IIADA DIANTHA PIERCE CARDON
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Orson Pratt Brown's Friend's Sister
Ada Diantha Pierce Cardon
My Life Story
Louise Beth Dean Hansen
I was born in a log house in Hanksville, Utah, a daughter of Isaac Washington Pierce, Jr. and Caroline Done. I was born 16 July, 1889. The midwife lived at Hanksville, so father fixed a bed in a wagon and left for Loa, Utah with mother in plenty of time, they thought, for the new arrival which was due the 21 st 'of July. They arrived the evening of the I 5th The trip was a tiring one and it was late when they arrived, so they retired in the wagon, not wanting to disturb the people. An hour or two after they retired they awoke the Dr. lady (midwife) and mother was removed into the house where I was born. I weighed eight pounds.
We left our home in Loa, Wayne, Utah when I was just a few months old. Father was being sought by authorities of the U. S. Government for having more than one wife. He accepted the law of polygamy as revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in the last dispensation of the gospel being revealed in its fullness.
My mother was a polygamist wife. She had beautiful hair, two long braids that she could sit on. For disguise during the polygamist raids she cut her hair real short.
Father went to Arizona with mother and her family and had started work there when one day Apostle John Henry Smith came into the store where father was working; and after visiting a little while apostle Smith said to father, "Isaac, I feel impressed to call you to go to Old Mexico".
That was all that was needed, for when the authorities of the church called my father he was ready to obey. The following morning, he with his young family ----- my mother and three children ----was packed and started for Old Mexico,
The next day after father left Arizona the deputy which father had eluded several times walked into the store where father had been working and with drawn gun and very foul and profane language asked the manager where father was, he said that he was going to kill father this time. He was told that my father was in old Mexico by that time and out of the reach of the deputy.
After the first town was reached on our way to Mexico, we were met by my cousin Brigham Pierce and family who were going to Mexico also.
While in camp one evening, my brother, Arwell and sister Ruby were very interested in some goats that were pasturing there. So Arwell asked mother to let him take me to see the goats, which she did as she was busy getting supper and beds ready for the night. Arwell was just a 'Little past seven and I was a fat baby so he soon got tired of carrying me. As he turned to take me back to mother, the billy goat took a running bunt at him and landed him over the wagon tongue, but he still held on to me and I wasn't hurt.
Traveling was very slow, in those days and the wagons carried heavy loads. They contained all of the household goods, food, and clothing, in fact all the possessions of the families.
There were only the three children in the company and it was very tiresome, especially for Arwell who was just past seven. He would ride in with "Cousin Brig." as we called him, for a while to change the monotony. One day he asked to play in the buggy or light wagon hitched behind the heavy wagon and he was granted permission.
As they traveled along, they watched Arwell in the buggy and he was playing and seemed to be enjoying his play A little, later they noticed in the distance a horsemen riding fast toward them, They stopped their teams and waited to see what the man wanted. As he came closer they could see it was a Negro. He asked then if they had lost a little boy --- that one was lying In the road about a mile back dead.
They couldn't find Arwell so they rode back and found him, He had fallen under the buggy and the wheels had passed over his body. The Negro said he would ride on to the next town and notify the people there of the boy's death. Father and Cousin Brig administered to him immediately, he was still alive, he opened his eyes end made a little sound.
They made camp in this place for a day, then had to move on to find water for them and their horses. It seemed necessary for either father or Cousin Brig to be at his side all the time. Every time they left him, he would become worse. It was through the power of the Priesthood that his life was spared.
Then they arrived In the next town, the casket and everything was in readiness for his burial. But he was able to sit up when they arrived there. This instance has been a testimony to our family of the power of the Priesthood and humble prayer. Arwell has lived to perform a great many positions in the Church. He was a Bishop for many years, President of the Mexican mission for seven years and Is now the President of the Mesa Temple
We arrived in Colonia Diaz in September, 1890. 1 was a little over a year of age. Our destination was Colonia Juarez. After stopping in Colonia Diaz for a rest, father went to report to Apostle George Teasdale, who was the presiding authority of the Mexican colonies at that time. After visiting a while Apostle Teasdale told father that he wished him to stay in Colonia Diaz and help settle that town, He also advised cousin Brig to go on to Colonia Juarez as he had planned.
This and the other short piece that follows were all that I could find in Ada's own hand. I will use excerpts from other histories (mainly Ada's History of her Mother Caroline Done) and personal remembrances to fill in the gaps.
"I Started school when I was eight years old in Colonia Diaz Mexico. We moved from Colonia Diaz to Colonia Dublan when I was 10 years old. I Attended grade school there until I had finished the eight grade (1905). Then I went to the Juarez Stake Academy for two years. Father died and I was not able to continue on in school. I then went to Dublan to live with my family. My mother had very poor health and I helped care for her and the younger children so I couldn't go to school again. I was married, I Jan. 1912 to Louis L. Cardon, but still lived in Colonia Dublan until we were forced to leave during the Mexican Revolution. The first position I remember in the church was a Sunday School teacher. I was also organist in Primary until 1912, when we were forced to leave Mexico during the Revolution. We move to Logan in 1912 and lived in the Seventh Ward where I taught the Religion Class. We moved to Logan Fourth Ward where I joined the Relief Society. We purchased a home in Logan 3rd Ward in 1919 March. Here I have held position as Relief Society, District Teacher, Also teacher of the Teachers topic for over six years. I was a Teacher in Primary. I First taught the older girls from 12 to 14 years old. At that time the girls were not graduated until they were fourteen. I then taught the boys Missionary class, then when the class was named Trail Builders, I taught the three classes until they were organized into Blazers, Treckers and Guides. Then I taught the Guides for several years. I Was 1st counselor to Ethel C Larson and was supervisor of the boys classes."
Ada's Life covered a span of eighty nine years, that started with covered wagons and was not finished when men went to the moon. Born in 1898 in the small town of Hanksville, Wayne County, Utah. Her parents were Isaac Washington Pierce and Caroline Done. Isaac had been asked to follow the tenets of polygamy by the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. He talked to his wife Elna Carlson about it and she agreed, and even suggested 16 year old Caroline as a young women of character. Caroline became Isaac's third wife (His first wife Hannah Carlson had died in child birth). They were Married and Sealed in the Salt Lake Endowment house by Daniel H. Wells, April 17, 188 . Together Isaac and Caroline had a total of Fourteen Children, eight who lived to adulthood. Because the Congress of the United States had outlawed polygamy by passing the Edmunds-Tucker Act, the family was in what was known as "the underground" to escape persecution. At this time they were living in Loa, Wayne County, Utah. It was decided to have some of the polygamous families move to Old Mexico to seek refuge from arrest. Her mother went to Hanksville, Wayne County, Utah, at the end of her confinement because there was a midwife living there. An interesting aside to this is that at the time of her blessing, her father wanted to name her Exile Diantha Pierce in memory of what was happening to them, but her mother felt that it would be to much of burden for a child to have such a name, so she was named Ada.'According to Ruby Taylor Gorley, a niece, the blessing had to take place in a home, because the sheriffs were watching the churches trying to put Isaac in jail. She was blessed by her father, Isaac Washington Pierce. Soon after she was born the Jr. Family (as it was called,) traveled by horse and wagon to Mexico. Stopping along the way to support themselves. Property had been negotiated for the saints in the State of Chihuahua, and the family went first to Colonia Diaz where they found a two room adobe house. They lived there until Ada was 10 years old. They then moved to Colonia Dublan where Ada finished grade school. She attended the Juarez Stake Academy for two years but was unable to finish because of the untimely death of her father.
I can remember Grandmother telling me how much she loved her father. When he was in the home the children would come sit on his lap and he allowed them to comb his beard. One time when he came home, he had cut off his beard and the children ran screaming from him. They did not know him without his beard. She always felt that he was extremely fair to both families. When I read of how Aunt Ellen behaved when she was told of the "Brethren's wish" that her husband take another wife, I admire her faith and good heartedness. Of all the Polygamous families I have heard of, this seems to be one of the best. Not that they didn't have problems, but the love and devotion that was extended to all members of the family was unusual.
She writes "'In the lot near our house we always had a nice garden and there were several acres of Lucern that was raised to feed the cows and horses. We also had chickens, pigs and a few turkeys. Our place was out on the "Flat" where water was scarce. To get water on the garden each place had their turn to take the water, it wasn't unusual that the water turn would be at two or three in the morning or any time in the twenty-four hour period. Mother and the small children had to take on this responsibility or things would burn up. At the time of the move to Dublan, Ruby was fourteen years old, Ada eleven, Vera seven, and Clyde three. Consequently they were not much help to mother. After one of these nights of being up all night to take her turn with water, mother left the twins playing in the front room while she took a rest. She awake hearing a scream, to find Ireta on fire. The little girls nearly three, had pulled out a very heavy drawer of a dresser and found some matches and proceeded to strike them when a spark flew and Ireta's clothes caught on fire. She was very badly burned on her right side. Mother grabbed a quilt and put the fire out Later we learned mother that wasn't the best thing to do but with no doctor around for advice the best thing mother knew was done. Without proper medicine for burns the cures were quite primitive. The child was suffering so much pain that some neighbors suggested, putting fresh cow manure plasters on the bums to draw the heat out or keep the air in, so this was done. Afterwards the Doctor said if they had just known they could have put her in a tub of cool water for awhile, then mixed olive oil and lime water to make a paste for the bums. It would have saved lot of very deep and painful burning. She never, fully recovered from the burns and at the time of her death from membranous croup, Sept. 26, 1903 she had a large deep burn on her hip nearly five months after the accident. Her face and hair were not burned but a new hat she was wearing was burned off of her head.
Mothers health didn't improve. She was very ill and father was sent for but it seemed she couldn't recover. With the blessings of the priesthood she slowly started to recover. Ireta took ill with membranous croup and died within a few hours. After Ireta!s death and burial mother was so ill that father decided to take her to Ciudad Juarez where she could get good medical care. As Arwell and Ruby were both at the Juarez Academy, father chose to close the home and get the relatives to care for the other school children. Ada and Clyde went to the Done's, Vera to the Joneses, so when things were arranged (as he, thought) he took mother and Zereta out to Ciudad Juarez on a bed that had been placed in the baggage car, as mother was too ill to ride in the coach. After the train left and Arwell and Ruby were prepared to go to Colonia Juarez, the towns people decided Ireta had died of the contagious disease "Diphtheria" And so they quarantined the children in the home. All the food had been taken out and everything had been gathered up in readiness for the move. There they were, everyone in town was frightened of them, and no food. Luckily Arwell found a five gallon can of honey and they made candy and that was all they had to eat. There was one good neighbor that would send a loaf of bread and a few beans once in awhile and put them by the gate, throw a rock and hit the door then run. They would come after dark so no one in town would know who they were and Arwell and Ruby didn't know just who the kind people were either. After, about a week Arwell decided he would get on the horse and try to get something at the store. As he was riding over there some young girls saw him coming and held their noses and ran, so he decided to come back home to "honey candy". This quarantine was in effect for about three weeks and then we were permitted to go to our relatives as planned. Arwell and Ruby went on to the Academy.
The house in Colonia Dublan though new, began cracking. It was designed to be just one story high, but, by some mistake the builders made it two. It was decided it was unsafe for the family, so, while the family was away in school, (in Ciudad Juarez) it was decided to tear down the house and build another. It was a real financial burden to father, educating the young family in the way he felt was proper and so he and Aunt Ellen decided to sell their home in Colonia Diaz and buy another home in Colonia Juarez since the educational advantages were much better there. (especially for higher education). The next year there would be three of the family to go to the Academy. This also enabled Aunt Ellen to make a home for all the children as mother was too ill. This was arranged, but a widowed daughter of Aunt Ellen's and her two boys needed to move in so Aunt Ellen could help. Aunt Ellen said that with "Caroline's kids" this upset things as this daughter was very jealous and bossy and she was very hard on the children and unjust. So, father put the older children that were in the Academy in boarding homes (Arwell, Ruby and Ada) and took Vera and Clyde back to Dublan to finish school there. Through hard study, Arwell finished school early and went to help father in the lumber yard.
In the summer, mothers children went to Ciudad Juarez, to live with their parents. The next school year the same arrangements were made for the schooling of the children. Arwell had been called on a mission to Mexico City. Mothers health had improved, but not enough for her to take over the care of the family completely. So, she remained in Ciudad Juarez where she could have medical care, as well as help) in the home. On April 1, 1904 another pair of twins was born. This made four sets of twins that mother had given birth to. This last pair of twins were unfortunately not healthy and the one boy lived only two days while the other boy was very frail but never normal."
Ada, on right with friend Jessie Wall on left
The times the family remembers so well were the dinner hours, which were at noon time. Father and mother would talk over their problems as well as the children's and then they would teach the gospel, their acts of kindness to each other, and to other people. Their would also tell of their experiences in settling Utah and in settling in Mexico. It was a very happy time and a very worthwhile experience for all. It created a closeness in the family and a real unity.
'In the summer of 1906 just one day before his 67' birthday her father died of pneumonia. "Mother was very ill and the doctor and nurse were with her. It looked like the little family would be orphans." Ruby, Ada & Vera were old enough to take over much of the work and care of their mother. " It was during this period of time that Ada got to be known as little mother for her mothering of her younger brothers and sisters. Especially after Ruby married and left home. This seems to be a time of upheaval for the family, but they persevered and did their best.
Ada was 16 years old at the time of her fathers death and was leading an active social life. In a story told by her Brother Clyde. 12 Ada had a boy-friend by the name of Mainly Turly. Her mother could not remember his name so she asked Ada, "where is that "Maniac" friend of yours." This brought a laugh.
I once asked her if she had ever learned to drive a car. She told me that they had never had one, but that when she was a girl she loved to go as fast as she possibly could on a horse. She also told me that she thought my mothers speedy driving habits (always going 70 mph or better) came from her. She had Medium brown hair and black eyes (they were so dark brown that they looked black). She was very tall for the times, 5 feet 6 inches. In her eight grade graduation picture she is on the back row with all of the boys. This does not seem tall now, but at the turn of the century most women were just a little over five feet tall. She told me a story of going to El Paso to go shopping and was made to wear the sheets they had bought as petticoats to wear to escape the duty charged on them. She wore her hair ratted, a term I didn't know when I first heard it, as it had gone out of fashion. She also had pierced ears, in which she always wore little Ruby studs. (A gift from her father). Pierced ears were only worn by wicked women in the 40's and 50's and I always wondered why my very proper Grandmother had her ears pierced. Latter I was to learn that this is a very common practice in Mexico.
"I didn't go back to school after father death, but stayed and helped at home. The other children finished grade school in Colonia Dublan then Clyde and Vera went to Juarez In the summer Vera went to El Paso to learn window decorating and displays, and lived at Ciudad Juarez with Arwell and May. This was in the summer."
The Mexican Revolution started in 1910. The revolt was against the Profiero - Diaz government. Beneto Madero was the leader of the rebels. They were very active in the state of Chihuahua, where large estates with cattle and food were plentiful. Their cause was to help the poor Mexicans who could own no land, but worked the large estates of the wealthy land owners.
These Peons were tied to the land and worked for only a few cents a day for labor. This way the people were really their slaves. It was very unjust and Madero and his Generals were trying to get justice. Pancho Villa and Ochlo were his generals. There were several battles fought in the vicinity near Colonia Dublan. One was fought at Old Cases Grandees and one at Corlettis. Our home was on the "Flat" so it was called. The homes were quite far apart, there were no close neighbors. It was quite dangerous at this time for a small family to live there. We had several guns in the home and were taught how to use them to protect ourselves. We even had target practice. Our eldest brother John Pierce, had trained a very good watch dog for us. It was taught to dislike the Mexicans. He was good protection for us for quite and while, until someone killed him, or he was run over by a train (we didn't know which) His name was Bungo
During the year 1911 things seemed to get better in our section of the country. There still was fighting going on but it seemed that it was getting nearer to Mexico City. On Jan. 1 st 1912 1 was married to Louis L. Cardon (Lu) in El Paso, Texas. We had a home in Dublan close to mother. Arwell had brought a Mexican girl, Jesusieta, from Mexico city to help mother. At the time of my marriage, Vera was still working on going to art school in El Paso, and Clyde, Zereta and Nathan were with mother.
In July, Madero and his rebel army moved into Neuava Cases Grande. They had exhausted their and food that they had gathered at the ranches. the leaders of the revolution knew, that " Mormons" had just completed their harvest of wheat, alfalfa, potatoes and their knew the corn was almost ready. They also knew there were horses and cattle, pigs and chickens. They needed these things to continue the war. They also knew of guns and ammunition there. So, they demanded these commodities of the people. To make sure these things were given they placed large guns in the north, Nueva Cases Grande, to them, and in the south at Coulettis They told the leaders of the towns "you give us what we want or we will kill all of you". There was no other alternative but to leave the country and let them have everything. The day came when the guns were turned over to the Mexicans and that night was one, of great suspense. The Mexicans rode up and down the streets, shooting their guns, singing, and making threats to kill the "Mormons" They were supposed to be our friends, but had been. drinking and had guns so no one knew what to expect. Lu and I went over to be with mother and the family. It was really a night of terror for us. The next day Arwell came home on the train. The railroad officials who were Americans, sent a train in to take us to El Paso. We were only allowed our clothing and bedding on the train. There were a lot of people to be moved. Three colonies in the mountain, besides Colonia Juarez and Colonia Dublan. It was hard to leave our new house, our nice garden and the animals. Clyde had worked so hard to have a good garden, and especially his Mellon patch. We had Just had one or two ripe watermelons. Just as we were leaving the house, to take the train, he took his pocket knife and cut every Mellon, even the little ones. He said her wasn't going to leave even one for them.
Arwell had moved from Ciudad Juarez to El Paso a few months before we had to leave Colonia so, we all went to Arwell's home. Not only were we there, but also May's mother, grand father and her sister Ethel and brother Heber. It was warm weather so none of us suffered. There were beds all over the house and lawn. There were thirty-five people staying there. The El Paso people were very good to us and did all they could to place the people. All the rental homes were soon taken and sometimes there were three or four families in a house. The lumber merchants put their lumber outside and let people stay there) it at least furnished shelter from the sun and rain. There was a lot of suffering among some of the people. The U.S. government supplied us with food and the El Paso people supplied milk for the small children. The Government supplied us with transportation to places where we had friends or relatives that could give us work to care for ourselves. Mother, Vera, Clyde, Zereta and Nathan stayed in El Paso. Lu and I went to North Ogden to take his grandmother to her sisters home. We later moved to Logan where we made our home. Vera & Lorenzo Anderson were married in the Salt Lake Temple Aug. 26, 1912. They also made a home for Clyde, Zereta and Nathan.
Mother Died on Dec 7, 1916 in El Paso and she is buried there.
"Grandmother Ada told me that on the trip north to Utah, the government paid their passage and gave them $2.00 to spend. When she asked Lu to rent her a pillow (she was seven and a half months pregnant with my mother) he confessed that before they had left a fellow approached him with the offer for a hair cut. He agreed, only finding out when it was over that the special singe hair cut he had gotten cost the whole $2.00. They had no money for the rest of their trip."
They went to Logan to be by some of Lu's brothers and other Cardon relatives. I can imagine that it must have been very lonely at first for Ada. She kept busy and within five years they had five children. The oldest, Beth was born only a month or so after the train trip north. The others followed quickly. Faye, Caroline, Margaret and Lee. Ada then had a baby that didn't live more than a few hours, that they named Emanuel after Lu's father. They worked hard, and Ada was a particular housekeeper. She told me that there was a proper way to hang laundry out and that Lu would get up early on Monday morning to get the fires going for the "Wash" She then would boil her whites, and blue and starch them, and then the other batches would come in order of color. Lights to Darks . Lu never made much money, but they seemed to get along. Lu had a bad heart and really struggled to keep going. He died of congestive heart failure at the age of 53, leaving Ada a widow. This was about the time that I came on the scene. She worked for the Logan Knitting Mills, sewing fine Knitted dresses. (I prevailed upon her to make my Wedding Dress) Her own Wedding dress just a cotton frock. We used to come to Logan and visit her every summer. She was fun to be around, always merry. My mom said "that you should never invite Grandma some place just to be polite, because she would take you up on it." She had lots of energy for most of her life, and was always busy. She made all of her granddaughters beautiful lace trimmed pillowcases, and when mine were stolen, she made me another pair. Her Daughter Caroline lived in Hyrum, really took good care of her. In later years she had Grandma move in with her and her family, in Salt Lake.
The Grandma I remember always had white hair, curled just so. Caroline put it up with bobbie pins. She always wore a corset with bone stays. She told me that when she was a girl she had a 21 " waist. I always thought her corset must be the most uncomfortable thing in the world. She had a Victrola in the upstairs bedroom of her home and that was the first place that any the Grandchildren would go when we got there. We would go upstairs, and wind it up and listen to Caruso. Now that I'm a grandmother, I wonder where she got her patience. My life was much richer for having her as my grandmother. She showed me how to bathe my first child, told many wonderful stories and gave me her love. She also gave me a sense of history, and her testimony of the gospel. She was a faithful Latter-Day-Saint all of her life. Her joy in latter years was to do Genealogy and temple work. She always said that it was such a blessing to live in a town with a Temple. An insight to her character comes from the closing year or so of her life. Ada had a series of small strokes, and that along with the diabetes she had developed and the poor health of Caroline and Beth made inevitable, time in a nursing home. Her attitude was wonderful. She was so concerned for the other poor ladies, hardly ever thinking of her self. When we visited she gave us a tour and told us about this poor dear and that lovely sister.
Daughter Margaret Cardon Pyrek's Memories of Her Mother
"Mother loved to work in her flower gardens. She had two: one in the comer of 3rd North and 5th West, and the other on the east side of the house alongside the raspberry patch. She grew beautiful peonies as well as many other flowers. My Dad had a big vegetable garden, and all the children helped at harvest time. He grew corn which Mother dried and stored for food in the winter, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, cucumbers, and a lot of other vegetables. I remember the big storage cupboard for the fruits and vegetables that took care of food for winter.
"Mother did canning all fall. Dad bought apples, peaches, pears, plums, etc., by the bushel, and all of us got into the peeling, cooking, and preserving. Dad also bought flour and sugar by the hundred pound bags. Our kitchen cabinets had two bins, one for flour and one for sugar, which held that amount. Mother made twelve loaves of bread every week. Another of her specialties was the huge pot of chili she cooked often in winter, and all the neighborhood children loved it. The winters were bitter cold, and after sleigh-riding or skating, the youngsters wanted some of Mrs. Cardon's chili.
"During World War 11, after my Dad died June 4, 1944, Mother worked in the knitting factory. I came to Utah in April 1944 from Washington, D.C., when Bruno went to war. Faye and her family (Dean, Ann, and Al) were living in the 492 house while Warren was also in the war. Mother and I moved from 492 so we could be closer to Mother's work. We lived in a little cottage behind the owner's main house, about four blocks from the factory. When my baby was about to be born on December 4, 1944, she went to the hospital with me in a taxi that barely made it up icy Temple Hill. She stayed with me the entire time. Steve was born early morning December 5, 1944.
"After the war, when Warren and Bruno, and my brother Lee, came home safely, we all went in different directions: Warren, Faye, and family to Washington State; Lee, Norma, and family to Oregon; and Bruno, Margaret, and Steve to Washington, D.C. and Virginia.
"Mother moved back to her house, which had been made into two apartments. Beth's Jim and Don Dean went to college in Logan and stayed with Mom part of the time. Later she sold her house and moved to Salt Lake with Reed and Caroline Bickmore. She spent a good bit of time with the Starrs in Pullman, Washington, and also came here to Virginia, so Steve and Janice go and love her.
About Grandma Cardon, by Jim Dean
"My first memory of Grandma Cardon is in the Spring of 1939 when brother Don was born in Manila, Utah. How she got to such a remote place, or where she stayed (the house seemed small to me, even at age 3) 1 don't know, I remember her helping out about the house and being especially thoughtful by walking part way with me to Dad's school when I took his lunch to him. She protected me from a fierce goat who had my number and steadily threatened my progress. I think she was amused by my fear, but she took it seriously, and I liked her for it. Years afterward she loved to tell the "woverwalls" story, and to this day I'm not sure whether the story was about me, during this time, or Don, later. Anyway, she said something about our "overalls," which we often wore. One of us protested her pronunciation, saying indignantly, "They're not 4 woverwalls.' they're ' woverwalls. Our pronunciation was a little shaky too. She laughed and laughed when remembering it.
"After her Manila visit she always seemed to me the embodiment of helpfulness, sociability, and grace. She was a solid presence in my family's life, more so than Grandpa Cardon (Lu), who was much more elusive. I never had much sense of him except once when both he and Grandma visited us in Beaver, Utah, in 1942, when Louise was born. He took me for a walk uptown, and we visited my first pool hall. I was disappointed to discover that billiards was not the sinful alcoholic drink I assumed it to be; the candy bar Grandpa bought me made up for the disappointment. Altogether he seemed a pleasant sort of sinner (for that was his reputation). I saw no evidence of his famous temper. Now I regret not knowing what he knew about fishing the Logan River, and what he read (Mother says he was a great reader). I'd like to know about his life in Arizona and Mexico, his courtship of Grandma, his change of fortune during the Revolution.
"Grandma never said she had a favorite child, but she especially enjoyed Caroline, probably because Caroline was so lively, amusing, and irreverent in her assessment of people. She took great delight in life, and even her exasperation was fun to witness. I thought all my Cardon aunts beautiful and bright, and Lee wonderful because he was a star athlete and an Army officer who had been shot at in World War II Grandma must have been proud of her children.
"My sister Louise remembers with vividness our family's visits to Grandma's house on 492 W. 3 rd North. So do 1. It was a paradise for young boys and girls. Upstairs was a wind-up Edison record player, with indestructible records as thick as waffles and as heavy as frying pans. We listened to Chopin, Caruso, and sentimental favorites. We fought over who got to wind the player. The best moment was always near the end of a selection when the Edison lost power, the record slowed, and notes slipped down the octaves. We would rush to wind it, cranking furiously.
"The house was headquarters for our expeditions into the west fields. There we played war, launched expeditions, spied on people, caught tadpoles, and imagined grisly work done in an abandoned slaughterhouse. The House was where we got to meet cousins (Lee's daughters, Whitney and Leslie; Caroline's children, Brenda, Rex, and Bart; Faye's children, Dean, Ann, and Al) and learn what we had in common and what lives our parents and grandparents lived. I remember hilarious stories about chamber pots (no inside plumbing for many years) and neighborhood antics. And what was stored in the pantry and how you got ' to it, and what it was like to work at the Bluebird, and what swimming at Logana Plunge was like. There were sober stories, too, about tight times and no jobs, and strappings, and Lee chased by Grandpa. Stories are family treasures, and too often they don't get written down.
"Most times at Grandma's were jolly, though, and she must have had a sunny disposition to engender so much good feeling and laughter among her children. When I came to know her best she was older, and a bit sedate. I came to Logan in 1954 to attend Utah State Agricultural College, as it was then called, and stayed for two years with Grandma. We were both poor: she made 75 cents an hour working at Cache Knitting Mills (very low wages, even then); I saved summer wages and worked in the College library during the academic year, making maybe $800 in all. But we managed. During my sophomore year I got a Studebaker sedan (top speed 40 mph) and was able to take Grandma around a bit. Otherwise it was a taxi for her, a bus for me.
"Myjunior year I moved closer to campus. Being two miles from campus with Grandma made it difficult for me to feel that I was participating in college life, and I was lonely for the company of students my own age. Grandma was always sweet and accepting of me, but I must have been a trial to her. I was afflicted by late adolescent anxieties involving girlfriends (or the lack thereof), athletics, religion, and academic studies. She did her best to make me comfortable: she introduced me to Third Ward members, and I was in a play my first year, and played basketball for the Ward team. She mended my clothes, and even made me look respectable in the hated ROTC uniform I had to wear once a week.
"I did get to know something about the Pierce side of the family during this time. Grandma spoke lovingly of older brother Arwell, whom she judged a success because he was rich and president of the Mesa, Arizona, Temple. He never visited her while I was around. She also enjoyed her sister Zareta, who led an interesting and dramatic life, and had flaming red hair. 1, too, enjoyed Zareta. Sister Vera and her husband Lorenzo visited sometimes; and I'm afraid I was rude to Vera. I regret embarrassing Grandma by my bad behavior. She didn't think meanly of anyone that I recall, and her calm acceptance of what life gave her, and the grace with which she accommodated herself to circumstances, are, in retrospect, admirable.
"Grandma read in the evening, in her rocker, mostly Church books. Or she talked to friends on the telephone, or listened to the radio while knitting or crocheting. The house was comfortable and well kept up. It fit her. She was faithful in attending to Church obligations, and felt a great sense of belonging to something important, something that gave stability and meaning to her life.
"Grandma's great sin was drinking tea. She loved a cup of black tea. Sometimes, half-heartedly, she tried to repent the habit. I don't think she ever succeeded.
"Grandma, in her early 60's, had put on weight (she weighed about 190 pounds), so took to wearing corsets. Her corsets, with all their stays and hooks, were miraculous articles, and a corset fitting was an occasion of high drama in the house. She had thin legs, which were once quite attractive, I suspect. Arthritic knees made it hard for her kneel, so I helped kneel for her. Grandma had silver hair, and was always carefully dressed, usually in print dresses. She had a sharp nose (the Pierce nose, we called it), thin lips, and bright, lively brown eyes. Altogether she had a pleasant countenance. She bore herself with dignity, always conveying a sense of being a lady.
"By the time I married, Grandma was in her 70's and beginning to suffer from diabetes. She and my wife, Helen, were fond of each other. She was especially touched by Helen's care and skillful nursing when she once suffered an episode of high blood sugar.
"When last we saw her she was in a nursing home, in South Salt Lake, weak but full of sweetness, surrounded by pictures of her beloved family, with treasured Church books on her bedside table."
Brenda Debenham's Remembrances
Grandmas' all time enjoyment came from going out to get a hamburger. From the time I started to drive right up to the time she passed away, she always wanted to go out for a hamburger or as she would say "a little bite to eat"
Zereta and Grandma became very close when she came to Salt Lake. Zereta had a car so she would pick grandma up and they would go out. If that wasn't scary. Zereta got in the car, never looked one way or the other and then hit the gas. Grandma having never driven a car, was oblivious to what was going on. One day Boyd and I were going down the road. We see these two ladies just a talking, the car going all over the road. Boyd said "those two are going to get killed or kill someone. I'm not sure I even want to pass them because I'm not sure what the will do." Lo and behold, as we got closer, we started laughing as we recognized them. After that we called them the "Terror of the Highways". However all kidding aside it was pretty scary to know those two were on the road.
Grandma and I became very close and we enjoyed shopping and just talking. She was very close to my boys, as she was out to my house often. She was very special to me and someone who I could always count on.
PAF - Archer files
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