has slapped my face and put me in my place." We had planned so much for mother when dad would be willing to cooperate, and when the very moment of fullfillment had come, it was snatched away. (This is August, 1929).
Mary Comforted by Heavenly Presence for Two Nights
Chrissie McLean came and Jack. They took my girls and Leon into their own home leaving only the baby for me to care for. This was the very nicest thing they could have done for us, and they kept the children until all was over. Sleep seemed impossible. I was using a day bed in the dining room and the baby was snuggled in a large chair. Dr. Lopez insisted on us going to bed, and instead of sleep being impossible we were all conscious of a very lovely peaceful feeling. And now for the first time, though not the last, I had a beautiful experience. It seemed that after I closed my eyes I traveled a long way back to reach oblivion. In the morning I traveled a long way back to reach the waking point, but then I realized that I felt like a new being. There was no feeling of weight to my body. I felt full of perfect health. Oh, it was a glorious feeling. No words can describe it. Since writing this, the men who have been miles into space have talked about the wonderful feeling of weightlessness, and I know exactly what they mean.
My baby had slept all night through, for the first time in his life, and he too was very, very good. Prue had thought mother had tucked her in, and I knew mother had not left us. She would not be content to leave us in such sad circumstances. The next night repeated the same wonderful experiences, and we were able to take care of funeral arrangements. No LDS funeral directors there. We chose a lovely casket and a bronze steel vault, very nice. The following night was the night preceeding the funeral, but there was no comforting presence that night. Baby cried all night, nobody slept, and we concluded that mother had left us, maybe to visit Dan or Kate.
This was the first funeral from the new Detroit chapel. I was quite calm. I think I had shed my tears in advance on that first night out from Detroit one year before as if I had known what was coming. The shock has passed, but the sense of loss has never passed. Reconciliation must come if one is to live, and the Gospel helps greatly. I am not sure at this time what songs we sang, I think I have it written down in some article. I only know I was able to sing, which thing was marvelous to me. The details of motherís interment are on her family group sheet, but I doubt if any of us will ever see that spot again. I thank God for knowing that only the body lies there. She herself is united with her four children and her dear mother whom she loved as I loved her. Until we meet again.....
My husband sent me a nice letter, which he closed with some of the most beautiful lines that I have ever read. He knew I would be wishing I had never left her a year before. He knew all my feelings and out of his head he wrote:
Now let there be no regrets, God never forgets
The pain and the sorrow we know.
When it gets too intense, He always relents,
And off to His presence we go.
A TRIBUTE TO MY MOTHER
She was no pioneer, she did not share
The companionship, and singing of the plains.
She did not know the sustenance of prayer
Offered about a campfire. There remains
No marker where she passed for all she wrought.
My mother came an emigrant alone,
A stranger in an alien land; she brought
Only her faith to bridge the great unknown.
Her courage and that of many of her kind
Has gone unsung; and yet I sing it now.
I shed a tear for loved ones left behind,
For all she sacrificed and bore; I bow
My head in reverence for the dream she caught,
For my own faith through her so dearly bought.
And I will ordain a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, and they shall dwell in their place, and shall be moved no more;....I Chronicles 17:9
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
Dad now began to regret that he had denied mother the chance to join me in Utah or go himself before this time. He had a feeling that if he went himself it would make things up somehow. So it was decided that he would sell up and return with me. Prue also wanted to come and bring Leon and Dr. Lopez would follow as soon as he arranged his affairs. This was September, 1929.
So it was a rather large party that arrived back in Salt Lake City. I had to put beds in the breakfast room, which was a very large room, and we managed. After a week Prue wanted to go back to Detroit, but to leave Leon with me. Mother had been taking care of him, Prue wanted to work, and of course she would pay me. It was very difficult. The temperaments of the children were continually at war, the past troubles had left me with a serious case of dysentery, and my baby was very cross.
Father stuck it out for five weeks, but by this time Clyde had lost his job and had left for Pocatello, Idaho, where there was an opporunity. I wanted dad to stay with me, thinking that Clyde may get back in the spring with another job in Salt Lake and so we would keep our home. But dad could not be persuaded. He insisted that he take Leon back with him to Detroit. "You have enough to do, and should sell up and join your husband. That is your place." He left with Leon and I sold our equity in the house to a neighbour.
In the year since I sold our home in Detroit, I had moved to Eureka, to Payson, to Eureka, to S.L.C., and now to Pocatello, Idaho. Five times in one year! It cost much money to move furniture around that much, five times, and five long moves, not just house to house. I was beginning to feel that I didnít care anymore where I lived. Just as the furniture was being put into the van I received a wire from my father. "Donít sell the house. I am coming back." Something in the wire told me he was on his way. What to do? I didnít know what sort of a place Clyde had been able to rent, one had difficulty finding anything at all in those small places, Anyway, dad was coming, so I wired the train and headed him off to Pocatello, Idaho, instead of Salt Lake City. Immediately upon reaching Pocatello I went to the depot and met dad. He was crying like his heart would break. I could only make him welcome and comfort him as best I could. We had only five tiny rooms here. The children slept in the dining room.
Idaho gets cold, real cold. Dad was thin blooded I guess. He could not get warm. The Lord must have been watching over us for we were never able to get hot water. Due to dad stoking the furnace like he did to make steam to move the ships, all we got was a jet of steam. Why the boiler never burst is a miracle to me.
An Idaho Christmas; Clydeís Father Passes Away
Came a day when dad and I went out to shop for a turkey for Christmas. There were children who expected a Christmas, and we tried to make a good one. On our return there was a wire saying that Clydeís father had passed away in his sleep. So we packed his things and set him off to see his father buried. Dad and I made a poor effort to eat turkey, but that was a sad Christmas, 1929. Clydeís father and mother had prepared for the night as usual, and Mr. Russell said to his wife, "Now Jean, no matter what happens, just keep calm," and he turned to sleep. When she joined him a few minutes later she found he was not breathing. What a nice way for him.
While Clyde was away my father got the idea that he could not stand the cold any longer. If only he could go to California where it was warm, he would be happy. We met Clyde with the idea, and if I was willing he would do this. It was hard to give up a good job, $40 a week was good pay, but Clyde left and would let us know when he got a job. I was left to pack some things and sell the rest, for there was no money to move furniture anymore. One advertised by word of mouth mostly. How I hated to sell the piano I had bought myself before marriage and moved all this way. The lovely custom-made over-stuffed, made in Detroit. The carpets, full dining room set, bedroom set, etc., etc., even the dishes mother had given me with so much joy. I kept only my washer and sewing machine. It was in this move that my banjo was broken. Clyde wrote that he had a job, he did not give any details, but was full of amazement at a country where he did not need a coat or hat in January. He thought of all the tons of coal we would save, the winter underwear would not be necessary and so forth. So he rented a house, got some firm to trust him for the bare essentials of furniture, and with three children and dad we prepared to start again from scratch.
California, Here We Come!
It was a nice little four room house on High Street in Oakland, California, but because it was on the back of a lot and near a creek, we decided to move to Ignacio in a similar place.
Maryís Mother Visits and Comforts Her
However, I received a lot of comfort while there on High Street. One day I had taken dad to see a Chinese herbalist. Dad was sure he had cancer in the breast and would not believe otherwise from any doctor. I had no baby buggy yet, and had carried Don all over. He was tired, and I was weary. Instead of sleeping that night he fussed and fussed. I got up for a bottle for him, and found mother in the bedroom when I returned. I said "Oh, mother, this is what Iíve wanted so much, just to see you once more." She put her arms around me and said, "I know lass, I know all about it, but you just be brave and everything will come out all right."
She pushed me towards the bed. I gave the baby his bottle, and once more I experienced that deep sleep after a long journey. My baby never stirred again that night, and I woke again to that weightless feeling and new life pouring through my body. I thank God for these life giving experiences.
We soon made the Ignacio house comfortable, but lack of funds was serious. Clyde had only $75 and later $90 base pay per month and the rest was bonuses that never materialized from Detroit headquarters of the shop. I cannot remember the jobs he held after this. By selling our insurances we somehow kept going. Dad returned to Detroit once more, and we knew that we had better move closer to a chapel if our children were to have the benefit of the organization. We could not afford bus fare.
This took us to the house on Montana from which we could walk to church. Tom Robinson was the Bishop of Dimond Ward, whose brother John had married Clydeís sister Edna. We enjoyed Dimond Ward and are still enjoying it under the name of Oakland Third.
The depression was really hitting the country hard, and when I only had two weeks rent to offer in advance it brought a row with the agent that sent me looking for another place, which I found on Rhoda. After a few months here, the owner wanted to move in, so once more I moved, move, move. This time we moved to Madeline Street. More than once I had to chose between paying tithing and having some money for food, so I paid the tithing and the Lord sent me some sewing to pay for food. Somehow I paid all my bills and carried on.
Now Bill Russell, my bother-in-law, joined us, no work of course, broke, etc. We put a bed in the breakfast nook and shared. At Thanksgiving Lena Weindorf tactfully suggested that we donít buy a turkey because they were selling so cheap in the country she and Fred were going to get several. This was when Lena first really came into my life, and she proved to be a real sister to me, God bless her. I donít know if she realized how far we were from thinking of turkey, but there never was one that tasted so good. We had Bill and a man who had been a Bishop in Eureka years before whom Clyde knew. He was broke, too. Everybody was broke. People were losing their homes daily, and standing in bread lines. This went for many Latter-day Saints too, for there was no welfare plan then. The government was giving away food tickets, and later on we were jolly glad to have some of them.
Now I saw the chance of the little house on Lincoln for $15 a month. This was ten less than we were paying on Madeline. Enough to feed us for two weeks sparingly. Both men were now out of work, but one was given (alternately) two days a week on W.P.A. (made work). Clyde said, "Do we have to move?" I must have been made of iron, because I insisted that we must do all we could to keep our heads above water. I coaxed paint out of the owner on Lincoln, and painted all through. I rented the old garage for $5 a month, bringing the rent down to $10. Then I persuaded the landlord that we took our lives in our hands by living in the place (it was on props in the back) and he took $5 more off the rent. So now I was just paying $5 a month. Not bad. (Five moves in about two years, then two more.)
And now came a lovely experience which I look back on with pride, in fact there was more than one. First I must tell you about my piano. Having to sell mine in Idaho, as soon as I could, I made a payment on a small one here in Oakland. I was determined that my children should know music. I couldnít afford 50 cents for a lesson very often, so I taught them myself inbetween the lessons. Sister McDonald, wife of our Stake President Aird McDonald, came a few times as I could afford it, and Sister----also helped me out. They were making some progress, too. Came the day when I couldnít keep up the payment even though I had coaxed it to a reduced amount, and men came and took it away. It was the only thing I ever lost in my life. But shall my girls grow without music? No, a thousand times no, as the song says. Never say die, was my motto. I kept looking in the papers, while we were going down to Weindorfs to use their piano. One night I saw an ad for a piano selling for $15. Come on fellows, empty your pockets. How much cash can we scrape up? It all amounted to $10. I went to see Lena Weindorf. Their dry cleaning business was still running, so I said to her, "Lena, do you love me $5 worth?" After learning why, she gave me the money which I pledged back at the first chance, which pledge I kept, and Bill and I set forth to find this $15 piano. It was in a basement of an old house, heavy as the dickens, scroll work on the front, never-the-less it was a piano and the man said he would deliver it free.
That piano was all the children had for many years, but it didnít owe me anything when I turned it in on a new small one. That was one good piece of business.
Another idea that gives me pride was our decision to have another child. People flung up their hands in horror. At this time? In these circumstances? Well, what about it. I was getting older, I wanted more children, somehow we would get through. People lived, they didnít die of hardships I had learned, so why not make life serve your ideas? I could teach my children the Gospel, my home was clean and in good taste. My children were not dressed in the clothing that was given us until it had been remodeled and felt new to them. The girls told me years later that they never had a feeling of being poor. I was glad of that. I never allowed self pity to wallow around our home. We had the church and all we needed to be happy was there. So I would have a new baby. Lena Weindorf talked of this years later as we lay in a hospital in Utah after an automobile accident. She was still amazed at my courage, and said frankly she thought I was out of my mind at the time, so hard were the times.
Now I learned of a service being given by the childrenís hospital whereby they would send a doctor and nurse at the time of confinement, and a visit by a nurse for three days after birth all for $25.00. This was for me, and out of our meagre funds I saved the $25 and also paid off Lena Weindorf. I managed to get a few yards of white Flannelette and made me nice nightgowns (no nylon then) which I featherstitched and edged with lace. I gathered some baby things and my friends somehow managed a baby shower out of their poverty. Perhaps it is impossible to convey the degree of hardship which we were all living in, but it was very hard.
George Bannister Passes Away, in Detroit
A couple of months before my baby was due, I got a letter from my brother George in Michigan. Dad had lived in a hotel in Pontiac after leaving me until his funds were exhausted, then he had to move in with George. He died in a hospital from several causes and now George was faced with burial expenses. He had lost his home in the depression but had some work. As no undertaker would touch a body at that time without pay in advance, George had persuaded his employers to advance a months salary which he gave to the undertaker. Now he was wondering how he would feed his children for a month. Nowadays people run to the city welfare for less than this. But my folk didnít think of this.
After talking it over with my husband, I decided to send George my $25, and if necessary I would swallow my pride and go to the County hospital for the birth. Being afraid I might lose the W.P.A. work if it was found out that I had saved $25, I asked Fred Weindorf to get the money order. This he did, and when George saw that money order with a strange name on it, he said his eyes popped. He was sure it was manna from heaven.
Now while we were doing this, the word had reached Kate in England and she, too, was busy. When mother left England, she left an insurance policy on dad with Kate on which Kate had made payments through the years. She cashed this, and instead of keeping it as some folk would have done, she sent it to George with strict orders that I was to have my $25 back first of all, and the rest to go on dadís funeral expenses. The amount was just enough to clear everything up, and we were very grateful for Kateís kindness.
And now I think the Lord said "It is enough," for the same week I received back my $25, a man came to our door inquiring for Clyde. This was Mr. Matson who had an electric shop and who was going to start a motor department shop. Like everyone else, he was skating on thin ice, and could only offer $25 a week, but Fred Weindorf expressed our feelings when he heard the news. "My goodness, Mary, with your $25 back and this job, you must feel like a millionaire." And we did!
A Dream of The Prophet Joseph
It was the 5th of December about noon. The washing was on the line, the house was spotless, when I asked my neighbour to phone for the doctor. I made my bed, spread the babyís things on the kitchen table, had lots of hot water, and all was ready. It was a lady doctor that was sent to me, and her first words were, "My what a lovely spirit there is in this house." Well, there was a good reason for that, and I will digress a little and explain why.
A few days previously I had gone to bed as usual, and I found myself once more travelling a long way, as I had done before. But this time I came into a large building like a meeting house, and it seemed as if the meeting was just over. Some men stood talking on the stand, and one of them I recognized as an old friend. But here I will insert the experience as I wrote it at the time, and it will save my arm a bit on the typing.
It was in the early morning of December 1st 1933, that I was the beneficiary of a most beautiful dream. I was in a building that was not familiar to me, yet I knew it to be a chapel, and groups of saints were standing around greeting each other as we always do. Whether it was before a meeting or after a meeting I do not know, and it is immaterial. As I stood talking to Sister..... we were both impelled to turn our eyes to the speakerís stand on the platform, near which stood a group of men talking together. One of these men was more prominent than the others, and Sister.... turned to me saying, "Is it really he?" And simultaneously we repeated, "Yes, it is the prophet, Joseph Smith." My recognition seemed to create a telepathy that caused the prophet to raise his head and look in my direction. Instantly I recognized him as a dear friend whom I had known for ages, though our paths had not crossed in earth life; and with arms outstretched to embrace we left our associates and started towards each other, he coming down the platform and steps as in our Dimond chapel, and myself walking down the aisle.
And then a strange thing happened to me. In the few seconds that it took us to draw near each other, while my heart seemed almost to burst with the joy and delight of reunion with a dear friend, it seemed as if a veil was torn from my eyes and brain, and I relived all the high spots in my life, and I saw and knew clearly what I had believed all my life - that the Gospel as restored through this prophet had been the whole purpose and guiding power of every step of my life.
I understood vividly that I did not need to tell my former friends any of lifeís experiences, because they already knew them and the knowledge was the reason of the great joy in our reunion. I saw again, as on a movie screen in the air, the two missionaries who had brought the Gospel to my mother and myself, a tiny girl of four or five years. I saw myself at thirteen going into the ocean for baptism. I saw myself at nineteen standing on the first class deck of a large steamer looking down on a tiny black spot on the quay which I knew to be my mother.
I felt as though it had happened but a moment ago, the terrific ache in my heart at leaving her; for I knew that after many hours in the train, she would arrive home to an empty nest, save for my youngest sister of twelve years. For these were war days, and father was on the perilous ocean somewhere, and one brother was in the trenches, another was in America, and now I, too, would be gone. Mingling with heaviness of my heart, was the clarion call of the song that stirs the spirit of gathering in the hearts of Saints, "O Ye Mountains High" and I felt again that most impelling urge that was above all other feeling, Ephraim being pushed from the four corners of the earth to a gathering place. The scene changed and I was in Zion, lonely and homesick but carrying on. Then I was in the Temple being married and working for my kindred.
All these scenes passed before my mind in the few seconds that it took me to reach the prophet. I know no language to express the clarity with which I knew the significance of each act of my life, whereas before, I had only belief. When we were within a step or two of meeting each other in an embrace, the prophet reluctantly dropped his arms in a gesture indicating futility, as he said, "Oh, I must tell you. I am still in the spirit. This body which you see is the body of my spirit, but I expect shortly to take up my body again." And across my mind ran his own recorded words "A righteous spirit will not attempt to shake hands, for they will not deceive."
The dream faded away, and I awoke and repeated it to my husband. I attach no significance to the dream, except that it was to me a conviction of my beliefs in the purpose of life, and a foretaste of the heavenly joy we will experience when we meet again our loved friends who have gone before. I say again what I said to my husband after I had related my dream, "Oh, Clyde, if that is the indescribable joy we will know when we meet our loved ones again, let us so live that no act of ours will cause our outstretched arms to droop, or our eyes to lower with a single tinge of remorse as we embrace never to part again."
May this be our happy lot.
Clyde Bannister Joins the Family
The spirit of that experience stayed around for a long time, and my child was born in a normal manner, with no complications. This was the only time that I could not pay for a woman to come into the home and help us out, but my dear Irene was 12 years old and as capable as any woman I could have got. She soon had a system for keeping sterile water, and she used the Lysol like a veteran. Stitches were all outside then with big knots which had to be kept sterile. But everybody helped and all went well. Our baby was good, and he gave us much joy then and ever after.
Maryís Parentsí Family Sealed together
So now we are rich with money and a new baby. I felt rich enough to take my girls and Don and baby Clyde to Payson, Utah, where my brother Dan had now settled. We went to the Manti Temple and had mother and father sealed, and as small as Irene and Lois and Don and Clyde were they knelt at the altar (Clyde was in my arms) and were proxy for three of the four children mother had lost as they were sealed to her. Dan was proxy for the other one. Again in 1934, according to the cancelled sheet, Irene did baptisms in the Manti Temple for some of our dead kin. This was on my 38th birthday, probably on the same trip.
Brother and Sister Kest came to tell us of a house next to them on Dimond Avenue which was for rent. It would be just right for us. Apart from the fact that it was just three doors from the chapel, when I saw that fireplace I was overjoyed. The short time I was in that house was like heaven to me. To have my children sit round the open fire at night time, even just for an hour, was wonderful. The children liked it, too, and I was happy. Clydeís pay kept going up a bit, and he only kept enough for his bus fare. In fact sometimes he walked to work, to Broadway at 40th, and saved the bus fare for some trifle for the children. Bill had left us and had an apartment on Dimond Avenue with his mother who had joined him. So we were on the same street. (Yesterday, Oct. 25, 1961, I saw that both the houses we and the Kests used to live in were going to be moved and apartment houses built there. Many such are now built on Dimond Avenue since our chapel there was sold.)
Peggy wanted to come to California with Leon. Of course I moved over and made room. After finding work she took an apartment and before too long moved to Berkeley.
Life was simple, busy (I still took in sewing) and satisfactory.
O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. ...
And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children...
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.
Mary Begins Family History Research in Earnest
While on Dimond Avenue, Sister Gorden came into our lives. She was visiting her daughter, Jean Lauper, and was a leader in Genealogy. After being sealed to Clyde in Salt Lake Temple I went on up to Logan Temple to do some service for my departed ancestors, after which I had had no chance for this work until I lived on Madeline, in California. Here I started going over to San Francisco on the nickel ferry at the foot of Broadway, and I was allowed to bring four books back with me, so this is when I deleted all the marriages from the Derbyshire registers which involved our family names. It was not too long after this when Sister Gorden came. Now I started research in earnest, and every bit of it had to be gotten from the old country by correspondence. Sutro library in San Francisco had some good general information which I gathered up from time to time. Some Vicars of England were very good to me. One in particular, in Longford, Derbyshire, my motherís birth place, copied all the entries in his register on four names and did not charge me a cent. I appreciate that kindness now more than I did then, because I now realize the great amount of work involved. Never again have I been so fortunate, but motherís people were given their chance nearly 30 years ago, thanks to this Vicar. He will have his reward.
In the Dimond Ward, I was genealogy teacher and family group teacher and counselor in Relief Society with Mildred Morgan as President. Also I was Theology teacher in Relief Society and many of these were simultaneous. I was very grateful for the ability to reach the hearts of the people, and we were all benefited.
Joan Bannister Joins the Family
It was in Dimond Ward that my genealogy class decided on the purchase of a microfilm reader which is now in the library. Our family had marvelous opportunities for development in this ward. Irene and Lois had organ lessons, and played a nice duet, Lois on the organ and Irene on the piano. Later on, Clyde, Jr. had piano and accordian, and Don gave many a good show with his magic. The little house on Dimond Avenue was the scene of a dramatic fight when Joan decided she was ready for earth life. It was a most difficult birth, being a transverse position, and the scales tipped in each direction as Dr. Fisher tried to steer a safe course for both mother and babe. At last he threw up his hand, "I refuse any further responsibility, I cannot bring this child to birth without breaking it in pieces." That of course, would have saved the mother. We sent for Dr. Palmer, a specialist, and with the Lordís help he was able to turn the child to breech position and finally to birth. Now Joan was safely launched, and a more beautiful baby was never born. She is a true Latter-Day Saint, with a heart as big as outdoors. In fact, I think she is imposed on many a time, but it gives me joy to see her in her nice home, always filling her time with good works.
Business began to turn the corner. Hearts became lighter, and many of our Latter-day Saints began to think of replacing the homes they had lost. Some built new ones with family labor, and others looked for cheap homes that they could remodel. So - with no funds, I decided I would buy a home--anything I could call my own and not be told to leave. There were two possibilities: one near Fruitvale school and this shack on Coolidge Avenue.
The Shack on Coolidge Avenue
Now there is a story about this shack which shows how little we can see into the future. When we lived on Madeline, which was a nice new house, it overlooked a shack on Coolidge, yes, it was this same one. I used to look down on this shack and think to myself, "You poor souls, what a shame anyone has to live in a place like that. A little Tommy lived in this shack, poor dirty faced little tyke, but my Don decided that Tommy was a nice boy, and they were very congenial. So each day when Tommy came over, I washed his face and hands, gave him some breakfast and there he was for the day.
So now I am considering turning this shack into a home. I found it had two good sized rooms, with tongue and groove walls, and a big shelf around the centre. A porch went clear around the front. The rest of the place was just box wood, and only fit for tearing down. But, we could move in for just $200, and it was a chance to pay our rent to ourselves. So we borrowed the $200 and got Brother Olsen to put heavy paper over the boards, walls and ceiling, with wallpaper over the heavy paper. He did such a good job on that foundation, it has lasted ever since.
Now we had two clean rooms, true, we had no closets, four rooms of furniture, including a lot of baby stuff. The porch was full of boxes. We looked like the wreck of the Hesperus. Here my nerve or health or whatever it was, cracked. I guess the confusion, after Joanís hard birth, was a bit too much, but I had to keep going as best I could.
Clyde Obtains a Business of His Own
It was somewhere around this period that Mr. Matson of the electric business decided that he would turn the motor business over to Clyde. We were to pay for the equipment when we could. It turned out to be a good thing for us, and for many years the business gave us a good living. I had my own car for many years, which was a real treat to me.
I imagine that Joan and Clyde, Jr., donít remember any home but this one on Coolidge. It has sheltered many people from time to time. Clyde built on a larger kitchen, a laundry room and bedroom and bath. Here it was that Clydeís mother breathed her last, and after a period of Army service, Bill joined us here and lived with us for many years. We had Ruthie from Dakota when Lois was home, and when Lois went into nurses training, Ruth went into the Waves. Cathie Nielson, too, spent a year with us while Clyde was on his mission. Then she went into the missionfield for a year, too. And before it became such a fad to go to the B.Y.U. we had many groups of young people in and out. Such a lot of fun it was to see these fine clean youngsters enjoying wholesome conpanionship. This was one of my dreams fulfilled for my youngsters. Here Clyde gave us so much joy with his music, and Don with his magic, Joan with her singing. Irene married Bill Berg, and stayed near by for a good while. Lois married Bliss Cook and we had the pleasure of their company until Jeffrey was a year or more. How the Berg kiddies used to like a turn at coming to grandmaís to dinner! Then Clyde B. went to England on a Church Mission, where he was the last District President of the Liverpool Conference.
It was a lucky break that Don was in the service in Germany when Clyde was in England. Twice Don was able to go over to England and join Clyde. Both met the Johnstons in Chester at the time. The Johnstons are my sister Kateís daughter and family. Both boys toured Scotland to Loch Lomond.
Now it is Christmas, 1961, Clyde and Cathie have a lovely daughter Laura. Joan and Dick Stain are married, Irene and Bill Berg have four wonderful children. Lois and Bliss Cook have six, just as nice. last Thanksgiving there were 23 of us to get together, and we enjoyed each otherís talents for around three hours. It is at this time, also, that Don received his B.A. degree from California Polytechnic College.
When we lived on Dimond Avenue, I used to find nearby places to take the children on picnics. It had to be a place where I could take a baby. Sometimes we went to Dimond Park and again to a little woods on a hill at the end of Lincoln Avenue. It was pretty here, the children enjoyed climbing the hill. We little thought then that this same hill would soon be covered with houses and a Temple built on the top.
Oakland Temple Site Dedicated
The day the site was dedicated, I thought I heard the Lord say, "You might have known I would answer your prayers." But twenty years passed with no mention of building until the day our Tti-Stake center was dedicated, and President Stone drove President McKay around to view the sight. That day it was decided that the Oakland Temple would start in the spring of 1962 and be operating by December, 1963. So - I will be 67 years old then, with at least 20+ good years left me to enjoy it, if not more. (Twenty more years - I was a pretty good prophet, at this moment I will be 86 years old next month, just one year to fill the prophecy.) In the meantime we have started a Genealogical Library here, and I am British Research Director of the region. My days are very full, and I am still trying to untie the knots in some of my pedigree lines. I read of rockets and atom bombs and shelters. Missionaries are flying to their fields of labor now, time is of the essence. Every minute is needed to prepare for the second coming of our Lord, and I look forward to this event. In fact, I look forward to each day, life is exciting. I can think of more lovely things to do than I can crowd in the days, and yet I marvel that I do as much as I do. All the trials seem as nothing now, they have brought me and my family to this lovely place. With a B.Y.U. college coming soon, a Genealogical Library, and a Temple, what could we want more? (The latest Church news, 15 Aug. 1971, says no more church colleges will be built.)
Maryís and Clydeís Prayer for their Children
Dad and I pray daily and earnestly for our grandchildren. That they will incline their hearts to their parents, that they will be strong in the faith, that their parents will have wisdom and courage to implant a strong testimony of Godís plan for us. That not one will be lost to us, but that we will all be together in the Kingdom of our Father. And in the meantime, may we meet often in His Holy Temple and have many satisfying sessions together. Then I will say with David of old, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever."
P.S. Yesterday was my 66th birthday, July 30, 1962, and men started digging the foundations of our Temple! What a wonderful birthday!
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
I see that I stopped my story on my birthday, July 30, 1962. This is now May 1974 so twelve years have passed away since I laid the book down. Joan worked hard on it, making all the stencils in her scarce spare time, and I notice lots of mistakes in the spelling. These are the fault of the hands and not the brain, for she worked in between jobs on the school base. Then she wrangled permission to use their copying machine after school hours, and that is how we got so many copies. There should be enough to give each grandchild a copy, even the great-grandchildren. Each set needs looking over for missing sheets, to be sure it is complete. So now on with the story.
Mary is Overwhelmed by the Goodness of God
As the walls rose on the Temple, I was overwhelmed by the goodness of God to me. In spite of all my trials and my many moves, here I ended up living just five minutes from a Temple! Could the Lord have done more to prove to me that He had been guiding my life through thick and thin? If He had come to me in person and said, "Here, Mary, is the Temple that you have yearned to live near to", He could not have shown me more plain than He was doing. Now Sister Hilton got the idea of having the Relief Society sisters give expression to their feeling about the Temple in writing, to be printed and bound for a memento of Temple Building Time. This was the title to the volume, and I felt like wanting to have my thoughts in the book. Following is my contribution:
-Mary B. Russell
I thank Thee Lord
That Thou hast brought
Me safely through
To see this day.
So long ago the dream was born
In a far of f island home
The aching urge to live nearby a Temple
And entering feel a daily rapport
With eternity and Thee.
Joy and trials intertwined
Have made the years in Zion.
Thirty of them passed
In moving here and yon
As fate decreed.
Then leading me to sunny California.
The Priesthood led the way
The ground was bought and dedicated
My heart rejoiced and His voice seemed to say
"I did not forget thee Mary,
At last, at last, the dream is coming true."
Another twenty years passed by,
Five children reared and gone
Until our prophet came and said
"This Temple shall be reared at once
Let it be done".
So now our Temple crowns the hill
Five golden spires salute the skies
Roof gardens are a lookout point
Oíer cities, bay and ocean tides
Spreading a benediction upon all.
The beacon will be seen by men at sea
And guide them safely into port
The pilots of ships flying in air
With mellowed hearts will be led to say
"There shines the Temple of our God".
Eternal joys we will here extend
To those gone on and to the living.
The former life is made so plain
The present existence outlined the same
Guiding all souls to a heavenly port.
By daily service we learn great truths
The justice of God is made manifest-
His love and devotion in making the plan
To show us with every word and act-
The course of God is one eternal round.
I thank Thee Lord
That Thou hast led me by the hand
To see this wonderful day.
Mary B. Russell, Oakland 3rd Ward
There were many beautiful poems and songs contributed for the book and it was printed in 1964. A copy is now on my book shelves.
In 1963 my husband was asked to take the position of Stationary Engineer in the Temple. It was not yet finished, but he had to supervise the work being done on the heating plant and the electric system. There are several hundred electric motors in the building and two large boilers, one painted blue and the other one dusty pink. The walls of the boiler room are glass from floor to ceiling. Clydeís office was sectioned off the boiler room by a glass wall and door. There was also a wash room.
The city engineer of Oakland said it was the most beautiful engine room he had ever seen in his life, and we thought the same thing. Walls were painted in pastel colors, floors had light colored tiles on the floor. All was kept spic and span. I was happy that Clyde Sr. could have this job, he was now nearly 69 years old, had always worked hard and steady, and this would be the crowning job of his life. He loved the work, and the surroundings, and his associates were all of the LDS church. From our little house it took him just five minutes up the hill to get to the Temple.
The Lord Calls Mary and Clyde to be Ordinance Workers in the Temple
Our happiness soared to new heights when Brother Schettler came to visit us, and asked us if we would be willing to serve as ordinance workers in the Temple. In all my dreaming I had never considered this possibility, and I was somewhat nervous because of poor hearing. However, I wanted to help, so we set dates to meet in one of the sealing rooms a few times each week, along with others, to learn our part of the work. Some couples had gone to the Los Angeles Temple to learn, then they tutored others.
Our shift was set for Thursday and Friday nights from 4:00 p.m. to closing. Clyde could change and wash in his office, and then he came upstairs to have dinner with me before starting in the sessions. It was a wonderful experience for both of us. The tape in the ordinance room is the only tape in which I have been able to hear the words. Another of Godís miracles to me. By knowing the ritual at the veil I was able to follow the patronís lips arid so got along famously.
The Temple was open to the public on October 1964. Many wonderful things were said, truly the building and the grounds were sublime. Bill Rose, the Oakland Tribune religion writer wrote in the Tribune of October 15, 1964: Fantastically beautiful, exquisite, inspiring, overwhelming, and georgeous were a few of the superlatives used by some of the 12,000 persons who viewed the Oakland Mormon Temple last night. He quoted others as saying "Itís breathtaking, it is the most beautiful thing Iíve seen from coast to coast." "This is the most outstanding building in the Bay Area, bar none". One lady, Mrs. Alice Fellinger of Berkeley, California, put her comments in verse and wrote:
We visited your Temple, an inspired work of God
And felt that He was with us, as through the grounds we trod.
We canít explain the feeling that swept from head to toe,
With the organ playing softly, when at last we turned to go;
But we knew that in His heaven, God has planned a wondrous sight,
We had a glimpse of heaven when we visited last night.
PresidentMcKay came to the dedication and there were different speakers on each day. It made me happy to have Jack and Chrissie McLean come to visit us at this time, and as luck would have it they took their tour of the Temple on the day that President Romney, of the Detroit Stake, was the speaker. They had a rare reunion with him at that time. It turned out too, that this trip was the crowning peak of their lives, for Chrissie became ill when they stopped off at Phoenix to do some Temple work. They hurried home, but it was Jack who left us in a short time to join his daughter in heaven.
Poor Chrissie, theirs was truly a love match and she was not required to live long without him, and then she too joined him in her mansion which I am sure Jack had ready for her. The nice home they had shared with me for a few weeks in Florida was now vacant, and I had lost two people who were closer to me than my own brothers and sisters. How close are the ties of the Gospel especially among those who had left the same homeland for the Gospels sake.
So we settled down, Clyde and me, to a routine of work that we loved. We two and Don, were the only ones at home. I shared my time between the Temple and the Genealogical Library. I had worked hard to build up the British section in the library, and I loved to be able to help patrons with their work. We had workshops now and again and I taught classes in old English writing. and various phases of British research. This was work near to my heart.
Mother was the only one of her people who ever joined the church and I was the only one of her children who had the spirit of research. I have been very successful in gathering hundreds of motherís ancestors records, but have not been able to go so far on my fatherís side. Men who follow the sea in any capacity are not easy to trace, as they cover the earth in their travels. When I go over to the other side, I hope to get permission to find these ancestors whose records are missing, and learn from them or from the records kept over there, the missing data that I need to extend their lines. This knowledge I hope to be able to give to Clyde Jr., who has the promise that he shall obtain the missing records in this manner.
When the Temple was opened I found that the Salt Lake authorities had sent nearly 200 family group sheets of mine which were ready for sealings. I was delighted to have this opportunity to get my family together around the altar and do this great work of sealing families for eternity. What a great reward this was for having these sheets ready, another of my Fatherís great blessings to me. So I arranged my own proxies, all the family members and in-laws, and sometimes one or two friends like Brother and Sister Harkins or Lillian Rigby.
It was a sight to see those loved ones taking places at the altar and clasping hands and Brother Phelps led us through the ordinance. We could seal 32 to 35 families per evening, depending on how large the families were. It thrills me now to think of those grand nights. I hope there will be an opportunity in heaven for whole families to work together like we did then. Soul satisfying. One night Bliss Cook said, "Mother, donít you ever get tired?" (It was not easy to arrange for care of children and get to the Temple early). I said, "Tired?" (it seemed incomprehensible that anyone would get tired in this work) "no, Bliss, plenty of time to get tired when Iím six foot under".
Mary Walks Back from the Car; Kisses Clyde Goodbye For the Last Time
During this period I was doing research for Lilian Heder of Cloverdale. She was a convert of English ancestry, her people were all of London. As she was nearly blind I was happy to be able to help her. On July 7th, 1966, I had the offer of a ride to Cloverdale with Mavis and Gene Humphreys and I thought it a good chance to get some more information from Sister Heder and to show her what had been done. Clyde Sr. was home when we left and as I was about to get into the car, I looked up to the porch where Clyde was standing, and I went back again, put my arms around him and kissed him. Then I went back to the car.
I am forever grateful for that last impulse and that last glance of him standing there. It was my last look of my living husband. The next morning he was taken to the hospital and put under a sedative for heart attack. It was probably around 5:00 p.m. when he died, and I was too late to see him. He was buried on July 12th, which was our 47th wedding anniversary.
Mary Once Again Comforted by a Visitor From Heaven
Don was now sick in the hospital, and I was really alone. I kept on with my Temple work and the library work for some time, but how I hated to come home alone at 11 P.M. One night I was so lonely I felt forsaken and when I turned on the light I flung myself down on my bed fully dressed as I was and cried out loud, "Oh, to be loved once more, just for myself alone". And then---somebody came, I was clasped in a pair of strong arms, and my head was held tight against a firm breast. I was not permitted to see his face, but it felt just like my Clyde. I felt myself filled from top of head to toe with a most holy love, it was sublime, I thrilled and swelled with the most holy emotion, and across my mind went the words, "Surely this must be the pure love of heaven". In all my thinking I have not yet found any words better than those to describe that holy baptism of love. My visitor departed, but the beautiful feeling stayed with me for many days and departed slowly, leaving a memory which sustains me many times, when life is tough.
I carried on and Don came home, feeling much better, and I decided to buy him a business of his own, where he could be his own boss. The only opportunity within our range was a dry cleaning and laundry combination on Park Blvd., near the hills. It was a fine location and I started doing alterations also. When looking over this shop I fell from a high step and broke my left arm and my back. I was just recovering from the second hip break, so this made it hard to help Don. He had a relapse and as I could not hear to answer the phone, we decided to let it revert to the former owner.
Then Clyde Jr. took me with his family to Yosemite, up in the quiet places near the summit. We had a nice trailer, the sun was warm and the peace and quiet helped a lot to quiet the nerves and emotions which were getting the upper hand over me. After some time had gone by I found myself unable to keep up the yard work, my back would not co-operate, so I sold the home and built an apartment on the back of Joanís, in Fremont.
Maryís Second Trip to England
I went again to England and with Kate we visited relatives and enjoyed trips into Derbyshire, especially the one to Haddon Hall, home of Dorothy Vernon. It was a lovely compact mansion and the only one I saw which I had a desire to modernize. The old stone floors, worn into grooves by many feet would have needed cement work to level them, and then could have been carpeted over, and it would have made a good home. But it was now a public trust, meaning it belonged to the government, as did most of the old castles. The huge inheritance tax made it impossible for owners to keep their heritages, and the government made a revenue by charging tourists to view the properties. The grounds around Haddon Hall were lovely indeed. But travel was getting harder each year. In older days a tip would buy any service one needed, but now (1968) it was almost impossible to find a porter. People seemed to think they were too good for helpful services any more, so I shopped around and bought a dolly on wheels so that I could roll my luggage along on the trip home.
Kate and I went out one Sunday to find the place of meeting of the Latter-day Saints in Chester. We passed it several times, but finally found it. The building was an old Elizabethan mansion, which was used as a dancing school during the week. I have a post card picture of this building, among my pictures. It was an interesting building, but I found the Saints the same as they are the world over, kind, warm and faithful. I attended one of their Conferences, and some of the local brethren were as good speakers as I have heard anywhere.
One young woman was especially close to me, and she told me her story. Like most girls over there she was fearful that she would not have a chance to meet a Mormon fellow. But chances were better for her than they had been for me in 1915, now that they had Stakes and Regional Conferences and 3 days together of fun and business. She said she met her husband at a Conference in Manchester, and he was a man who knew what he wanted, so he asked her if she would marry him. She said, "Mary, I just went home to pack my things and came right back and married him, and oh, I am so glad I got him". I can imagine her feelings, he was a leader in Chester ward when I was there and a wonderful man in every way a Latter-day Saint girl wants her man to be. He was very much interested in seeking after his forefathers and had made it his business to copy the parish records of the Chester Cathedral, which were not in print.
By the way, there is a plaque in the wall of Chester Cathedral to one of our ancestors, I think it was a Browne. He was Dean of the Cathedral at one time. I have both a Ferne and a Browne who were Deans of Cathedrals, but I think this was the Browne. It will be on some family group sheet. I told the Turnbulls about it, and they went scurrying down to the Cathedral to see it, they are still so sensitive about class and prestige.
When the Latter-day Saints of Chester planned a Temple excursion I decided to join them, and my young friend called for me to take me to the bus, which had first picked up the saints of Liverpool. Even though we stopped at various places to pick up members, the journey did not take as long as it did from Oakland to Los Angeles. It seemed queer to me that there was no freeway over London. One has to wend his way through all the streets like a jigsaw puzzle to finally get from the northern to the southern side of London. But I enjoyed the trip, it gave me a chance to see some of the beautiful LDS chapels that had recently been acquired. The one at Ashton under Lyme was as grand as any we own in America. The Chester Saints were saving for a chapel which they may have built by now. The problem is getting the land, which is sold by the inch in Chester, so I am sure they would have to go far out to get it.
Mary Visits the London Temple
I was especially happy to be able to go to the London Temple, because I had tried to go once before when I was staying with Gladys Turnbull in Ferndown, Dorset. She drove me up to the Temple, but the doors were shut. After some time a couple came to the door and told me it was the week for the Dutch saints to have the Temple, so because I did not understand Dutch I did not go in. The Temple is small, but very nice, and the grounds are lovely.
So now I took the folks, Gladys and Wilf Turnbull and Kate, through the Bureau of Information. They marvelled at the beautiful pictures on the walls and Gladys said, "Mary, your church must be very rich to afford all these pictures". Then we went to the motion picture room, and after the first picture, the name of which I do not remember, I asked the attendent if she would kindly show "Manís Search for Happiness". This is my favorite picture, I have seen it many times and I never weary of watching the faces there, especially the face of the old man, so full of patience, love and clean thoughts. I hoped that my folks would enjoy it as much as I did, and in Kate and Gladys I was not disappointed. The tears were running down Kateís face and she said, "Oh, Mary, that was beautiful". I said, "I know it Kate, it is the Gospel, and I have been trying to show you how all of it is just as beautiful as this picture".
Kate is no student but she has always been loyal to our people, and has said she believes our principles as far as she knows them. I am sure that when she knows the truth, when it can be presented to her mind like that picture was, she will want to accept it. Her husband, who had by now passed away, said he believed in all our doctrine, even polygamy, but could not accept Joseph Smith. I told him, "I suppose if the Lord had come to Winston Churchill you would have accepted it, but Joseph Smith and many other early leaders come from the same lines as Winston Churchill". The Lord will judge, if I outlive Kate I will attend to her endowments, and seal her up to Harry Turnbull, and the Lord will take care of the rest.
Gladys, who married Wilf Turnbull, was an exceptionally brilliant minded person. It is a joy to talk with her, and I have sent her some books and had many Gospel conversations with her. These people are all Baptists, and if it had not been for the timely appearance of the tract in our hallway, mother also would have joined the Baptist faith. I was very happy to have the chance to take them through the Bureau, after which we had a picnic and drove through the glorious country back to Dorset. Gladys took me one Sunday to Bournemouth branch, these saints also had a nice chapel. But I did not enjoy this so much, the people did not have the art of making welcome.
So to get back to our London Temple bus, it was around 2:00 a.m. when we reached a mansion near the Temple grounds. Here we were expected, and entered, and I found that our church had purchased this mansion for a place where saints could rest for an hour or two before going to the Temple. Beds were put in every room, nook and cranny and we lay down until 6:30 then we boarded the bus again and went to the Temple. Each one of us did three endowments and were out, having had dinner too, by 1:00 p.m. There was time to visit and stroll over the grounds, then we embarked for London and visited the shop that sold garments, books, supplies of all kinds. We came back to Chester around 3:00 a.m. and I was glad I had a key, after a satisfactory trip.
It was soon time to get back to the airport near London, only to find that our jet had been shunted to another airport one hours drive away. We were given box lunches to eat on the way and I wished it had been daylight so that I could have seen the lovely country. At last we got away and were told that the customs man would come aboard at New Brunswick, Canada, and we would not have to get off the plane. Instead of this we were flown to another place which I canít remember and we had to gather all our possessions, and walk a long way to the airport shed, our trunks were also brought along and here we were lined up. First our hand bags and parcels were searched. The officials had a hard time deciding to let me keep a box of heather I had picked from the hills in the country. But here I met a fellow who said, "Which luggage is yours?" and I pointed to my big case on the wheels. When I came to my turn at his counter he just nodded his head for me to pass, and he put my luggage among those ready to go back to the jet. What a mercy this was, for Kate had packed the thing and every corner was filled with this and that, I did not know how I would pack it again.
So all was fine now until I got to Los Angeles. The landing place was deserted, and only one taxi waiting which a man grabbed quickly. What to do? I had to get over to another airport. A lady saw me standing and asked me if I wanted to go to the regular airport, and suggested that I drive with them. When her husband arrived he showed his displeasure, but I was tough enough to accept the ride anyway. And in the second airport I received the first service on the whole trip, when a colored man in uniform came out to attend to my luggage, leaving me only to buy my ticket to Oakland. Joan met me at the Oakland airport, and I was glad to be home. If anybody had told me in 1915 that I would yet have two visits back to England I would not have believed them. It was not possible in those days, goodbye meant forever.
Mary Moves to Santa Rosa
I had not enjoyed my apartment very long when Dick was transferred to Santa Rosa and we had to move. I came with them and have a very large room for a combination of living and sleeping. It looks out to the oak covered hills, and when the latter are green in the spring, it is much like our English hills. We had welcomed little Heidi in Fremont, and the privilege of cuddling her and enjoying her lovely smile did a great deal to heal my aching heart. Life had brought so many trials - not all of them chronicled - that even my friends were suffering for me. When a person stole the water tank and other parts from my car on Temple Hill, while I was working in the library, my friends said, "Oh, no, not her, she has had enough trouble". Well, it never rains but it pours, as mother used to say. But here again the Lord was in charge, and at the same time as Joan and family and myself were obliged to come to Santa Rosa, Clyde Jr. obtained a position as math professor at the college here, and Don came here too and found an apartment near the Yulupa Church, so without any planning we had all but Lois and Irene here in Santa Rosa. We have had many good times together. Clyde Jr. was soon put on the High Council, which position he had also in Fremont. At the present time one of his assignments is to build a branch library here and we will put it in the Stake Center on Peterson Lane. I am looking forward to this, for I need the use of many Parish Register Printouts to find the Temple data of my people. Working there will give me a new lease on life, give more meaning to my days.
We have just finished giving the production of Fiddler on the Roof, in which play Joan was the matchmaker and Dick was Tevye the father. It was a huge sell out, a great success. Bishop Foulger was a happy man.
And now I am up to date, May 1974, still looking forward. I am sure now that the coming of our Lord can not be far away, the world is so full of wickedness it is risky to be out after dark. It is only among those living the Gospel that life is safe. May our Fatherís tender care be over all those who are worthy.
Kate and Harryís Visit to America, 1952
I would like to mention the visit of Kate and Harry to this country in 1952.
While on my first visit to them, the people were still on rations, and food was scarce in 1948. I was allowed to take 40 lbs of food with me, so after I had found my hotel room in New York, I asked for a taxi, and told him I wanted to go to a super market. This driver was true to his people and he took me to an open air market in the East Side. Booths were set up along the street, and shops were open. I can remember that I chose ten pounds of cheese, ten pounds of ham, and the same each of two other items which I forget. I had to carry these with me to the ship, and a locker was the only place to put them during the voyage.
Harry and Kate met me in Southampton, and we went straight to London. When Kate opened those packages in the hotel, her eyes nearly popped out of her head. It was many years since she had seen so much food. I am sure Americans never knew sacrifice in the way the English people did. We had a week in London and took many tours including one to Stratford on Avon, where I went into the church with its old pews, where William Shakespeare used to go. We went to Anne Hathaways cottage, and her lovely, lovely garden. Through Shakespear's home also and the home of a man who became a great American. The name escapes me. He was the founder of Harvard College. We did not have time to take in a play in Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, but the river Avon with the lovely swans was very picturesque.
After visiting Windsor Castle and seeing the name of one of our Younghusbandís in the floor there, in St. George Chapel, we went to Kateís home in Ashington, Northumberland. What a lovely day we had in Bamburgh. It was perfect weather, Bamburgh Castle is on a high elevation on the coast. An American had bought it and the side of the castle that looked across the village had had the wall taken out and floor to ceiling windows put in. What a view. The village only had one street, and at the further end stood the village church. Here I found many epitaphs in the church walls to Younghusbands and many tombstones in the church yard. There was a bowling ground with lawns like green velvet, and the sand on the sea shore looked like it had just been created, so white and clean.
We took a boat to Holy Island, and saw the ruins of the Abbey where the first Christian monks used to live. Here the gospel came first from Scotland and from here it spread over the north of England. That was a never to be forgotten day. We also took a trip north through Berwick on Tweed, to Edinburgh and on to a village past Stirling to Braco. Here Chrissieís sister had an hotel, used mostly by gents who went north to shoot birds. She treated us like kin, just stuffed us with good things to eat, knowing what Kate had been through.
Being in the country she had not been short of anything. She gave us two dozen eggs, butter, and some other things to take home and never did eggs have such tender care as those had. If the bus driver had known we had them, he could have made us share them with all the passengers.
After we got home I made arrangements with Harry to leave my American money [at home], or rather I would bring it back to America to hold it for when Kate and Harry came to America, and I accepted English pounds [from Harry]. A week later the pound was cut in half, and I could have got twice as many pounds for my money, but Harry did not suggest giving me the difference. I was in Edinburgh, doing research for Jack McClean when the Pound was devaluated, and there was a man in our boarding house who had just come from Canada. He had sold a ranch etc., and the foolish man had brought all of his money with him. It was now worth just half of the amount he brought.
I had considerable success with research in the Edinburgh record office, it was joy to leave it in Detroit with Jack on my way home. It was the means of getting him very interested in research, and of persuading Chrissie that they ought to go to a Temple and be sealed. I later spent several weeks with them doing research in Salt Lake library. Chrissieís sister was going back to Scotland and she was willing to leave her American money with me, accepting the equivalent in English money from Kate when she arrived over there. Also Kate paid for some research I was having done in England, and I saved the price here for her.
In this way, by the time Kate and Harry came here in 1952, there was a large amount of money waiting here for them to spend, instead of just the one hundred dollars the English law allowed people to take out of the country. I took them to Yosemite, to Salt Lake City, then up to Vancouver and Victoria, Canada. We hired a car here and I drove them all over.
From Vancouver we took train to Detroit, and Jack and Chrissie met us. They took us to Northern Michigan to see the locks, then to Toronto to the Worldís Fair, then to Niagra Falls. Chrissie and Jack were mourning the loss of their oldest daughter, and this visit did much to break their grief. Never will I forget one night, we had just arrived in Niagra and our rooms, which were the top floor of a large house. Jack was the first one to enter the bathroom, but after a long ride, all the party had the same need. Chrissie saw a chance to make Jack laugh, so she had us all line up in the hall. Not a word was said, but when Jack came out and saw this line up, his face registered so many emotions we were all convulsed with laughter. All night long first one and then another would commence giggling, even through the walls others could hear until all were laughing again. It was better than medicine for the heart sick couple, from then on they started to pull out of their tragedy.
So Joan and I left the others at Detroit and made our way back home. Kate and Harry went on to New York and the ship home. The trip had given Kate many a good memory to help her through the coming years. She is now 88 years old (1974), and mostly house bound with a broken hip and poor back. I had one more trip in 1968, but I have no desire for more.
Eíen down to old age all my people shall prove
My soverign, eternal, unchangeable love
And then when gray hairs shall their temples adorn
Like lambs, shall they still in my bosom be bourne
How Firm a Foundation, Hymns #85
Mary Moves to Hayward, to be with Bill and Irene
It seems folly to record any more of my lifeís doings. Without a partner one is only half alive. The sense of belonging, whether to life or those living, would be lost except, as in my case, the children are so loving and kind to me, also the grand-children, that I am made to feel I am still of some use. When Joan and family moved to Salt Lake City I was by that time living with Bill and Irene in Hayward. I had big hopes that Hayward would accept the extraction program, but my hopes were dashed at that time.
Aching for a real job that would allow me to use my capacities in the Lordís work, I volunteered for a mission, but again I was turned down. It seemed that people could not see beyond the stick I use, but I felt I had much to offer, especially in some area where the people were all new converts. What was the purpose in my life at this time?
One Thousand Family Group Sheets
Oh, I kept busy, the grandchildren kept me excited enough with weddings and births, my hands were never idle between times of writing. I faced and finished the monumental task of typing one thousand family group sheets and pedigree charts to make a lovely new record of Bannister and Russell genealogies. Just those of definite connection went into these two beautiful binders. The old working record is still in the files, two deep drawers, in the cabinet Bill made for me. But now many of the rules have changed, computers are taking over in the Temples and libraries and old ways have to go as new ones take their places.
Mary called to be an Extraction Trainer, in Old English
Rejoice with me! As of May 1981 the Hayward Stake started work on the extraction program. Hayward will concentrate on the Old English records and we are starting with four competent persons, who are studying hard to become skilled on the Old English writing. I see old rules governing research being seemingly ignored to please the computer, but then I donít understand computers, so I have to leave it to those responsible. I am very happy to have this chance to serve again in a labor which I feel sure will help some soul to salvation, or exaltation. It is a job I can do while sitting, it challenges my mind, many times it takes the mind of a detective to trace down a symbol (one canít call them letters) and decide what the Vicar was trying to write. Nothing but daily dedication keeps one in the right groove to hit the mark. But here we are now in August 1981 and the reading machines have not yet come. So we study and wait. As one part of my 85th birthday gifts, Nellie offered me one day of her life, to do with as I wish. So I asked her to take me to the library. Nellie is a grand person. I love her very much for her integrity, her ability to stick to a job like research until she has finished as far as she can go, gathering details from far and near, contacting all the old relatives in Holland etc. She has compiled a wonderful record. So I was happy to take advantage of her kind offer, so we set the date and I took the first training film for extractions with me to practice on. May there be some one round to take Nellie to the library when she is eighty five years old.
I have engaged Wade Stark, the Johnston researcher, to work on my John Bannister problem. He kindly writes that I have indeed covered every clue, so that he can only think of one more item to try. I hope it provides a clue. It cost one hundred dollars to engage him and I donít know how much we will need over that. But how I wish I could find Johnís birth date and place, which would probably lead us to many others. I often wonder, when I see and read of others, who have had records put into their hands, why my Father does not answer my prayers and help me. I know He could if He wished to do so, so it must be that his man is not interested, also others whom I canít find record of. Ah well, even our Father canít save them all, so I can just go on trying to the last clue and then be resigned until the way opens. It is well that I do not expect to finish my research in this life, for in this, at least, I will not be disappointed.
So now we have Jeannette married to her beloved Michael (June 1981). So many reared and gone in so short a time it seems. Shawn, Jeff, Arthur, Warren, Shelley, now enjoying adorable children. Just one week ago Jeannette called with a most beautiful daughter, six weeks old. We are told that the Lord reserved some of His best spirits to come at this time, and if beauty counts for anything, we surely have them in our family and in other church families. Is it our reward for keeping the laws of health? It is a time of contrast to the ways of the world, and the results are almost beyond belief I
Kate Bannister Passes Away
My sister Kate had another cerebral hemorrhage after her 96th birthday last January 1982, and she passed away the following April 7th, at 1:15 p.m., in her sleep. A lovely lady full of good works has gone to her reward.
So now I am looking forward to tomorrow at the library. This training film says it has twelve thousand names, but from what I can see on a small machine, it is mostly ink blots so it will be interesting to see if I can read through ink blots or smudges etc. We are told that even the experts find letters that puzzle them, and none can read at the speed of modern writing. I priced a dictionary of English names and surnames, only to find out that it cost 68 dollars. So I decided to use some lists I had from my membership in the Society of Genealogists, London. They should help.
Little Eli Oleata is now past two years. He is the most adorable boy anybody could have. His ginger hair, his adorable eyes and that comradely grin that seems to include you as a friend the minute he sees you. How I wish my mother could see (maybe she does) all these lovely children that have come to our family. Two of them with her own hair color. What I failed to do my grandchildren have done. God bless them.
Michaelís Bishop told us a story after the wedding ceremony was over. It seems that Michael had not been a member very long when he wanted to go on a mission. His parents were apparently overwhelmed with these rushing events, and told him if he went on a mission he would not have a home when he came back. So Michael went to the Bishop and said, "I have no money, and I wonít have a home when I come back, but I want to go on a mission." The Bishop persuaded him to get a job first, and within a week Michael had a good paying job. Now his folks had a change of heart and offered support to the tune of $100 per month. Michael was sent to the Canadian mission. He was not home long when he met Jeannette and his parents gained a wonderful daughter. How wonderful will take time for them to realize.
I am enjoying captions on the TV, which Irene gave me on the 85th birthday. It makes things so much more interesting to watch. Dick was a good sport and wheeled me around Marine World in a wheel chair for a day, so I could see the sports. That was a good day with Joan and eight teenagers. It would be the last day that Steve and Kris would be together before he left for his mission in Kentucky. Lolaís son is now in Jamaica, having a terrific experience. My heart yearns to have these experiences, but it wonít be in this life.
Mary Takes Another Fall
New Year 1982. Wonderful holidays! Even the left hand in a cast could not spoil my fun. Oh, yes, it was another fall. Once more I learned that cement walks are harder than my flesh. I broke the wedding ring finger. It lay across the little finger and looked so pathetic. I had just come back from extraction and fell on the side drive. I knew that ring had to come off pronto, the finger was already swelling around it, so I called for a taxi. Miracle of miracles, the message was taken right away, and the taxi was at the door in a few minutes. I went into the emergency, and after X-rays they started to get the ring off. Before they got through I yelled, prying a bar under the ring for a foundation to clamp down on was worse than painful. But finally it was in, and then they screwed down on the top handle until the blade cut through the ring. It sure hurt. After four months and six casts to my middle arm the finger is still bent, the hand does not close, but it is better than no hand. So glad it is the left. I donít expect to wear this wedding ring again, though I am told it could be repaired like new. It would never go over the bent knuckle, and other fingers are crippled with arthritis. It was the second wedding ring Clyde had bought me. The first one being 22 carat gold, soon wore away, this was 18 carat and tough.
Don stayed with us several days at Christmas and New Year. I admire his ambitions in attending Institute before work and night school for Spanish after work. I am happy to see the love of learning in my children, it is so good to absorb knowledge and feel the ownership of an active brain.
Maryís Parting Testimony ofWork
So here we are with a clean slate in front of us, the first day of January 1982. I pray God for His protection over us, that we may escape the evils of this world and keep our integrity. I am so happy that I can still do something to help with Godís plan of salvation for His children!, even with disabilities. The work satisfies my heart and mind and makes living worth while. Idleness reduces my self esteem, it denies me the opportunity to translate my gratitude to God for all His kindness to me into work, real God-like work. Without such work my emotions would have burned up my flesh long ago. I am sorry for the person who does not like to work. I have always known why the Lord told Adam that He was putting him to work "for his own good". It, the work, relieves tensions, joy and sorrow, worry of any kind can be released through work. It also renews the will to live, self-esteem is heightened, humor is restored and we are once more in tune with God and our fellow men. Every man or woman should know the healing of nerves and minds that comes from tearing a room apart, doing a new paint job, cleaning carpets, etc., restoring all to shipshape. A fabulous cure that eliminates doctors; my family and I have no patent on it. I give it to you freely, try it, and keep yourself healthy in mind and body.
Letter from Clyde to Mary - "My Jewels Three", 1928
Eureka, Utah, June 17, 1928
Written by Clyde A. Russell to his wife, Mary who was at that time living in Payson. (At this time we had only two girls).
Whether fortune may smile or frown on me,
There always remain my jewels three,
Theyíre lovely and warm and deep and yet
Have none of the hardness you always get
In the gems that are dug from the hills.
They are just as constant, their beauty fills
My heart, wherein they are set, with light
That will guide my thoughts and feet aright.
No one can take them away from me;
God Himself may but borrow the three
To form them into a diadem
And make the setting worthy of them.
Letter from Clyde to Mary - Oakland period - "Four Bachelors & Joan"
Many years later, while living on Coolidge Avenue, I found myself in Salt Lake City doing research in the library and staying with Ben and Pearl Cook, and confessing to feeling homesick, I received the following in a light vein.
Donít fret, my dear, weíre very fine,
So stay and have yourself a time.
We sleep and eat and do each chore,
Then when weíre hungry, eat some more.
We play and sing and have our fling
As fancy takes us on her wing;
We do our work, nor shun or shirk
A single place where dirt may lurk.
We live a life of fun and ease
Peeling spuds and boiling peas;
And if we tire of this you know,
We could, I guess, attend a show.
Enjoy this chance while yet you may.
It may not Ďgain pass by your way.
Do not worry, or fuss or stew,
And wear your welcome (not quite) through.
The four batchelors & Joan
Letter of James Hood (Clydeís Uncle) to his sister Jean Hood (Clydeís Mother) - "Ma Ain Folks"
The poetic streak seemed to touch Clydeís uncle, James Hood, as witness the following poem written to his sister Jean Hood, Clydeís mother.
Ma Ain Folks
Memories flash like a sunbeam
Bringing back scenes I once knew
Oh what blessed recollections
Oft presented to my view.
Long, long since, round the fireside
Happy hours flew fast away
Now the phantom of dear voices
Seem to whisper, seem to say:
Ma ain folks, ma hame folks,
Made dearer wa the years.
Their kindness, their fineness
Oft prompts the silent tears.
Their singing oft bringin
Dear memories of yore
Ma ain folks, ma hame folks,
Our companions evermore.
Dear the fireplace, all aglowing,
In that hame oíauld lang syne.
Living pictures, coming, going,
Memories oí yestertime.
Oh the hearts that we there cherished
Are the ones still loved today,
Their devotion never perished
Whispering phantoms seem to say.
Ma ain folks, ma hame folks,
Made dearer wa the years.
Their kindness, their fineness
Oft prompts the silent tears.
Their singing oft bringin
Dear memories of yore
Ma ain folks, ma hame folks,
Our companions evermore.
Biographical Sketch of Nicol Hood and Angelina OíNeil
Biographical Sketch of my Father and Mother, by James Hood. (This is the sketch of Clyde Sr. grandfather and grandmother.)
Read at the Hood family reunion August 15, 1924
Nicol Hood, son of James Hood and Elizabeth Smith, was born November 30, 1828, at Claybarnes, Scotland.
Angelina OíNeil, daughter of Andrew OíNeil (a claim is made that his name is Graham) and Agnes Baird, was born January 19, 1833 at Calder, Lanerkshire, Scotland.
There is little known of father, Nicol Hood, up until he, at the age of 16 years, had accepted and secretly embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His parents, on learning this, were much surprised and his father indignant. Out of this incident his father required him to renounce his new religion, or leave the house. Nicol chose the latter course and travelled westward in search of employment, settling in Lanerkshire.
There is little of record of Mother up until the time that she and father met. It is known that she and all her family had also accepted Mormonism, as the restored Gospel was called.
Five years or so after my fatherís dismissal from home, he had decided on a change in his life, and on July 15, 1850, Nicol Hood and Angelina OíNeil were married by Elder Joseph Claimants, President of the Glasgow Conference. To them were born the following children, Agnes, James, Jane, John, William, and Angelina.
A few years after their marriage, father met with a serious accident in a coal pit, by which he was almost blown to pieces, losing half of his right hand, and all of the left arm. His life was spared in a most remarkable manner, although he was so bruised and mangled that the physicians held out no hope. Blood poisoning had set in, and he asked for the Elders to come and administer to him. The testimony of living witnesses to the writer of this sketch says that as the Elders removed their hands from Nicolís head the mortified flesh fell from his left shoulder. During the sealing of the ordinance it has been testified to by those taking part in the administration that they heard the clean bones grind into their places.
Six weeks from the day of his accident, father and mother, when walking down the street, were greeted by the attending physician D. R. Clark.
Father was a man of exceeding faith in the Gospel and always had a great reverence for the Priesthood. In his testimony of the Gospel he was never known to waver. However, the loss of one arm and half of his fingers on the other hand, in a day when little was known of artificial aid, it was very difficult to make a living, and there was much poverty in the family.
He was given, as an indemnity from the Monkland Iron and Steel Co., a lifetime position as night watchman around the Peep-o-day pitts at eleven shillings (in 1930 this is $1.50) per week with free house and coal. In the midst of his poverty, he was approached by a committee from the Presbyterian Church of Calderbank, where most of their children were born and raised. The committee offered him the presentorship (Chorister) of the church, with free house and garden. This was a big inducement to a man in his position, and circumstances. It offered a better house than the one he now lived in, with better salary, and improved surroundings. He was gifted with an excellent baritone voice, was a good musician, and a fair poet. He could have filled this position most capably.
His heart lifted, thinking of what this change would mean to his children, until he heard the committee say that in order to qualify for the position it would be necessary for him to renounce Mormonism, and become a member of the Presbyterian church. His emphatic answer "Never" came with a suddeness that surprised and shocked the pious gentlemen.
Nicol Hoodís greatest sorrow came on March 1, 1874, when his wife passed from this life to her reward. She had always been with him, through the accident and subsequent trials that followed; his companion in life; his counselor in trial; the mother of his children, and now she had gone ahead. Agnes, the oldest, was a woman grown, Angelina, the baby, was only ten weeks old.
None of the family will ever forget that day. It was truly a day of mourning. Mother had an unwavering faith in her Redeemer, and an abiding love of the Gospel. Firm in her conviction of duty, she bore her trials without a murmer. Her first impulse was to care for her children with a love that was divine. Her outstanding character, patience, kindness, and devotion drew her closer and closer year after year to all who knew her. She possessed a high sense of morality which enabled her to imbue her children with a legacy of eternal value.
No tongue has ever told all the trials this couple endured while pressing on to the goal of their ambition, which was to rear their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. They knew little of lifeís pleasures other than the joy that comes from a consistant life. They had known to an extreme degree the keenness of hunger, for many times they went without food so that their "Bairnies" might be fed.
They were ever ready in defense of truth, and taught chastity by being chaste, fidelity by being true to every trust reposed in them. Consistent L.D.S. consistent in their devotion to its requirements, and believed all its laws to be the plan of redemption.
Soon after mother died, father moved his family to Benhar, Linlithgoshire. Here a branch of the L.D.S. church was organized, and he became the Branch President. As the few remaining months of his life passed, they brought grief and sickness.
A strike of the miners forced him to move to Newmains, Lanarkshire, where he was taken from our midst on November 18, 1875 to join his companion.
The Temple endowments and sealing for my parents has been finished, also all children have been sealed to them except one.
There are many memories sacred and dear to us clustering around Calderbank, the Monkland wood, the Auls Forge Row, the brae and the burn. Dear as these memories are, dearer are the lives of those who gave us life. We live now in the knowledge that they will be ours throughout eternity.
No one of us need let his head droop in shame for being a descendent of such parents; no one of us but can lift his head in pride for our heritage. We are happy in the assurance the Gospel gives that we are theirs forever.
The older members of the family will recall many of the virtures of their parents, also many incidents and trials that the youngest did not know, but we can all recall the songs that were often sung, the admonition given, the prayers offered, all of which have made us what we are.
Were our children and gandchildren to return to our native land they would learn that father and mother came from honorable people whose names are held in sacred respect. Therefore, the Hood family can point with a high sense of pride to its progenitors, and live in the hope and keen anticipation that sometime, somewhere, in the providences of God, we shall meet and live together in peace and eternal progress.
Excerpts of Letters from Kate Turnbull, Maryís sister.
October 25, 1947 - Appreciation for boxes of food stuffs sent during wars and for her help in getting research for me. I used to put different sendersí names on each box so that too many did not seem to come from the same person.
"As promised, I said I would airmail as soon as each parcel arrived. This morning I have got that delightful box as from Don. I presume I must thank you in the real sense, and Mary words first fail me on paper, and I wish you could see through my heart-felt thanks and know how sincere I am. I do appreciate all your labor and time in packing and the worry getting them up. I have done a lot of it in my time, and I know the sacrifice it needs.
You have been a saint to me, and to me I always regard you as sacred. I talk of you to some of my friends, til they nearly know you and your qualities. I think according to your letters this one would be number three. It was dated September 23. So the second one must have broken open or something detaining it. I am answering the contents in a letter following. I have only a few minutes now. I have sent the twins on in advance with Harryís lunch. I opened the meat loaf and it was lovely. I sent airmail the answers from the Vicar and told you to forget the L1 for once. You must have spent all the other money and I am more than grateful with the exchange. If there should be any left, treat yourself, but I am afraid there wonít be much for you.
I just want to say in the minute I have that I sent you a fine shetland-like white shawl yesterday. You will think it funny but it would be lovely if you were ill in bed to put over your shoulders. And the real reason is for sending it, I thought it is so light in weight and maybe you canít get such things there. Kathleen has got one pretty jumper done for one of you, but we are stuck for wool. There is such small supplies, and everyone is on the lookout for wool. Look out for letter written about now. Fondest love,
P.S. I was going to say, take note how I packed shawl parcel and copy it, but I notice yours was o.k. this morning. Everything intact ."
1947 - Letter From Kate, before visit to England by Mary.
"Honestly speaking the likes of me at my age will never know peace and plenty again in this country, but I honestly believe also that just as the good Lord has provided for me and mine, so He will not fail me, if I have faith. And I have always contended He helps those who help themselves. I have never been one to trouble anyone for help. On the other hand I have helped plenty. Folks come to me with their little and big wants, and it always seems possible to help them. They come with their troubles to get it told to someone. We came from a very human mother, and anything we are praised for, comes from her. God bless her."
1949 - After Maryís first visit to England.
"How thrilled I was this morning to have your letter saying you were safely home again. What a long journey for you and alone. Somehow I have travelled all the way with you in thought and wished I could have been with you to be company. I am glad you had a good time at Chrissie McLeanís. Of course, I knew you would, and I also know that being with her for the break would be like heaven to you. And you would be thrilled to give him the records (Jackís genealogy I had searched for in Edinburgh). I am sure I look forward to meeting them at their home, if ever I get so far, and can believe you there must be a good time in store.
Well, all I can say so far, Harry has got a place in the quane, and nearer the time will have to get in touch with bookings, etc. Say this time next year I will know a lot more than I do now. The very thing I am afraid of is that if ever I come, I wonít want to leave you again. It has taken some trying to settle down without you since you went. I thought you were marvelous, and I feel it is such a pity we have missed so much companionship over a long time, and folk you have to meet and mix with every day mean nothing at all to you. However, such is life. I am sure they would all be glad to see you home again. It will be like a new world to them again. I hope they all thought you looked well, if not better for your change."
July 21, 1950 - Her appreciation of seeing me and hearing my voice again.
...."Last year at this date you had had your Scottish tour. How lovely it was. One thing I treasure is that I heard your voice again. If I never see you again I can remember your voice. It was so lovely to me. So my dear, if you are worried about anything, I am very near to you, and love you with all my heart. So cheer up
...."It is getting dark, and the electric is off so we are having to seek candles out. A storm on Sunday put us all without electric. It turns ones mind back when candles were precious to us, and oil lamps. I remember how proud mother was when she bought a bronze hanging oil lamp. It looked so smart. You were a very little girl then, and the Belle of Durham St. you were called."
October 28, 1950 - Kate talks about General Conference.
...."Well, I got your short note this last week with all the pictures. What a sight it must be in the tabernacle when it is filled so. I am glad that Clyde Sr. enjoyed the Conference0 I wish that you could have gone with him, too. I quite, or try to, understand what it must mean to you to attend these gatherings.
My second wish is that mother could be with you also. She never did manage to go, did she? Is it always held just in October? I thought when you had your accident it was earlier in the summer. I was showing Mrs. Bainbridge the picture, and said I would not be allowed to attend. Am I right there, or was it the Temple you said I could not go into. I know how you must feel toward me. If you could have the desires of your heart, I would be going to both places, but I am not worthy yet. But, I am always with you in thought, if not in the spirit. I donít go to this Presbyterian because I think it the best, but it is the best here, and I would be lost if I did not go somewhere. And while we stick in this place we make the best of things. We have both given liberally of our money and our services......"
November 30, 1950 -
. ..."Well, your parcel has arrived quite safely this morning and everything in good shape. Everything is in good shape, everything is going to be very useful, and how I am to say thank you big enough, you dear heart. I do love you, and I think God is good to us both, in that our parcels arrive so wonderful, and I have had a look at the candys. I am sure I am going to like them. So thank you again, Sis, and donít you worry about me......"
...."So I can picture you in your lovely little house. What I would give to be with you, but I send all my best wishes for future welfare. May this war be over soon. Love to you all."
November 15, 1961 - Shows how well Kate and Harry were thought of in Ashington. Her views on changing denominations for social reasons seem unusual to us.
...."Our last Sunday night at Ashington will never be forgotten. The minister asked the congregation to stay behind after the benediction for a few minutes. Although he said, he had only known us for a year, it was long enough to let him know our worth to St. Georgeís Church, and he was extremely sorry that we were leaving. Everybody was going to miss us, the church would miss us, but he could not let us go without paying tribute to our services there.
We were both called to the front and presented with a Baptist Hymn book each (this from a Presbyterian minister) knowing we would be attending there. He called Harry to say a few words. He broke down, and struggled through. Then I had to respond. I didnít break down. Said I was surprised at the gift, but had to explain I was a baptist when I came to them, but having come to Rome, I had to join the Romans. All labors, I had been happy to give, and I hoped the minister and his wife would have a very happy ministry there. Everybody said, my you are brave."
"It was the same on the street, we were so well known. My last meeting of the womenís meeting, I gave them a tea. Very nice, it was. About 36 turned up, and I was given a lovely hide writing case and fountain pen. I told them I am always writing, but it is an invitation to increase my correspondence. Alluding to all the nice remarks and how sorry they are to lose me, I said one person who will miss me is the Postman. Twenty-five years at one address. It would be no use me trying to hide. Sure enough the next Sunday, we went at Mrs. Bainbridgeís invitation to the ship Iron for lunch. A man in there spoke to Bainbridge, passed a joke, etc. and introduced us, o.k. George, he said, 14 Dee Fords Ave. I said, have you been to Chester. No, he said, but I have sent many of your letters on from Jubilee. Turned out to be the sorter!"
Articles & Letters on the Death of David Johnston Russell 1865-1929
January 11, 1930 - Letter written to Mary Russell from Clydeís mother after the death of her husband, David Russell.
It seems ages since I received your kindly letter of condolence, but this is the first time that I could possibly write. I surely appreciated your sympathy for myself also your appreciation of Dear Dad. It may be true that at times words seem futile, but a few words of sincere sympathy at a time like this does help to smooth out the rough places of life. I am wondering if I will ever get used to being without my dear Companion. His chair is very vacant, but Bill never leaves me. Only to go for the mail and he tries in every way to help. So I feel that I must do my share towards keeping a clean and cheerful home for him, for it would be indeed a cheerless outlook without him.
With love to you and best wishes for the New Year.
January 11, 1930 - Letter to Clyde Sr. from his mother after her husbandís death.
My Dear Son Clyde,
Your dear letter brought me consolation if not exactly healing. That I suppose will take time. Yes, Clyde, little Eureka has given us some wonderful friends and after all, Clyde, at the end of the trail, and we look back, we must feel that life hasnít been exactly a failure because we havnít reached material heights.
Dan Fields said a beautiful thing to me about Dad. It was this, you know Daveís work was never drudgery no matter what he did he always got a kick out of it. In those few words you get the substance of Dadís character and the reason why he could be one of the rank and file without losing prestige with the best people here. Whatever his hand found to do he did it to the best of his ability, without fuss or apology.
So Clyde your philosophy of life appeals to me. Happy is the human being who is sure that God is at the helm, and that the plan of our lives are not mere accident, there is no character builder like adversity. Always providing that we are fighting and trying to overcome it, but above all other things if we can keep the milk of human kindness from curdling we will win in spite of adversity. I appreciated the beautiful verses, and I agree with you again that it is the sincerity of the tender little things of life that reach out and stay with us.
Edna paid for the flowers. She went home on the day after New Years. She was quite sick after she got home, but she will send you the amount due from each one. I told May about the bed and breakfast, she said she hadnít thought of thanks. I have written 15 letters, answers to letters of condolence. This is 16, and my paper is at an end.
Mother with love.
Article put in the Eureka Paper at the time of David J. Russellís death
This week the people of Eureka are mourning the passing of David J. Russell, Sr., another old time resident, a highly respected citizen whose death came without even the slightest warning and at the time when his friends and members of his family had reason to believe that he had before him many years of activity and usefulness.
When he retired on Monday night, Mr. Russell was apparently in good health but within an hour he had been stricken with a heart attack from which he died before a physician could be summoned.
A few days before his death Mr. Russell had left his work at the Eagle and Blue Bell mine and went home, because he was not feeling well, but after a dayís rest he seemed to be in his usual good health. However, members of the family persuaded him that on account of the nearness of the holiday vacation, he would not report for work and to this he finally agreed.
Mr. Russell was born in Scotland on July 22, 1865, and he came to this country with his parents when a child of seven years. It was slightly more than thirty years ago that he came to Eureka and just previous to that time the family resided at Salt Lake City.
During the first few years that he was in this mining camp, Mr. Russell was employed at the Eureka Hill and Centennial Eureka mines. He did not follow underground work, but because of his ability as a carpenter, timber framer or machinist was kept busy around the surface workings. During his early residence here Mr. Russell operated one of the Homansville pumping plants.
For twelve years he was manager of the Eureka branch of the Taylor Bros. Furniture Co. and on quitting that store he engaged in leasing at local mines, later accepting employment at the Eagle & Blue Bell mine and remaining with that company until the time of his death.
David J. Russell was primarily a home loving man, one who fulfilled in an honorable fashion all of the obligations and duties of a husband and father, and yet he kept in touch with and took interest in community, church, and fraternal affairs. He served a number of terms on the city council, was on the public library board at the time of his death, for fifteen or more years acted as secretary for the local camp Modern Woodmen of America and in many ways contributed toward the general welfare and development of our city, being possessed of all the attributes of good citizenship.
Mr. Russell is survived by his widow, Mrs. Jean Hood Russell and the following sons and daughtersí David J. Jr., and William both of Eureka; Frank of Salt Lake; Thomas of Price; Clyde of Pocatello, Idaho; Mrs. John Robinson of Marysvale and Mrs. R. A. Wilkins of Salt Lake. A brother, Thomas Russell, also lives at Salt Lake.
Funeral services will be held in the L.D.S. Chapel in this city this (Thursday) afternoon. Interment in the Eureka cemetery.
Letter of Recommendation given to Clyde A. Russell when he left the Michigan State Auto School
January 12, 1927
To Whom It May Concern:
This letter of introduction and recommendation of Mr. Clyde
A. Russell signifies that he was an employee of the Michigan State Automobile School at two different times and we found him to be above reproach in all his dealings.
He is conscientious, energetic, capable, and gentlemanly, and I would not hesitate to employ him again if the occasion presented itself.
He was employed principally as a lecturer on Automotive electricity but was qualified in a practical way as well as theoretically, on mechanical as well as electrical subjects.
He is excellent in character and strictly honest, and we heartily recommend him to anyone interested in securing the services of a man of this calibre.
MICHIGAN STATE AUTOMOBILE SCHOOL
P. M. Stone Principal
Patriarchal Blessings for Mary & Clyde
Blessing given to Mary Bannister on the day I received my first letter from home, after arriving in Utah.Notice the answer to my prayers. January 1916
A blessing givenby Orson M. Wilson, Patriarch, upon the head of Mary Bannister, daughter of George Bannister and Prudence Morley Bannister. Born at West Hartlepool, Durham Co., England, July 30, 1896.
Sister Mary Bannister, by the right of my calling in the Holy Priesthood, I place my hands upon your head and confer upon you a Patriarchal Blessing which is your right to receive as a daughter in Israel. The eye of the Lord has been over thee from thy birth to this moment of time. You have been favored of the Lord in that you have been born of goodly parents who have faith in a higher power than that of man, who in their early life looked forward to a time with earnest yearnings and humble prayers that the gospel in its Divinity and Truth might be made known to them. And in answer to their prayers, and in keeping with their worthy life before the Lord, His servants were sent to their door and as a result of that humble mission, you have had the privilege of being tutored and guided by gospel influences.
A living testimony has been given you that God lives and is near unto you and that to bless. Your heart and soul have been inspired, the faculties of your mind have been quickened, your comprehensive powers broadened. Light has come into your life, knowledge instead of doubt. All of these blessings have come to you, that you might be better prepared for the mission that the Lord has for you to do. And because of these blessings, and the knowledge that has been given you, much is expected of you.
But this promise shall accompany you, that no duty or responsibility will be so great but what the Lord will make you equal to the same. Therefore be content and reconciled to your mission in life, do not worry or try to go faster than your physical organism and the spirit of prudence would dictate. But as the mission of life, thus far, has been so splendidly opened up before you so it will gradually and steadily be unfolded in the future.
Responsibility will come to you, trials will overtake you that will be severe and hard to bear, but the Lord will bring you out triumphant and you will be brighter and better prerared for life. By thus being tried, know this, dear sister, that your Redeemer was made perfect through trials, and this life is attended with adversity that we might become strong in the Lord. Therefore, let your heart rejoice, sing praises unto the Most High, for the gospel and its light, and its power and influence through your humility and faithfulness will never leave you. There is a great future lying before you.
You shall have the privilege of going into the House of the Lord, and receive a worthy helpmate and companion for life to be with you for time and eternity. And further, you shall have the privilege of officiating for your ancestry, this is a part of your mission as a descendant of Ephraim and numbered with that great family who were to become Saviours upon Mt. Zion in the last day. The Lord will bless you in this labor and you will be led to praise His holy name, when you enter that sacred edifice. Therefore, be buoyant and strong and full of faith, trust in the arm of the Lord, stand firmly for that which you know to be right, fear not the opinion of man and you will be rewarded in this life, and lay treasures where moth and rust shall not corrupt, nor theives break through and steal, which treasury will be stars in your crown in that Eternal life.
Your dear ones from whom you have parted, the Lord will bless and protect them and many of them will follow you to the fold of the true Shepherd and bask in the life giving light of the gospel of their Redeemer, and with them you will sing the songs of Zion and have much joy in their society. Therefore, be comforted and trust in the Lord and all will be well with you. Study the law of your own being, let wisdom direct you in all things and health will come to your body. Your spiritual being will be made strong and you will enjoy life and its blessings and be able to fill up your days with good works and make your calling and election sure. These blessings, privileges, and gifts I seal upon you with the forgiveness of your sins and seal you up against the powers of the destroyer until the day of Redemption. And this I do in the name of Jesus Christ, Even so, Amen.
Blessing given to Mary Bannister Russell when we came to Salt Lake City to be sealed in the Temple.
Patriarch Potts afterwards lived in Walnut Creek and gave Don a blessing there.
A blessing given by Win. E. Potts, Patriarch, upon the head of Mary Bannister Russell, daughter of George Bannister and Prudence Morley. Born July 30th, 1896, at West Hartlepool, Durham Co., England.
Sister Mary B. Russell, at thy request and by the authority of my calling, I lay my hands upon thy head and give unto thee a blessing.
Thou has come in sincerity, in faith knowing that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, for thy very soul has been lit up by these great truths. Thou shalt not be shaken in thy faith, but thy coming days shall be days of progression.
The Holy Spirit shall lead thee to understand more fully thy mission for thy mission is sacred. And thou hast lived true to the whisperings of the Spirit that has been thine. And thy ears shall not be closed but shall be in tune with that comforting influence that comes from above. There is in thy heart day by day humility as a crown, for thou art not puffed up, but have given glory unto thy Creator. Continue to do this, and thy very countenance shall be lit up with the spirit of peace, for knowledge shall leave no room for doubts.
Wherever thou art, do not fear to speak of the goodness of God, (declaring wisdom) the plan of salvation. Thou shalt have a power, and be successful even beyond thy fondest hopes. Thou shalt live a life of usefulness. Thou shalt see the wonderful doings in the Church and the Kingdom of God. Thou shalt seek wisdom, and find it. Thou shalt be blessed as a mother with patience, and in the management of thy household. Thy children shall draw near unto thee, and thy love shall ever hold them from the bye and forbidden paths. Thou art blessed with a strong mind and body. The truth that has come unto thee has been convincing.
Thou shalt be tried, and thy trials shall be the stepping stones unto future greatness.
Thy deeds have been just, and thy desires are pleasing unto thy Maker. I bless thee with a peaceful continuation of thy lifeís doings. Thou shalt be led as a daughter of Zion in paths of honor and virture.
I say unto thee all is well with thy soul, and there awaits thee a wonderful crown, and thou shalt receive it in the Fathers own due time. And thy faith shall fail not, for truth is thy life and very being. And I bless thee with a continuation of thy honest desires, and with the ability to overcome thy trials and temptations, and I do this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Blessing given to Mary Bannister Russell in the "Fuller Brush Period" in Payson
I was comforted with the promise of means sufficient to do all He .had sent me here to do. At times the means has not seemed great, but I have done the best I could to spend it wisely. Notice the second promise of ability to give my children a strong testimony. I have rejoiced many times and hope to yet many more in my work both temporal and spiritual, and I hope some day to be satisfied. - November 27, 1927
A blessing given by Leonard A. Hill, Patriarch, upon the head of Mary Bannister Russell, daughter of George Bannister and Prudence Morley Bannister. Born July 30th, 1896, West Hartlepool, DurhamCo., England.
Sister Mary Russell, by the authority of the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood which I hold and according to my calling as a Patriarch, I lay my hands upon your head and give, unto you a blessing under the direction of the Spirit of God, which shall be unto you a comfort and a guide through your life, and shall be the means of helping to sustain you through all the trials that the Lord will permit to come into your life to prepare you for the accomplishment of your lifeís work and enjoy the blessings of the future.
Dear Sister, the Lord has been very kind unto you, and blessed you to live upon the earth when the gospel is among the children of men in its fullness and has given you the privilege of learning and accepting the principles of everlasting truth. And through your faithfulness to the doctrines of Christ, to receive a firm testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Lord is well pleased with your efforts, but will require a steadfastness and a diligence in the performance of your labors as His daughter, and will bless in richer abundance with the blessings of the Gospel, and will multiply upon you opportunities to do good and fulfill positions of honor in usefulness in His Church.
He will magnify you and your labors to the extent that you shall be able to explain the truth to those that you may labor among and that will come to you for counsel and advice, that they may rejoice in the knowledge that you may be able to impart unto them.
In consequence of the sacrifice you have made in accepting the gospel, the Lord will bless you to be a Savior to many of your kindred that have passed from this life without a knowledge of the true Gospel of Christ. You shall have the opportunity of officiating in the Temples of our God for the salvation of your kindred dead. The Lord will bless you and sustain you through life to the extent that you may never be overcome by any power or influence of darkness, but shall be able by the inspiration of the Lord to choose between right and wrong.
The Lord will bless you with sufficient means to accomplish everything that He has sent you on earth to do. Also with wisdom and power to impart such instructions unto your offspring which the Lord has placed in your hands, and shall instill into their minds a knowledge and testimony of the work of the Lord in the earth.
Because of your loyalty in the Spirit world, the Lord has granted unto you the blessings of this probation, and given unto you the privilege of coming on the earth and receiving a body of flesh and bones which is a habitation for your spirit and a medium through which the spirit of the Lord may operate through. The Lord will bless you through that to understand more fully from day to day your great privileges and give you a fuller knowledge of His purposes and the doctrine of life and salvation.
You shall be blessed with health and strength and with a long life upon the earth. And shall have occasion to rejoice in the work that you will be able to accomplish, and shall have your desires to do good and render service increased from day to day, and you shall be satisfied with your lifeís work.
You shall live to witness many things that will point to the fulfillment of the predictions of the Prophets relative to the second coming of Jesus Christ on the earth. And shall be numbered among those that shall be caught up to meet Him at His coming. You shall be blessed to come forth in the resurrection of the just and to enjoy an exaltation in the celestial Kingdom of God, crowned with eternal life, which I seal upon you through your faithfulness. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Blessing given to Clyde Arthur Russell when we came to Salt Lake City to be sealed in the Temple - June 20, 1922.
A blessing given by Win. E. Potts, Patriarch upon the head of Clyde Arthur Russell, son of David Johnson Russell and Jeannie Hood. Born~January 19, 1893, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Brother Clyde A. Russell, at thy request, and by the authority of my calling, I lay my hands upon thy head and give unto thee a blessing.
As thou hast sought this, in faith believing, thou shalt not be disappointed, for many things lie before thee. It is thy privilege to do a great and a good work upon the earth. Having faith in the Gospel plan it is thy duty to let thy light shine, that others may also be taught by thee. Thou shalt be an instrument in thy Fathers household in bringing the Gospel plan unto many for thou shalt stand even at the head, and the Father will lead thee in giving thee a genealogy of many of thy kindred, and
Thou shalt find joy and satisfaction in a greater degree than the spirit of man can convey, for thy life here is a mission, and thou must use it in wisdom. Set not thy heart too much upon earthly things, for even though thou be away from the body of the Church or wheresoever thou shalt journey, thou shalt find work to do, and by serving the Gospel needs, (using wisdom) much of it shall fall upon fertile ground. For by having the Priesthood thou hast power that comes from Heaven.
It shall be required of thee to give answer for the deeds thou shalt do, and by the exercise of faith, thou can use this power for the benefit of others. Therefore, do not seek to hide it, but ask the Father for wisdom. Ask Him to guide thee and thou shalt marvel how thy mind shall be lit up with the precious truths of Heaven. It shall be thy strength in time of need, and thou shalt know with greater certainty that life is indeed eternal.
Thou shalt meet with trials, and with many strange doctrines. Be not deceived, for by living true to thy covenants, thou shalt not be led astray, but wisdom shall increase, and friends shall stand for thee and thou shalt know that thou art a member in the Church and Kingdom of God.
Thou art of Ephraim. And thy heart responds to the good. Thou hast kept thyself clean from the sins of the world, And as a Father in Israel, thy blessings shall come unto thee, and thou shalt rejoice in healthy and strong posterity. I seal upon thee the power to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection.
Thou shalt find joy and consolation and shall reach a high standard of success both spiritually and temporally. There shall be no fear of the face of man, neither shalt thou falter, nor thy tongue be stayed in declaring the truths of the Master.
Let this be in humility and all will be well with thee. For thou art under covenant, and that which has been pronounced upon thee shall be verified, and from this time forth thou shalt see clearer thy path of duty.
And I bless thee with life, strength and integrity, that thou shalt remain true all the days of thy life. Unto this end I bless thee in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Princess Merri Eyes
A True Story written by Clyde A. Russell one Sunday when he was visiting us in Pontiac Michigan and was waiting the call to dinner.
To My Sweetheart
Once upon a time, in a far off country close to the sea, lived a good man and his wife. They lived very happily for they loved each other dearly. This man was a sailor and made a living by following the fortunes of the deep, while his good wife stayed at home to make him happy when he returned from his journeys to the far off worlds. In his going away and coming back he was always happy and thought nothing could make him more joyous.
Then one day, after a long hard journey, he entered the little home and found a stranger there; a little dark haired stranger who looked at him with wide eyes in which a question lurked.
They loved the little girl very much and took good care of her, so she grew fast into a romping laughing person that everyone came to love. Her mind grew as her body developed for the man and his wife taught her many things they had learned in the long life they had lived.
This little girl played all day on the sands of sea shore and loved to watch the ships come and go. Other little boys and girls liked to play with her, because she was always kind and generous. She taught them her games and shared her play things and they name to call her Merri Eyes, perhaps because of the big dark eyes in which a laugh always danced like a merri elf at play.
But none of the people knew that she was a real princess, nor would they have believed it if you had told them. They would have said that Princesses lived in castles and didnít play like other girls. But then, Merri Eyes herself did not know that she was a princess; neither did the good man and his wife, until, one day, when some ambassadors of the Great King, her Father, came to tell them.
These men came to the door of the house one morning and announced that they had been sent by the King who was above all the other Kings of the earth. They told of the goodness and wisdom of the King; gave instructions that they had been commanded to give, telling the father and mother of Merri Eyes that she was a princess in the Kingdom of the Great King. She had been given to them to teach and train so that she would become perfect. These representatives of the King showed the wisdom of the King in sending his daughter to be trained by them for the training she needed, and they promised that Merri Eyes would go to a place where more princes and princesses, other brothers and sisters would gather to learn more about the King and gain instruction from Him.
After this, Merri Eyes was very happy and lived day by day, hoping that one of the ships passing by would stop and take her away where she would meet these other brothers and sisters. She worked and studied and tried to do as the King commanded, until one day she was taken away to a land that was strange and new. She had come to the place where many of these brothers and sisters dwelt, and here they offered praise to the goodness and wisdom of the King.
Here, in the new land, Merri Eyes had many wonderful experiences, some pleasant, some unpleasant, but all helping to make her strong in spirit, teaching lessons that could be learned in no other way.
She knew the command of the King - that His sons and daugters live not singly and selfishly, but they should make themselves perfect by joining together, to provide tabernacles for other spirits to dwell in, and fulfill the purpose of the King to give all His children a chance to become perfect.
A long time she waited for the man her Father had appointed for her, to come. Often she became discouraged with the wait. But the King had promised he would come to her and she believed the word of the King. Many came to love her, many rich and great. Some of the favored princes wanted her, but she knew none of them was the one of the promise, and being wise and good she waited still.
One day Princess Merri Eyes journeyed to a great city to join some brothers and sisters in their praise to the great King. At that time she met a brother who was a scholar in the school of mechanics, and she knew she had found the one that her Father and King had appointed unto her.
The scholar, being poor, and less wise than she, did not know this at first. But afterwards, after he had been favored by the princess, and had visited her in her little white castle, which was hidden behind a hill, and guarded by the arms of a friendly oak tree, he too, knew that this was his destiny.
Then they were both happy in the love they had for each other and the King, and drew great joy from the promise of the other of eternal fidelity.
Talk, given by Irene on Mothers Day, 1981
Irene introduced her talk by reading the poem starting, "She was no pioneer, etc.;í and said, "I do not know the author, but it sure does describe my mother".
"Iím grateful to my mother for so much. She has many strengths and talents, with many accomplishments to her credit. (Even in spite of physical handicaps).
She taught her children to love life, work, and learning. She demonstrated courage and determination, but most of all I am grateful to her for teaching me to love and appreciate the Gospel.
The Gospel was and is her whole life and she made many sacrifices to make sure that her children and her grandchildren would have every blessing that the Gospel could offer, and she bore her testimony to us often, continually.
Iím pleased to be able to honor her on Motherís Day, and my husbandís mother too, for the loving service she has always rendered to her family and loved ones.
But, there came a time when, as a mother myself, I began to evaluate my performance and accomplishments and I questioned my eligibility for the Mothers Day honors and praises.
I would get very depressed sitting in church listening to the praises for and the long list of accomplishments of other mothers, and I realized I was such a long ways from being the "idealistic super mom" I had dreamed of being. I felt so inadequate - I wondered how my children had turned out so well.
Surely Iím not the only mother who has felt that way. Just in case there is anyone here today with those feelings Iíd like to recommend this little booklet that my mom gave to me on Motherís Day a few years ago. It was just what I needed - real moral builder. She had written a few lines in the front saying,
For once I am going to send a card. These words describe
all that a good mother hopes to do for her children-to give them
a backbone-a firm faith-and a rod of iron like an apron string
to guide them through all their trials. I hope I succeeded as
I see you are doing so each day. God bless you, Mother.
The story is called "The Apron String". Once there was a mother and a young son running by her side. And as the son was very little, the mother tied him to the string of her apron. "Now", she said, "when you stumble you can pull yourself up by the apron string, and you will not fall".
The little boy held on tight, and all went well, and the mother sang at her work. By and by the boy grew up until his head came above the window sill, and he looked through the window and saw far away green trees waving in the wind, and a flowing river that flashed in the sun, and rising above all, blue peaks of the mountains that looked like spires in the sky.
"Oh, mother", he said, "untie the apron string and let me go".
But the mother said, "Not yet, my child. Only yesterday you would have fallen but the for apron string. Wait yet a little until you are stronger".
So the boy waited and all went well and the mother sang at her work.
But one day she found the door of young manhood standing open, and it was in the springtime, and he stood on the threshold and looked across the valley, and saw the green trees waving and the swift flowing river with the sun flashing on it, and the blue mountains beyond. And this time he heard the voice of the river, and it said "Come"...
Then the young man started forward, and he took a blade and severed the apron string and he ran out into the world with one end of the apron string hanging by his side. The mother gathered up the other end of the string and put it into her bosom, and went about her work. But she sang no more.
The young man ran on and on in the fresh air and the morning sun, rejoicing in his freedom from the apron string. He crossed the valley and began to climb the foothills. At the time it was easy climbing, and again it was steep and craggy, but always he looked upwards to the blue peaks beyond, and always the voice of the river was in his ears saying "Come".
Suddenly one day, the young man came to the edge of a precipice, over which the river dashed in a cataract of fury, foaming and flashing and sending up clouds of silvery spray. The mist filled his eyes and he could not see his footing clearly. He grew dazed, stumbled and fell.
But as he fell, something about him caught on a point of rock at the very edge of the precipice, and held him so that his feet were dangling over the edge of the abyss. When he put his hand up to see what held him, he found that it was the apron string which was still fastened to his side. And then the young man remembered what his mother had told him many years ago, "When you stumble, you can pull yourself up by the apron string". Then he drew himself up and said, "Oh how strong is my motherís apron string!" And he stood firm on his feet, and went on climbing to the blue peaks of the mountains.
The author, Ardith Irene Kapps reminds us that we are each individuals, and we are all different in HOW we mother. There are many approaches to nurturing, tutoring and loving, and the characteristics of motherhood, which include concern for others, sacrifice, service, compassion, teaching, encouraging and inspiring. These can be the noble labor of all women, even if they are
not privileged to have children. It is easy for mothers to judge themselves harshly when they see themselves falling short of the ideal that they want to achieve.
But the record of her labors is more accurately recorded in the heart and soul of her children. Just as we read in 2nd Corinthians 3:3, "that the epistles of Christ were Ďwritten not with ink but with the spirit of the living Godí not in tablets of stone, but in the fleshy tablets of the heart."
Motherhood is a Holy calling, a sacred mission for carrying out the Lordís plan - that of nurturing the body, mind and spirit of those who come to earth to be proven in their second estate. The fate of each spirit depends so very much on the training it receives by those who honor motherhood, and their sacred trust.
Maybe it is an awareness of the magnitude of this divine stewardship and its eternal consequences that causes mothers to consider so seriously the acceptability of their performance.
It is especially challenging to be a mother in Zion today, and we need to remember that our Heavenly Father loves us, each one of us, and His whole work and glory is to bring each one of us home to Him. He is aware of the problems we face, and our needs. He is giving us much more specific and detailed guidance than ever before, through a remarkable prophet, and the constantly improving progress of the church and the written word in the church magazines and papers that come right into our homes each week and each month. I bear testimony that if we are obedient we are also entitled to and will receive personal revelation to guide us in our divine stewardship as Mothers.
I am so grateful for you "other mothers" in the ward auxiliaries, who helped my children turn out so well.
I am also glad that Iím able to have both Billís mother and mine living in our home with us, so we can half repay in some small measure the love and care they lavished on Bill and me and our children in the past years.They will both be 86 within two months, but as active and busy as my mom is I canít think of her as being old, so Iíll close by reading a poem to my "modern mother".
We read about the mothers,
Of the days of long ago,
With their gentle wrinkled faces
And their hair as white as snow
They were middle aged at forty
And at fifty donned lace caps
And at sixty clung to shouldershawls
And loved their little naps.
But I love my modern mother
Who can share in all my joys,
And who understands the problems
Of all growing girls and boys.
She may boast that she is 86
But her heart is 23
The laughing white haired mother
Who is keeping young with me.
Extracts from Maryís Setting-Apart as Name-Extraction Trainer
26 May 1981
Tuesday Evening, 8:00 P.M. Present were Mary Russell, Pat Tanner, Mary Ann McKennon, and Beverly Harrison. In the circle were Stake President, Davit T. Anderson, and Br. Edmund Newton, with Br. Newton pronouncing the blessing which was, in part, as follows:
Mary Bannister Russell, in the name of Jesus Christ and by the authority and power of the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood we set you apart as a trainer in the name extraction program of Hayward Stake.
All power and facilities God has blessed you with.
We bless you with health and strength.
We bless you through your faithfulness.
Use your time wisely and continue to grow in wisdom, and all the blesings you need will be yours to fulfill this caloling.
We say to you, Sister Russell, the Lord knows of your desires.
Seek His guidance in humility and on bended knees, and you will enjoy all the blessings you desire.
Your life will be prolonged to finish this great work.
We pronounce these blessings upon you and set you apart in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.