Footnote to History of Leonard Parley Hall and Charlotte Morris Hall, compiled by Julia Hall Dixon
Contributor: Ethachu12 Created: 8 months ago Updated: 8 months ago
The Rest of the Story: Grandma Hall (Lottie Morris)/Mr. Spenser My mother, Pearl Adeline Zollinger Hall, recounted to me a slightly different version of the Mr. Spencer saga as it was recounted to her by her mother in law, Charlotte Morris Hall. Most of the story is the same as recited in Julia Hall Dixon's compilation of the life story of our grandparents. However, as retold by my mother the livestock bartered (or perhaps more accurately delivered as a dowery) was a milk cow, not a horse, and the milk and eggs which paid for the animal were sold to neighbors for cash which was dutifully paid over to Mr. Spencer, until the animal was paid for. Although it was likely never explicitly explained to her, or to other family members, she apparently believed or suspected that the bargain between her father and Mr. Spencer contemplated her becoming a teenage plural wife. Family members have tried to rationalize the event in terms of an old country patriarch, who was himself apprenticed at an early age, arranging a similar career for his daughter. However, the apprenticeship, or paid servant scenario, does not square with the known political/religious environment of the time (1885) when plural marriage was still very much in vogue in Mormon culture and apprenticeships for girls were unknown. Grandma's parents themselves were involved in plural union and arranged marriages of teenage girls to older men were still all too common. In any event the Mr. Spencer saga, along with some other bad treatment of of her siblings, so poisoned the relationship between Lottie and her father that they were largely estranged until his death.
She declined to care for him in her home in his old age. Her daughter, Esther John, who had married and settled near him in Portage, Utah, did not carry the same bitterness, so she filled the caregiver role for her grandfather. Narrvel E. Hall
I Kneaded Bread - Today
Contributor: Ethachu12 Created: 8 months ago Updated: 8 months ago
I Kneaded Bread Today
It is a cold clear day and the snow covered mountains sparkle and glitter like thousands of diamonds--all reflecting the wealth of nature’s beauties surrounding me. Inside, it is warm and the aroma of homemade bread brings thoughts, unbidden, of other days I kneaded bread. Many memories of childhood pass in review, all enhanced by the memory of my Mother’s fragrant bread baking. Then, memories of my own child-rearing years crowed in, and the importance of my bread-making can not be ignored. It provided sustenance for my children, helped the family budget, and provided many ‘gifts’. However, through the years the mixing, kneading, backing, and even the aroma has become something more. It has provided an outlet, a ‘renewing’, which has stablized me.
On January 30, 1931, I kneaded bread. It was also a cold, clear day like today. My husband and I had awakened early, though we had retired late and slept little. I needed to replenish our bread supply for it was my routine baking day. However, nothing about the last two weeks had been very routine.
A heavy snow had fallen the first of November and stayed because the temperature had stayed close to zero most of the time. Despite the cold, my husband, two small children and I had been content. We had plenty of cedar wood from the nearby hills for fuel. There had been little activity or outside association because of the custom of that time for “women in my condition”. So we had spent our evenings reading, popping corn, pulling taffy, and planning for our new arrival.
All the necessary preparations for a normal home delivery had been made. The needed materials had been sterilized and arrangements made with Mrs Smith, a neighboring widow, to stay with me while my husband got the doctor. However, I was still concerned. There were only two weeks of waiting left and a rather severe form of the flu had joined the household, affecting my husband and the two children.
Then, as arranged, Mrs. Smith came--- and so did little Helen. She came so quickly, she arrived without the aid of a doctor. [But] the flu had never left our home. It seemed as though it had come especially to be there when little Helen arrived. It rushed in on her and gripped her strongly.
My mother came to stay and administer aid, for mother’s were the doctor’s nurses in those days. She was not a registered nurse but was skilled by experience, practice and observation as all pioneer mothers were. When the flu forced my mother to leave, my husband’s mother came. Many neighbors also came with food, offers of aid and with words of encouragement.
The doctor came as often as his crowded days allowed -- sometimes it was during the night or early mornings. Then, late one evening, he said what we already knew. “Your baby is not responding to my treatments. I have done everything I can.”
“Can’t we push some of our old-fashioned home treatments?” I pleaded.
He and my mother-in-law tried these for hours. But little Helen lay still. While in my arms, they closed her eyelids and everything -- just everything -- seemed so final.
The doctor said, “I think I better take you mother home. She isn’t young anymore and is exhausted. Can you carry on until I can send someone else?”
We knew we would have to manage for the night. We carefully wrapped baby Helen, tucked her in a bassinette and set it in the cold back room. We were now deprived of the privilege of trying to keep her warm or administer other little aids of comfort and love.
That night seems like an eternity --- but it gave us time to adjust.
As the morning sun lit up the glistening snow, it brought with it the necessary chores of daily life -- for life does go on. The other children had to be dressed, fed and cared for. So of necessity, on that cold bleak morning my family and I needed bread. As I kneaded, it seemed to release some of my pent up anguish. Then as the dough raised, my spirits rose too, for it seemed to whisper of the continuity of life-- the rekindling of the spirit. It was like a salve on my wound of loss.
Yes, it was a new beginning and has aided me many times since. I am sure the real estate foreclosure agent gave us added time to find a farm to rent after he left our home with a warm loaf tucked under his arm. And the newspaper lady who left without a renewal (but a warm loaf) made me more determined that my children would have some of the better intangibles of life: happy memories and proper attitudes-- depression or not-- when she remarked “lucky kids’, after watching them consume their after-school snack of fresh bread, homemade jam and butter.
So like that day and many others, I kneaded bread.
By Alice Abigail Ottley