Our Family Legacy
CL. Just look at all of our descendents down there, gathering in a reunion to honor us and to consider their heritage! Arenít they a fine looking group? Arenít we proud of them?
CH. And to think that half of them would never have been born if we hadnít met at that dance in Whitney, Idaho so many years ago. I noticed you there across the dance floor, with your brown eyes, and wavy dark brown hair, being so thoughtful to your sisters, Eva and Susie, who you brought with you to the dance.
CL. Yes, You told me years later that you had thought I was conceited. Iím glad that my being thoughtful to others helped change your opinion of me.
CH. What was your life like before I met you? Tell me about yourself.
CL. To begin with, my father, Samuel Rose Parkinson, his first wife, Susanne Chambers and their five children and a few other families settled Franklin Idaho, My mother Maria, and fatherís second wife, Aunt Charlotte, shared a long brick house there. I was the seventh of Mariaís twelve children. When our two families totaled seventeen children, Father built another house down the street for Charlotteís family. How we hated to see them go! We had such happiness playing together, and having twenty people together at the dining room table for meals was just like having one big perpetual party!
CH. We were crowded too. Our family shared a four room log cabin with my uncleís family. It certainly was snug! What else did you do?
CL. As a youth, I worked at Fatherís farm in Franklin, while attending school. I was about eighteen when I had a painful accident. I was stacking hay, when the large mechanical loading fork crashed down on my head. I rushed home, and mother poured turpentine into the deep, ugly wounds. The pain was great, but that was the accepted antiseptic in those days. Can you imagine anyone doing that in these modern times?
CH. No indeed! Not with all the antibiotics available now! Now, what did you enjoy doing most when work was done?
CL. When I was young, and on into manhood, I loved to sing and play on my guitar, on all occasions. My sister Susie still remembers loving to hear me harmonize with my friends, as we rode in the big bobsled to the nearby dances in Cove, Richmond, or in Whitney, where we met. What about your childhood?
CH. I remember living with my parents, Joseph Smith Wright and Verena Foster, in that small cabin with Aunt Louise Neiley and her husband, Will in Franklin. Grandma and Grandpa Foster lived nearby. Grandpa was very old, and I loved to wash his face and comb his hair. I was heartbroken when he died.
CL. You always have been loving and helpful to those around you.
CH. I can remember how glad we were to have Uncle Will living with us, to help Mother and us five children live off our little farm when Father was gon three years on his mission. Mother Ďs brother George, helped us also.
CL. Tell me about your Fatherís mission.
CH. I can remember the day Father left,we well. It was a beautiful morning, and my brother Joseph and I were picking buttercups on the hill near our home, after the rain. Mother called us to say goodbye to Father. She was heartbroken to see him go for so long a time, but she wanted her husband to share the wonders of the gospel with the people of Scotland. Things were hard while he was gone, but we were truly blessed. When Father finally returned, he built us a new home in Whitney.
CL. Then what did you do?
CH. I worked in the Primary when I was young, and was President for four years. I went to the Academy in Preston, Idaho, for one year, and then attended the Agricultural College at Logan. I was particularly fond of my sewing class.
CL. Iíll bet you met lots of boys there. Tell me all about it.
CH. Well, If you really must know, in Logan I dated Bert McCulloch, and later Manuel Packer. I remember riding sidesaddle to MIA with Manuel. I went with him, off and on, for a long time. The young people went on outings in covered wagons as a lark. One night, by the campfire, Manuel stuck his foot out and tripped me as I walked in front of him. It was right in front of everyone, and I was so embarrassed. I never went anywhere with him again. I also went out with Bert Weaver, and then wrote to him on his mission. I wrote to Albert Johnson on his mission, as well.
CL. I just donít know what to think about you girls who write to several missionaries. I hope you were kind. Let me tell you about my mission. As you know, money was very scarce when I was young. I even carried an account book in my pocket to record al my earnings and expenses. Nevertheless, I had always planned to go on a mission, somehow. I was so close to my younger sister Susie, she assured me I had a good disposition, was very popular, and that I was always willing to sacrifice for others. What better encouragement could there be to go on a mission? I was sent to Auckland, New Zealand for three years, arriving there on the twenty-seven of September, 1902. My fist convert was a woman named Macel. That was why I wanted our first daughter to bear that name. I was so pleased when our daughter Macel, and her husband, Verne Handy, came as couple missionaries, over seventy years later, to serve in this very same mission where I had labored earlier. What a choice blessing!
CH. What happened after your mission, before we go married?
CL. Coming home, my ship stopped in San Francisco, and there was mother, my sister Luella Cowley, and her daughter, all waiting for me on the dock. We had a wonderful time seeing San Francisco together. When I got home to Idaho, work was scarce, so I lived with my sister Susie and her husband Will, and worked in their grocery store at Pocatello Idaho. It made me feel good to have them tell me I was a good worker, and also a happy person to have in their home.
CH. But what did you do for fun?
CL. I spent many weekends with my sister, Sadie Marshall, at Black foot. Since your family had moved to Blackfoot, I now got a chance to know you better than I had at the dances earlier.
CH. Yes, we must have moved to our red brick farmhouse near Blackfoot while you were still on your mission. We loved the big poplar trees and the river nearby, and we enjoyed many a picnic there. One special weekend, when you were at Sadieís, you saw me at church, and asked to take me home, remember? Soon you found work in Blackfoot, and lived at your sister Sadieís all the time.
CL. It was really wonderful that we now lived in the same town, and could see each other often.
CH. And after dating a year, we became engaged. I was twenty-six. Remember how we danced until midnight the day before we were married, and left the dance to go to the Salt Lake Temple? We were so excited that we forgot to take a very essential part of our clothing, remember?
CL. I often think of our first little home in Blackfoot, across the street from Frank and Ada Parkinson. We were so happy when our first lovely baby Macel was born, a year later. In two years we moved to the West side of town.
CH. I remember that move to our small frame house, near Ora and Stewart Parkinson in the Parkinson addition, next to the city park. Back of our house was a little hill that was covered with buttercups in the spring. You worked nights as a foreman at the sugar factory, and slept in the daytime, which kept us from doing much together. However, we lived near the fairgrounds and went to the fair every year.
CL. I can remember bringing home pieces of brown sugar candy in my lunch pail from work. How Macel loved this treat. She still remembers it.
CH. And I remember how we used to walk downtown for recreation. We had no transportation on our own. But sometimes, on Sundays, you used to borrow Mr. Kelleyís white horse and buggy, so we could travel across town to wee Mother, my married brother, and my two sisters. How we loved to get together for homemade ice cream!
CL. Since the sugar factory only operated from October through December, I needed more work. Do you remember how during a slack period, a man came through Blackfoot recruiting laborers for a dam to be built at Henry, Idaho? My younger brother, Glenn, and I joined this construction crew. Years earlier, mother had assigned me the responsibility of guiding Glenn, as he grew up, so we were very close, and were happy to be able to work together.
CH. I remember so well, how sad I felt as your train pulled away, but we needed the money so badly.
CL. When our train arrived in Bancroft, we climbed into the sleigh and rode eight miles through the drifting snow, to the dam site. Ours was a typical frontier labor camp. I remember how one man there played many annoying and childish pranks on us, until I complained, and he was fired. I worked for several months there.
CH. After Macelís birth I always had poor health, and eventually had three serious and expensive operations. Remember how happy we were when Ila was finally born, seven long years after Macelís birth? Now we had a second beautiful daughter, but my health was such that we had to move back, across town, to be near my family, so we could help one another.
CL. I recall how I spent several summers dry farming with my brothers Joe and Fred in Rexburg, Idaho. My, how you and our lovely daughters enjoyed those golden summer months in the beautiful Teton Valley, with its picturesque river. I was always depressed, though, to know that we were only able to raise ten to fifteen bushels of wheat per acre, due to the dry seasons and early frosts.
CH. Those were strenuous years, but you never profaned or drank liquor. You had a strong body and you worked hard. I think you were born with a song in your heart, and a deep love for your family. Worldly wealth was no years, but you were rich in friends, and in spiritual things.
CL. Remember how badly we wanted another baby, and the many family prayers we had for this? Then you had a miscarriage, and we were really disappointed. But finally, when Ila was four, another beautiful daughter, Venna, was born, and our prayers were finally answered.
CH. Then came our next test. By that time Venna was three, work was so scarce that you finally took the train to Salt Lake City, to stay with your sister Susie, and try to find any kind of a job. How much missing you added to our other problems! After several months, you received a letter from you Brother Tom, urging you to come to Los Angeles. He felt sure you could find work there!
CL. So I did go to live with Tom, and I was able to paint houses until I got steady work with the Union Oil Company. I missed all of you, but now things looked brighter for the future. It also helped to be active in Tom's ward. I even spoke there. I sent you all the money I could spare.
CH. We really needed that money, but we especially appreciated your going the extra mile, and sending us little surprises too. You made Macel very happy when you sent her that little black patent leather purse. And later you sent her a coat, as well. Just as we felt you had found real security at least, we got that telegram. We will never forget that day! You had fallen off a high scaffold, while painting, and were in the hospital. How we wished we could visit you in the hospital and comfort you, but you were so very far away! It was so difficult not knowing how you were doing each day.
CL. Yes, I know how you must have felt, and all the prayers you said. It is so sad, that when I was recovering from the fall, the doctor decided to repair a hernia. Because of that operation, gangrene set in and I died before I had fully recovered from the anesthetic. They didnít have antibiotic in those days, or I would have lived.
CH. We were crushed by the telegram telling of your death. I remember your funeral in the Blackfoot Second Ward. I was in a daze. Someone sang a solo, ďSome Day Weíll UnderstandĒ, and I was touched. Later, in your trunk, we found the watch you bought to surprise Macel for her recent graduations from junior high school. How she treasured it, because it reminded her of your love and thoughtfulness. What a blessing at this time!
CL. I was glad that my brother Tom was able to collect five thousand dollars from Union Oil for the accident. We really had no savings, and you needed that money so badly.
CH. Yes, we were blessed. I bought a little home for two thousand dollars and a piano for the children for two hundred. The rest came in monthly payments that lasted until Macel could graduate from high school and work. She went to California and lived with my Mother and Father. My two brothers and three sisters were also living in the same area. Macel got a job right away. During the three months Macel was gone, times were really bad! I had to bake bread and make popcorn balls for Ila and Venna to sell housed-to-house. Then Macel was able to send for us to come to Long Beach, California. We rented from then on, and eventually our home in Blackfoot was sold.
CL. How I longed to be able to help you, but you did such a wonderful job of raising our three special daughters for thirty-three years. How I love you for your courage and faith!
CH. Donít forget the effect my parents and brothers and sisters had in their loving support of us and each other.
CL. Yes, but you raised our daughters to marry three fine husbands in the temple. Now we have many wonderful grand children and great grandchildren as well. Each of our daughters worked so hard to support your little family until they got married themselves, and then you gained the love of their husbands as well. You had some wonderful family parties then, in spite of your poor health.
CH. Yes, it has been a rich and full life. I lived in my own apartment until just a few months before my death. A major operation prolonged my life for a while, and I was able to continue to encourage my daughters in every way in their church work and in their music, both in singing and in playing the piano. Music is still important to them to this day. And I tried to keep alive the memory of the wonderful, thoughtful, and loving father and husband that you were to us. It is so important to appreciate the heritage each of us has, to build upon.
CL. If each of our descendents could know and appreciate the love and concern we have for them, it would help them through lifeís many problems. We share in their joys and their tears, always. We canít put our arms around them now, but we hope they can draw strength from a knowledge of our struggles to build the path that they must follow to our Eternal Home, where we will be together. God bless you little sweetheart, for your unshakable faith and endurance to the end. You are an inspiration to us all, and deserve to be honored today.
feel free to contact
me with any questions or comments.