This is a compilation of incidents connected with our Mother's life arranged chronologically as best we can by her children as we remember hearing about them and being a part of them. To make the first part of the story clear, we are taking the liberty of using first names, meaning no disrespect to any of the people named here, and we will not state their relationship to us to keep the whole thing less confusing. (Spelling, dates, etc. are copied as originally compiled but research has shown some to be in error. Please consult the documented family group sheets for any such corrections.)
The actual story of our Mother began quite a time before her birth. It really began when Gecoza Octavia Sims went into the Sabin orchard and found Parley weeping because his young wife lay dead in the house as she tried to give birth to a child.
Parley was a sturdy pioneer. In his very young days he shouldered a stick, or a shovel, or broom and marched around campfires so that Johnston's army, watching from their mountain prison, thought the valley was swarming with soldiers.
Parley Pratt Sabin, son of David Sabin and Elizabeth Dorwart, took Gecoza Sims, daughter of Samuel George Sims and Caroline Gill, for his wife the sixteenth of January in 1874, in the Endowment House. Their first child, Octavia Caroline, died at birth, and our Mother, Pearl Elizabeth, was their second child. She was born the sixth of August in 1876 in Payson, Utah.
Parley and Gecoza must have been doting parents, while Pearl must have been a rolly-poly, because her parents one time measured her to find that she was two inches taller than she was around the middle. This little person had a mind of her own even in those days. One day when something had not gone the way she wanted things to go, she marched out into the yard and started a "sit-down-strike" of her own. She just happened to get on a hill of small ants, but move she would not. Her parents noticed her twitch once in a while as another ant stung, but she stayed fast. Her father rescued her.
Parley and Gecoza had good times together. His birthday was the twentieth of October, and hers was the twenty-second. One time she threw a surprise party for him. Two days later he sent her to town, and when she returned, the house was filled with the same guests, and the table loaded with party food.
An old tintype of Pearl in her Mother's arms shows a head covered with ringlets, fat, rounded cheeks, and a button nose. Her mouth is hidden behind her dress which is pulled up by her arm, which is thrown back.
Two things she loved to recall were a doll with jointed arms and legs, whose china head was painted with yellow hair in a high pompadour, and a little ark given to her by her father, into which fit different animals. (They must have been blocks with the suggestion of animals because they fitted snugly.)
Parley and Gecoza had another child on the 27th of September in 1878. He was given the dame of Parley John. Playing with her brother in the back yard is one of Pearl's earliest recollections.
(This is from a story we found among Mother's possessions, written in her own hand.)
"Story of my life as I remember it. I was born in Payson, Utah, on 6th of August in the year of 1876, and now I have just turned 76 years, I am not saying old or young,---just leave that for others to judge. When I am well it is young in my feelings, but if I do not feel well,--oh my, is all there is to say.
"My father was Parley Pratt Sabin, and my Mother was Gecoza Octavia Sims Sabin. The first I remember was playing in the yard with my brother John. I remember things like going to Grandfather's home and Grandmother giving me cookies, and them showing me her flowers. Guess she was playing safe, for I might have picked everything. I am sure I wasn't to be trusted. When they would ask me whose girl I was, I was always 'Grandma's Dutch Girl.' I remember that was the grandest thing I could think of, for I had heard them say Grandma was Dutch.
"Then Grandmother Sims lived in another part of town (Payson), and I remember going up there. How we had to wipe our feet, for everything had to be kept spick and span at her house, but how I loved her."
Pearl had a little sister, the seventh of October in 1880, who was named Florette Mable. When Pearl was five, her parents were called on a mission to help settle Arizona. The trip south was to begin in April, in time for spring planting.
"About the next thing I remember was my parents preparing to come down to Arizona after being called on that mission by President Brigham Young. Now I shall try to tell you how Father and Mother made butter crackers and put them in large sacks, and were they good! Butter was rubbed into flour along with salt, then made into a stiff dough with water and was folded and pounded with a huge mallet or wooden hammer that Father had made. His table was a heavy block of wood. (Of course men do the 'nocking' around, so my father hammered the crackers, ha, vot you tink?) I remember how neighbors brought butter and other things to help.
"Our wagon was a double bed then another board put out so it was wider. We could all sleep in it, we three children at one end and our parents at the other. Then when it was so cold we were kept in bed to keep us warm, we could always reach the crackers, and were they flaky and good. At one time, there was three feet of snow, and the men had to dig to find out where the road was. We camped, and it was good to have Mother and Father in the wagon with us. But the poor mules and horses, (we had a span of each) did not fare so well. Uncle John Sims' outfit was about the same as ours. (He was a small man.) I remember them surring our wagons on the ferry across the Colorado River, and one of the men ran our teams in the river and made them swim. Of course, some of us cried, me for one, I always could. I thought they were all going to drown. When we were camped that night, Mother told them we were going to a new place, and I was to be called by my right name. They had called my Lilly up to that time, so from then, I was called Pearl."
They stopped at a trading post. Gecoza saw some Indians coming and hurriedly pushed her children behind the counter in the post. But she was not fast enough, and the Indians saw her, they pushed around the counter and laughingly pointed at the children, grunting as they did it.
"As we traveled day after day, we came to the Black River, and it was level with the top of the banks. With a small raft and a rope fastened across the river to pull it over, one man would pull and another would push with a pole, both men standing on this raft. It was the length and width of a railroad tie, and would hold two wheels or one wagon bed at a time. All together there were three wagons and contents to be taken. This took two days of hard work. When everything but the families were over and all were anxious to go, two young Indian Scouts came down the dugway and wanted to be taken over, as they were on their way to Fort Apache with a large roll of government papers. One swam their horses over, and the one with the papers was taken by raft. When we were all over and starting up out of the river, two soldiers stopped us and said the Indians were on the war path and had killed some travelers a couple of days before. Well, it would take two days to reach the Gila, and the same time to Fort Apache beside crossing the river, so we came on. We never had a fire after that, just the cold food, mostly crackers. The men were on the lookout all the time, and their wives drove. We traveled way into the night. When we reached Smith-vill, the same as Pima now, the people were all frightened, for they were living in the fort at the time, and they wondered how we had come through. I remember passing the place where those people had been killed. We could see the burnt wagons and a dead dog.
"Father did not stay at Smith-vill, but went down and across the river to Curtis, (the place that is called Eden now.) There we lived in the Fort along with the rest. Some of the men would stand guard at night as long as the Indians were on the warpath."
The family lived in the southwest corner of the Fort. It was rounded and had port holes for guarding the surrounding country. They had one little room and their wagon beds to live in.
They moved out into the townsite at Curtis on the Gila River. Parley helped to build the log school house which also served as a church and amusement hall. He also helped build the dam for irrigation, built a home, planted an orchard, had the town blacksmith shop, and made all the molasses for the settlement.
At one time when a poor family by the name of Castos came to town, Parley moved all of his things from the blacksmith shop to give them lodging.
The following is the last note from Mother's story, and we feel that it happened during this time:
"Later, when Mother's sister came from Utah, she called me 'Lilly" and mother corrected her. My aunt said, 'Well you named her Pearl and called her Lilly, and she is too black to be a pearl or a Lilly.' Guess I would look that way all sunburned, and I always did tan, (black)."
One day Pearl came home very excited, because the neighbors were taking all of their dishes out of the cupboard to clean. She thought that was great and asked when her Mother was going to do it. But Gecoza assured her that she kept her cupboards clean all of the time, and they did not need cleaning. This was just a reflection of Gecoza's atti-tude about house cleaning. She would unconsciously be rubbing and polishing the arms of the chair in which she sat, while she was visiting, for she could not sit still.
While the family lived at Eden, another daughter was born. This little girl was given the name of Irene Mae.
Pearl remembered that when her father baptized her, a witness from the bank of the river called to say a hand had not gone under, so the process was repeated, but a foot came up that time. Her father said, "You will go under," and took her completely to the bottom of the stream.
Parley seldom had melons stolen from his place. One day, a wagon full of young people came by the house to take Pearl with them to show them where the best melons were in the field. Usually, Parley raised a certain kind of winter melons which he stored in his haystack, and any time the young people came around, they were welcome to a treat, especially after the frost.
Pearl remembered that one night after she was in bed, her parents came into her bedroom to show her how they were dressed to go to a costume party. Her mother had her hair in long ringlets down her back, and she was dressed as a little girl.
Gecoza was a trim and proper housewife. When she fed the children bread and molasses, it had to be eaten in the back yard. They were not to take anything so messy in the front of the house. But she had a hard time keeping buttons on the back of Pearl's denim pinafores. Pearl played so vigorously at pom-pull-away none of the children could hold her and she never had a button left.
This particular care of the children did not last long. Gecoza Octavia Sabin died in Eden, Arizona, of "Galloping Consumption" (which we would probably call pneumonia), when Pearl was just eight, and the baby Irene was nine months old. From then, Pearl was the little housekeeper and homemaker, and mother of the younger children. Under the direction of a crippled grandmother, she made bread, standing on a stool to mix the dough. She washed clothes, the heavy long underclothing of her father and the other family clothing. She was in complete charge of the baby sister, Irene. At that age, she did not know what it meant to have a good night's sleep. She combed at her hair. When it was done, she tied a ribbon real tight around her head. One day her father was checking up on Pearl and found that her hair was matted and tangled beyond his imagination and that she had pulled the ribbon so tightly it had dented the bones of her skull. He cried as he gently combed out the little girl's hair.
During this time, Pearl forgot what it meant to play. When she had a few minutes, she would go out and run up and down trying to put the most into the few minutes which she had.
During this time, the family moved to the Chiricahua mountains. Here Parley built a very strong house. The end of each piece of timber was notched so deeply and a pin put through the corners that he felt the house could have been stood on one corner and it wouldn't have come apart. Then the earthquake hit St. David, things slid around in the room, but the walls remained firm.
While they lived in the mountains, the children chased skunks. As long as the children kept them running, they were defenseless, so the children kept them running.
One morning they found bear tracks around the corral, and a group of children decided to track the bear. They followed it through all kinds of growth, and afterwards Pearl said she realized how easily that bear could have backtracked and really harmed some children.
Pearl remembered crossing a field and seeing wild cattle start after them. They had been instructed at such times to stand perfectly still. The cattle always stopped to see what had happened to the moving object. As they stopped and raised their heads, the children yelled and waved their bonnets, and the cattle turned, they made sure they got out of sight while there was confusion, because the second time the cattle never stopped.
The Smith family lived in the Chiricahua mountains, and Pearl made friends of Martha, who was close to her age. A friendship that lasted a lifetime. Martha's older sister, Sarah, came into Pearl's life as her step mother. There was not too much difference in their ages, and although Pearl was relieved of the heavy work of housekeeping, life was not too pleasant. She spent most of her time in the field helping her father.
One day when Parley was plowing a field, one horse in the team started rearing. He took a fence post and knocked the horse flat. He got up to rear again and got the same thing for his trouble. The rest of the plowing was done peacefully. Let it be understood, her father loved horses as much as Pearl did, but he allowed no foolishness from them. One day he was driving a horse up a hill with his family in a wagon in back. He stopped to enjoy the view, and when he called to the horse to start and was ready to release the brake, the horse just turned and looked at him. After calling to it a second time and the horse did the same thing, Parley got off the wagon and checked around the wagon. He found one of the traces unfastened and had he released the brake, the wagon would have rolled over the cliff edge. Once it was fastened, he hugged the horse, telling him how much he was appreciated, and then the journey was started again.
When one young man heard the Pearl Sabin had never been kissed, he took it upon himself to correct the situation. He found her down by the creek, and she drove him off with a piece of vine. Afterwards, she carefully washed her hands. The next day the young man's face was swollen so badly that he could not open his eyes, and Pearl showed no after-effects from her contact with poison ivy.
One Halloween evening, Parley heard some commotion out near his wagon and told his family to have hot chocolate and cookies ready, because he would soon be back. He left the house by the back entrance and with it being dark, joined the young people as they pushed his wagon down the road. After they crossed a wash and got up on a small island, they draped his slicker over the tongue which they had propped into the air. Comments were flying as to what Parley Sabin would do when he found it there. Suddenly he spoke up and told them he had helped them bring the wagon here and thought they should help him take it home. Finding the joke was on them, they helped return it to its place, and found there were refreshments waiting for them afterwards.
Parley and Sarah lost a son which they had named Walter -- this made Parley three children which had passed away, one from each of his wives.
While in the mountains there were many dangers, skunks, wild cattle, snakes, bears, and Indians, the human element was there too. Pearl felt that her blessing was fulfilled in which she was told that, "because of the purity of her spirit in the pre-existence, she would be protected." She was.
Parley came home one time after being away for several days, to find another family had been killed and their home burned. Sarah had stood at the door all night with a gun while a little dog had circled the house barking. Pearl had stood by ready to reload the gun and kept the children comforted. They packed their belongings and moved before nightfall.
They made their home in St. David. Brother Jim Reed remembered Pearl as a cheerful, sociable young lady for he was just a young boy at the time.
Alexander McRae was the teacher in the little school, and one year-end he gave all the young ladies cards with roses on them. Pearl's was the only one that was yellow and she was very pleased.
When a group of young people were going off to spend a few days in Cochise Stronghold, Pearl was not permitted to go. But the wagon full of young people went past the Sabin house singing, "Pretty Pearlly Purkins of Purkin's Square."
A baby boy arrived at the home of Parley and Sarah, and Parley insisted that he had never spoiled any child but they had surely sent him children that were already spoiled. Joseph was a pet of the entire family. Pearl loved to recall how he had complained that she left her hair on the ear of corn when he found corn silk.
Pearl had scarlet fever when she was a young lady and with it went losing all her hair. This caused her no end of embarrassment. When she first went out, she wore a shawl wrapped around her head as a turban. One young lady seemed to want to embarrass her, and she pulled off the cloth, then sighed at the mass of little curls that covered Pearl's head.
Young ladies in those days had pierced ears for earrings, so Pearl had her ears pierced. She remembered having a cork on both sides of the ear lobe with a needle through them and her ear. It was kept greased and was often twisted so the hole would not grow shut. After this was accomplished, her father gave her a pair of earrings which were long and dangling. The first girl she saw complimented her on her earrings and touched them, starting them to move---this made Pearl so sick to her stomach, she never had an earring on again in her life.
To Pearl's way of thinking, one day Alice needed correcting and since Sarah was not at home, Pearl took care of the matter. Alice said she would tell her Mother, and Pearl said if she did, she would take care of her the next time her mother left. Each of them kept the matter to themselves.
When Sarah and Parley would play together, she was able to get the better of the situation by holding on to the neck of his shirt and tickling his throat. This would render him weak and helpless.
One Sunday morning Sister Maria McRae pointed out her son, John, to Sarah Sabin. Since he had been away hauling lumber, he was not known to this new family in the ward. Pearl, sitting between the two ladies, could not see the young man with the men moving in to fill up their side of the chapel. But later when she did see him, she was not impressed.
That afternoon, the McRae sisters asked a group of the young people to their home. Their older brother, John, kept staring at Pearl. After wiggling around some, she went to the kitchen, asked to be excused, and left through the back door. She followed a wash home, because she was afraid of one of the people's dogs whose home she had to pass. When she got home, she studied herself in the mirror, wondering what was wrong that John McRae had stared at her so much.
One Sunday afternoon, a group of the young girls got together to have their picture taken. Pearl never liked the picture. She looked up just as it was being snapped, and she described herself as "cow-eyed" because the white showed below her eyes. But we can see the style of dress worn in those days.
Pearl had become a very attractive young lady. She had soft, brown hair the color of half-pulled molasses candy, with streaks of sunburned gold through the brown. Her dreamy eyes, set under arched brows, did not tell of the mischief she could create.
Sarah tried to encourage boy friends, but not all of them appealed to Pearl. One came to visit her as she was washing clothes on the board. He sat nearby on a chair. She would wash the clothes up and down the board, dip them deep into the water, go down the board again, and kersplash! a sleeveful of water would land on the young man's head or face. He moved his chair. The washing continued, followed by more sleeves full of water until the young man took the hint and went home.
The McRae rig came flying up the lane. Pearl glanced casually out the window, wondering why John had come since her father was not at home.
When John had a meal with the family, he noticed that Pearl did not drink milk. Thinking there was not enough, he did not drink any either. But the fact was that they were milking two cows and had more than enough; Pearl just did not like it!
Clara Goodman would tell Pearl that, if she were not nicer to John McRae, she was going to lose him to another girl who thought he was quite wonderful. Pearl assured her that the other girl was welcome to him. (As she told this, her daughter would tease her, asking what she would do now -- she assured the daughter that they would have to work to get him now.)
One evening John took Pearl to a play in which he was the villain. Some small boys had sharpened the knife which was part of the stage props, but the actors did not know about it. As his sister, Annie, raised her arm, she received a very bad cut from the knife as John held it. She tried to hide the arm behind her, but it was cut so deeply that the play could not go on. Pearl was not sure she wanted to drive home with that man.
The day Pearl turned eighteen, she went out to her Father's blacksmith shop and told him that she was now her own boss. She pulled herself up on his table and talked to him. After he had the fire going and needed some help, he ordered her to pull the rope that pulled the tire shrinker which made the rim fit the wooden tire. As she jumped to obey, she wondered why he was so cross. He laughed at her when the job was done, and reminded her that she was still his daughter, and sent her to prepare his dinner.
Pearl's sisters were growing up, and though Irene was now nearly ten, there was a great deal of difference between them. Florette's hair was tight curls which grew only a little past her shoulders; Pearl's hair was wavy and came to her hips; while Irene's was nearly floor-length.
Pearl was known to have a sweet tooth, but the sugar bowl was not to be touched. She or her sisters would jingle the lid and slip back into their work as innocent as lambs to hear the call from the next room, "Pearl, you leave that sugar bowl alone!"
The early part of 1895 found John McRae busy building a two-roomed house on a hundred-sixty-acre homestead. He had lined the house up with the north star, and everything on his land that was to be of permanent nature was lined up true with the world. Trees had to be just so, fences straight. Around the house was a layer of gravel which made it dry quickly after any shower. The ground would sink if water were left to stand on it for any length of time. John had chosen his homesite well. Floods would run down on the east to the river, and on the north was the Gila wash, but the house escaped any unnecessary flooding.
Parley Sabin had consented to his daughter marrying John McRae. What of this young man? John was the second son in the McRae family. He had had to be content with a meager schooling that took him through about two readers. Yet, he had the mind of a research worker and would have been a wonderful college educator, had he been given half a chance. As he freighted by team and wagon from Tombstone to Bisbee, he read on the long trips or worked math problems in his head. His ability to work algebra with no training in the subject was uncanny.
John stood six feet tall and had nearly black, wavy hair, blue eyes and a complexion which Pearl referred to as "pink and white." He never tanned, but his skin, where it was exposed, became reddish. His mustache gave him a stern, forbidding appearance.
Pearl was busy making a white satin dress with mutton-leg sleeves, being very puffed and full at the top and tapering to fit just below the elbow and on to the wrist. The high neck was stiffened with stays and was pointed on each side up behind the ears.
Even with her hair piled high on top, Pearl's five feet and two inches raised on two-inch heels made her seem small beside John. Since she was just eighteen and he was twenty-seven, she had the feeling she was a child, and this may have colored her attitude toward his family.
On the 28th of February in 1895, John Kenneth McRae was married to Pearl Elizabeth Sabin by Alexander McRae who was the Justice of the Peace. Sarah Sabin really put on a feast for everyone who attended the wedding. Three kinds of meat, with almost any conceivable other dish, loaded the table. Little brother Joe must have been pretty nearly full when he was asked just what he would like. He looked over the wide array of food and decided he wanted "Honey Pie."
They moved into their home and almost immediately John started reading the Bible. Pearl, after putting in a day working was ready for a little companionship, and so one night she grabbed the book and threw it across the room and crawled into his lap. (His children, when told about this, can hear his, "Well, now!")
One evening Pearl asked John what he would like for his supper, and he asked for thickened milk. Pearl proceeded to make some for him. He just looked at it with complete disgust. There were no lumps, just smooth creamy milk. His Mother's had always had lumps in it. After this, it was always called "Lumpy-Dick." Pearl used to sing a song to John which went something like this, "I sent my husband home to see his Mother, his Mother, and she said, 'Poor John, Poor John'."
Pearl loved animals, but seemed to appreciate John's ability to kill quickly anything which needed to be put out of suffering. They had not been married long when a young colt tried to jump over a fence and fell on the pickets, hurting itself beyond their power to do anything for it. John quickly did what was necessary.
John never had the same feeling for Christmas that Pearl felt. Gifts just did not seem to be important to him. Their first Christmas, she took all the extra eggs she could get along without to the store to buy him a scarf. But she received nothing. This was the result of the attitudes he had grown up around when he was small. Each marriage has such differences.
After they had been married only about four months, Pearl looked out toward Benson to see a dreadful storm. (The storm took three lives.) She was alone and very frightened. She started running across a plowed field to get to Alexander McRae's house. Because of the incident, she suffered a miscarriage and complications which forced the family to send to Benson for a doctor. The family reminded her that they had killed a horse saving her life, but she felt if they had given her care when she needed it, the emergency would never have arisen. During this dreadful illness, Pearl had a dream or vision in which she saw herself with a baby girl. This came true with the arrival of Edith on July 1, 1896.
We, her children, can picture this young woman, who the next month would turn twenty, holding this tiny treasure in her arms. This, to her, was fulfillment and in this record we shall now refer to her as Mother.
Maria McRae (Father's Mother) came to care for Mother at this time. The day the baby was ten days old, she had to return to her family, and Mother, though she had been in bed those ten days, had to wash out baby clothes. She was so weak the perspiration was running from the bottom of her undergarments.
When Mother first took Edith out, one of the ladies in the community tried to get her baby as close to her as possible for people to compare the two, because Edith was rather plain. Before long things were different, and the other Mother kept her child at a safe distance.
In the L.D.S. Family Record kept by Father under his name is the following information: John K. McRae was sealed to Pearl E. Sabin by Apostle John Henry Smith on March 9, 1898. Witnessed by Apostle Heber J. Grant and Bishop Peter A. Lofgreen. This was done in a room of Calvin Reed's home at St. David, Arizona. There were other couples sealed at the same time.
When Edith was about eighteen months old, an epidemic of spinal meningitis came to St. David, and she took the disease. The small daughter of Alexander McRae had it at the same time. It seemed that when one child got better the other became worse. Mother was doing everything she could think of for her baby, but Edith grew worse until it seemed she could not live very long. Her eyes rolled back so far that only the white part could be seen. She was in intense pain and cried much of the time. One night Father rested in the early part of the night until midnight, then told Mother to try to rest while he cared for the baby. She laid down after praying again for help. The follow-ing instructions were given to her during her rest: "Take the red flannel undershirt and tear it into three parts and make small sacks. Fill each sack with hops (she had these from her own vines) like little pillows. Heat a pan of vinegar on the stove, and put these hop sacks into it, then apply these warm hop sacks to the baby's spine." She woke up in about fifteen minutes feeling rested and anxious to carry out the instructions. Each bag was a longer than the baby's back. She kept applying them. As soon as one cooled, another was used. By morning, the baby appeared to be back almost to normal. Father went to tell his brother Alexander what to do for his child, but during the night, she had passed away.
When the second daughter arrived the 15th of May in 1898, Maria McRae, Father's Mother, said she liked the name Martha, because it was her sister's name. So this baby received the name.
When the third child was due in this home, the doctor arrived drunk. He was asked to leave, and Hannah Miller, who the children referred to as Aunt Hannah, was brought to deliver the baby. This third little girl was named for each of her grandmothers, Maria and Gecoza. When Mother heard the two older girls trying to say "Maria," and having it come out, "Wire," she suggested to Father that the children would have an easier time saying "Gecoza," which was shortened to "Cozy."
Mother vowed that she would never learn to cut hair when she saw Hannah Miller stop in the middle of her washing to cut someone's hair, and then, while men sat around talking, she would carry water and bring wood to heat it to start her washing again.
With three little girls in John's home and his other brothers and sisters having boys to carry on their name, some of the men started teasing Edith about not being a boy. She went to Mother, telling her about it in tears. Mother declared that she would rather have her than ten boys, and this Edith promptly told the men. This did not set well with Pearl's in-laws.
One time Mother was crossing the field after visiting Hannah Miller when the wind blew against her. Hannah was very put out with her because she had not told her that she was expecting another child. But Mother felt that when the fact was obvious was soon enough for people to know about it.
Milton, Father's youngest brother was staying with him and Mother. One day Mother found a rattlesnake in the chicken's nest with an egg in its mouth. She called Milton, who was a boy of about twelve years, to kill it. He soon came in to tell her that he had killed the snake, but he could not save the egg. Mother was quite horrified -- she would never have used the egg had he been able to save it!
Mother was still nursing Gecoza when her breast became infected. From there the infection moved to below her right ear. The neck was swollen and black. Brother Lorgreen was called to administer to her. After he had finished, he walked the floor rubbing his arms because so much strength had left his body. Mother recovered but carried the scars on her throat the rest of her life. The skin never seemed to tighten as it was before.
Mother, her sister Florette, and Martha Smith Riggs with her husband, Brodric, would often get together for a gab fest. Florette was a great mimic, and they would catch up on all the news, play all sorts of pranks, and often Father seemed bewildered by their antics and zest for life.
Father was scrupulously honest -- with his fellowmen and with his God. He paid his honest tithing and fast offering. He was never heard to complain about other contributions to the Church. He was known by his neighbors as being an honest man, one who paid his obligations on time and in full. This straight-line attitude on honesty brought him his biggest problem. In 1900, Father was a counselor to the bishop. After tithing records were sent in, he found that he had signed what turned out to be an incorrect return. He wanted his name removed and because of his persistence he became quite unpopular with church leaders. He was told to forget it, but he could not. For fifty-seven years the problem was on his mind, turning, turning, leading his thoughts always to the one point -- to have his name removed. Occasionally his worries came out -- in a conference when his was the only dissenting vote, in Sunday School class where his sentiment was counter to those of the class. With this problem on his mind, he made life uncomfortable for his wife and family. Mother felt the sentiments against him. At times the pressure of opinion sent her into tears.
The 21st of November in 1902, this couple had their first son. His name was Walter.
In 1903, this family moved to Pierce for about six weeks where they stayed in a two-room lumber house without any screens at the windows. Father was prospecting and working in the mines during the night. Edith, who was about nine at the time, remembers having to keep flies off from her father while he slept.
From there they moved to Bisbee. Their first home was in Tombstone Canyon. It sat on the side of the hill as if it were a little shelf. The house was near the mountain at the back, and beyond the porch at the front was a cliff dropping down about fifteen feet. At this time Walter was just a little fellow around a year and a half old. Mother used to tie a rope around him just under his arms so he would be safe. He would try to edge closer and closer to the drop-off. To people below, the baby appeared to be in great danger.
Father found life to be more rewarding in Bisbee. He spent many evenings in the library searching for more knowledge. Other men might read cheap novels. Father read for knowledge. The books he read were deep to the common mind. Grant David stated that the men in the mines liked to have him talk about the strata and formations underground.
Gecoza's first special memory of her Mother was an occasion while living in this house when she was about three. A great black whirling flood came down the canyon, which was not very wide. It went through homes, stores, and anything else in its path. The stream that ran near one corner of the house was washing away at the foundation. Mother was frightened. She called the children together in a prayer circle. She then smiled reassuringly to com-fort them. The fact was, they did not even know what her problem was until after the storm was over, and she showed Father. Her fear was that the home might slide into the flood.
One evening, Edith ran to tell her father as he came in from work that her Mother had spanked her. He felt she needed another spanking, and as she tried to crawl under the bed, he pulled her out just enough to apply a few swats on the proper part of her anatomy.
In this little home her older children remember a Sunday School was organized. At this time there was no organized branch of the Church in Bisbee so parents had let their children attend the village Sunday School. When the Church authorities heard of their problem, they advised parents to start a Sunday School of their own. Mother would put an ironing board or plank from box to box and pad it with a homemade quilt. These made suitable chairs for the children. Here they learned about the sacrament, had lessons, songs, prayers and enjoyed visiting with their friends. Among the families were Birdnoes, McGuires (Father's sister, Mamie), Murphys and the McRaes.
One time a neighbor came to see the McRae's and jokingly asked, "How do you keep track of them?" Mother answered, "Oh I used to count 1-2-3, then 2-4-6- but now it's 5-10-15." She did not explain that there were neighbor children present.
About this time Edith was having a great deal of dental work done. Mother suffered with her child.
When a second little boy was born April first in 1905, Hannah Miller came to take care of Mother and family. The little ones had spent the night at their Aunt Mamie's house. When they came home that morning Aunt Hannah had the baby wrapped in her apron and asked them what it was. First, they said it was chips and then, because he began to move, they were sure it was a puppy. Then he began to complain so they knew it was a baby. A baby brother! They were all so happy!
When Mamie McGuire came over to see the baby she could not believe it belonged to Pearl. She knew they were playing some joke on her since Pearl's children were all so small and it was April Fool's day. So, she decided to stay until she saw the correct baby. When Pearl started to feed the baby, she decided it had to be hers and left. He was supposed to have weighed fourteen pounds. Father asked Mother how she liked the name of George A. for this little boy. She felt it was all right, but when father blessed the baby, it came out George Alexander McRae -- the first time Mother had heard it.
In about 1904, the family moved to South Bisbee to a small lumber home with three rooms. It had a small flower garden in which Pearl planted Madera vines, cosmos, dahlias, and nasturtiums. It was so rocky that not many plants would grow, and there were many small feet running about that made delicate flowers useless.
In this time, the water pipe came directly into the house and turned down at the faucet. One day the gasket must have worn out or something because the pipe was showering the whole room. Walter, just a little fellow around four, held his hand over the pipe and called, "I wish my Papa would come! I wish my Papa would come!" There were no main valves to turn the water off outside the house.
The older girls remember how Mother played paper dolls with them. She would get down on the floor, and help them arrange their furniture, ladies and children. All were cut from old Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs, and stiffened with cardboard backs so they would stand up. Cardboard boxes served for rooms. Mother visited like another girl, and her daughters felt it was such fun.
One time the neighbors' cats gathered under the house for a serenade. They kept the family awake during the night. Mother went around the house and fastened up all the holes, and then turned on the hose of mine water. It had a very strong force. She opened the door to under the house and let them have it. If they started for the door, she sent them sailing back--splash! When their bath was over, they were glad to go; and no more cats for months to come.
In this home, they had big celebrations on holidays such as Thanksgiving, when all the close relatives in town met for a big feast. Each brought some part of the meal. Mother made roast chicken, wonderful dressing, pumpkin pies and mince meat (her own mix). On such occasions, there were four Johns present. Each was placed on a different side of the table and referred to as East John, West John, North John, and South John. They were Uncle John McGuire (Aunt Mamie's husband), Parley John Sabin (Mother's brother), John Henry Sabin (Aunt Florette's husband), and Father, John McRae.
While they lived here, there was a neighborhood pest in the shape of a large billy goat which was the fear of the children, and often made life unhappy for the adults. Mr. Thoast, a neighbor, was teasing his wife one day, and the goat sent him sprawling on the ground. The windows in the McRae home were very low, and when the goat came around, Mother made the children move back, so the animal would not butt his way it.
While the children were growing up and active, Father took over the self-appointed job of family cobbler. New shoes were often soled with heavy leather almost before any of the new was off. To the young ladies of the family this was often quite a trial. Because they lived in such a stony place, it certainly must have been necessary, with so many pairs of shoes to buy. One day Martha was asked to put tacks in the holes Father made with the awl. She declined and tried to get out of reach, but just got a leg over the fence where her father convinced her with a heavy hand that she did want to help.
Pearl was expecting a baby again when they had a family portrait taken. She stood with George in front of her on a chair. Her father-in-law wrote to say he was sorry one of their children was crippled. George had scooted down in his clothes as she tried to hold him in front of her. Mother was very distressed that anyone had such an idea.
The sixth child to bless this home was another girl. The children were called around their Mother's bed to decide upon a name. Mother had chosen two - Helen and Irene. The children preferred Helen.
Since Martha and Edith had been baptized in a flume but the man baptizing them had stood outside of the flume, this ordinance had to be repeated; so the girls have a much later date on their records than would have appeared otherwise. This was taken care of before a trip to Salt Lake.
Since Father and Mother had been sealed in St. David after Edith's birth, and this ordinance did not include their endowments nor the sealing of Edith, they made a trip to Salt Lake for this purpose. Gecoza was left with the Wrights (whom the children called Uncle Lo and Aunt Theresa) and the other children were left with their Aunt Mamie McGuire. Helen, who was the baby, was taken with Edith. They first went to Denver, Colorado, where John's brother, Alexander, was president of the Western States Mission. One stop of the train they purchased bananas as large as Mother's arm at the elbow. They traveled on to Salt Lake and had their endowments and Edith sealed to them. They returned home just before the 28th of June so Gecoza could be baptized on her birthday.
Pearl had visited Saltair and she felt very happy that she was raising her children in Arizona. The things she saw were very disappointing to her. Gifts were brought home for each of the children. Martha remembers she received a pink umbrella and Gecoza had a red one to celebrate her birthday.
About this time the family had scarlet fever. Walter was the first and had a light case. George had a very bad case and almost lost his life. Helen also had a severe case. The disease never broke out on her body but caused one of her wrists and the opposite ankle to turn black. She was a very sick baby and the doctor did not give Mother much encouragement concerning her. All the children were brought through the disease by Mother's prayers and nursing. If she had not given them every attention they would probably have died. Mother always felt the cats had carried the disease to her home.
At the time of the scarlet fever quarantine, the children had to invent ways to entertain themselves. One thing they loved to do was dip the dead flies from the wash tubs and then cover them with little mounds of table salt and watch them to come crawling out of their burial places. Martha said she used to sneak her feet along the outside of the fence to prove that nothing would happen if she bent or broke the quarantine law. During this time Father stayed at Aunt Mamie McGuire's home next door so he would be free to go to work.
One evening after the quarantine was lifted, Father brought home a little rocking chair. Helen, who was still big-eyed and weak came out and he carried her into the house in her chair. The memory of their little sister so helpless still causes a lump to come to the throat of the older children.
In 1910 when the census taker came to the house, he asked George's name and he puffed out his chest to tell him "George Alexander McRae." He was a chubby little fellow with curls, while Walter had straight very dark hair.
One day a group of ladies were visiting at Aunt Florette Sabin's house when she told her son, Bob, to look at the bread and see what it was doing. He was so quiet that she called to ask what he was doing. "I am watching this bread and it's not doing anything," he replied. He was sitting in front of the oven with the door open, looking at the bread. This really was a good joke to Florette's way of thinking. When she and Uncle John were first married, they had killed flies on their ceiling by shooting them with a twenty-two.
Edith was always a busy little person and took over many of the inside chores. Martha loved to be outside and chose anything that needed doing there. Mother had a special memory of Gecoza lying on her back with her feet propped against the wall while she read.
While the children were growing up, Mother made almost all of the bread for the family because Father did not like store or bakery bread. He said it reminded him of cardboard. Of course he had to take a lunch every day so Mother was anxious to make it as pleasant for him as possible. For a long time the bread was made with a start of yeast. A small portion of the sponge was saved from one baking until the next. Then it was used very much like a cake of yeast is used now. Sometimes the start would become too hot or too sour to start the operation of making a new batch of bread. Mother would send one of the children to a neighbor with a half cup of sugar to exchange for a small start of yeast. Sometimes the neighbor would send all their start and ask Mother to save a fresh start for them. At other times sugar and flour were added to the start and then it was divided to give the fresh start. This method was used for quite a long time until yeast cakes became more commonly used.
For a long time there was trouble with fires burning down homes in the small town of South Bisbee. The houses in this small district were made of lumber. In the area in one year there were thirteen fires. Some of these places were burned as revenge in time of strikes. If a man refused to stay off the job, his home would be destroyed usually after midnight. Because Father had a big family, he had to keep working, so Mother was often worried from threats of trouble. She would have the children leave their clothing in one stack so it could be reached quickly in case of need. Other fires were caused by accidents. One woman had been cleaning her blouse with gasoline. She loaded waste paper into the stove and then lit a match. This caused an explosion and destroyed many homes, also took the woman's life.
Some people burned their own houses down, to collect the insurance. One morning Walter started for school in a new High School cadet uniform. He saw a place burning so worked hard to put it out. After he had messed up his clothes, he received no thanks only, "McRae, next time you see my place burning, just let it go."
One day the house across the street caught on fire from a still used to make bootleg whiskey. It had been a very windy day so the fire leaped high and many cinders and fire brands were being blown on the McRae's roof. Mother and Gecoza offered a prayer and the wind started blowing in the opposite direction, then in a little while it stopped altogether. The fire was brought under control. When they talked to their Aunt Sarah (Charlie McRae's wife), she told them that when the wind changed toward her home she gathered her little family around her to pray for protection. It had been then that the wind stopped blowing.
Father often invited the missionaries to come home to Sunday dinner. They enjoyed being with the family. The family gained much from hearing of their experiences.
Mother would often have dinner ready and the family around the table ready to kneel for prayers as Father came home from work. One night Mother learned that Father had narrowly escaped with his life when an explosion in the mine had taken the life of the man with whom he worked.
On one of the occasions that Walter had a very good report card, a crowd of boys decided he needed to be beaten up. Mother wrote the teacher to give Walter a poorer report card so he would be safer. This the teacher refused to do, saying that the boy had received a good card because he had earned it. She told the children of the school what would happen if any child was mistreated.
One summer Walter and George had jobs with the mines. They had a burro that carried drills from prospecting tunnels and the other operations to the blacksmith shop to be sharpened. One evening on their way home from work, a crowd of boys threatened to attack them. Walter said, "Come on, I'll take you on one at a time." The crowd made a big circle to watch the fight. Mother looked out and saw what was happening about one-fourth mile from her back porch. She said, "Oh, my poor boy!" and was on her way when the crowd saw her coming. They scattered and the boys didn't have any more trouble.
Mother had had so little chance to play when she was a little girl that she was anxious that her children would be free to enjoy themselves. She often did too much of the work herself. The children could have helped much more if she had insisted upon it. After they had been in school all day she would often let them play with their friends when they really should have been helping at home.
At one time one of the children went down to the big rock, which was a landmark and passed by nearly everyone as they went to Bisbee. There the child wrote bad words all over the rock with white chalk. When mother heard about it, she took the child down the road with a bucket of water and a rag, and that child had the privilege of cleaning those rocks one by one until the countryside was quite sightly again.
One day Gecoza took Martha's doll and hid it behind the window-sill. Mother asked all the family if they knew where it was. Gecoza answered with a "No" but kept eyeing the window. Mother read her thoughts and removed the board to find the lost doll. One of the boards was administered to make a little seat warmer. Gecoza felt it was a well-deserved lesson.
The family had a big swing; the heavy rope had the seat fastened to it. Children from all over the neighborhood came to have a turn, so it became quite a nuisance. Walter and George had a pen of rabbits. To prevent them from digging out, Father put the wire down a foot or more below the surface of the ground.
One day Walter was playing in the back yard, sitting on the ground when a little neighbor girl came up behind him and slapped him on both of his cheeks at once. He ran to Mother for help and sympathy. All she did was turn him over her knee and give him a spanking with the advice that he was to take care of himself because if he came to her for help again she would have to repeat the spanking. He went into the yard to play again but when the little lady came again, he took a stick and spanked her good, then she ran to her mother. The mother came to see Mrs. McRae who told her what had happened. They watched to see what would happen next. After that the children played fine together.
One of the biggest jobs for the big family was the cleaning of clothes. Mother did this for years on a scrub board. She boiled the white clothes on the stove so they would be cleaner. Finally washing machines came into use. At first, hand operated ones. All the water and clothes had to be lifted in and out. There was a hand wringer between the rinse tubs. It was helpful but still lots of work.
Mother seemed to enjoy George's birthday. One year she made cupcakes and in one put cotton. It got much larger than the others and she was sure he would take it. This he did, but after the first bite, threw it across the room. One year she made a cake and hollowed out the center and lined it with waxed paper and filled it with little pieces of candy which flew all over when he cut it. (April Fool's Day.)
The McGuires lived next door and the children were always together. Uncle John had a cow, a horse and chickens. The children had a wonderful time playing on the bales of hay and trying to catch the mice in the big grain bin.
One day the boys had been teasing Clare and Gecoza, who were about four and five years of age, so they decided to go to the mines and tell Uncle John about it. They walked up the road, over the divide and down to the mine where he worked. They found his buggy and climbed into it. When Uncle John saw them, he sent them home and told them to hurry. When they reached the top of the divide, there was Mother walking fast with a big stick. She warned the two if she caught them she would spank them. They ran as fast as their chubby legs would carry them, expecting the worst, as she was really convincing.
One day Father came home saying he had seen the most reasonable dress. It came up above the woman's shoe tops and seemed very sensible to him. Mother was quite provoked with such an attitude.
Father did much of the family buying. On one occasion he bought about a dozen pairs of black stockings that were straight up and down with no attempt at fitting. Mother was very annoyed but the girls kept and used the stockings because of necessity.
Occasionally a freight car filled with bananas would stop near town and sell the fruit by large bunches. Father often brought home this treat, then the family would have all they wanted so they would be used before they were too ripe.
The big Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogs were important to the children. It was fun to look through the pages. At that time there was a grocery division and Father sent for unusual and special treats. Once a large box of oyster crackers added to the children's delight. The box was as large as an orange box, so they had crackers for a long time.
Before Christmas a big box usually arrived and the contents were kept hidden from the family. After the children were asleep at night, Uncle John, Aunt Mamie and the McRae parents would look to see if all of the order from Santa Claus had arrived. Then they divided the articles as they had been ordered and things were hidden until Christmas.
The children used to carry milk from the family cow to people who wanted fresh milk. Four to seven quarts were carried in their arms from house to house and empty bottles were collected for the next day. The money helped to pay for the cow feed.
Since Father had received so little formal schooling, he often seemed jealous of his children's educational advantages. When a slang expression would slip out, he would ask if that was why they were sent to school.
At one time near the end of the school year the teacher scolded Gecoza. Gecoza looked straight at her until she said, "Gecoza, look the other way." That month Gecoza had a "P" -poor- in deportment. Mother asked why, but Cozy did not tell her what had happened and Mother would not sign the card. Cozy took it back to school and tossed it on the teacher's desk and said, "Mother won't sign that report card." On the last day of school, Mother and the teacher had a chance to talk together and compare notes. The teacher had thought Mother felt the "P" in deportment was unfair, which, of course, was not the case at all.
When Mother was expecting her seventh child, the doctor came to the house and asked if he might give her a prenatal examination. This was not usually practiced at that time. The doctor was called in at the delivery and had to meet any problems which might exist. The doctor had seen Mother on the street and knowing that he would be expected to deliver her and realizing something was wrong, asked for this permission. From the examination he knew she was carrying the child in the breach position. When he was called to deliver the child, he begged Mother to not have any more children. After she had suffered such a long time he decided on some type of surgery and was preparing for it when Father called in his brother-in-law, John McGuire. Together they administered to Mother. The child arrived before the doctor could get his instruments ready. This little boy was named after his Grandfather, Joseph McRae, with the Pratt from Mother's father.
Now that there were seven children in the family, the need for more room was really felt. Father moved the family to Bakersville. The house had six large rooms. The furniture seemed lost. Pearl at this time had very poor health and Edith, the oldest, had to take over more of the work and she left school. Father lost his work in the mines and decided to move the family back to St. David. Uncle Joe Goodman (Father's sister Annie's husband) came with his wagons and team to move them. The trip was made by way of Hereford and Fairbanks to avoid crossing the mountains. They camped at night and the children felt it was great fun.
When the family reached the home on Father's 160 acres, there was only an old two-roomed adobe house, white washed on the inside. It had many battle scars from the families who had lived there while the folks were gone. Ahead of them were years of hardship, and very little money. More room was needed and two lumber rooms were built on for bedrooms. During the first year in this place, thirteen rattlesnakes were killed around the house. The artesian well ran only a trickle of water which was caught into a large wooden barrel and overflowed into the pond. The family dipped buckets into the barrel and carried them across the big yard to the house. In the house a dipper was always in the bucket of water.
Wood for burning to furnish heat and for cooking was mostly mesquite and had to be cut with an axe, so chips were scattered around and made good kindling to start fires.
During this time the family went to the Dragoon Mountains for nuts. Mother put up a lunch. The family went in the wagon with the big farm horses pulling them. Father went up over the foothills and directly toward the mountains, over brush, rocks, and ruts, only going around large obstructions. They reached the mountains to find acorns were abundant. They gathered them in small pans and then poured them into a sack. On the way home they went along the sand washes and found big black walnuts. These were loaded into gunny sacks to carry home and then stored in the big hay barn. In the evening they traveled through a misty rain. It had been a wonderful day and the nuts furnished hours of entertainment and nutritious food.
Beans were ready to harvest and when some fell from the dried pods, one of the little boys ran to Mother saying, "Look, Store beans!"
Edith and Martha used to bring friends home and Mother was very popular with the young people. She liked to laugh and joke with them. One night she set the alarm clock and put it under a dishpan so the small hammer would hit the pan when it rang at midnight. Jared Trejo was at the house and he and Edith had a time finding the source of all the noise.
When Jared first started to call on Edith, he was asked before one meal to offer the family prayer. After starting off well, he suddently stopped and with a very strong word declared he did not know what else to say. Father took up the prayer and finished as if this happened every day.
Mother would often be so delighted with the sunset that she would have the children stop their work to enjoy the view. Sometimes the work was forgotten completely.
One day mother was visiting with her sister-in-law, Annie Goodman, when they heard a child scream. Annie be-came very alert, but when she heard the second yell, she relaxed. She claimed if the child could yell that loud the second time, it was not hurt badly.
One night there was an electric storm to end all storms. During one extra hard crash, Father and Mother jumped from their bed and went to see if the children were all right. The kitchen was filled with sulphur smoke. They quickly felt of each child and found each sleeping undisturbed and peacefully. They decided the lightning must have come down the chimney and out the door. Evening prayers had again been answered.
A rattlesnake bit the nose of the old gray mare one day. Mother decided to try to help her. She took a bucket of kerosene and from it dripped a little bit on the horse's painful nose as she tossed her head back and forth. When the horse felt the relief from the offered help she pushed her nose into the bucket and forced it to the ground and acted grateful.
Kerosene lamps furnished light at the end of the day. The chimneys had to be cleaned often and the wicks had to be trimmed to have good light.
After the family had lived at the old homestead a few months, Father bought a hand pump to help water his garden. The children took turns pumping up and down to raise water for his garden. It was slow and not very popular with the children - too much like work.
One evening George came home quite amused because a teacher had tried to spank him and ended up crying instead of him doing so. The next morning Mother handed Walter a folded piece of paper and told him to give it to George's teacher, and it would tell her if George ever needed another spanking, she would be glad to show her how to give one and no boy would laugh when she was through. George begged Walter to let him see the note which was just a folded piece of paper, but George did get the message and there was no more teasing of that teacher.
About this time a group of young people wanted to go to Pomerene to a dance which was to be given there. Mother was asked to be their chaperone. The dance let out late and it was nearly sun-up before they got all the way home. Mother had told all the young men that she wanted to see everyone's hands folded in their laps and she put the buggy whip across her knees, but they enjoyed the trip anyway.
Let us stop long enough to take a look at what might have been a day for Mother. Her day most likely started with building a fire; getting the boys out to milk the cows; preparing breakfast; sending the boys to slop the pigs; cautioned children to remember the Golden Rule; fixed lunches; sent the older children off to school; did the washing; mopped the floors; started a new game for the little ones to play; changed, fed and bathed the baby; cooked a dish of home-dried fruit; pressed her husband's Sunday suit; swept the parlor; made the bed; baked a dozen loaves of bread; split some firewood and lugged it in, enough to fill the kitchen bin; cleaned the lamps and put in oil; stewed some apples she thought would spoil; churned the butter; baked a cake; locked the stable; back to the house to set the table; cooked a supper that was delicious; and afterwards helped the girls wash up the dishes; fed the cat; sprinkled the clothes; mended a basket full of hose; opened the piano and asked her daughter to play "Have I Done Any Good In The World Today?"
One Sunday morning the roof of the St. David home caught fire from the kitchen stove. The people at Church a half-mile away saw the blaze and came to help put it out. By forming a bucket brigade from the well to the house,
the fire was soon brought under control and put out. There was a large hole burned in the roof.
While the family lived in St. David, Aunt Alice who was teaching there, encouraged Martha with her painting and she feels this was a definite influence in her life.
Quilting-bees have a familiar ring but ladies used to have sewing bees. When some mother had a number of little children who needed underclothing the ladies got together and made them much like factories have an assembly line. Mother usually made buttonholes and there were lots to make with three down the back of each little vest and six to eight on each little pair of panties.
About this time one of the boys came in to announce that the family cow had been shot. This would mean no more milk, butter, or cottage cheese and that was a large part of the food at that time. Bread, a few potatoes and water gravy seemed slim. The Bishop came and wanted to help with church funds, but Mother would not hear of it. Father had been in California with his brother, Parley, who was ill. After he came home, it was decided to return to the mines. In Bisbee the family had always had enough to eat. So, after Father found work the family moved back to Bisbee, after having been in St. David eighteen months.
Helen remembers the family's return to a royal entry. Calves being tied to the cows' tails and Edith's chagrin at the
horrible spectacle. Helen must have been at the right age to enjoy the whole thing.
They returned to the same three-roomed house and Father built a cement room under one corner for the boys. The house was ground level in front but the ground sloped down about ten feet at the back of the house. George and Walter had an electric key which they set up to send messages from their room up into the house. Mother became very capable with the Morse Code.
In the backyard the family had a pen of chickens, a small barn for the cow and small vegetable garden. Father blasted out holes in the solid rock and planted fruit trees like potted plants in good soil which Walter and George brought in by pails-full from wherever it was found on the hillsides. One year Father decided the garden would be on the other side of the yard and the soil was carried across the yard to where he wanted it.
The older children are able to remember having many good times at home during this period. They gathered around the piano to sing in the evenings with Martha playing for them. There was a game board and they often enjoyed parties at their home or in the neighborhood.
Mother was often called into a neighbor's home to help with sickness. She was very gifted in knowing just what to do for babies. Many mothers were grateful for her help and advice. She used poultices and herbs. If a child's temperature was high she would put it in warm bath and give it little drinks of cool water to keep it from getting faint. She always had a blanket draped around the tub and around the child's neck so that no draft was able to reach the child. As she lifted the baby out, the blanket fell around it and she dressed it in the blanket to be sure no air got on its body. One trained nurse assured a family that any child was safe in Mother's care after she had watched how she cared for their little one.
Christmas was made more enjoyable for Mother when her children were old enough to insist that their Father get something for her. One year a tea set was purchased and she prized it highly, using it in later years for the little ones to have a party on special occasions like getting over one of the childhood diseases with peppermint or ginger tea.
Uncle John McGuire at one time started calling Edith "Bill", because he knew she was very conscious of herself at that age. Once she did not want to go to a party because she was sure if he called her that before others, they would do the same thing. When Mother found out about it, she just told Edith to call him "Nanny." It only took one time for the name "Bill" to be forgotten. Later John asked Mother if she had not started the "Nanny business." She readily told him that she had.
One day Uncle John McGuire dashed out of his house with Lew in his arms. He was trying to get a nickel out of his throat. Mother called to him to hold out the child's feet and she grabbed his feet and swung him in a half-circle and jerked him back. He called for his nickel as it shot out of his mouth. John stood shaking his head thinking how such a little woman had taken the situation from him, when he was such a huge man.
In those days when travel was difficult, people often went visiting and stayed for weeks at a time. Mother felt that in two days all the visiting could be done. Two hours for people who lived in the same town was sufficient in her way of thinking.
Father's powers of concentration were unbelievable. One evening he was reading with his chair tilted back on two legs. Mother sat nearby, mending, and could see the end results of the boys' playing catch and romping in the room. Father continued to read. At last the ball hit the chair and down he went. He was ready to explode when he found that Mother was laughing at him. Her only remark was she was surprised that it had not happened sooner.
One evening Aunt Irene (Mother's youngest sister) and her husband, Orson Merrill, came for a visit. When Mother asked where they were staying that night, they told her at the hotel. This Mother would not hear of, and made the necessary arrangements for them to have the big room for the night. Years later her sister told her that they had been separated for some time and that they had been planning on separate rooms that night but with Mother's unawareness and her Scotch trend for economy, she had perhaps saved a marriage too. At least helped it over a hump.
Father often worked the night shift and would come home cold to crawl in bed beside Mother. He would put his feet against her and she would gasp. He would move them away and they try again until he warmed them up.
Mrs. St. Johns was a woman who always defended her children. One day Walter and Ella St. Johns had a fight going home at noon. She scratched his face on both sides, while he managed to blacken her eye. When Walter reached home at lunch time Mother told him to leave cleaning up to go back. When Mrs. St. Johns arrived with her particular mincing steps, she said to Mother, "Just look at my daughter" (she was a girl of about fourteen). Mother said, "Just look at my boy" (Walter was ten). "When a girl of that age picks on a ten-year-old boy, I think he should defend himself as best he can." Mrs. St. Johns agreed at the time but she could be heard telling her daughter as she left, "Next time, kill him!"
When Martha was about sixteen and Gecoza about fourteen, they went to a stage play in Lowell with a crowd of young people from town. The play company had been advertised for weeks to get a good crowd. During the entertainment there was loud laughing and cheering. When the girls reached home Mother asked if it was good and they both assured her it was really good. They judged it from so much cheering. So Mother decided to go herself, so as to not miss anything really worthwhile. When she came home her disgust and annoyance knew no bounds. She said, "I was never so mortified in all my life. I was afraid someone I knew would see me there. I was afraid to get up and leave the place." The girls really "got told." They had not realized how terrible it was until Mother expressed herself.
From South Bisbee the family had to go into Tombstone Canyon to church. It was probably about four miles from where they lived. They usually managed to go to Sunday School and again around seven to church.
One day Joseph had been playing out-of-doors, autumn leaves were in the yard. He came in excited, rubbing his hands up and down on his shirt, and said, "Mama, that chicken out there is all undressed; she's losing all of her leaves." The chicken was molting.
Mother had asked the children's help in saving on every corner that they could get a watch for their father. After he received the gift, Father asked them to help him get one for her. It was a dainty style used in those days, with sides that closed. One revealing the face and the other the mechanism. The side over the face had P.E.M. in an elaborate monogram. She prized the gift. She wore it on a long chain and it is a special keepsake of the family.
The twenty-fourth of May in 1914 brought another little boy to the family. This balanced up the family with four boys and four girls. This little boy had curly hair and the girls were old enough to make a great fuss about him. Martha felt he was her baby. He was named for Mother's father, Parley, with Father's second name of Kenneth.
While Joseph was small, his Grandfather McRae would take him aside and try to impress upon him the great honor he had of having the name Joseph, and would caution him to never let anyone call him "Joe." He was extremely proud that he had been blessed by the Prophet and since he had given this name to Joseph, felt that he should be just as aware of the great honor.
The older girls remember they were returning in the buggy from Bisbee where Edith had had something done for one of her feet when they heard that their Aunt Florette had passed away. This was a great shock. Mother was home when she heard the news and one can imagine the great loss she felt. This sister was always seeing everything on the light side. A joke was food to her soul. She left three small children, a husband, father, a brother and sisters who missed her charm and gaiety.
Edith was still keeping company with Jared Trejo, the young man she had met while the family was living in St. David. Plans were made for a lovely wedding. Jared with his fair, wavy hair and blue eyes was dressed in a dark suit. Edith with brown hair and eyes had a lovely white satin dress. They were both so young and attractive. To Mother this was the breaking up of her family and tears were often in her eyes.
On the 18th of June in 1914, Edith became the wife of Jared Jones Trejo in the McRae home in South Bisbee with Bishop John Warren performing the wedding.
When cars first came out, Mother said emphatically, "I'll never ride in a buggy with a gas tank under the seat." But the Sunday after Edith's marriage, she hurried the family through dinner because, "Uncle Orson is going to come take us riding." How did she know? Uncle Orson did come and she was privileged to have her first automobile ride.
One night Mother heard the fire sirens and was happy to know that her children were all in bed. But her eldest son did not stay in bed. He went to see the fire. It was a hotel and after he had climbed to the top floor and threw some of the things out, he found he was trapped in the room in which he was. He opened the window and swung out over the window below and rode the window as it went down with his weight. He kicked in the glass and was able to get in on the second floor and then go to the first from it. The next day one of the men at work was trying to explain to Walter how someone had left the third floor of the hotel and entered the second through a window. Walter supplied all of the details and admitted that he had been the one to do the trick. Mother afterwards learned about his adventure.
Walter in his school days with his initials "W" and "M" found that they could be turned upside-down and still be the same. To this he added an "S" amd it still worked. Mother felt he should have a middle initial and that since her maiden name was Sabin, that he should adopt the "S". Since then it has been a part of his name.
Father had to have a cold lunch each day so during the summer vacations Mother let Joseph take a hot lunch to the coal mine for his father each day. This had gone on for quite some time. One night Mother woke from a sound sleep and cried, "John, Joe fell down the shaft." Father said, "Pearl, do not let that boy go to the mines again." Very soon after this a lady had to take her small child to the mines to get her husband's pay envelope. The little boy got too close to the shaft and as the cage went down, he was drawn by the down-draft of air into the mine. Someone heard his cry and ordered the cage to come to a slow stop after it had been dropped quickly. The men found the child had slipped down the cable with it burning a hole in his clothing. Many hardened miners were in tears, expecting the worst. Mother and Father often said if they had not heeded the warning it would have been Joe instead of the other little fellow and probably he would not have been so lucky.
When father was planning to buy his first new Ford, the family was all called upon to help. They used the old coat or shoes a little longer. They walked to school instead of going on the streetcar. This was a hard walk through the mountains and took from forty-five minutes to an hour. They had helped Mother the same way to get Father a new gold watch, afterwards helping him buy one for her.
When Father bought the car it was the beginning of a lovely change for the family. Mother would make an evening meal for the family and as soon as Father came home, they were off for a ride into the open country. After the sun was down, they would find a spot beside the road and enjoy their picnic which was always special, no matter what they had. Father always tried to go down a new road - they all led to interesting places. The Ford brought out the Scotch in Father. It had to be driven with the top down because with the top up it took more gaso-line. He had a habit of calling out "Giddup!" whenever the car would not start or was slow going up a hill. He either did not overcome this habit or else just continued to do it even after thirty years of driving. One wonders if he did it for the amusement of his children, for they doubled up each time they heard it.
Speed did not fascinate Mother. When the family jogged along at 10 to 15 miles an hour, she was happy. Once she was heard to exclaim as she looked across a valley toward Bakersville, "Just look at that man travel! He must be going at least 25 miles an hour!"
Martha and Gecoza painted china in high school and when the building burned down, all their work was destroy-ed. Mother had a few pieces which she prized highly.
Martha was working and she was telling some friends that she could manage her money when she paid her tithing. Father was prompted to tell her that this was not the reason for paying tithing.
One day Mother was taking care of Jack McRae for Aunt Nell (Parley McRae's wife), when he came in saying, "Aunt Pail, my nose is coming down." Mother felt he was very polite and well-mannered. Her own son, Joseph, followed him saying, "Maw, my nose is runny." This was a real boy's boy!
The afternoon of July 12th in 1917 found Mother with her two sisters-in-law, Nell (Father's brother, Parley's wife) and Stell (Father's brother, Orson's, wife) on a front porch chatting on the surface but tense about the situation go-ing on in town. They were not sure what was happening. They just knew that the miners were driving out the "Wobblies." The wobblies were known by many names. Their technical designation was I.W.W., meaning Inter-national Workers of the World. But the initials inspired some wag to call them the "I Won't Workers." It was us-ually shortened to just "Wobbly."
During World War I this strange outside force moved into the copper-mining town of Bisbee. After setting up an organization, they tried to dictate to the natives the way they should work and the demands they should make of mine owners. Their idea was to foment trouble and Bisbee was ripe for their machinations, they thought, because copper was necessary to the demands of World War I. The invaders did not take into consideration the ways and the thinking of the West. They did not know of the sense of freedom and right that existed there; that men dictated their own rights; no one moved in and told them what to do. For months trouble had been brewing. Father carried a revolver at all times, to work, to meetings, wherever he went. He carried an overcoat to cover the gun, but often the overcoat swung forward and the revolver hung to the back, and his protection was in full view, much to Mother's dismay.
The next door neighbor, whose husband was a sniffling, pale little spirit of a man and one of the instigators of the trouble, came fawning to mother, wanting to be friendly but Mother put her in her place with a few sharp, well-aimed words.
During the morning gossip came to say that a McRae boy had been shot. They were sure it was wrong, for the McRae boys, Walter and George, were right there with the family. They decided it was a rumor. A child came to say there was a phone call for someone at McRae's house and was to be answered on one of the two phones in town. Stell felt capable since she had talked on and listened to the little voice from the receiver before. Aunt Stell was a romantic sort of person, dressing flamboyantly, loving big ostrich trimmed hats with the feathers dropping almost to her waist. She was the one who wore divided skirts, and was not always careful to have them buttoned down the front and back, even when she was off the horse. She went into the house which possessed the phone while Helen waited for her. She returned shortly, staggering out of the wide-flung screen door, wrapped her arm around the porch post for support and retched time after time.
Down Tombstone Canyon the workers had been going from house to house, cleaning strikers out of the houses and herding them like cattle down to the long main street. There a machine gun was trained on the crowd and the men were walked to Warren where they were packed into cattle cars and taken into New Mexico to be dumped like refuse. For months afterwards, each car entering Bisbee was searched for returning Wobblies.
In the drive two shots cut through the other sounds. Uncle Orson was killed by one of them as he went to get one of the dissenters from his house. The man panicked and fired. Immediately another shot rang out and the assassin dropped dead.
On the telephone, Father, blunt, unthinking, frantic with grief about the death of his brother, blurted out to Stell that her husband, Orson, was dead. Later, when he saw his brother's children, fatherless, he cried tears for them.
Martha told her folks that she wanted a piano and said that she would pay for it. Father asked how much she had and she gave him one hundred dollars to which he added two and sent for an upright Beckwith from Sears. It weighed around eight hundred pounds and proved a problem when it came time to move, but many hours of pleasure it gave to the family.
Martha helped so much in the small branch in Bisbee. She played the organ too. So when Willard Huish came to church as a visitor from Douglas, he became very interested in her and was soon a regular visitor in the McRae home. He took Martha to Douglas to visit his family, and to dances and other entertainments. When they plan-ned to be married, he received his call by draft into the army. Martha was eighteen at the time. After training, Willard went to France. He was wounded in the action in the Argonne Woods, was moved from hospital to hos-pital and finally reached the United States.
One can picture how happy Mother was when the Armistice was signed. Walter declared that he was going to join as soon as he was old enough to go. Mother never felt she could sit idle for one second. Needles were flying every minute, making sweaters, mufflers or socks for the boys overseas. Years later a woman showed her a spread she had crocheted during this time, and Mother was able to keep from lashing out with a cutting remark only by using a great deal of self-control.
Willard came home on a leave and Mother insisted that Martha should be with him and they were married on the second of April in (the) Salt Lake Temple, and then went on to the hospital at San Francisco.
During this time Edith had been blessed with a son and daughter and was expecting her third child. One day she found Mother under the house leaning on a large wooden spool on which cable was wound, heaving so dreadfully that she suggested that Mother should go to a doctor. Mother assured her that only time would cure her of what was bothering her. When Mother, who was in her forty-second year, confided to Father that there was to be an addition to the family, he asked her just how she felt about it. She assured him that she was very pleased.
Parley turned five in May and four days before Joseph was nine in June, a little girl was added to the family. The day was so warm that Mother had to put this little one up high on her pillow and fan it. There had been a while when, as whe watched the doctor dip the child in warm and cold water, that Mother had doubts about keeping this baby.
Later that same morning Mother's brother, John, arrived to say that his wife, Aunt Hattie, had had a little girl at eight that morning. Helen was pleased to be able to tell him that her sister had arrived at six.
This little girl was named Irene after Mother's baby sister whom she had called her first baby since their Mother had passed on when she was only eight and the baby had been in her care.
In April of 1921 Gecoza went on a mission to California. She was the first lady missionary to be sent from Bisbee.
While she was gone the family moved back to St. David. Walter was about seventeen and Father decided a windmill was needed on the place. A twelve by twelve timber was obtained and Walter cut it from end to end, both ways, to make four six by six's. Since it was not long enough, he proceeded to splice it. Father must have been in Bisbee working at this time because Walter pulled those forty-foot poles into the air, the first with the aid of a tree, by himself. He remembers how Mother would come out to watch his progress and then would have to get into the house with her uneasy feeling. She did feel he was really a man at this time though at one time she made it quite clear that she did not allow any talking back from even so grown a young man.
The third of April in 1923 found Mother with Edith who was having her fifth child. Her older children were curious as children always are, and when they tried to look in the window, had water thrown on them. They always spoke of this when Grandmother's name was brought up and held her with great awe -- not one word was ever said about the incident, except from the children.
One of the Sunday activities was to go to see Grandfather Sabin who lived in Pomerene. He called Irene and Laura Bell (Uncle John's daughter) his twins. One of the things Irene remembers in his home was an office chair that whirled around and got higher or lower depending on which direction it was turned. Then there was an old desk which had lots of pigeon holes which were all neatly covered when a sliding front was pulled down. A stereoscope with lots of pictures that seemed to come alive kept children out of mischief.
One day Father started to Benson in the morning, expecting to be home by noon. He had taken Joe, Parley and Irene. The road in those days followed the sides of the different fields and went west and then north, west again and then north. Father decided he could cut off lots of distance by going through the field at an angle much like he had driven a team. But the Ford did not always perform like the team once did. A ditch across his path did not stop him until the back wheels went into a deep rut where they spinned. "Giddup!" was yelled at the car. A path for the wheels was dug out, brush was added to lift the wheels, a lever was applied and by late afternoon they were at last on their way to Benson. This was an eventful day in the history of Benson. A train had straightened out the tracks which had not been securely fastened down and then lay over on its side. Fresh fruit was being sold very reasonably to keep it from spoiling. Great cakes of ice were stacked haphazardly. Father, looking for Irene, found her directly in the line of a five-hundred pound chunk of ice, calmly licking the one upon which it teetered. So, they got home late but loaded down with news and food.
When Mother churned butter she would send the buttermilk out to the garden or down to the field fo Father. He seemed to appreciate this special treat. It broke up the drudgery and was very refreshing.
Once Mother stated that her bottles were of more value than cut crystal -- when one considers the original costs, this seems strange but she went on to explain that bottles could help feed her family. She had very little patience with people who did not care for their bottles once they were empty, especially those who let them be put out of doors. She tried to keep rings on the tops of the jars to keep them from getting chipped, and if possible, the lids too were kept on, to help keep them clean while being stored.
Father seemed to enjoy seeing furniture in any room re-arranged. Mother said he got this from his family who would re-arrange the whole house even to the stove. It was moved by putting elbows and extra lengths in the stove pipe to put it any place in the room.
During September of 1923, Brother Post and Father went to Tombstone with Walter and Hazel to obtain their license. Brother Post knew the clerk and said, "We have two babies here that want to get married." Since they were not of age, their parents had to give their consent for the license. Walter and Hazel Post were married the 27th of September and went to Salt Lake for their endowments and sealing which took place the tenth of October.
Mother's father, Parley Sabin, passed away on October the 20th of 1924. She did not seem to be able to grasp the fact. She was unable to shed any tears, but later expressed the feeling that her heart had been bleeding from her great sorrow.
One day it started raining and the ground was slick with a thin layer of mud when Maud, the old white horse, decided to roll over and scratch her back. She turned over but into a shallow ditch from which she could not get out. She kicked and kicked to no avail. Mother took a two by four and pushed it under her foreleg and shoulder and she was able to turn herself over and get out of the difficulty.
About this time the family purchased a phonograph from the catalogue. It arrived one Saturday afternoon in Benson. The next afternoon the young folks of the family had their friends in to listen to the music. Irene decided she was not getting enough attention and crawled under the couch which was a folding bed. Mother motioned for everyone to leave her alone. It became a long wait and she fell asleep. No reference was made to the incident, but Irene learned a good lesson.
The old homestead was divided by Father down the middle from North to South. Then into ten acre strips and each child was given ten acres. Just what was the basis for choice is not known, but the folks gave each child a deed for his or her ten acres. Father had hoped to have his children live nearby.
One day the high school girls came to Relief Society to have a contest with the ladies to see which made the better buttonholes. Different ones around the group made comments upon how well they were able to make buttonholes.
Mother was busy just sewing but when the judging came, her buttonholes had the best sides and her daughter, Helen's, was finished best on the ends.
George was staying with Martha and Willard in Tucson and going to high school the year his birthday was to be on Easter. Mother spent days fixing his birthday gift. She took a tea strainer from the cereal box (the days when the gift came in a box and one did not have to send for it) and wrapped a tie in waxed paper and put it inside. Then she dipped it in yellow candy. After it set, the next step was clear candy, and then a finish of milky candy for the eggshell. It was really egg-shaped and about six inches long. He opened it successfully to find the tie.
While Mother was sewing on her treadle machine one day, Irene got behind it and pushed the treadle just as Mother was adjusting the material under the needle. It sewed through her finger. Mother said a very expressive word which Irene was not used to hearing, a giggle broke our and Mother felt she had a little monster of some kind. Again when Father, trying to crank the old Ford, got kicked, cutting his arm about two inches deep, expressed a fervent wish, well modified, the young lady found the situation funny. But very little of such language was heard in the home.
Uncle John and Aunt Mamie McGuire lived in Pomerene and a special treat for the family was to visit them. Uncle John was extremely proud of his melons. Aunt Mamie seemed to be making soap in a large iron pot on an outside fire a great deal of the time. This family was always very happy to have Melba (Uncle Milton's daughter) around when it was canning time because she could get her hand into the bottles to wash them.
Before the school year started in 1925, Mother moved to Binghampton. She was asked to teach a young group of boys. The first day she walked into the classroom (the Church was using the school until a chapel was built) not one boy was in sight. She stood behind the desk and as each boy peeked out from his hiding place, she silently motioned him to take a seat. Soon every boy was in a seat and Mother had not said one word. One night she took them on a party and played all their games with them but she never let them know that she was hardly able to get around the next day. She made a large pan of cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate with marshmallows for the party.
The young people of the ward were putting on a costume party and since Helen was going to school, she wanted to attend. Mother collected bottle caps which they sewed around the brim of a black straw hat, and the edge of a bolero. Mother, using a heavy twine, took an inch stitch in the hem of a skirt and sewed through a cap but left it to hang on about three inches of thread, making a fringe of bottle caps about an inch apart. This made for lots of jingling. One lady remarked to another that night that she surely wished that girl were not be so noisy. Mother spoke up to say, "You will have to admit that she is the 'Belle of the Ball'."
Father came from Bisbee for Christmas and after he and Mother had played Santa, Parley and Joe got up and woke up Irene. They were anxious to see all the Christmas and have all to see it. Mother had a hard time getting Irene back to sleep again. It was before midnight but she was ready to play with her Christmas.
Mother moved to Bisbee the first of the year in 1926, taking the children in the middle of the school year. Father had secured a small house across from Castle Rock up a steep, winding hill. Mother had to take Irene to school the first day to show her the way. Parley attended Horace Mann which was about a block away and Joe had to go past Castle Rock to the high school.
While the family was here, Mother saw her first washing machine. It had a gasoline motor and a wringer for getting water out of the clothes. She claimed she just wanted to watch it. When one thinks of the years of washing she had done, it seems natural. Tubs still had to be filled but most of the work was taken out of washing.
George was still courting Gladys Bingham and was making the trip from Bisbee to Tucson to see her. He gave her a hope chest. She told him she would marry him when it was full. When he came home so discouraged that time and told Mother what Gladys had said, Mother promised to help fill the the chest. A quilt was started, and George came home every night and quilted so that the next time he went to Tucson he could take a quilt. The marriage was set up some from the original plan.
Uncle Milton (Father's brother) lost his wife and he had three small children. Most of the time Melba stayed with Aunt Mamie but quite often she needed a rest and Melba would come to stay with the family. Mother would sew her shoes on by sewing closed the top button. She would unbutton all the other buttons but, not being able to undo the top, she had to wear her shoes slopping until she decided to leave them alone.
Mother had dreadful dreams that Melba was falling over the cliff. The front of the house was roof-level with the house in front of it. Each side of the street was a canyon wall, with houses stair-stepped up the sides. Mother would find herself awake in the middle of the floor trying to reach the child before she fell.
Mother saw a movie while living across from Castle Rock that pleased her so much that she told the children about it for days. The story was of a ranger (forest) who had raised a black panther and an elk together and how after thay had grown, they would romp together and actually each had saved the other's life on two different occasions. Mother's great love for animals was truly a heart-warming thing. In 1963 Irene saw this same movie on television and it was like having a visit with her Mother again, remembering how well she had described the different scenes and had caught the spirit of the story.
On May 27th of 1926, in the home of Jacob Bingham in Binghampton, Willard Huish married George McRae and Gladys Bingham. The young people had their car tied with shoes and a sign painted, but with Walter's help, the young couple went out the back way and got into another car which started them on their journey to Salt Lake.
The same night Helen and Everett Young went to the home of Willard Huish after he had performed the other ceremony and were joined in marriage. They also made the trip to Salt Lake for their sealing.
During the stay in the home across from Castle Rock, Mother often dreamed that she was flying and would explain how easily she was able to take off and how she lifted into the air. Psychologists tell us that dreams of flying are caused by a desire to escape from some problem. Maybe the family realized the strain she was under for she went on a vacation with Walter and Hazel and felt she was along to take care of Barbara. One of their stops was in Los Angeles where Mother met the man to whom her sister, Alice, was engaged. After getting home, she bought fish, saying she had wanted some when she was near the ocean but had not had any.
The visit to the Grand Canyon was very impressive to Mother. The morning they were there the clouds were below them and as they moved, different scenes appeared and color varied with the shadows.
As Joe would start out for school, he would hold Mother and very deliberately give her a peck. Of course, she would stew about the whole thing, listing all the things that needed to be done, but one had the feeling that she enjoyed the little daily joke.
During the summer of 1927, the family moved to their place in South Bisbee. Both George and Walter lived in Bisbee. Often they would join the rest of the family for an evening of "Flinch." Father always acted absorbed and would get such a twinkle in his eye when he won a game. The whole family seemed to be proud of his skill at games. It was not often he appeared interested in their activities.
For their seventh birthday, Laura Bell and Irene had a birthday party at Uncle John Sabin's. Aunt Hattie baked a cake into which three dimes were placed. Each birthday girl and one other child at the party got one. There were games and gifts and fun for all. The following year the birthday party was at the McRae's and afterwards Father took Irene and Laura Bell to the church where they were baptized. It looked like Mother's hand is showing.
On evenings when the weather turned crisp, Mother would put the round-bottomed iron pot down in the stove without the lid on its hole and from light bread dough, she would cut long strips which she fried in deep fat. They had the glamorous name of "Shoe Strings" and were a very special treat for the family. When she made dough-nuts, she liked to make figure eights.
When Father paid the grocery bill, the store keeper would give him a bag of candy for a treat for the family. So younger ones looked forward to pay day.
Mother was extremely sensitive to sound and taste. She was able to tell what kind of baking powders, shortening, etc. people used in their cooking by the taste. At one time she bought some chile brick from the grocery store. When she started buying some of the ingredients used in it, the man asked her what she was doing and she said she was going to make her own chile. He insisted that she would not be able to do it since they used a secret ingredient from Old Mexico. She assured him her family would never miss it. We didn't.
While Mother was Primary president in Bisbee, they gave birthday pennies and as they dropped them in, the children counted. When Mother's turn came, she dropped hers in by nickels and asked the children to count by fives. She stopped at fifty. Members of the Branch were very surprised that she was quite willing for people to know her age. But she claimed she was disappointed that her hair was such a mousy color as it became gray.
On the Fourth of July, Mother bought water pistols for the boys and the Elders and what fights they had. She supplied each with a metal cup and the water gun and from behind trees, they battled out all of the fights of the past. She could hardly interest them in food.
One day the missionaries were taking the Primary class to a picnic when one Elder released the brakes and the car rolled into a large plate glass window. The store keeper was quick to tell them that it would cost twenty-five dol-lars to replace it. The young man was aware that such an amount of money would mean cutting short his mission. Mother asked the Bishop if the Primary could pay the bill from money they had on hand. The missionary was a very grateful young man.
One afternoon Mother had the impression that the missionaries were coming to visit and had Father get ice to make ice cream. One missionary told Mother that the other had said, "Sister McRae is expecting us." They had started out for South Bisbee. One wonders if they had the impression at the same time.
Irene developed a number of ailments which seemed to have as their cause bad tonsils. Mother had to watch while her baby's eyelids were scraped for granules and with the third operation, the tonsils were removed. Before this happened, one day Irene was taking her bath in the old number three tub when she looked up to see tears in her Mother's eyes. When she asked what was wrong, Mother had said, "Those little bones look like they are going to cut right through the skin." But after the operation things became different.
The first year of the family's return to South Bisbee the trees which they had worked so hard to raise did not hold their fruit. They fell off before they ripened. Someone told the folks that the trees needed iron and that rusty nails pounded in the trunk would do the trick. This little job was set out for Joe, Parley and Irene. The trees did not look like they would survive but the next year produced a large crop of fruit which did stay on the trees to ripen and were especially good.
Mother would call her two sons that were still home (Joe and Parley) two times and with the third call she carried a cup of water from which she would sprinkle them. Irene had to see the fun and went along. Irene leaned upon the bed and came up screaming with her hand pulled in an awkward position. Two boys never got out of bed quicker. Mother poured kerosene in a bucket for Irene's hand. When the boys got the bed apart they found an eight-inch scorpion.
One day Irene was having herself a good cry. Mother asked the reason for the tears, but Irene did not have a reason. Mother said, "Come here, and I will give you a reason to cry." Those tears and the noise were quickly turned off.
The Elders were often invited to go with the family on their outings. One such occasion the two boys had gone for a hike leaving Irene alone with her parents. It seemed like a lonesome time ahead for her without thinking, she quickly said, "You kids are going to have to play with me." It suddenly occurred to her that she had been most disrespectful to have spoken that way, but when she turned to look at her parents they were smiling at each other over her head.
One night Parley came home with his face black and blue. It seemed he had told the truth at school when asked a question to which all the students knew the answer about someone's guilt concerning a certain matter. But the others had known the consequences of telling but since Parley was new and did not know what happened in such cases, he told what he knew. He was caught and really beaten by the group upon whom he had told. Though his older brothers were ready to go to war for his sake, it was not done because the family was considering moving and Mother was not in good health.
Mother had inflamatory rheumatism. She fasted for about four weeks with nothing but juices. During this time she would have spasms which were frightening to the whole family. Her body would become rigid and shake and then she would become unconscious. The only thing she would say was that when she first woke up for a fraction of a second there was no pain. The doctor explained that she was not able to endure the pain for any longer time and this was her body's way of reacting to the pain. Gecoza, who had been working for Sutters, came home to help with Mother's care. On one occasion she felt that Mother might receive relief if she had her feet soaked and got a bucket of water and placed it for her. Mother got her feet down and then had one of the spasms. It sent the bucket flying. When she regained consciousness, Gecoza was down cleaning up the water and she smiled and said, "Well, it looks like I kicked the bucket."
George and Gladys came to stay to help the family during this time. The boys had brought home a little pup which they had found out in the hills. One night it was crying and the boys were in St. David and Mother was not able to move. She called Irene softly until her voice penetrated her sleep and Irene dragged herself out to feed the little animal.
It seemed Mother was not too well at Christmas, but Gladys had made no end of candy. There was a large pan on the shelf under the table which Walter had made for his mother. After Irene had helped herself to candy all day, she got down the Castoria and took some and it actually tasted good after all that sweet.
While Mother was recovering the family took her to stay with her sister, Irene, in Safford. Little Irene stayed with her sister Edith, in St. David. Joe, Parley and Father were at the old ranch in St. David. They had the little pup which was now just like a little bear.
One evening when Aunt Irene turned off the light, Mother called her back into the room and said she was sure she had felt a bat flying through the room. Aunt Irene kidded her about having "bats in the belfry," and Mother after being so ill was not sure she had not been dreaming. She asked her sister to turn off the light and sit down and sure enough something cut through the air. They found it was a bat that had come down a ventilation vent and could not find its way out again.
Years before when Mother had visited her sister Irene, one of her sons had had a great boil on his neck. He was preparing to go out on a date and wanted to know how he was going to get the poultice from the area around the sore. His mother (Aunt Irene) said she would have to shave it off. Our Mother told him to come with her and she would help him. She gently rubbed some grease around it until it rolled off and then told him to carefully wash it. He declared that her help was worth her car fare. Afterwards she asked Aunt Irene if she had really planned to shave that poor sore neck and Aunt Irene confessed that she had known no other way.
The family moved from South Bisbee to St. David again. The ceiling in the two big rooms was made of fabric and time and weather had caused it to sag very badly. Mother seemed very pleased when sheets of plaster board were nailed to the rafters and a very firm ceiling was overhead.
Mother could make her children feel loved and wanted though surroundings were not the most up-to-date. Though Irene slept on a trunk for several months after the move, she was made to feel she had a very special little nest.
Father wore a mustache until in the '20's. It gave him a very stern, forbidding appearance. Then one Sunday morning just before Sunday School, he decided to shave it off. His upper lip was ghastly white and there were plenty of titters and giggles about Uncle John McRae without a mustache. Irene remembers feeling that she was seeing her father partly undressed.
Mother had a dread of Mother's Day. She had a deep feeling that Father's Day was neglected and that just as much fuss should be made over a Father as a Mother. She had always taught her children to speak respectfully to and of their father. They might disagree with some of the things he did, but respect she demanded for him and in its course received respect for herself. Mother never let any of the children call their father anything but "Papa" which was the accepted name of respect in those days. When she heard the name, "Daddy", she liked it but this was long after the children had all formed the habit of calling their father, "Papa", and it carried on.
In the late twenties, Uncle John McGuire drilled a second well on the ranch. He slept in the barn as if he were out camping. His appetite was something to see. Mother always set out a large serving bowl for him when the family had bread and milk. He proceeded to fill it up, too. While he was around they had no trouble knowing where Irene was because she loved to hear the stories he had to tell. They were repeated, but still good listening. He dramatized and made a whale of a tale of everything.
One day Walter and George had car trouble while on a trip to Bisbee. They needed parts and did not have the cash with which to pay for them. The man in the store was asking for references when they told him that their father had worked for years in the mines. When the man found out they were Jack (John) McRae's sons, he told them that they could have anything they needed from his store on credit, for he knew John McRae and his reputation for honesty. The boys felt this was a great tribute to their Father.
While the family was in St. David, Father would spend his noon hours and evenings reading Church literature and became one of the best-read men in the community, next to Edward T. Lofgreen.
Mother loved to have her family get together for a meal. With each child making their own friends and with their children growing up she liked to see her grandchildren get together. On one occasion Mother had hot rolls and tamale pie made with chicken. She always was happy when Jared seemed to enjoy himself because he did not particularly seem to like picnics and eating out of doors.
The family collected their own tree for Christmas. It was decorated with the things which had been collected over the years. Christmas morning was greeted with, "Merry Christmas", each person trying to greet others before they were greeted. Mother would try to go to see each of her married children that lived in St. David. Each grandchild would show her just what he or she had received. Mother made each feel that she was vitally interested in their lives on this day and every day.
By this time Martha Rigg's children were gone and she told Mother she wished she had taken the time to play with her children and enjoy them as Mother had done.
Mother always went out of her way to talk to Aunt Zipporah Lofgreen. She was so crippled from hard work that she had become a hunch-back. Mother was afraid the same thing might happen to her so she would lie down on the floor with a geography book (14 x 9 x 1.5) at her shoulders to make her hold herself straight.
When slaughtering time arrived, Mother would take Irene into the living room, turn on the phonograph and close windows. Other processes that took place on the farm were kept from the eyes and ears of the daughters.
Mother would bottle a large portion of beef when it was killed. She loved to have beef and pork to mix together into patties. She would often dream when she was in the middle of such an undertaking that she was trying to balance a whole beef on the table - she was much too weary to rest.
Mother delighted in being able to feed any number of people who might drop in to see the family unexpectedly. Fruit, vegetables and meat canned made it possible for her to serve without any apparent concern all the folks who called.
Mother made a cooler of a frame with shelves covered with several layers of burlap. On top a large pan was placed with a slowly siphon-drip of water onto the burlap. As it drizzled down the sides, the evaporation made for a cooling process which helped keep food from spoiling quite so soon.
When anyone went to Benson they would bring home ice and that would mean ice cream for the evening meal. It was made more on the order of frozen egg nog and along with crackers made up the whole meal.
A gas iron was used when Irene was in high school and this was a great improvement over the old flat iron which had to be changed when it started to cool and the fire had to be kept going in the stove regardless of freezing or boiling temperature. The folks had a gas light too which was a great improvement over the kerosene lamps.
One night Irene called her Mother. She had woke up feeling dreadful but could not explain to her Mother where she was hurting though her finger felt strange. Mother gave her aspirin which helped her go back to sleep. An infection of the bone developed on a little finger which Walter had to lance.
One Sunday afternoon Father lay down for a nap. Since his false teeth did not fit too well, they came out as each breath was expelled and closed and fell back in as he took another breath. Joe and Parley called Mother and Irene to see the fun. It was quite evident that those teeth would soon drop back in in such a way as to choke him but the little whistling noise added to the amusement of his audience and they were all watching as one deep breath did the trick. To see a snore in motion was really funny.
Joseph had not been home for several days when one morning Mother came in with tears in her eyes. Irene insisted upon knowing what was the matter. Mother assured her that she was shedding tears of joy. She was hap-py to find her son in his bed that morning. He had been having one of his adventures about which we learned very little, except for him to tell us how many states he had visited.
Father went to the Gila Valley and brought home two horses. With one, Mother immediately fell in love. It held its head up proudly and looked like the horses that are used for Christmas card illustrations with their sleighs. It was broad between its front legs and arched its neck. Mother named it "Prince." She loved the spirit and looks of Thoroughbreds.
One day Parley told Mother that she should not let Irene go out with a certain young man. (Not that she would have considered doing it.) Parley had to associate with a number of boys in school and other community activities but he did not feel some were right for his sister to be seen with. This concern prompted his sister to want him and the other members of the family to approve of the people with whom she was seen.
One time Mother had a wart on her hand which was most annoying because people felt it when they shook her hand. One day while she was washing she decided that she would get rid of it. She put grease all around it while it was soaked and set out the vinegar to have ready. She dropped diluted lye on top of the wart. When it had eaten down even with her hand, she washed it off and put vinegar on it. An elderly gentleman heard what she had done but did not get the details and nearly ate up his hand not knowing how to stop the action of the lye.
Father was able to kill a snake by throwing a shovel at its head much like athletes throw the javelin. One evening as Mother, Irene and Father sat out on the wash bench, a snake came out from under it. Mother cautioned Father to sit still and as the snake got out about six feet, Irene brought the shovel and Father threw it and connected again. By this time Father was in his sixties.
Some people were starting to advocate patches for stockings when Mother told some guests that she had a new way of mending stockings. She had the feeling they were looking for a tale to tell, so she told them how she sorted out the socks with the big holes and then, collecting the bunch, she dropped them into the waste basket and exclaim-ed, "Darn!", as they dropped. She was greatly amused that they had not enjoyed her joke.
One day an airplanc landed in our field and the pilot asked Father if they might use his land for a field to take up passengers on a Saturday afternoon. Joe and Parley were the first ones up and had such a delightful time seeing all their stomping grounds from the air. Father and Irene took the last ride but it was short. It took years to get the land back into shape again and Father was very sorry he had allowed his field to be torn up as it was.
During his last year in high school Parley was stung by a scorpion while working in some old lumber, but it had not been painful. The first Mother knew about it was when she saw him rolling in the yard with froth at the mouth. She called Joseph to go after Walter. Joe caught a horse (the only time one had ever allowed anyone to catch it without a chase) and rode after Walter, who came and drove Parley to Benson. Parley recalled how fast the telephone poles went by. The doctor and nurses, with Walter helping, worked to keep the circulation going by rubbing arms and legs. It was a very close call for Parley.
Father was called on a six-month mission and as he prepared to go, Irene asked if he would be taking the silver pocket watch which was kept in the dresser drawer. Mother explained that it hadn't worked for years. But when they checked it, the hands were moving and it kept time during the mission and then stopped again.. When Father took the train to start for California, not one tear did Mother let him see, but on the way home from Benson, she gave way to her feelings.
Not long after Father was gone, Parley came down with pneumonia. He developed such a bad condition that two ribs were cut and a tube was put in his back to drain out the waste. Sister Oldfather (wife of the Superintendent of the school and a registered nurse) helped by staying with him while in the hospital. The family had to care for her children. They were left with the different families. It became Irene's permanent job to care for them any night the Oldfathers wanted to go out for the evening.
Two days before the crisis in Parley's illness, Irene was sitting on the back porch when she noticed a small, red chip fall from off the roof. She went out to look up on the house but could see nothing. When she went into the kitchen, all around the chimney was red flames. She called, "Fire!". Mother came from the living room where Parley was in bed and cautioned her to be quiet. Hazel rode through the town calling, "McRae's house is on fire!" The town responded. Soon a bucket brigade was formed and the fire was put out. Mother was sure that had Parley had to be moved, it would have been fatal. She stayed with him during the whole thing.
Many other things happened while Father was gone. Cattle would get into the field. Our cows would get out mysteriously. Mother felt that the Lord was really trying us during this time. When Father returned, Parley still had the tube in his back. Mother had had to furnish dressings which were cooked in the pressure cooker. Toward the last, they pumped water into his back and he forced it out with a coughing motion.
Since Gecoza's marriage she had been living in Provo. About this time she became quite sick for over five months. When Mother and Father heard about her illness, they decided to go get her before winter set in and bring her to Arizona to recover. Walter had fixed his car so the front seat lay back on the right side to make a bed for Parley when he had been sick with pneumonia and had to go back and forth to Tucson for care. Gecoza was glad to have the opportunity to go to Arizona. She lay down all the way. Although she had had a nervous breakdown, she improved under Mother's good care, encouragement and prayers of the family. When she went back to see Doctor Bledsoe after six months, he did not even recognize her.
Times were hard at this time. It was almost impossible to find a day's work so food was often hard to get. After Gecoza was better, she helped to plan and prepare nourishing different meals. Mother was glad to have her help. When Max came to get Gecoza, he papered and painted the house and made things as nice as he was able for the help the family had given to him.
Our family seemed to be in the most harmony when misfortune came our way. One storm left us with the windmill over on it side in the middle of the pond, the roof off the barn out in the mesquite beyond the corral and one chicken coop that had been made of adobe completely washed away. All the family seemed to think about was that no one had been hurt and that we were very lucky. Max felt that we had lost our minds. When he called to Walter and Walter fell flat on his back in the mud but, picking himself up, only grinned and wanted to know what Max wanted, he had forgotten what he had called about and seemed angry with the whole tribe.
The University of Arizona was conducting an experiment to see if water from the ice plant in Benson would keep the children's teeth from getting brown as they were from the florine in the water in the St. David area. Our family was responsible for bringing this water to certain families on a weekly basis. One day Parley started out as usual but did not come back by way of town but over the hill and through the Gila Wash in the back way. With him was one of the neighbor ladies. He had found her in tears walking towards Benson. When he asked where she was going, she was not sure but she was leaving her family. That evening he went to her family telling them how distressed their Mother was and suggested that they have family prayer. Then he came back to the house and took the wife and mother to her family. They seemed very grateful for the dignified and quiet way in which he had handled the situation.
One evening after Mother had skimmed the milk, Joe and Parley were trying to show Mother how blue the milk was. She picked up the glass by mistake into which she had skimmed the pan of milk and drank most of it. saying that it tasted rich enough to her. How the boys teased her, saying that she was taking the cream from her children. They loved to repeat this tale whenever they could get an audience to make Mother squirm.
Edith Miller stayed with the family her senior year because her family moved to Fairbanks and she wished to finish school in St. David. After the school year, Parley made a number of trips to Fairbanks and soon wedding plans were made.
In March of 1934, they went to the Mesa Temple where they were married. Parley planned to board up the bottom of a tent out in the field in which they would set up housekeeping, but when he turned up scorpions and thorns he suddenly was very discouraged. Mother suggested that he put a stove in the front bedroom and do all his housekeeping there until he was able to build as they really wanted to do.
After they had their home below the ditch, they never seemed to leave and visit anyone. Mother asked them one time why they did not come visiting. Edith replied that they had so many interesting things to do that they could not find time to leave. Parley seemed to agree with the reply.
One evening a mouse got into the house and Mother told the family she could hear it squeal but no one else was able to hear it make any noise at all. One day Irene walked into her bedroom and found a snake just inside the door which hung open unless locked. She tried to scream but though she opened her mouth, she was so frightened that no sound came out, but Mother heard her and came quickly, asking as she entered where the snake was. So Irene must have spoken the words in a high pitch or Mother had a premonition of the conditions.
When the children were all gone but Irene (Joe was working in Bisbee), there was little slowing down of activities. Monday night was genealogy meeting with Father in the presidency, Tuesday night was Mutual, Friday night was usually ball games or some activities of ward or school. Saturday provided cleaning day with usually an activity afterwards. Priesthood, Sunday School and Church filled Sundays, with the first Sunday each month a special program put on by an organization of the Church.
Joseph was driving the team home from the dam one night and it became later and later without word about him. A car had hit the wagon which had no lights on it. Joseph, shaken by the accident, had gone to a friend's home while the family stewed.
One Saturday afternoon while Irene was in high school, her parents took her up to Edith's for a short visit. On the way she became a little impatient with Father's driving and suggested that he could drive a little faster. His only remark was, "Tempt not the Lord, thy God." That would silence anyone.
Irene was about sixteen when one evening Mother misunderstood what she said and thought she had been sassed. Irene received a slap across the face that brought tears. Mother repeated what she thought Irene had said and learned that she had not said anything like it. All her reply to that was for Irene to go to her room. Even the suggestion of being sassed was not present but the possibility was not allowed. Nor was she apologizing for her actions.
After all the children but Irene had left home, it seemed with going to school that every meal was preceeded by family prayer so one Saturday at noon Irene dropped to her knees. Father sitting at the table nodded to Mother to say the blessing, but she was laughing too hard so Father calmly said the blessing. Irene felt rather foolish on her knees, but the fun her parents had had was worth her embarrassment. Mother was laughing so hard she could not make a sound. Such was the nature of her laughter - the harder she laughed, the less noise she made.
Mother went to Red Mesa with Edith and Jared to see Martha in 1931. They brought home seed of banana squash and a currant cutting which made a big showing the next year at the fair..
One day the Relief Society asked Mother to give a special song on their program commemorating the birthday of the Society. She went early so she would not attract attention. When she stood up she had on a long dress which she held in the manner of the earlier women, and with her hand in a drooping fashion, she sang the song they had asked her to give. Afterwards, Mrs. Hand (the high school principal's wife) told her that she had reminded her so much of her Mother, that she held the very same pose when she performed.
One Sunday one of Mother's grandchildren was in her class. All of the other children were calling her "Aunt Pearl." The grandchild felt left out of things and soon was calling her "Aunt Pearl!" also, much to Mother's amusement. But she did not let the child know she had noticed the difference.
One Sunday morning the Bishop came to Mother asking why she seemed to have no problem with their son, with whom they did not seem to have any control. She assured the Bishop that she had no trouble with the child and reminded him that she had had the child's father when he was a boy. The Bishop had no comment after that.
Mother felt she did not have the education that others had, but there were times when she made others of great education seem left out. She had a great gift of teaching and her charm with little children was something to see. No class in Sunday School was as quiet as hers -- first she set an example and did very little but raise a finger to the little ones to get their attention. After she was released, they often asked her to substitute when their teacher did not show up -- her only question would be, "What is your lesson for today?" From there she knew what songs fit the lesson and just how each lesson was to be handled.
Mother loved to give a small baby that was just able to sit up a lamp chimney to play with. After propping the child up with pillows in the middle of the bed, she would hand it a chimney and watch it as it investigated it completely. Once the child was able to move around or able to throw it, they no longer were allowed to play with such a toy.
In a community such as St. David, when someone passed away each person did what they could to help. Mother's job was usually to make the moccassins. The material and foot size were given to her and she would cut them out and sew them together. One time she had so many things to do that she asked Opal, who was visiting, and Irene to finish sewing down the tape around the top. Each girl sewed so carefully, afraid they were not able to sew well enough. Mother's remark that the stitches were smaller than any she had ever made, repaid the girl's for their ef-forts.
One day a guest was telling Mother how she taught her daughters to protect themselves. Mother's daughter was all ears and asked when the guest left why her mother had never given her such instructions. Without a moment's hesitation Mother said, "If my daughters are where they should be and doing what they should be doing, they have no need for such information."
Early one evening Brother Plumb and his companion came to the house ward teaching. They asked if Brother McRae were in and Mother told them he was in the kitchen "cranking around." Brother Plumb was graciously try-ing to excuse himself but Mother insisted that they come in. As he stepped in the door to see Father turning the crank on an ice cream freezer, he rubbed his hands together and stated that this was the kind of "cranking around" he liked.
Before Christmas the year Irene was a senior, Mother decided that she would have a watch for graduation. Egg money was good during November and with sales around that time of year Mother one day asked Irene just where girls usually wore their watches. She wrapped the string around Irene's arm and after they decided on the right place she held the measurement of the string and no more was said about it. An order was made and since Irene picked up the mail, Mother made a couple of extra trips to pick it up when she thought it would arrive. This happened before Christmas and the next May Irene was presented with a watch. Such a thing was so far from her thoughts - she was so sure her parents could not afford such a thing - that she just broke down crying and both parents were moved to tears, too.
That fall Irene started attending Arizona State Teachers' College in Tempe. This left Mother and Father alone as they had been before any children blessed their home. But there were vacations and visits from all of their children. One grandchild can remember how she always held the door open wide and made them feel so very welcome.
John and Pearl McRae had reared their nine children to adulthood -- this did not happen often during this time when children were taken with disease and few families were so blessed.
Irene was in her second year at school, a new floor was being put down in the living room, the piano was in the kitchen, and things were torn up in general, when Helen with her children sent an S.O.S. for help from the family. Walter stepped up to help again, and though there were lots of extra problems, Mother did the best she could by the family until Helen found a home into which she could move her family. Mother was in her sixties and children were beginning to make her nervous.
It became increasingly difficult for Father to express himself. Because he had withdrawn from humanity to books (they were much easier to understand than his fellowman), his speech became increasingly halting with the years. But with all this, whenever he bore his testimony, he always stated that "without a shadow of a doubt he knew the gospel was true."
Helen was serving as Primary president when Brother Edward T. Lofgreen told her that next to her Mother, she was one of the best presidents that the Ward had ever had. Both were pleased with the compliment. Mother stood a little in awe of Helen's efficiency.
Floyd Langford brought Irene home for the Christmas vacation in 1940. Mother and Helen were very pleased with the young man's attitude toward Irene. She returned to Tempe to go to the New Year's dance. Easter brought word that Irene would be married in June.
When Irene graduated from college, since she was to be married the next day, this seemed like no big event to her, but Mother felt it was a very special occasion. Though her other children had gone on to school, some finishing correspondence schools, and others getting certificates, this was the first to actually graduate from college. Mother had sacrificed many things to send her daughter extra money for four years, and it was really wonderful to see her receive her diploma even though she was not able to tell one graduate from the others. Her daughter was wearing white high-heeled wedges which she could recognize, but with all of them in caps and gowns, they looked alike.
The following day Irene was married to Floyd Langford in the Mesa Temple. Father and Mother were the witnes-ses through the session and Martha and Willard took part in the services. Mother's five daughters were present.
In the fall of the year Helen took Mother and some of her small children to Gallup to visit Irene. In May of 1942, Irene had her first baby and Mother went to Gallup to take care of her. When Irene came in the house, Mother took the baby and gave it to Floyd. She realized just how much he wanted to hold his son.
On the return trip Mother rode to Gila with Hershal Krouts. As they were going down into the Salt River they suddenly came upon a cow in the road and Hershal had to stop the car very suddenly. Mother found herself pinned to the car seat with his arm across her. He later explained that lots of people will grab for the wheel and this was a natural reaction for him when he needed to stop quickly. Mother was amused because she would never have reacted in such a way to make his job more dangerous.
In June of 1943 Irene came home while Floyd was overseas. Father was extremely patient with her son, Richard, who was just two. He would often try to hoe weeds with Richard standing between his legs.
Mother went to Utah for Joseph's wedding the first of November in 1943. The Durrants were very charming and treated her very graciously. Norma had been the "Belle of the Ball" at her wedding dance with no end of brothers and friends cutting in.
One evening George came into the house and sat down and just looked into space. Mother soon noticed him and asked what was wrong. He told her he had killed the bull. She wanted to know how he could have done it. He told how he had tied its head down and it had butted so hard that it flipped over its head and broke its neck.
One evening Irene was caring for the baby, David, in the living room when Richard started for the kitchen. Just as he opened the door a wave rocked the house, followed by two more. Richard ran to his mother and climbed up into her arms. As they entered the kitchen Father stood ready to have hysterics, because at his feet were all the dishes Mother had prized for so long. He had pulled the cupboard over trying to get something from the top. As each shelf had slipped out it had shook the house. Mother asked if Father were hurt and when he said he was not, she asked, "What are a few dishes?" Father relaxed and Mother philosophized that it might prevent lots of trouble later with each child wanting certain dishes which had been in the family so long. Father filled the wheelbarrow and hauled away the pieces. He alone knows where the lost treasures are.
One night Mother walked into a door because, though she was holding her hands out in front of her, the door was open just enough for it to go between her hands and she was not aware of it until it had connected with her forehead. It was really a bad bruise and caused her a great deal of pain. Though she tried to see the funny side of the situation, the pain was just too much to bear, and she developed a very bad hive on her forehead. This seemed to make the whole matter more unjust and she could not relax at all. At last Irene called the doctor at Benson and explained the situation and he sent some medicine which helped ease the pain to some degree. But the hive did leave a scar because Mother was so nervous she could not leave it alone.
After Mother's glasses dropped into the silo, it was decided that the holes would be filled since they were not in use. The flour the folks and bought and tried to store was found to have gone rancid and it was the first contribution to filling up the space.
During the war years speed limits had been reduced to save gasoline. Mother seemed to delight in travel of 35 miles an hour and cautioned the driver if he exceeded that.
One day all the grandchildren came running for the wagon which Father was driving to the Farm Bureau for grain.
Irene brought Richard out and asked the children to keep him in the middle of the wagon. When they returned, the children were all jumping up and down and romping around. As Irene collected Richard, Father confided in her at the time that it just hurt to watch the children jump like they were doing. Father carefully rolled himself over on his stomach and got down without jarring himself in any way. This was the man who had swam across the river, ridden horses and been hard to beat.
On October 15th Irene had her second son, which was the fiftieth grandchild for her parents. Mother was so watchful and patient with her and she could not bring herself to correct Richard who knew he could get away with murder with his grandparents. So Irene asked for him to be brought to her and even though in bed, straightened out the little boy with some applied psychology.
On the second of December in 1944, a dreadful blast at the Powder Plant was heard. When Mother heard her son, Parley, had been killed, she walked into Father's arms with the words, "That poor girl!" being all she could say. Her only thought was for Edith, who was expecting Parley's fifth child.
Mother gained so much comfort from Aunt Sarah who told her that time would ease the pain. With Aunt Sarah having lost a husband and three of her children, Mother felt she could really express such a fact with conviction.
Christmas of 1944 found Mother with her three-month old grandchild in the house. He would wake up long enough to grin at some toy and then be off to sleep again. Richard had awakened early and it proved to be a full day for Mother to get to each of her children's homes to see everyone.
On the twenty-fourth of February Edith gave Parley his second son. The family rejoiced for him, feeling he had a wonderful family even though his life had been taken.
The twenty-eighth of February the family invited friends to join them in honoring their parents in the Golden Wedding Anniversary. A large cake with yellow roses was cut and the roses saved for Mother.
One day Mother leaned over the silo and her glasses dropped into the depth. One of George's boys went down after them and one lens was cracked across the edge, but Mother was so grateful to have them to see until a new lens could be obtained. Often in the morning she would become very nervous, forgetting what she had intended to do next until one of the family would remind her to put on her glasses. Then she would become calm again.
When plans were made for a new chapel the steps from one of the side rooms on the old chapel were torn off. Mother did not know they were missing and she stepped out as she talked to her class to where the step should have been. She dropped about four feet and hit on a foundation which jutted out about a foot. This hit her on the shoulder bone and though the family wanted her to see a doctor, she would not hear of it. Later there were many things which she was not able to do such as crocheting, because of the crack she received at this time.
Nothing pleased Mother quite as much as being able to do something for others. Her delight was something they could not do for themselves, or something that was a surprise. She did appreciate so much people who showed their gratitude for the things which she did. Cards from Ola Lofgreen who had the same birthday, she treasured. Vance Goodman's sweet way of reminding her how much he had enjoyed her lessons as a boy pleased her.
During the spring of 1943, Mother visited Aunt Alice in California. This was a long overdue vacation and Mother seemed to have enjoyed herself and came home feeling much refreshed.
On the tenth of May, Floyd returned from overseas. Walter again came to the rescue to bring him from Benson. It was Richard's third birthday and he walked to his father as if he were in a trance. Mother took over the job of watching Irene's two children while she and Floyd went to California. By this time, children were really a great care for her.
Mother had spent so much time seeing to others wants that when she and Father were alone, she started doing everything for him and he seemed very content to have this happen. When he wanted something at the table, she would start grabbing one thing and another until he nodded his head. She spent hours playing Chinese checkers because she knew he had very little to entertain him. His life had become more narrow as the years went by, brooding over his problems and his only companion seemed to be his books.
Father and Mother had never allowed their children to speak of anyone in authority with anything but respect. This may have given them the misconception that those in authority did no wrong -- for it came as a blow to many of them to find that many people are not all they should be, some in high church offices.
Planes thrilled Mother. She would watch until they were out of sight. While Floyd was stationed at Williams Air Base, he often buzzed the ranch, much to her pleasure.
One day Father came down the road holding a large stick in his hand out in front of him as if he were driving a team. Gladys, who had been taking First Aid, told Mother that he was in shock and they got him to bed and covered him with blankets. The team had bolted for some reason and it is believed that Father fell off the wagon and was struck on the forehead by part of the wagon as it went over him. He had a dreadful bruise over his right eye and it never again seemed to heal properly because the eyebrow always seemed lower than the other.
A mulberry tree started to grow close to the house and since it was getting water from the sewage system, it really flourished. Father was ready to take it out because it was not in line with the other trees but Mother begged for it to be allowed to stay since so few things grew without special care.
Father and Mother stayed with Martha in Mesa at Sirrine and 1st Avenue in 1950. Father one day seemed to wander off and Mother was never able to relax while they were there. They did temple work and Mother was where she had wanted to be for years.
When they returned to their home in St. David, Mother had a potted plant garden and was especially proud of a pepper plant with its little peppers standing up like little flames all over it. Mother felt a great deal of satisfaction when Aunt Annie told her that the family had been very pleased with the way she had stood by Father in all their trials together. When Mother first married, she had had the feeling that the McRae family considered her very young and immature, for she was nine years younger than Father.
One time a calf had a hugh boil on its knee and it was in such pain that it tried to but the post as hard as it could. Mr. Campbell had given Mother some lodium that she kept in a small cupboard over the door where a transom had been. She put several drops of lodium on a poultice and once when the calf had butted itself over, she quickly tied the poultice to its knee. It went immediately to sleep and she was able to open its eyes. It slept as if it were dead. It was soon well.
One day Father was driving the car and as he came onto the highway, a car driving in the opposite direction hit him while it was going much beyond the speed limit. Father was again shaken up and never was able to drive again.
Helen married Jim Stock the 4th of June in 1946. Mother made the living room available for their use when they returned from Mesa.
One of George's sons was accidentally shot with a twenty-two. The bullet went through his finger and then his body and lodged a quarter of an inch from his spine. He was taken to the hospital in Tucson and for days his life was in grave danger. Mother was very careful that no one mentioned the incident with any degree of blame. The family rejoiced at his recovery.
One day Mother heard of a rather elderly woman doing what she felt was very foolish and declared that no one was safe until they were in their box with the lid nailed down.
Just before Irene went overseas to join Floyd who was stationed in Germany in the fall of 1952, the folks went to Mesa to see her. One morning Mother told Irene she knew she had lots of responsibilities and that she did not interfere with parents when they corrected their children, but Irene had put Richard to bed scolding him and was scolding him in the morning before he was out of bed. Yes, Mother never interfered with parents. We feel it is a fine example for us to use with our grandchildren.
In about 1952 or so Mother started seeing that different ones had the things back that they had given to her. Each of her children prized these things because they realized just how much Mother had appreciated them. Those things which had been made by her children were returned. Some of the china and paintings had not survived the many years, but those things that were returned were of that much more value.
During this time Edith Trejo would bring mother food that she thought would tempt her. She was getting so she would forget to prepare things for herself. In the late forties and fifties Morher appreciated Edith McRae sending her daughters up to help clean house for it was getting more than Mother could do.
Irene was in Germany when Mother was taken to the hospital and the doctors were planning surgery when the family learned that it might be fatal. Martha and Walter asked the doctor just what he would if it were his mother. It was decided that Mother should be taken to Mesa for treatment instead of having surgery. Irene learned that her Mother had cancer through an involved channel and it was most upsetting to her. As soon as Floyd was released from his assignment in Germany and was stationed in Tucson, they came home the quickest way they could.
Power lines had been put in while Floyd and Irene were in Germany and the first time Floyd buzzed the ranch on his return, Mother ran out to stop him coming so close. She waved her arms and tried to head him off. After he had gone by, he looked back and could see the wires and he felt weak, not knowing whether he had gone over or under them.
Mother seemed to feel best while in Mesa and while she was there she was able to read many of the books she would have enjoyed earlier had she had the oportunity and time to read. Martha would bring home about four books each week from the library and Mother would read and glean through them. After X-ray treatment was no longer advisable, the drugs that were given to her made reading very tifficult. At this time, Martha Alice read to her and they often visited. Mother was interested in things of all people around her.
In the spring of 1956 Aunt Alice Nivens visited in Mesa and the three sisters got together for a visit at Aunt Irene's home. Martha felt that Mother had really enjoyed herself.
The last time Mother visited St. David she made a point of telling Martha Riggs how much her friendship had meant to her during her life. Sister Riggs said she wished she had been the one to have said it for though she felt that way, she found it hard to express such feelings.
On the this last trip, Irene picked up Mother and took her to Tucson thinking she would stay with her for a while but she wanted the haven she felt with Martha and the care she received there, so she was sent on the very next bus. Her suffering was becoming more than she was able to cope with and she needed the comforts of her usual bed and the attention that Martha showered upon her.
In the summer of 1956 Martha called saying Mother had a set back and felt the children should come to visit her. She seemed in high spirits but was aware of the cause of the visit. When the others had left the room for a few minutes, leaving Irene alone with her, she threw her arms around the last child's neck and called her, "My Baby", though Irene's eighth child was in the next room. At this time Mother said her most precious possessions were her children. This she had shown in every action during her life. Not like Oscar Wilde described some people who know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. Mother seemed to know the value of everything and the cost was never too much.
On the way to see their Mother, Irene was picked up in Tucson by Walter, George, Edith and Father as they came through on their way to Mesa. During the trip Irene was made to remember how earlier Mother had mentioned that the only earthly possession she had any interest in beyond her children was her burial clothing.
The family was called together again but Mother had suffered a stroke and was not able to communicate with others. On the 27th August in 1956 she passed away in Mesa, Arizona. We felt she had gone to a well-earned reward: to join a Mother she had not seen for over seventy years, a Father she loved so dearly, a son whom we feel will know how to appreciate her, four grandsons and countless friends she had made through the years.
Her body was put in its final resting place on the 29th of August in St. David. The same month a year later, her husband was placed beside her and we feel that they are happy and content.
Mother's life had bridged the span of time from horse amd buggy travel to jet planes. Having experienced many hardships, she was able to truly appreciate the conveniences that the modern woman takes for granted.
We, her children, feel this woman achieved success, as in the words of Robert Louis Stevenson:
"She laughed often and laughed much,
She had the respect of intelligent men and little children.
She had the appreciation of earth's beauty and never failed to show it.
She filled her nitch, accomplished her task,
Looked for the best in others, Gave the best she had.
Left the world better than she found it.
Her life is an inspiration,
Her memory a benediction."
All of the children of Pearl Elizabeth Sabin McRae contributed to this story, but the main author was her youngest daughter, Irene McRae Langford.
A TRIBUTE TO MOTHERS
May 9, 1943
Heroism is the salt that keeps the world from decaying. Loyalty is the leaven that raises one to higher levels of activity, and Love is the sugar that sweetens all the burdens of life.
These virtues are found more highly developed and in a more perfect state in motherhood than anywhere else in the world. Not the heroism that fills one with wonder and surprise. Not the heroism that calls forth the plaudits of the crowd, but the acts and deeds of heroism unheralded and unsung performed in the quiet sanctuary of the home. Not the loyalty of the patriot whose praises we so loudly sing, but the loyalty of a life dedicated to a cause, a heart dedicated to service. Not the love of a beauteous face. Not the daliance of youth and maid. Not the love of brightly sparkling eyes, but the love born of Paradise, a love that will last for aye.
I was asked to pay tribute today to a mother who has lived or who may be living in St. David. I desire to honor one who resides here today and what I say of her may well be said of dozens of other noble souls. I pay homage today to a woman whom I love and admire for her genuine goodness. It gives me a thrill to shake her hand in a friendly clasp. She is one in whom I find the virtues I have mentioned developed to a marked degree of excellency.
Though she would not be painted by one of our modern artists as a perfect type of feminine form and stature; though she would not win a prize in a modern beauty contest, yet I find in her kindly face all the beatitudes, mentioned by the Master, beaming from her face in all their radiant splendor. Through adverse circumstances she had learned patience and humility, she has rejoiced in her sufferings. She has a heart filled with the pure love of God. She has suffered much but has ever been loyal to her husband, her family and to her God. So I am pleased to pay tribute to this devoted wife, this loving mother, this true friend and devout follower of the Master - Sister Pearl Elizabeth McRae - GOD BLESS HER.
s/ Edward T. Lofgreen