Life Story written by Granddaughter Carol Draper Waldron
Contributor: crex Created: 9 months ago Updated: 9 months ago
Elizabeth Daisy Evans Draper
Memories of a grand lady
written by Carol Draper Waldron- granddaughter
Some people knew her as Aunt Dade, some as Daisy Draper, some as Sister Draper and some as Ma; but I knew her as Grandma Draper. Whatever she was called by, all who knew her loved and respected her.
My first recollection of her was when I was about five or six years old. Our family had driven from Provo, where we lived, to visit her in her little house in Orem. She loved to have her family "come visit." When suppertime came, she got busy and fixed us something to eat. Even though she didn't know we were coming and didn't have extras on hand, she came up with a fantastic supper. Grandma could go to her cellar, which was just a dugout with stairs under the house, and come up with all kinds of good things. The walls were dirt as was the floor. It had a damp, earthy smell and there was no window to admit light. I was always half afraid to go down there in case there was a snake or mouse sharing the shelves with Grandma's "put up" fruit and vegetables. On the other hand, it was exciting and fun to go down and pick out what I wanted to eat, which was usually strawberries or cherries, from the beautifully canned selection. Grandma had a great talent for making something from nothing.
I guess I really came to know my Grandma best when I went to live with her at about 10 years of age. Mother and Daddy had divorced and we all suffered as a result. Daddy kicked around trying to find himself, and couldn't. Grandma offered him a place with her, even though she only had two rooms. When things got rough for Daddy's kids, she made room for them too. She didn't have much money, but she had a great big heart and always made do with what she had. She could make her small government check stretch and stretch and stretch. When Daddy was working he would bring the money home to her. She would store it in a cupboard in her bedroom and give him some when he asked for it. She paid the bills and brought groceries, never wanting to buy things on credit, always managing to get along with what she had. One example was her ancient wringer washer with its square body and old mustard color. She did finally replace it with a nicer white one, later on. After television had been available for some time, she did get a set. Her favorite programs were the wrestling matches and cowboy shows.
One spot in the house was Grandma's alone. That was her chair by the window. She liked it there where she could see who came and went and watch the road in front of the house. She could also see anyone coming to the door before they knocked. It served another purpose by affording her light to do her hand work by. Her hands were almost always busy when she sat still, making beautiful crocheted things, such as baby sweaters, and hat sets for the new babies in the family. I recall a red crochet dress with white ribbon she made for my sister Jean, and because I didn't get one, I was quite jealous. IF she didn't have such work to do, her hands were in her lap and she twiddled her thumbs. She was so accustomed to working that even in her old age she couldn't sit entirely still.
Grandma knew the meaning of work very well and certainly wasn't afraid of it. She was a perfect example of her pioneer stock and work helped form her character. She knew hard times after Grandpa died and left her with so many kids to provide for. She found ways to make ends meet. I remember her telling me how she did people's wash on her washboard before electric washers were available. She had a lovely, big raspberry patch that she cared for, and she sold the berries every year to help out. She would don her big straw hat, put on a man's shirt and pick early in the morning, with her apron around her. There was always a vegetable garden and flowers too. To this day, whenever I see Bachelors Buttons, Larkspurs or Hollyhocks, I think of my Grandma. Those flowers were planted beside the path, which led to the outhouse and to Aunt Phoebe's.
Grandma liked a clean house. She taught me to mop the floor on hands and knees. "Don't forget the mopboards," I was admonished. That floor seemed to be so big to a young girl! I still prefer to mop on hands and knees, as it seems the best way to do a really good job.
Though she was poor, she was proud, and wouldn't think of taking welfare from the Bishop, even sometimes when maybe we needed it. Formal schooling was something Grandma had little of, but she was experience-wise. Her old clichés and trite sayings have influenced me and been passed along to my daughters, as she still influences her posterity. I often quote those old adages, such as:” Poor people have poor ways;" "The less you do the less you want to do;" "Lazy folks have the most trouble;” If wishes were fishes, we'd all have a fry."
I love her best because she took my brother Denny and raised him as her own, even though she was really and elderly lady by then, who had done her share of rearing children. I know she was always proud of her family when they achieved and when they bettered themselves. She was so thrilled when Denny graduated from High School. I was delighted to be in Utah for that occasion and shared it with her, the last time I saw her alive.
She loved the Gospel and had a strong testimony of its truthfulness. Her prayers were said every night and it was she who taught me to pray. It was difficult for her to get to church in her old age, but she did her visiting teaching faithfully for years and years.
My husband (Kirk T. Waldron) has been so impressed by what he knew of her, and by what I learned from her, he often remarks that he wants to see her again in the hereafter and tell her how wise and good she is. I'm both proud and grateful to be part of her progeny and want to live my life to qualify for a reunion with her.