Scenes from Mom’s childhood
Slip her a Nickel for Buttermilk
We enjoyed close relations with our aunts and uncles and their children, often spending time working or playing together and visiting in one another’s homes.
Mother’s youngest brother Daniel and his wife Evanna lived in Southwest Provo. Uncle Daniel worked on the WPA, the public works projects organized by the Federal government to combat the widespread unemployment caused by the depression. He also hired out to any type of odd job. I was often sent to their home to tend the children despite the fact that I was the same age as their oldest child Ernest. I counted their daughter Bernice, who was just one year younger than I, as one of my best friends and was delighted to have a chance to spend time with her.
My father’s sister Alice and her husband Barlow Bray would often visit. When Uncle Barlow would slip me a nickel I knew immediately that I was to hurry off to the dairy to retrieve a gallon of buttermilk. Returning, I would collect two glasses from the kitchen and meet Uncle Barlow out on the lawn where we would drink buttermilk together until the alcohol on his breath was disguised sufficiently so as not to offend Mother. She disapproved of his or anyone else’s drinking in her home and he respected this.
Mother was always sure to fix a dinner for anyone who came to visit and she especially appreciated Barlow’s kindness for he would never fail to leave at least two dollars in the cupboard as he was leaving.
My earliest understanding of death came when their young son was killed as their car was hit while making a turn on 5th West and Center Street.
One of my Dad’s brothers lost his wife in the influenza epidemic of 1918 and was left with three children whom he had difficulty caring for, leaving them wherever and whenever he could, often for long stretches of time. Mom and Dad always stood ready to make a home for them. Their oldest daughter, Grace who was close to the age of my eldest sister Lavern, was like a sister to us. The strength of her bonds to our family were demonstrated throughout her life but never more thoroughly than when she delivered her each of her children. As she would go into labor, no matter the time of day or night, she would send her husband, Evan Fullmor, rushing off for Mother exclaiming, “This baby will not arrive until Aunt Ellen is here!”