Dick & May Rawle Family - biography
Contributor: crex Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
DICK AND MAY RAWLE FAMILY
Dick Rawle met his sweetheart, May Millet, while his orchestra was playing for a dance. May was in her second year of teaching in Morgan. (Her second term spanned the Fall of 1921 through the Summer of 1922.) This particular night, May was dancing with Dick's brother, June. She commented on how well Dick played and asked who he was. June offered to introduce her. Dick took time out and asked May to dance with him. They danced to the song, "Love’s Ship". (Lyrics by Nellie Morrison, Music by Alice Nadine Morrison) This became their song. That same evening Dick asked for a date to go to a show. May felt it would be all right, because he was the Patriarch's son.
May recalled that, "Many thought we were a cute couple." Dick would walk May home from church and MIA. (MIA stands for Mutual Improvement Association. This was a youth program sponsored by the Church. It is currently referred to as Young Men and Young Women or just Mutual.) They had been going together for two months, when one Sunday as Dick was sitting by her in church, the Priesthood leader asked Dick if he would assist in the Sacrament. Dick refused. He was really too timid to do this, especially in front of May. She became very upset and refused to let him walk her home. For several days, she refused to talk to him, but a good friend, Mrs. Francis, pleaded Dick's cause and Dick promised May he would assist the next time.
Dick was working at the cement plant when he and May were first dating. On the weekends, his orchestra would play for dances. Dick would take May and have her sit behind the piano. He did not like anyone else to ask her to dance. May loved to dance and this irritated her. She went with Dick to dances throughout Morgan and Summit Counties.
While they were dating, May invited Dick to a school party. At this party they were going to learn some of the latest dances. May had omitted telling Dick this. The instructor asked the ladies to line up on one side and the gentleman on the other. In all the excitement, May did not notice that Dick had slipped out. Once again his shyness got the better of him; he left and went across the street to his sister Lydia's home. May was very embarrassed and angry to be left without a partner. Dick had a difficult time appeasing May over this incident. Dick did not like dancing and often after they were married said that he didn't need to go dancing anymore because he had got what he danced for.
When May returned to Lindon, after her second year of teaching, Dick saw her off on the train and gave her a box of candy with a note inside. This really pleased May and she never forgot it. Dick wrote to May and invited her to come to Morgan for the 24th of July celebrations. Dick at this time was working for the canning factory and did not get off until late. May arrived on the 23rd. June and Della Rawle met her at the train station. They took her to the Rawle home. They knew Dick was going to give May a diamond that night. When Dick arrived home, Della and June made an excuse to leave them alone. It was then Dick gave May her diamond. On the 24th of July, May and Dick were walking to Como Springs for a dance, the Rawle family passed them in their car. They stopped to tell May, they could see her diamond sparkle in the car lights.
Dick and May were married December 22, 1922 in the Salt Lake Temple. The day before their wedding, Dick met May at noon so they could walk over to the court house for their marriage license. At the end of the school day, May, not wanting the teachers to guess their plans, walked to a friend’s house. Dick was waiting there for her. Dick's father, James Richard Rawle, accompanied them to Salt Lake City. Joe Rawle, Dick's brother, drove the three of them to the station. Dick and May took their seats on the train, thinking they had outwitted the teachers, when suddenly all the teachers arrived at the station. The conductor let the teachers on the train and they threw rice everywhere. May recalled there was so much rice, that Dick’s father had the rim of his hat full. May's parents, Franklin & Caroline Millet met them at the temple. The teachers teased Dick and May about giving them a shivaree upon their return. To avoid this, Dick and May returned to Morgan at night and walked home from the station. May finished the school year, but was unable to teach the next year, because married women were not allowed to teach.
Dick and May’s first home was close to Dick's parents, Jim & Maggie Rawle. When Dick and May were married, his parents gave them an old washer that turned by hand, a table, and some chairs. If Jim and Maggie wanted Dick and May to come up to their house, Jim, would play on his cornet. Every day, Jim would come whistling down the lane to Dick and May’s with something for them to eat -- a square of homemade butter, a loaf of new baked bread, milk, eggs, a pie, a piece of cake and in the summer time berries, vegetables or apples. Jim and Maggie seemed to be thinking of them all the time. The first summer they were married, May's parents, came to visit them.
Dick and May’s first child was born on October 19, 1923 in Morgan, Utah. They named him, Richard Millet Rawle. May never went to see the doctor during her pregnancy with Richard. Dick would go tell the doctor how May was doing and then bring back a report from doctor to May. They lived in their first home until Richard was a little over two years of age. During this time May's sister, Carrie was living with them. Carrie was teaching school in North Morgan. They had no car and it was a long way for her to walk, so they moved closer into town. (This move would have taken place in the latter part of 1925.)
When Richard was a baby, Dick became seriously ill. At first their doctor, Dr. Abbot, thought that his tonsils were the problem - infecting his joints with poison. So surgery was performed and the tonsils removed. Dick did feel better after the tonsils were removed, but not long after, he developed stomach trouble and Dr. Abbot then thought perhaps Dick had ulcers. Dick also suffered a great deal with headaches. The decision was finally made to remove Dick’s appendix. This was to be done in the old Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah. Dick, May and Richard, accompanied by Joe Rawle took the train to Ogden. May got a room at the Ecceles Hotel for herself and Richard. Joe carried the baby and luggage and got the room next to May's. The next morning, Joe and May went to the hospital and stayed in the lobby while Dick was being operated on. Joe and May took turns visiting Dick, while the other one watched Richard. Joe had to leave that night for Morgan in order to return to work. May went back to the hotel with Richard. That night, May received a phone call from the Condie family, whom she had lived with while first teaching in Morgan. The Condie’s had moved to Ogden and insisted May come to their home instead of staying in the hotel. They wanted to help care for Richard during the remainder of May's stay in Ogden. Dick was hospitalized for ten days. When it was time for his release, Joe came down to drive Dick, May and Richard home. May, in reflecting on the illnesses of Dick, that continued to increase after this point, said she felt that the problems were really being caused by his heart condition all along.
While living in their second home, their first daughter was born on January 5, 1926. Her name was Carol Millet Rawle. May’s mother came to help May with Carol’s birth and taking care of little Richard. Shortly after Carol was born, Dick and his brother, Joe were scheduled to attend a convention for the cannery. Jim Anderson, the owner of the cannery, wanted all his employees to attend. Dick had never left May overnight before. With her mother there, May insisted she was well cared for and Dick should go. All the expenses were paid by the cannery for Dick and Joe to go for three days. They packed their suit cases and left in the morning for the convention. When the afternoon train came in, Dick came walking in the door of their home holding a box of roses. He said to May, “Honey, I just couldn't stay down there. Joe is really mad at me." Joe said Dick was henpecked. Dick didn't think Joe would ever speak to him again.
May and Dick lived in their second home for about two years and then moved again to a house just west of the cemetery in Morgan. (This move would have taken place late in 1927 or early in 1928.) They lived in this home for about one year before moving a fourth time. (This move would have taken place in 1929.) The fourth home they moved to was actually a house that had been divided into two apartments with a sliding door between the living rooms. May’s sister, Carrie had become engaged to Dick’s brother, Joe and after they were married, the two couples lived side by side in this split home. During the day, May and Carrie would open up the large door separating their apartments as they helped each other with chores and children. When their husbands arrived home from work, they would close the doors for privacy, but there were a great many times that the couples kept the doors open and shared their evenings.
May and Carrie were best of friends and enjoyed being near each other. They would dance during the day and do craft projects during their spare moments. May saved foil liners and created artistic pictures with them. She did one of two little birds perched on a limb. She also made picture books of cut-outs from magazines.
Joe and Carrie had the only radio in the family. Jim and Maggie would come over and the families would all listen to the radio. The different families took turns furnishing the treats. May would roll divinity in nuts and slice it, everyone thought it was wonderful. May's hot chocolate was also a favorite of all, especially Dick. She put whipped cream in it and a bit of vanilla extract. Dick called it "vanillio". Homemade ice cream was served often. Jim would always hold his head from the pain caused by the extreme cold of the fresh ice cream.
May and Carrie ran a hot dog stand for two years at the cannery during the “pea run". (This term refers to the season of year when the local farmer’s peas were ready for picking and canning.) During the run many young people were hired to help with the work. May and Carrie would take Richard, who was about five years old, and Carol, who was about two years old, with them to the stand. They earned enough money to put an initial payment on their first car, a maroon-red Ford Model T. Dick was very proud of their new car. May wrote of it, “Our very first car and the only brand new car we ever bought. Yes, this small red Model T Ford brings back a thousand happy memories as we enjoyed it with our precious growing family. Although it took a while to pay for it, we were always blessed with money to make the payment. And finally the day we made the last payment on this wonderful car, it was as thrilling as the day we got it. We again celebrated it that day by going to Odgen and getting a big ice cream cone at our favorite ice cream shop.”
Renee Millet Rawle was born in their fourth home on August 1, 1929. It was at this time, that their son Richard, became very ill. May recalled, “Richard was in the hospital so ill and he contacted chicken pox in the children's ward. He gave it to Carol and Renee, who was just a baby. Carol had a hard time leaving hers alone and even tried to reach into the crib and pick Renee's off.” Richard never recovered from his illnesses and died on April 16, 1930.
In the late summer of 1931, Dick and May moved to their fifth and last home located at 211 Young Street in Morgan, Utah. Their last two children were born in this home, James Millet Rawle (Jim) born on November 8, 1931 and Ronald Millet Rawle (Ron) born on May 12, 1935. The only savings account they had was $450.00 dollars in a savings and loan. They were to keep up payments each month or they would lose all their savings. Since, they couldn't keep up the savings payments, they decided to withdraw it and use it in buying a house. May remembered, “Charlie Fry, being good friend, was the only one who would take $450.00 for a down payment on his home, so we had no choice but to take his. Even though it was one of the oldest homes in Morgan and very dilapidated. Windows all broken. Front porch ready to cave in and a long old back shanty porch not closed in either. The only outside door off it to the north east went all along outside the east wall of old kitchen and we soon had to tear it down because each heavy snow that first winter threatened to crash in the roof. So when spring came Dick brought some old lumber home he bought from the factory and did the best he could to salvage and remodel the porch so that it was closed in with a screen. The old open one was a fly trap in the summertime and so this new one was wonderful.”
May continued, “Charles was so kind. Since Dick was out of work, he let us pay small amounts as we could.” After Dick went back to his steady job at the factory, they talked with Mr. Crouch, President of the Bank of Morgan, about borrowing enough money to pay Charles Fry the remainder owed him, which was $700.00. Dick and May then took out a mortgage on their home and property, which was to be paid in full over three years at eight percent interest. Their mortgage payments were due quarterly.
Everything went well for a while, but at times Dick's health would decline again and he wouldn’t be able to work. There were also many times that work slowed down at the factory. Eventually, the factory was sold to Del Monte. When this happened the work and wages were cut. Dick was forced find work on the side. Dick and May were concerned about losing their home. Mr. Crouch was leaving his position as President of Bank and felt he would like to help Dick and May save their home. So, he took over their loan and paid off the debt to the bank. Dick and May continued to make payments to Mr. Crouch, but he allowed them more time to pay off the debt. May wrote of Mr. Crouch, “Bless his kind heart and thank God for blessing us with kind friends, work, and the necessities of life. Besides with sweet, choice children who helped not only in the work of the home, but kept our home happy.”
Regardless of the terrible condition of their new house, Dick and May were very determined and with a lot of hard work and time made a beautiful home and yard there. May recorded, “The paint outside and in and shingles on the roof of all the house were worn and shabby. Even the plaster was cracked and fallen in many places from the ceiling and walls throughout all the house. My what a lot there was to be done in this old home to make it livable.” This was during the depression and most of the men had been laid off. There were very few jobs available. Several of the men took turns as night watchmen. Dick was also playing for the dance orchestra to make a little extra money and this was enough to pay the light bill, purchase coal for the two stoves, pay doctor bills, pay the water bill and buy a few groceries. Dick took whatever electrical jobs he could, doing wiring for people’s homes. Dick and May had just enough to meet the bare necessities, so the remodeling of the old home had to be done a little at a time. They were grateful for the food they had canned and stored from their garden.
Shortly before Jim was born, May stepped on a rusty nail and her leg became infected with blood poisoning. The swelling was so intense that it caused sufficient pressure to cut off circulation in that leg. She could hardly walk and had to drag it behind her as she did her daily chores. With Jim’s pregnancy, as well as Carol’s and Renee’s, the doctor had to “pack her" so the baby wouldn’t drop. This was a common practice and an attempt to prevent babies, especially large ones from “falling out”. The doctors of that time did not understand that the babies wouldn’t "fall out", regardless of how heavy they were. May was a small woman and the weight of her babies was a hardship on her. Her sisters, Carrie, Lillian and Ellen came to help, as May needed to stay off her feet.
At this last home, May had a beautiful flower garden. Working in her flower garden was a source of great stress relief. Dick enjoyed fairly good health until Ron was born, then he started getting worse. Dick would experience black-outs. At this time, he went to a heart specialist a, Dr. Olsen, referred to by Dr. Abbot. Dr. Olsen diagnosed Dick as having a slight heart condition and put him on digitalis. Dick said it smelled like Lucerne and hay. Dick went back to work and seemed fine; but the work he was doing was hard labor, lifting heavy objects, which caused his condition to worsen. He finally reached the point that he was unable to do the hard labor. The cannery then, hired him for the night watchman duty. It was a great worry to May. The family took over the janitorial work at the South Morgan church building. This helped to carry the finances. May insisted the church had to be spotless. The family received many praises from the presiding bishopric.
Even though Dick’s health caused problems with his working, May considered him a good provider for their family. She wrote, “He always kept the coal house full of wood, kindling and coal. Dick always paid his monthly bills--lights, fuel, church donations and tithing. He was handy in fixing things and saved us many bills. He mended the children’s shoes. Dick saw to it the old home we bought was remodeled and made livable doing much of the work himself, curing windows, changing the stairway, patching holes, etc.” May also said, “The Lord blessed us with a precious father and husband who loved us all dearly and did everything he possibly could to provide for us and keep all of us close to the Lord.”
Music was a central part of the family’s life. The children especially loved to have Dick play his violin. He would come home from work and immediately take out his violin. Dick would walk through the house playing songs. The children would talk to him and he would answer still playing. They loved to have Dick do "Pop-Goes-The-Weasel" on his violin. He could really pop the string. At times, he would loosen the hair on the bow and put the violin between it and the stick. It sounded like an organ playing. Renee recalled, “He would ask me what I wanted to hear. I always chose "Arkansas Traveler".
Dick gave Carol violin lessons when she was in the fifth grade. It was nerve wracking for Dick, who had perfect pitch, to listen to a beginner play, but as May recollected, “Carol said she doesn't ever remember her dad making her feel hateful or resentful toward her violin lessons even though it was a hard instrument to conquer.” Dick’s desire for her to learn conquered any inpatient he may have felt.
May remembered a time, when Carol was first learning to play the violin, that she had left the shoulder pad on the violin and laid it in the case. May said, “I came along and closed it tight and stood it in the corner. When he went to use it and opened the case, he found a piece out of his violin near the sound post. He had trouble gluing the piece back in, needing it to be held tightly for days until it dried firmly. But he held it on with my tatting clamp. It was my fault along with Carol’s.” Dick was so anxious that Carol learn to play, he trusted her with his violin and allowed her to take it to school. He would remind May and Carol not to stand it upright in the corner of the living room, but to lie it down so it would not fall. May recalled, “He dearly loved his violin and played it with the feeling that only a gifted violinist would. His touch on it was like a master’s."
Dick was anxious for his children to play the piano. He first sent Carol and Renee to Mrs. Myrtle Richard's a block from their home. May said of this decision, “We chose the wrong place for them to go. A big vicious dog who most everyone in the town feared, including their dad, frightened them to begin with. Then, Myrtle was very impatient at times and would scold and even tap their knuckles at times. Our girls couldn't take this without feeling hurt and embarrassed.”
Dick started Renee out on the violin, just as he had Carol. Renee never enjoyed playing the violin the way Dick hoped she would. Later he bought her a cello to play in the high school orchestra. She didn’t enjoy this any better. May wrote, “So as she (Renee) said she continued to hold it up in the orchestra to please her dad and Mr. Terry so it would make the orchestra look fully equipped, but she said ‘It’s a boys instrument and I hate it.’ Really she played it better than she thought she did and she always looked charming in the orchestra regardless of what she thought and we were proud of her.”
Dick was always proud when his children performed musically and excelled scholastically. He was delighted when Renee got the lead in the high school opera and when she was named Alma Mater of her graduating class. He thrilled to see Carol playing at the high school on her violin and also to hear both girls singing in the high school chorus, in plays at school and in church programs.
On Sunday afternoons, after the family came home from church and had dinner, Dick remained in his suit and would get his violin out to play. He taught Carol to accompany him on the organ and later the piano. Carol as a young girl, would pick up Dick’s violin when he was done “while it was warm” and play because, she thought it would be easier to play like him then. Sundays were also spent in reading and Dick resting on the couch. Many times, Dick read and talked about Bible stories with the children.
Dick could also play harmonica and guitar well. He delighted his children by keeping his hands behind his back while playing his harmonica. They would laugh as it wiggled in his mouth. Dick often played duets with Jim on the harmonica. May recalled the family buying Dick and Jim “holders for their mouth organs, so they could play them along with the guitar, mandolin or banjo.” Other times, Jim would play the bass violin while, Dick played the violin or cello. Dick could also bend his long saw and play a tune on it. Renee also had fond memories of Dick taking his guitar on their overnight canyon trips. The family would sing around the bonfire. The family loved to take trips up the canyon. Dick would hide small sacks of candy for the children to find. Even when the girls were older, the canyon outings continued with the boys. May referring to a trip taken on the Fourth of July in 1942 said, “We took the boys up Deep Creek for supper. It was so hot and so many mosquitoes. They waded in the creek and had a good time.”
Dick was always finding ways to amuse and amaze his children. He made coins disappear. He created static electricity by running combs through his hair and then would pick up bits of paper. He had a button on string trick. He would hum with a comb between wax paper and make it sound like a kazoo.
Dick would build fires for them in the coal cook stove. He would get it red hot and then turn the lights out, so they could see it glow. Dick’s children loved to watch him build his trick toothpick houses. He would set fire to these houses and just as they exploded the “toothpick man” would burst out of bed. Dick purchased fireworks for the children. He would put fire crackers in the wheel barrow handle openings, then light them and back off. They liked to watch the varied color fire balls of the Roman candles.
There were many happy times for the Rawle children. Dick built a water wheel in the irrigation ditch that thrilled them. Renee said, “We always had a swing in the backyard. I loved to sail up and look over the lilac bushes.” Dick took the children to the river bed and they sifted sand to bring home for their sandbox. A favorite game was to have Dick lie on the floor with his hands stretched overhead. The children would stand on his hands and hold onto his knees. Dick would propel them forward and they would land on the floor between his knees giggling.
Dick loved to whistle and his family could hear him coming home work. Carol and Renee would run to meet him. Carol recollected, “Upon hearing Daddy's whistling, Renee and I would run fast to meet him. The three of us would giggle and laugh together as we skipped home. Daddy would hike us into the air one at a time giving us a big thrill.” May said, “Jim and Ron would come running when they heard the gate squeak.”
Dick wore bib overalls to work and it was exciting for the children to search through the pockets. They would find screws, nails, mints, cough drops, horehound candy and other such small items. Carol wrote, “Daddy's history wouldn't be complete if we didn't mention the dark, blue bib overalls and cap that were his everyday clothes. Somehow these work clothes go hand in hand with his high riding bicycle, he rode to and from the canning factory and the sweet melodious strains of his whistling that let us know he was home. If one of us was enroute home we got a free ride on the bar.” Dick carried a man's black lunch box to work. He always saved the children something from his lunch. On one occasion, Dick opened his box and found a small pie that Renee and Carol had saved money to buy and surprise him with. He was touched by their thoughtfulness.
Carol at the age of thirteen wrote the following poem to her father:
When I grow up I won't forget the fun that I always had.
The games we played the stories we read with a pal my dear old dad.
When Daddy's work is over he's coming home so late.
We always know he's coming by his whistle and the squeak of the gate.
We always run to meet him. He's always so cheerful and gay.
And when anyone meets him its always in a cheerful way.
I've never seen a dad as fine as that good and thoughtful dad of mine.
May was thrifty and taught her children how to be as well. On one occasion, her thrift was a cause of concern to Dick. He had brought some packing tissue home from the cannery. May wanted to use it for wrapping gifts because it was rectangular in shape and in color it was white with small blue stars or moons on it. Dick said no, because his boss, Jim Anderson, had given it to them as toilet tissue for their outhouse. It would be too embarrassing for Dick to have anyone from the cannery recognize the paper.
Another way the family economized was to gather old pop bottles and beer bottles. They would then sterilize the bottles and use them to put homemade root beer and tomato juice in. It was such fun for the children to watch Dick and May cap the bottles. The ones with tomato juice were dipped in wax to insure the seal.
The kitchen was a family gathering place. May recalled, “Dick kept the oven an even heat while I baked bread, cookies, cakes, meat etc. He would make the cook feel good when he came in smelling the food and licking his lips with a smile.” Dick loved to eat and some of his favorite dishes were cinnamon rolls, hot biscuits, raisin pie, soft bending cookies, pork hawks & beans, hot chocolate, sauerkraut with wieners and all kinds of vegetables. Dick would purchase big hunks of sweet chocolate from June's store. He would put them in the storage bin on the back porch. May said, “He was a bit cross when Carol and Renee's teeth marks were found on the edge of the big square of chocolate.” Renee said that “Daddy could always be found at the candy counter or the tool counter at the store.” Renee's favorite was coconut macaroons and Dick liked to surprise her with them. Carol always wanted a candy bar. The family also enjoyed their trips to Brown’s Ice Cream Store.
The family survived by frugality and self-reliance. They kept sacks of flour, macaroni, rice and other such grain in their large storage bin. The bin was special to the family because it had been made by Dick’s grandfather, George Simmons. May recollected, “It was made of sturdy lumber by him, who was a professional carpenter and building contractor during his earlier years in England. He made this bin perfect for storage. It was my proof against four legged mice, but when it came to two legged mice not much could keep them out of the goodies that were stored there.”
May had fond memories of their family shelling peas in the summer time. She wrote, “What a delightful experience shelling peas must bring to the minds of many who have lived on farms or in homes where there is a garden raised around the home. I recall with joy many times as a child and a girl, before I was married, helping my mother and other members of our family picking the plump pods, so careful from the vines and sitting together shelling them for dinner. And our mother warning us quietly if we continued to eat them by the handful, we wouldn't have enough for creamed peas for dinner. And as history repeats it's self, after my marriage to Dick, out on the back porch of Grandma and Grandpa Rawle's here again this special experience with Grandma & Grandpa Rawle, Edna, Mina and George chatting and laughing at Grandpa's sense of humor as we shelled the delicious peas Grandpa raised in his abundant garden. Dick and I raised peas a few times in our garden, but our precious little ones somehow enjoyed them before many of them got to the shelling stage on our backporch. But bundles of pea vines during the pea season cluttered up our back and front yard. Where did they come from? Well, from kind farmer’s pea loads as all along the road, trucks or wagons off to Anderson's or Del Monte's canning factory in Morgan. These kind farmers gave in and threw a bunch of pea vines to hungry wistful faces along the roadside. And as you've guessed some over anxious elves couldn't wait to be served. But as for the creamed or buttered peas at our dinner table they came directly from the pea factories, shelled, cleaned usually or in dented or mislabeled cans. And for a real dinner treat, Dick would occasionally stop in at the cheese factory, by the river bridge, run by Don Durrant. Who sold tasty cheese that he made and being kind and generous would give his customers and children some curds in a small sack. Along with the delicious melted curd and a dish of buttered peas one had a real treat for the family.”
They always raised a garden on their big lot and stored all they could from it’s harvest. The family would grow lettuce, corn, radishes, chard, carrots, onions, and potatoes. May wrote, “I canned all the various fruits I could get through the summer. Papa gave us all our peaches, apples, pears and Grandpa Rawle gave us raspberries. I bottled enough to last us way over a year. I also made chili sauce. I bottled jams and jellies of various kinds.” Dick bought, at a low cost from the factory, canned pineapple, tomatoes, tomato juice, sauerkraut, and canned vegetables of every kind.
There were chickens in the coop for meat and eggs, pigs, rabbits, a cow for cream, butter and milk, and usually a sheep for mutton. May wrote, “We had big appetites for fish, but our fishermen never produced what they promised us; unless some of their kind friends were feeling generous.” They hung home cured meat from the rafters of the porch. The meat was wrapped in cheese cloth and then hung in flour sacks. Not only mutton and pork was cured and hung up, but sometimes veal from a calf was dressed and hung to freeze in those white flour sacks.
Dick on occasion was given a lamb by local, friendly sheep herders. The lambs would have no mother to feed them, so the children would feed them milk using soda pop bottles with *******. Ron had one lamb that he was quite attached to. Jim and Ron taught it many tricks, some good and some bad. They would play “Bunker Hill” on a large snow hill in the yard. The lamb was smart, it knew that Carol and Renee were afraid of it. When the lamb got loose and it felt like teasing, it would chase the girls to the house or up a ladder almost to the top of the chicken coop and try to butt and knock the coop down. When Grandma Maggie Rawle came to visit, she usually called to let May or Dick know she was on her way, so they would tie the sheep up. If ever she came unexpectedly, Renee and Carol would quickly dare the sheep to chase them to the back door, so Grandma could run quickly in the front door. Ron loved his lamb. May recalled, “We just couldn't kill it for meat for our family, so we let Mr. Walt Larson, our good neighbor take it with his small herd. Later as he killed his sheep for winter, he took care of ours too and Ron never knew which lamb’s meat we had.”
The family had their share of sick days. May would do her best to keep everyone healthly, but vaccinations didn’t exist and so they would catch all the communicable diseases. Antibiotics weren’t available which made recovery longer and sometimes questionable. Beds were set up in the living and dinning room and May ran a regular hospital. They children hated the quarantine sign hanging on the front door, but thought it was fun to have friends come and wave at the windows. May employed home remedies. Some of the more common ones were mineral oil, mustard plaster, onion syrup, and honey candy. When the children were ill, Dick administered to them and usually called their neighbor, Albert Welch, over to assist him.
Renee especially remembered the whooping cough. "That was a bad one! Humidifiers were unknown -- mothers made their own. They used a hot plate with a tea kettle full of water. The steam would pour out into the tent made out of a sheet draped over the chairs. Dad and Mother would sit under with us to make sure nothing got tipped over. We would all come out drenched and catch a worse cold I am sure, plus in such close quarters we all exchanged each others germs. On one occasion I did kick the kettle and scalded my legs good."
Dick and May’s love for each other and their children saw them through many trials and brought them much happiness and joy. The following is a touching poem written by Dick for May:
Dearest little sweetheart our love is true,
And I'm thinking always and ever of you.
We've worked together through sickness and pain,
But always looked up to find sunshine again.
God gave you to me, my dear little girl
and sent us a banner of love to unfurl.
The banner still waves and forever will shine,
Telling the whole world that truly you're mine.
Dick and May welcomed their first son-in-law into their family on November 15, 1946 as Carol married Eldean B. Weight in the Salt Lake Temple.
(Carol and Eldean became the parents of four children; namely Lonnie Dean, Diane, Dennis, and Kerri Jo. Lonnie Dean died as an infant in 1954. They lived most of their married life in Bountiful, Utah. Eldean died in Utah on September 2, 1998 and Carol died in Utah on May 9, 2008.)
Dick’s health progressively worsened in the 1940’s. It was difficult for May to pick up so many responsibilities, but with the support of her children, she was able to carry on. Dick died at the Veteran’s Hospital in Salt Lake City on December 26, 1948 after suffering from his lifetime of heart problems.
During the following summer, the family took a trip with Joe and Carrie's family to Yellowstone National Park. Joe and Carrie hoped it would help May and the children to get away for a while.
May continued to teach after Dick’s death. She worked hard to help her sons go on missions and both her sons and daughters attend school. In 1951, May sent her first son off on a mission as Jim departed for the Easter Canadian Mission. Ron departed on his mission in 1955. He was first sent to New York City, but due to health problems, he was reassigned to the Navaho Reservation.
May welcomed her second son-in-law to her family on June 12, 1953 when Renee married Kenneth Howard Anderson in the Salt Lake City Temple.
(Renee and Ken became the parents of seven children; namely Richard, Kenneth, Ronnie Ann, Michelle, Lorie May, John and Carol. They lived most of their married life in Claremont, California. Renee died in California on January 6, 1993 and Ken died in California on March 2, 2001.)
Shortly, after the wedding of Renee and Ken, May welcomed her first daughter-in-law as Jim married Elaine Jesse on June 25, 1953 in the Logan Utah Temple.
(Jim and Elaine became the parents of eight children; namely Linda, Annette, James Jr., David, Robert, Roger, Sue and Michael. Linda died as an infant in 1955 and Roger died in 2003. They lived most of their married life in Springville, Utah. Jim died in Utah on September 10, 2009.)
May loved her children dearly and it was hard to have them leave home and be so far away. She worried about them, but her faith in a loving Heavenly Father always calmed her soul. She recorded the following, “April 11, 1957 -- It was a lovely spring day today. I have been worried a little the past few days in as much as I haven't heard from Ronald for almost three weeks. I know the Lord has greatly blessed him and I feel ashamed for being worried. His mission president at conference briefly said to me ‘Elder Rawle has been having a lot of trouble with his eyes and feet.’ Then, later I talked to his wife and she said, ‘We saw Elder Rawle only a short time ago and he was fine and is doing a good job.’ They were so busy talking to a crowd of parents and Elders that I could not discuss Ronald's condition further. So for the past few days, I haven't been able to get it out of my mind. But as I prayed last night and today, I have felt better about it all. And as Francis said, I've tried to have faith that God will continue to bless him if he is serving him to the best of his ability. When I go to the temple again, I will put his name in there. For when I put his name in before, Ronald felt so much better. There is so much power in the Priesthood of God. I know God has answered all our prayers many times.”
On February 6, 1959, May welcomed her last daughter-in-law when Ron married Carolyn Sumsion in the Salt Lake Temple.
(Ron and Carolyn became the parents of 6 children; namely Kevin, Mark, JaNae, Kris, Richard and Ronald. They lived most of their married life in Provo, Utah. Ron died in Utah on March 15, 2004.)
As the children started their own families and moved farther apart, May would write letters and visit their homes as often as she could. She followed with interest the lives of her grandchildren and their visits to her home were happy times. Her grandchildren knew that idleness didn't exist at her house. Grandma Rawle knew how to work, but she also knew how to have fun. There was always the promise of something fun or a treat at the end of a task. A trip to Como Springs was a much desired incentive, although homemade cookies or ice cream cones were often just as good. Her grandchildren liked exploring the upstairs bedrooms and playing on the steep stairway. However, not many of the grandchildren looked forward to going down into the dark, damp cellar when Grandma Rawle needed something brought up. The big yard, including the old shed, held many places for hide n seek and other games. The hammock always seem to hold a grandchild or several. A favorite activity of the grandchildren was to climb on top of the old car by the shed and using the long willow tree limbs swing out across the yard. Another favorite activity at Grandma Rawle's was irrigation day when the ditches would fill up and flood the yard and the children would "swim".
The family gathered for reunions almost every summer, usually in Morgan, but other times at the homes of Carol, Jim and Ron. Renee and her family had moved the farthest away to California by the 1960's, but they traveled to Utah most summers for visits. Ron built an outdoor fireplace at the house in Morgan and it was used often in the summers. In 1972, a reunion was held in Morgan to celebrate May's 75th birthday.
In the late 1970’s, May’s health began to steadily decline and she was no longer able to live alone at her home in Morgan. She eventually went to live with her daughter, Carol in Bountiful, Utah. It was there that she died on December 7, 1979. May left behind a legacy of faith and love. At the time of her death, the family she and Dick began together had grown to include her 4 grown children, their spouses, 23 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.
"Grandma's life wasn't easy and her health wasn't great during the years that I knew her. But she always tried to keep positive and active. She served everyone around her and in Church - teaching the children until she just couldn't anymore. She loved the Lord and His gospel. Her example of devotion to family, finding joy in her journey, work, service and testimony of the Savior are what have stayed with me. I am grateful for the life she lived and the love she shared with me." - Lorie May Pierce
Compiled by May Millet Rawle (self) and Renee Rawle Anderson, pre 1992
Edited and Published by Lorie May (Anderson) Pierce, 2013
Editorial notations and references in Italics