Memories From My Life, by Fawn Jones Taylor
Memories from my life, by Fawn Jones Taylor
When I was a young child, I went to a funeral with my mother. I had begged and coaxed her to let me go with her. It was held in the Second Ward building for a man named Hurst. His daughter was there, whom I am sure was in her late 30’s. She was so much in grief over the death of her father that she kept crying out, “Oh daddy, don’t leave me.” She would run to the casket and fall on her knees, crying out. Once they had closed the casket, this daughter insisted that they open it again so that she could see him again. I don’t know how many times they re-opened the casket. At one point she collapsed in front of the casket and they had to carry her into another room. Her carrying on left a deep impression on my as a little girl. It made me afraid of funerals and haunted me for a long time thereafter. Now that I am an adult and look back on that experience, I don’t think it bothered me at all.
My summers were glorious as a child. What wonderful memories I have of my summers away from school and the leisure hours I spent. My home life was very enjoyable. My parents had so much love for their children and I remember that we had definite work assignments. After our work was done, we could go out and play. I helped Daddy a lot out in the garden by doing various types of work. How many times he would dig the holes and I would drop potatoes in. Mother always had such nice meals for us. We were blessed with the necessities of life, but very few frills. We always had good food to eat and nice clothes to wear.
In the summers, my twin sister Fay would take piano lessons from Alene Simmons and I took elocution lessons from the Paxmans. At the end of the summer, we would always have a recital and give a couple of readings that we had memorized. I will always remember one reading I gave which was “Nothing To Laugh At” by Edgar Guest. I was always such a chicken and afraid when it was my turn. Also, at the conclusion of the summer we would have a picnic or party of some kind. I remember one summer we had a swimming party at Glengary for all those who had taken elocution lessons. I remember how hungry I was when I got home on that hot afternoon. I went out in the garden and pulled up a big white radish. I washed it and cut a slice of Mother’s hot bread and put mayonnaise on the radish. It was the most delicious sandwich I’ve ever had.
Here are two of my favorite sayings: 1) Hope enables you to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Faith keeps it lit. 2) The real secret of happiness in life and the way in which to prepare ourselves for the hereafter is service. [I have always tried to serve others. I think that trait was instilled in me by my mother.]
After I lost Dean in 1979, I went to the temple 12 times for the rest of the year. Members of my family have said how lucky Dean and I have been during our lives together, but I feel that it was not luck at all. It was the blessings of the Lord and the way we tried to live good lives that made things go the way they did. Even our own children know what has gone on in the quiet of our home. Women have said to me, “You’re such an inspiration. I hope if I ever lose my husband, I can do like you have done.” Instead of looking for the negative, we must form the habit of looking for the positive.
My husband Dean was “Mr. Family Reunion”. He looked forward to and lived from one Taylor reunion to the next. Every reunion included a horse back ride, a big lunch in a park, a talent and skit show, and Grandpa Taylor reciting “Cuz’ I Gotta Go To School”. They were wonderful occasions.
One time when I went to visit my folks in Provo, I missed the train that was going to take me back to Portland, Oregon. My brother Maurice drove like a mad man from the Salt Lake Union Pacific Depot to the Ogden Depot where I was able to catch the train before it left. It was an 80 mile trip for my brother and I surely appreciated it. He broke every speed limit.
When we lived in Reno, a man who owned a small store accused me of stealing, which I certainly did not do. We contacted Bert Goldwater who handled my case. I think we settled out-of-court for $300. I always wished that we had taken the case to court. I guess I made a lot out of this situation. I was very upset and shook up about it.
I often went on walks in Reno with Vilda Ronnow. We would walk and talk from the Safeway store on South Virginia up the the Riverside Hotel and back again. It was so much fun.
I had a lump on my hand (ganglion cyst) in 1960, but I fell down and hit it as I fell. It went away and never returned.
Robin Tuck gave us a puppy in 1958. We named her Bubbles
On March 9, 1957, Dean and I went to Los Angeles to see the Lawrence Welk Show. I danced with Rocky Rockwell and Larry Dean at the Aragon Ballroom. I also danced with Lawrence Welk that evening while Life Magazine was there filming and covering Mr. Welk for a magazine article.
On Monday, March 10, 1958, my sister Ruth suffered a stroke. Alex Karren, my brother-in-law, called and told us all about it. We were living in Reno at that time.
On February 18, 1960, the Winter Olympics started in Squaw Valley in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, not far from Reno. We were able to watch it all on television. After the Winter Olympics were held in Squaw Valley, Dean took our family up to the ski area of Squaw Valley so we could see where the Olympics were held. The big ski jump was still up, with all the steps and stairs. Our children climbed up the stairs and a very frightening thing happened. Linda went out on the platform and slipped. A bystander caught her by the arm just in time. If she had fallen, she would have gone down the jump, a very long way. The surface was pure ice. We then went to the skating rink and skated. All of us had our skates on and we were having a great time. I was just standing on the ice, and before I knew it, I fell flat on my back and almost knocked myself out. I know I saw stars for a while and I quickly took off my skates. I decided I was too old for that sort of thing.
Mr. Mortensen was the name of the plumber who installed our new bath tub in our family home in Provo during my childhood. Up until the arrival of this new tub, we all bathed in a tin tub each Saturday night. Several of us would bathe in the same water.
On Friday, February 21, 1958, Dean’s father (Leo Taylor) wrote to us and asked if we would help finance Bruce, the youngest son, in his dental school training.
As a child, I liked to fool around in the kitchen and make things. We used to dip our sour pie cherries in chocolate frosting we would make and pretend they were cherry chocolates. We would stir up soda and lemon and make a fuzzy drink which was always fun, but it did not taste good. We would also frost Graham crackers and eat them.
We would go on Daddy’s bike up to the Salt’s Grocery Store and buy little dolls for a nickel or a dime. Clyde (Birk) and Alex (Karren) gave us money, and whenever they did, I would head out to buy me a little doll. Once when Mother had been up to Salt Lake to visit with Grandma Peterson, she brought Fay and me each a ball which was made of twine and was such a neat gift.
In the old Second Ward church building, we had a custodian named Mr. Goodman. We all called him “Cushion Foot” as he would sneak up on us and we wouldn’t know he was coming. He was such a grouch and we were always afraid of him. I remember the basement rooms in our church were damp and musty and had a funny smell. The plaster would crack and peel off.
I had a great love of dolls as a little girl. I would sit out on the lawn and play dolls and sew clothes for them by the hour. Sometimes we would put a quilt on the stairs going down to the cellar. When the days were hot outside, I remember how nice and cool it was to play on those cellar stairs. One day I lost my balance and fell backward down the steps. The sides of the cellar were big rocks which Dad kept whitewashed at all times. I fell back and hit my head on a rock and my head bled. We sometimes would play house down in the cellar. In one corner dad had a place built on stilts where he would put apples in the top part and potatoes down in the bottom. When the top part was empty we would play house up there.
My mother would make dresses for us, always organdy and lace and so cute for the 4th of July and for Easter.
When I was in grade school, on one of my birthdays a lady had predicted that the world was going to end on February 16th. I was so worried about it that it almost spoiled my birthday.
One day when I was in the first or second grade, I twisted up a piece of wire into a little ball and put it in my mouth. I swallowed it by mistake. I went up and told my teacher and she sent me home. Mother gave me a lot of bread and thought that would take care of it going through my digestive system.
We used to put on shows in the barn behind the Monson’s home. As a kid I remember that the Webb family lived in that home and it was kept so beautiful at all times. They would have their granddaughter come each summer and vacation with them and I remember how beautiful she was and how well groomed and polite. They had a big cat and on the porch there was a swing. She would sit out in the swing and hold the cat and I would always think how neat she was and how gorgeous she always looked, the prettiest dresses and her hair in ringlets. The Vaughans lived on the corner across from Aunt Ellen. They were Catholics and kept to themselves. They were very distant to us, but I am sure they were nice people. Mr. Lottner lived up on a corner across from Clarence Beesley’s store. He was a big raw-boned brawny man. He had big black eyebrows that went clear across his eye area. I think as a child I was afraid of him, but it was just a silly childhood fear.
As children, our favorite place to go was Geneva Resort. We swam there many times. They had a slide that was very fun to ride. We would climb up with a little cart to the top of the slide, sit in the cart within the slide, and then shoot down to the water. The cart would skim over the water and we would slowly sink into the pool. Then we would haul the cart back up and do it over again.
It seems I have always been the ‘Florence Nightingale’ of our family. Some of our family members have called me many times because I always had so much medical advice to give to everyone, free of charge (ha, ha). I have been “in on” more family problems than anyone else. I stayed close to Cleora (Maurice’s wife) and helped her when I could. I was with Fay a lot of the time and even committed her to the hospital on some occasions. I stayed close to her and helped her as much as I could. I took Lynn (Dean’s brother) up to the Veterans’ Hospital and had him admitted for drug abuse. I was with our daughter Linda through her troubles and went the extra mile so many times to help her. I went to the psychologist once with Linda Mogle and helped her get special help for Phil when he was so bad. At Christmas time a couple of times, I helped Gail get some help so their Christmas was a good one. One time I admitted Kenny Thomas to Utah Valley Hospital to have him helped with his nerve situation.
I remember when Lillian Hunt died. I went to their home with my mother and Lillian was still lying on a day bed. The morticians had not arrived to pick her up yet. I remember how sad it was. The family members were crying and I will never forget the feelings I had. They had tied a cloth around her head and jaw to keep her mouth closed. I remember that I felt neurotic and sick and I didn’t even go to the funeral a few days later because I was still very upset about what I had seen. The double trio that I sang in was asked to sing, and I was too sick to participate.
Our family used to go to Saratoga Hot Springs for outings and picnics. It was so fun and in those days, Saratoga was a very beautiful place. They had a large pavilion and we would eat our supper there. We also went swimming at Arrowhead and Glengary.
I remember as a small child being taken to the Pantagass Theater in Salt Lake City to see vaudeville shows on the stage. I remember that they had acts of all kinds and it was a thrill to go.
When I was about 16 I got sick one spring and went to see Dr. Don Merrill. He found out that I had a heart murmur and put me on digitalis for a while. I was told to take vitamin pills and I visited him a few more times.
I remember how much fun it used to be to get Aunt Nell’s button can, dump them all out, and play with them. We would sort them into the different colors and sizes. She had a huge collection of buttons.
One time I was walking with my Aunt Nell to her house. When we were almost to her house, she noticed that I had a cold and that my nose was running and I was continually sniffing. Aunt Nell pulled me close to her, took the end of her big long apron that she was wearing, and she wiped my nose on the apron. I will never forget that.
One night I had ridden my dad’s bike up to the corner store. It was dark as I returned home on the bike. As I passed the old two-story home close to our house, I failed to notice that someone had left a brick on the sidewalk. I hit the brick and the jolt was so hard that it threw me up over the handle bars of the bike and I landed in a bush. I was hurt, scraped, and skinned. I went to the people of the two-story house and they helped me as much as they could. I remember limping back home, walking as I pushed the bike.
We used to spend many hours playing down by the railroad tracks. It is a wonder that one of us didn’t get hit by a train. The most fun thing we did was to put nails on the track just before a train would come by, and then we would hurry out to see what the nails looked like after the train ran over them. I remember that the nails would still be hot from being run over, and we collected them in their different shapes and figures.
The beet dump was very close to the railroad tracks. The workers could load the sugar beets onto the train cars to be carried to the sugar factory. We would spend hours upon hours down at the beet dump, watching the big trucks loaded with sugar beets come and dump their loads. The would put the beets into a huge trough that had a conveyor belt at the bottom. It would convey the beets up a ramp and into a “beet house”, and then the beets would be dumped out into an empty railroad car. It was always nice and cool down under the trellis work and a very fun, busy place to be.
Everyone in those days had iceboxes, not refrigerators. The ice man would come once or twice a week. As soon as the ice wagon would come, we would all hustle out into the street and, while the worker was taking ice blocks into people’s homes, we would look for chips of ice that had broken off his load that we could suck on. It always tasted so good. If there weren’t any broken chips, we would chip a few pieces off the blocks ourselves. Those were the days.
I have a memory of the death of Hildred, Roy Olsen’s wife. I don’t remember how old I was, but I remember how sad all of us were and how sad Roy was. She died of either pneumonia or a strep infection. Their son, Horace, had died not long before Hildred. I remember his death well because families in those days always had the body on view in their own homes. The body was viewed the night before the funeral, left in the home overnight, and then taken to the funeral home the next day. I remember the pall bearers carrying Horace’s body.
We loved balls so much when we were children. Once the folks bought us a little ball with a face on it, and when you would squeeze it, it would make a whistling noise and a small red tongue would flip out of its mouth. We also had a ball that would flip something out of its ears when it was squeezed.
Once Mother bought me a toy that looked like a giant peanut. When you opened the peanut, a small cute doll was hidden inside. Oh how I loved that gift from my Mother. The peanut was held together by a rubber band.
I will always remember when Aunt Nell and Uncle Ole’s son, Bert, was run over by a road roller. He was sick for so long and they would have to irrigate out his facial wounds and take care of him there on the couch in their kitchen. I remember how he would cry and how terrible it was that he was run over by this huge road roller. It was a miracle that he was not killed.
During the summer, Daddy would get up bright and early and fill our little red wagon with freshly-picked vegetables. We would then go from house to house, selling these fresh vegetables. We would sell cucumbers, cabbage, turnips, and many other types of vegetables. We would take the money home and give it to our mother.
We very seldom had freedom of any money when we were small. The best way we could get a treat or something from the store was to go out in the chicken coop and get an egg and take it up to the grocery store and they would give us money for it. I remember many times I would want to to the the show and did not have any money so we would raid the chicken coop and go up and sell the eggs and get money for them. I think sometimes in my later life we would sell some kind of pop bottles for money and that would help out the situation.
I remember as a child the neat wooden swing Daddy had out in the grape arbor. It had seats on each side and a platform for our feet and would swing every so smoothly back and forth. We spent many hours in that swing, day-dreaming and watching the beautiful formation of clouds as they slowly moved by.
We used to hang up quilts across the entrance of the grape arbor and make play houses in there. We would have tea parties and eat our lunch in these play houses. We had little make-shift furniture we would play with also. In front of our grape arbor, Daddy had a coal shed. It was always filled with lots of coal. It had a little shelf on the side where we would store things. I will never forget the time that myself and a friend went into the coal shed and cut our hair. It must have been a real mess because Mother was very shaken up when she saw us.
I remember as a young girl that I would take lunches up to Lorna and Inez as they worked in the woolen mills. I will always remember the smell of oil and the yarn and how awful the place smelled. When all the looms were working, the noise was so loud that no one could hear anyone else talking. I also remember taking lunches to Inez and Lorna as they worked in the cannery. I think once I took lunch to another member of our family as they worked in the field picking either strawberries or vegetables.
During the summers, our parents would take us down to Utah Lake to swim. The water was warm and sometimes we would take our lunch and eat near the boat harbor. I can still recall the smell of the water, which had the smell of fish. This smell did not stop us from swimming. There was usually a great number of people there, as it was a popular spot in those days. They called the place “Provonia Beach”.
Dean attended Lincoln High School and played the trombone in the band. He took me on a date to a dance at his school one time. I remember the names of some of the other girls Dean dated: Leila Harding, Merlene Wells, and Marjorie Eggertsen. I am sure there were others but I do not remember their names.
I earned a pin in grammar school for my achievement in penmanship. I earned the pin in the Palmer Method of writing. It was very special to me to earn one of those little gold-colored pins. I cherished it but eventually lost it.
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