Memories of Grandma Murri
Contributor: susannielson Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
The following are a collection of memories by, I believe, Carol Edrington Dufraine - granddaughter of Margaret Ellen Walker Murri, and daughter of Evelyn Murri Edrington:
Margaret and Marilyn have asked me to write down what I remember of Grandma Murri (Margaret Ellen Walker Murri) and I have put off doing it until now, after our cousin LoAndra requested it also.
Some of these memories may be things Mom told me and that I've incorporated into my own memories, so they may not be 100% accurate and it's been 65 years since Grandma died (I was 12).
Because my brother, Gregory, was ill quite a lot, Grandma and Grandpa Murri took me up to Midway to say periodically to give Mom a break from a daughter that wandered away a lot. My cousin, Lowell, stayed there also while Aunt Virginia and Uncle Art were building their house in Heber, so we were very close until our late teens. Many of my Midway memories include Lowell. Grandma often took Gregory to Midway to stay. He had frequent pneumonia as a baby and small child and Grandma was wonderful at getting him healthy again. Mom always said Grandma was the reason Greg lived at all as he was a preemie, and a "blue baby" and Grandma had nursed him right from the hospital onward "Blue baby" meaning the cord was pinched and he was starved of oxygen during a long birth. He was diagnosed later as having cerebral palsy.
Grandma helped out her daughters' families frequently and I remember her coming to help Mom and Daddy paint the house we had just moved into. I was sick with the measles and Grandma fixed me canned chicken soup. To this day, if I am feeling unwell, Campbells' chicken noodle soup is the cure.
I remember Grandma and Grandpa's house very well - there was never any upstairs until Grandpa sold the house after Grandma died. There was an enclosed porch in the back of the kitchen where everyone took off their outside shoes, wraps and the washing tools were kept (wringer washer and washtubs). The kitchen was fairly small with a sink and cupboards under the window. At right angles to the sink was an old fashioned coal stove. It had a water reservoir on the top at the back. Remember the stove. On the wall opposite the stove was a kitchen table and chairs. There was a small room where we took our baths and brushed our teeth. Only my very, very, earliest memories include bathing in a metal tub in the kitchen; going out back to an outhouse, and getting water from a hydrant. A little later on we had city water in the house with a working bathroom. We still had the kitchen coal/wood stove. There was a bedroom where Grandma and Grandpa slept, with an iron crib where each of us kids had our turn sleeping. At the front half of the house were two larger rooms (connected with a large archway); serving as a parlor, dining room, and contained a leather/horsehair sofa-bed on one side and the round oak table/chairs on the other side. There was a floor furnace that kept those two rooms warm.
Grandma was a perfectionist and made sure her house was clean and stayed clean. If you didn't do the chores she gave you to her standards, you worked at it until it met her standards. Mom used to talk about scrubbing the floors and having to change the bucket water constantly in order to make the floor clean enough to "eat off of". Remembering the house cleaning, reminds me of President Monson's story of his mother telling him if he cleaned the corners, the center would take care of itself and that's the way Grandma looked at it.
Grandma sewed with her treadle sewing machine and made almost all of Aunt Virginia and Mom's clothes. She sewed for all the grandchildren. The last things I remember her making was three little dresses and pinafores for Madilyn, Margaret, and Marilyn who were about 2 or 3. Mom said she quilted also, but I only remember one unquilted top after she passed away. I was given that top (which was then quilted) when I married. The fabric was pretty old because the top gradually disintegrated.
I remember Grandma seemed big- larger shoulders with good posture. She wore house dresses and aprons all the time. Her hair had begun going grey but was originally red and looked reddish/gray when she died. Because she was a redhead, her skin was milk-white and covered with freckles, even on her arms and she disliked both the color of her hair (she called it carrot red) and her freckles. She was raised in a family of six daughters and she helped on the farm a lot. She said several of her sisters were too "fragile" to do manual labor and so much of helping her father fell to her. NOTE: Her "fragile" sisters outlived her.
Grandma and Grandpa married in the temple and the next day Grandpa left for his mission in the German/Swiss Mission. Grandma lived an cleaned house in Salt Lake City (1205 East 300 South) during the time Grandpa was on his mission. She helped support him financially on his mission. For a while after Grandpa's return, they lived in American Fork and helped Grandma's Father on his farm.
She was a wonderful cook and I remember the crews who went from farm to farm cutting hay and wheat, and while working on our farm, ate their dinner (in our kitchen at noon) really appreciating Grandma's cooking.
I don't remember Grandma going out to nurse the sick after all us kids came to be, but Mom has told us many stories of her going to take care of people who were sick or having babies. She acted as a midwife and in those days she did everything from cleaning their houses to taking care of the other kids to helping deliver the babies.
I have a small pocket notebook where Grandma has written grocery lists, names of people who needed help, and other small details. It appears from what she wrote that she was either Relief Society President or counselor at that time. She even wrote storage items to be acquired, so the Church must have been stressing food storage even then (during or after WWII).
One of the chores I helped Grandma with was walking the cows to the pastures after milking and getting them back at night. Grandma used the time to instill appearance and manners in her grandkids. Grandma always insisted I walk with a straight back and with my feet straight ahead (no duck walking) and didn't wave to anyone going by . Only a small nod of acknowledgement was proper; no "hi" or waving. The idea was to be a "lady". When I grew up and saw where the pastures were and how far we walked, I couldn't believe I'd walked so far. One pasture was on the road to the cemetery, one was down by the fish hatchery, and one was close to the bridge on the way to Heber. I don't remember Lowell driving the cows- he was probably helping Grandpa.
Grandma kept chickens and would take the eggs to the store and trade for groceries. Once in a while she would give Lowell and I a penny or an egg to buy candy.
From my earliest memories I can remember us driving up to Midway and having dinner on Sundays at Grandma and Grandpa's house. There would be the Edringtons and the Bergs. At the last of these times there was Lowell, me, Gregory, Harvey, Audrey, Margaret, Madilyn, and Marilyn. We usually had roast, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, and the best rolls ever. Only Aunt Virginia's rolls (as she made them for family dinners later) were as good.
Grandma wouldn't allow cussing or corse language by any of us, BUT there were a couple of phrases she sometimes used when provoked: of her grandchildren's rooms "this looks like a mad woman's shithouse."
I remember Mom saying Grandma has high blood pressure with hardening of the arteries for several years before she had a stroke. I was 12 when Grandma has her stroke and she lived for about six weeks after it. All of us kids were devastated when she died. Because she was raised in an area that had little or no iodine in the soil, Grandma had a goiter in her neck and had to have it removed. Otherwise, I don't remember her having any health issues.
Grandma used rose water and glycerin as a hand lotion and lavender toilet water as perfume. She used lavender sachets in her drawers. Those scents still bring her to my mind and I cherish her memory.
She was an active member of the LDS Church and held positions in the Relief Society. She had a testimony of the Gospel and lived her life in accordance with the precepts. She love her family very much.