Memorial / Obituary / Personal History
Contributor: Rbemis01 Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
HISTORY OF CARRIE MAE HENDERSON PRINGLE
By: George E. Pringle
This is my recollection of Carrie Mae Henderson Pringle. She was born the 9th of September 1920 to Odis Hildreth Henderson and Bertha Mae Jones in Wilmington, New Hanover County, North Carolina.
The first time I met Carrie Mae was when she was 19 years of age and attending Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She was a beautiful young lady tall and slender with shiny dark brown hair and a delightful southern accent. It was Friday and I had asked a young girl I had met in one of my classes for a date that evening. I went to pick her up and found she lived with three other girls in an apartment just north of 7th North and 2nd East in Provo, Utah. I was introduced to all three of her roommates and one of them was Carrie Mae. My date wasn’t quite ready when I arrived so I sat and visited with Carrie. I was delighted with her as she was so clean and virtuous with a vibrant personality. The next time I saw her was on campus the following week. At that time she asked me if I would be interested in going to a party with her the following weekend. I thought that would be great and told her so. We went to the party at one of her friends house and just had a delightful time. It had been a long time since I had met someone so intriguing as she was. In fact I don’t think I had ever met anyone that I was so fascinated by as I was Carrie. Her southern drawl totally captivated me and she had such a cute personality that I honestly believe it was love at first sight. At one time she reached in her purse and took out a penny and held it in her hand then she said, “I’ll bet you this penny I can kiss you without touching you.” I told her I would accept the bet, so she reached over and kissed me on the cheek. Then she asked “Did I touch you?” and I said “yes.” She said, “Ok, her is your penny.” That night as we parted I tried to kiss her good night but she told me that she didn’t believe in kissing boys on the first date. That was the first time in my life that I had ever been refused a good night kiss. After that I found myself seeking her out almost every day just to be with her. After several dates we finally kissed good night.
That was a delightful spring for me as we spent almost every day together. We never had any disagreements and always enjoyed our associations no matter what we were doing. We both joined the concert choir and traveled some that spring as we gave performances in several different cities. One of the highlights was that April General Conference when our concert choir was invited to sing at one of the sessions of the conference. We attended conference every day as Carrie stayed with some friends she had who lived in Salt Lake City and I hitchhiked back and forth each day from Provo.
A few days before school was out that spring I told her that I loved her and that I hoped we could be married sometime in the future. She told me that she loved me also and that she would like very much to marry me sometime although we both realized that we wanted to complete our education before we were married. That was a long summer for both of us although we wrote frequently. I still remember how excited I was on the day she was arriving back in Provo that fall. That school year she went back home in March having completed the fall and winter quarters. That year her parents were supporting her brother Marion, herself, and her sister Norma in school. The burden became too great so Carrie elected to go home and help her parents. I hated to see her go and she hated to go but we both knew that it had to be and I was proud of her for having made the decision to help her parents. At that particular time the world was in considerable unrest as this was just prior to World War II. Wilmington was starting to boom as they were building a shipyard there and Carrie knew that she would have no difficulty in securing a job. She did get a job with a CPA firm. She and her family invited me to come back there to work after school was finished in the spring. I thought it would be a good idea and discussed it with my parents. Dad thought it would be a good idea, but Mom was not in favor of having me go so far away. It never came about however, as my father became ill that April with a tumor on his brain. He was operated on in the LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City but with little hope of recovery. Due to these circumstances I told Carrie that I would not be able to come to Wilmington, North Carolina but would stay in Provo. I secured a job with the Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe Company as an accountant. Both my Mom and Dad needed the financial and emotional support from me at that time. I did all in my power to give it to them. Since I couldn’t go to Wilmington, Carrie decided to come back to Provo and find work so that we could be together. She came back about the first of July and was employed as a secretary at the Utah State Hospital. Dad passed away in October and I was so grateful to have her there as a support to me. That Christmas I gave her a diamond and we were married in the Salt Lake Temple on February the 25th, 1942. We both knew very little about the temple and had no one to discuss it with. We didn’t realize that there were live sessions and sessions for the dead only, so we just selected one evening and went to Salt Lake City to be married. When we arrived at the temple, they told us that it was not a live session and normally they did not marry people on that session. We prevailed however, and they accepted us and we were sealed together that evening for time and all eternity. Her mother came out from North Carolina for the wedding and my mother and sister Bernice came down from Wyoming and attended the temple with us. Her mother had not been to the temple previously so she took out her endowments on that same evening. We spent that night at the Hotel Little in Salt Lake City and the next morning we drove to Oakley, Wyoming as Mom wanted to have a reception for us there.
We went back to Provo where we had rented a very small apartment. The apartment consisted of a living room and a tiny kitchen. In the living room there was a pull-down bed that came right next to the couch. During the first month of our marriage we slept in the bed and Carrie’s Mom slept on the couch next to us. However, the following month Mae found us a larger apartment with two bedrooms. During this same time, Carrie quit her job at the Utah State Hospital and found another at Geneva Steel as they were building a plant west of Provo. In the spring Carrie’s father and three of her brothers drove from Wilmington out to Provo. Odis and Mae were able to go to the Salt Lake Temple and have all of their children sealed to them. The family then returned home to Wilmington. In June I was drafted into the Army and went to Texas for my basic training. Carrie quit her job and came to Texas as quickly as possible so that we could be together. While in basic training I developed a detached retina in my right eye and was sent to the William Beaumont General Hospital in El Paso, Texas for an operation. Carrie immediately came to El Paso so that she could be near me once again. She found herself an apartment or rather a room in a large home and found a secretarial job at a large department store there in El Paso. She came to the hospital as frequently as possible. After my operation and during my recovery I was allowed passes to go into El Paso over the weekends. We spent as much time together as was humanly possible. Due to the condition of my eye I was released with an honorable discharge from the United States Army in January.
After being released from the Army we took a train from El Paso to Wilmington and visited with her family for several weeks. While in Wilmington we decided to have Carrie’s tonsils taken out as they had bothered her for some time. The operation was very simple, however, when the scab came off of her tonsils she started to hemorrhage during the middle of the night and we had difficulty in stopping the bleeding. By morning she was very weak due to the loss of blood. We took her to the doctor for him to have a look at her throat (as the hemorrhage had ceased) but we had to carry her part of the way due to her weakness. Shortly after that she and I took the bus from Wilmington to Provo.
Upon arriving in Provo we stayed with my sister, Marie and her husband, Harvey Bird, until we were able to rent an apartment. We found a one bedroom apartment on about 3rd North and 3rd East in Provo. We both obtained jobs with U. S. Steel as they were still constructing Geneva Steel. We did not have a refrigerator and there were none available for sale but we finally were able to buy a used one. There were no new automobiles for sale either. But we did finally find a good used dodge which we purchased.
Carrie was an excellent secretary so she had very little difficultly throughout her life in finding employment. We both worked at Geneva until Steve was born August 11, 1944. Carrie quit work just a couple of months before Steven Jud was born. Carrie and I both were interested in my continuing my education so that fall I enrolled at BYU once again. She encouraged me to become a dentist and as I thought about it, it seemed like an excellent idea. We investigated dentistry thoroughly but due to the condition of my eyes our eye doctor discouraged us from attempting it. He did however, approve my continuing on with my accounting education. Carrie was always a great asset to me in my schooling as she encouraged me greatly and also assisted me through typing all of my reports.
I remember one day when Steve was a baby Carrie had washed all his diapers and the other clothes and had hung them out to dry. Now you need to understand we didn’t have a washer so she had washed them by hand which was no little job. The clothesline was on a pulley so you pinned your clothes on the line and then moved them along so there was room for the next item. The line ran from the edge of the house out to a large tree behind the garage. Thus, the clothes had to cross over the garage. Well, just as she had the line full, it broke and all her clothes went on the ground and on top of the garage. What a mess! I was attending BYU at the time and came home just as this happened. Carrie was so disappointed she burst into tears. After consoling her, I helped pick up the clothes and re-wash them. I then repaired the clothesline and we hung them out to dry.
In April of 1945 we were totally surprised to find out that Carrie was again pregnant this time with Georgia Kay. When school was out that spring we loaded everything into our old Dodge and journeyed back to Wilmington, North Carolina where Mae had offered me a job working in her shop on the beach. We spent that summer with them. It was a good experience for me as I had never worked as a salesman before and I am sure Carrie enjoyed being close to her family once again. Her father had passed away several months before and she was not able to go home for the funeral. We tried desperately to get her there but travel was not easy in those days and it was a difficult trip to go clear across the country by train or bus with a young child. We closed Mae’s beach shop following the weekend of Labor Day and made plans to return to Provo. We sold our Dodge to Carrie’s brother Jimmy and drove to Provo with Mae in her car. Mae spent that entire winter with us. Georgia Kay was born on December 9 of that year. Carrie started in labor on Saturday afternoon so we took her to the hospital. The doctor came and examined her and told her that he didn’t think that she was quite ready as he felt like it was false labor. She asked him if it would be all right if she went to the show and he said, “If you feel good enough.” She said, “If I’m going to hurt his bad I might as well be entertained while I’m hurting.” So we went to the movies that night and then the following night it being December the 9th Georgia Kay was born at about 10:00 p.m. Every thing went well with both Carrie and the baby and we were both pleased that we now had a little boy and a little girl.
In about April of 1946 we discovered that Carrie was again pregnant. We were both quite disappointed as we felt we were having our children too fast. I graduated from BYU that spring with a bachelors degree in accounting. Shortly thereafter, Carrie and her Mom returned to Wilmington with her brother Cranmer. I packed up all of our goods and stored them at my mother’s place and drove with a friend to Chicago where I enrolled in Northwestern University to work on a masters degree. It was difficult for both Carrie and me to be separated but we felt like the sacrifice was worth it to get a good education. I would have taken my family to Chicago with me but that was just after World War II had ended and there was absolutely no housing to be had in the Chicago area that we could afford. That was a long year for me and I know it was for Carrie too, although we wrote to each other frequently. She gave birth to Lee Henderson on December 3, 1946. He was born with a stoppage in his intestinal track and although they operated on him, he only lived for about a week.
I left Northwestern in June and returned to Wilmington where I picked up my family and took them back to Provo as I had secured employment with United States Steel Corporation. We were involved in an automobile accident in West Virginia and had to spend a few days there while they repaired our automobile. Carrie always took little inconveniences such as this right in stride. She was always a cheerful person and never let anything get her down. When we arrived back in Provo we lived with my mother for a few weeks while we found a place to stay. We found a small home on 3rd South and 9th East in Provo that we felt like we could afford so we bought it. It cost us $8,750.00 and at that time that seemed like all the money in the world to both of us. It was a nice little two bedroom home with a full basement. Later on I finished the basement making a family room, a bedroom and a bath. We didn’t own a car for about the first year and a half that we lived there but finally found someone who had an old Ford that they would sell for $100.00. I looked it over and it ran quite well so we gave the man $100.00 and took it home as proud as peacocks. It served us well for about a year and then we were able to buy a brand new Ford. We kept the new Ford for a couple or three years and then decided that we’d like to buy us an Oldsmobile. We went to the Oldsmobile dealer and after spending about four hours with the salesman came away the proud owners of a 98 Oldsmobile. Carrie had a delightful time that afternoon as she loved to bargain with people and see just how far she could get them to come down on their price. As a result of her efforts we ended up with a very good price on our new car.
One time, Carrie thought haircuts were too expensive so she decided she would cut Steve’s hair. My brother-in-law, Harvey Bird, had a pair of clippers, scissors and comb for cutting hair so she asked me to go borrow them. She sat Steve on a stool in the middle of the kitchen and started to cut. I went into the living room as I couldn’t stand to watch. In a few minutes I heard “Honey, will you come here?” I went into the kitchen and what a mess! I had never cut hair either so between the two of us, we made a grand mess of his hair. It didn’t brother him, however, as he went to school the next day and showed off his haircut in “show and tell.” After that Carrie thought barber haircuts were a bargain.
About this same time she discovered a lump in her breast. She was operated on in Utah Valley Hospital by Dr. J Russell Smith for the removal of that lump. It was tested and found to be malignant. She returned in a few days and he performed a radical mastectomy on her. It was a terrible operation as they removed the entire breast and all of the glands an everything associated with the breast clear down her arm and clear around in her back. She suffered greatly with that operation both physically and mentally. After she came home she suffered greatly emotionally as she felt that she was deformed. I did my best to erase those thoughts from her mind and she eventually seemed to accept it quite well.
Shortly after her operation she decided that she would like to go back to work again as both children were in school and she said she needed the adult association to enrich her life. I wasn’t much in favor of it, but consented to it as I thought it would help her. I was able to help her find employment at the Geneva Employees Credit Union only working part-time. She worked there for a few years and then approached me on completing her education and securing an elementary teaching certificate. We had been talking about increasing our insurance coverage and her argument to me was that she felt like her having a good education would be the best insurance coverage we could possibly have. She attended school for two full years and was able to graduate in elementary education. I was very proud of her as she had worked hard to gain her education and had never slighted her responsibilities as a wife, a mother or a homemaker. Just prior to her graduation we sold our home on 3rd South and 9th East in Provo and purchased a lot in northeast Provo just north of the BYU campus at 501 East Sumac Avenue. We built a nice three bedroom home there and thoroughly enjoyed it as we had designed it to fit our family. Soon after we moved into our home she wanted to buy a piano so that she could learn to play. She had taken some lessons when she was a young girl, but was not an accomplished pianist. We bought a small baby grand and she began taking lessons. Soon after that she became ill and was not able to continue with her music.
The doctors discovered that the cancer in her body had spread to her hip and it was affecting the hip joint. They operated on her and strengthened that joint by placing a plate in it. That was in about April and although she continued to teach school for a while using crutches she never fully recovered. She graduated from this earth life on August 20, 1959, and went to dwell in the spirit world. I know that she was loved by many as that was one of the largest funerals I have ever attended. I know she suffered much but never complained as the cancer spread throughout her body and finally took her from this earth life. Just before she left she told me that she had visited with our son Lee who had passed on many years before having only lived for about a week after his birth. About the last six weeks that she was in the hospital it became necessary for us to have someone there with her around the clock. We organized ourselves to the point of where her mother, Mae, would be with her from 8:00 in the morning until about 5:00 in the evening, I would come home from work and would stay with her from 5:00 until midnight and then a group of her girlfriends organized themselves to the point of where one of them would come from 12:00 until 4:00 a.m. and another from 4:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. She slipped away about 6:00 in the evening while my sister Bernice was attending her. I had come home from work and had gone to the hospital and Bernice had encouraged me to go on home and have dinner with my family while she stayed with Carrie.
Carrie was a lovely daughter of our Heavenly Father, tall and slender and beautiful both physically and spiritually. Carrie had a very sweet spirit about her as she very seldom ever got riled over anything. I do remember however, one time when we were canning pears and we were both standing at the sink peeling pears and putting them in a pan of water. I was teasing her about something, I am not sure about what, but I evidently hit a vital cord as she picked up the pan of pears and threw them in my face. I was so shocked I didn’t know what to do, but I grabbed her and put her across my knee and spanked her bottom. Almost immediately it struck us both funny and we laid on the floor and laughed about it. Then we got up and cleaned up the mess and went on with our canning of pears.
She was bright and intelligent and witty and had about as much good common sense as anyone I have ever known. She had a knack of analyzing problems by sifting through all the debris and getting right down to the heart of the matter.
When she was young she loved to play tennis and she and I would play as doubles quite frequently in the evenings. She was an excellent tennis player but never had the desire to play golf. She did encourage me to play and it was because of her that I took up the game. I was playing softball and had injured my knee to where it constantly gave me problems. She suggested I give up softball and take up golf. My comment to her was that I would have to be a lot older before I ever took up that game. About two weeks later I suggested that maybe I would try golf. Her comment was, “You surely did age in a couple of weeks!” Many times in the summer I would come home from work in the evening and she would suggest that we go play golf, which meant that I played and she walked along with me and we talked and visited with one another. It was an enjoyable time for both of us.
I have missed her greatly over the years, but look forward with great anticipation to seeing her once again in the not too distant future.
Carrie loved the Lord and diligently tried to live a good life. We frequently talked about spiritual things and I know that she had a strong testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Just prior to her departing of this mortal life, she told me how she had visited with our son, Lee, and how it would not be too long before they were together. We talked about our life here on this earth and about how much we both wanted to be with our children and our family in the life hereafter. She had a strong love for all of her family and especially her children. She expressed her desire that both of our children and I would live worthily to inherit the Celestial Kingdom. She said that she was not sure that she was worthy to dwell in the Celestial Kingdom, but sincerely hoped that she was, and that one day we would all be together again. I sincerely hope that our two children and I will live worthily to inherit the Celestial Kingdom that we might once again be reunited with her as a family. I know that she recognized that this is the real purpose of this life and therefore hope that each of us would prepare ourselves and fulfill that purpose and return and dwell with our Heavenly Father. If we, as her children and her husband, truly love her and truly love the Lord, we will all diligently strive to live worthily to be with her once again. It is my hope and prayer that we will all accomplish this.