Events of the Life of Alice Merle Rees Call
Contributor: MDSIMS Created: 7 months ago Updated: 7 months ago
Life began for me on a very hot July night, apparently close to the midnight hour because for many years of my life I celebrated my birthday on the 28th of July. Later I found in a small book Mother kept her household expenses in, a note saying my date of birth was July 29, 1911. The location was in a small house in Coalville, Summit, Utah. The only recollection I have of this home was that it had a dungeon under the floor with a trap door from the pantry into a dirt floor dugout we used to keep food cool.
I have been told that when I was born and Dad found he had his third girl in a row, he was disappointed, disgusted and left home for the rest of the day. He made up for it however, because I always felt that I was my dad’s pet. His nick name for me was “Mall,” in all my growing up years I could always find a comforting lap to climb into, and he would rock me and sing. Dad loved to sing and make up songs to other tunes. He played the mouth organ for hours in one black leather chair with wooden arms which we finally broke off climbing on them so often.
We moved to the town of Devil’s Slice where my father worked in a general merchandise store, having been a furniture salesman and merchant in Coalville. Devil’s Slide was a town owned by a cement plant and all the homes were alike made from cement blocks. We were very friendly with a family of Crouch’s who had children of corresponding ages to us. Their father owned and operated the only butcher shop in town. I remember the clean smooth odor of that shop with its fresh sawdust on the floor. At times then we would ride our bicycles to the market, we would get a weenie from the butcher.
I broke my arm walking the fence of the school yard. I broke the elbow cap and had a large cast. I remember as soon as I could get my fingers worked loose from the cast, I wrote with my left hand again. About this time our father decided to branch out for himself, and we moved to Croydon, Morgan, Utah where he opened a store which had everything in it. Uncle Howard Thackeray had been the owner. About this time many people were leaving this small metropolis and business was not so good. Dad carried almost everyone on this books or issued credit, which through the years have never proven satisfactory, as it is very hard to pay fro a dead horse or groceries that were eaten two weeks ago. He then decided to solicit business at the Jap camps which were rows of dormitory type building near the cement plant. The Japs all worked at the plant. It was always a thrill to go to deliver the Japs’ order of groceries as they were a delightfully clean people, and most generous. They always gave us children native Japanese candy and fortune cookies.
High lights of the life in a small town of about 100 people included the school marms. They stayed with our Uncle Royal Thackeray. (It was then Grandpa and Granma Thackeray’s home.) I always seemed to get on the good side of the teachers because of this close relationship. My first grade teacher who let me start when I was just five because there were so few others so young in the town was Ethelyn Barns. She had a olderly mother who also taught there but she had the “big kids” in the other room. At first we were all in one room and the teachers would take turns first reading for the first grade, then spelling for the second grade, etc., going from one class to another. Every morning we had prayer, raised the flag, and had a story read to us. Vividly I remember some of the wonderful books we heard. Kazzan, Baree, Son of Kazzan, Wildfire and so many famous and interesting animal and human life stories were among those we read. We would almost always beg for just one more chapter, but . . . , school must go on . . .
Christmas time was always an exciting adventure. We would have preparation for months ahead. Mother didn’t sew too well so grandmother Thackeray always made us our one new dress a year, and we would always go and try them on. I think she told us they were for our cousins Elma and Lulu Condie as they were about our same size. It made no difference for we still loved and enjoyed the dresses scarcely hoping all the time that they would be ours.
It seemed an especially sad time when the Grandparents moved to Ogden. The Christmas Holiday season we would get now clothes for our old dolls and I remember I was quite big when I found a dolly of my sister’s with a new head on to be give to me. It had been carefully hid in the clothes basket awaiting our going to bed so that it could be groomed. This was my first hint that there wasn’t a Santa Claus.
Very early Christmas morning we would get up and dress, and the crunch of the snow as it crackled because it was always extra cold In Croyden, as we ran to Grandpa and Grandma’s home about a black away, it was a thrill. We always tried to be the first there, as Grandpa stayed in beds on purpose to give us a silver dollar that was big and round and ever as heavy. The requirement for the dollar was that we had to say the traditional poem: “A pocket fully of money, A cellar full of beer, And a big fat pig, To last us all the year.”
The cousins of the whole family came there and stayed over night. Each family exchanges gifts with each other’s family. We had Santa come to distribute the presents. We had to be extremely careful not to get too near the tree. Then a big feast prepared by all the mothers. They set one very long table with candles and the men always had a sip of Grandma’s homemade dandelion wine. We spent the summer picking the flower heads for the wine and it was filled with lemons and simmered for days in a warm place to ferment. Grandma paid us five cents a lard bucket to pick the dandelions.
I can’t see today how she did it but Grandma never forgot a birthday of any of her children or grandchildren, and it was always something very special. She gave treasures like pearls, a locket, a ring, perfume, or she made us that lacy slip of silk dress we longed for. When they moved to Ogden, they would make the trip back up to bring us specials of groceries, oranges and other fruits. Grandpa was a careful shopper and he would demand the exact weight, often taking things back if he thought he was being cheated.
The whole town was upset and were going to keep their children home from school when they found the population was too small to maintain a school in Croydon, so they were to bus us to Morgan. This was when I was in the eight grade. Dad got the job of a bus driver, but it was nerve grueling ordeal. He had tried many occupations traveling for a woolen company later for Shupe Williams candy company. We loved his sample cases even if most of the candy was varnished to make it shiny. We had a few cows and horses and always had a garden that we had plenty of food. Dad could still buy groceries by the case and wholesale.
We kept butter and milk in a cellar behind the house under the granary, where we also had plenty of fruit bolted. It was a satisfying life with a high swing in the apple tree next to the house and a rousing game of kick-the-can, or hide-and-seek. In the winters we went to the show in Devil’s Slide behind old Pet, a big fat red horse. She did get frightened once and ran away and with us at the crossing of the Devil’s Slide bridge. Save having to walk almost home we were none the worse for wear. There was always a horse to ride, and a new colt each year.
High school was as usual. I was chosen to take a lead in one of the eight grade operettas, and I sang in many Operettas through high school. I was invited to a big annual Junior Prom where they had a banquet first. I remember the dress was a changeable taffeta pink and gold with yards of lace on it. I graduated with a class of 13. Then I went to the A.C. College in Logan, Utah, where I specialized in art and dates.
After going to College for two years I felt I didn’t have the money to specialize in art so I left the college and came to Salt Lake City to enter the Utah School of Beauty Culture.
I went with many different fellows and still (?), the sheepherder, Kenneth Paskett, whom I had gone with through high school. Then one Halloween, we girls decided to have a party. Evelyn and Lillian Tanner, Helen and I had a friend Edna Tayler. It was to be a costume party at the old Baldwin Radis Plant. There I met and danced with the brother of Ev’s boy friend A.V. Call. His name was Helaman Pratt Call, that was such a hard name to say so he got the nickname of “Mud” from Aaron, his brother and most of my family in Morgan still call him that.
We had a short romance our first date was to go to Farmington Utah to a sister Jennie Walker’s for a birthday dinner for his other mother, Aunt Addie Call, as we so lovingly knew her. The boys in the Call family scarcely knew which was their real mother as they lived with the other one depending on where they could find work. Aunt Addie lived in town while his own mother was in Bountiful. The boys worked out there on farms, and when I met Helaman he was in town working at a bakery the “Wonder Bread Co.” WE played tennis, swam, and had an enjoyable time. The depression was just starting, but on February 10 we decided to marry, and the ceremony was in the Salt Lake City Temple. After the wedding Mother Call prepared a delicious dinner for the wedding party at her home in Bountiful. We had a few hard times as jobs were scarce but Helaman’s great sense of responsibility kept him on some job or another we even went to Ely, Nevada to work in a grocery store. But I took ill and had to be brought home where I had a miscarriage.
We moved from a small little place to a lovely apt. on West Temple, the “Midgley,” where our sister Helen Rees came to lie with us. The custodians were marvelous and did moving, house cleaning, and all hard tasks fro us. I was then a full fledged beauty operator and worked in a shop. Then our child was born in Bountiful. Helaman was working for “Piggly Wiggly” Markets and could not get off to come see me at the hospital. Aunt Manty Mann was there as mid-wife and we had Dr. Trowbridge, who was our family doctor through the years. We moved to a duplex, from there, we bought a home; and Helaman was fired after his vacation. They did not like their employees to be too permanent so they transferred them often. We kept our little home at 1218 Wood Ave. for many years in fact, all six of our children grew up there. Marlene and Neil also went to college from there.
My husband was active in all phases of church work while being president or Superintendent of Mutual, Sunday School, in the Bishopric. While he was in the Sunday School he was called into the service. Going in the Navy to Farragut, Idaho, made a sad parting as he loved his four children very much. He spent time in San Diego, while training in Radar School. I was able to spend a few days there with him staying at his brother’s A.V.’s. He wrote many letters, and I wrote daily, sometimes twice a day. He would get them in bunches as the service was poor on ship board. Their ship was hit by a Kamikaze Plane and the Radar shack where he was, was buckled to a few feet clearance; he received burned hands, crawling out, then after it was over he collapsed and when the ship was brought into San Pedro harbor for repairs, he was to gave gone into a hospital, but as he called home, and we finally made connections, phone service was poor in those days, I had news for him. Our little daughter Linda, then three years old, had just been run over and was in the hospital. Just as I relayed this message the phone went dead and we were unable to get a connection for quite a while. We had read in the paper about his ship being hit, so I imagined the worst that he had been injured and had fainted or something. He had told me he was to go into the Balboa Hospital. Anyway, the men took up a collection, got him on a plane and he flew to Hill Field. They held up a train so that he could make connections. When he came walking in about 3 a.m. and found me still ironing. We talked and talked the rest of the night until time to go see Linda.
Daddy brought her a beautiful big white teddy bear. She began to improve from that day. In the meantime Helaman’s Father had a stroke and lived about a week. All his family rallied around him as he passed away. Helaman was to have gone back to the navy but they got him an extended leave, and after the funeral I again was able to accompany my husband to San Pedro where we lived in a wonderful camp which was clean and had a 24 hour a day cafeteria that had an abundance of food. During the war food was rationed, and except for defense workers hard to get. We spent many happy days while he was being mustered out of the navy. He gave insurance lectures during this time.
We had another baby, Sylvia. When she was about eight months old, we were in a terrible automobile accident. We had traveled to Bountiful to administer to a very dear friend who had had a baby that was not right. We had been having fund raising projects for three days and this was a Saturday night. On our way home a car filled with young boys and their dates coming home from a basketball practice, turned their car directly into our path and the car was almost cut in tow. Two people were killed and the rest badly hurt. I was thought dead as so many things were wrong. My leg was badly destroyed opposite hip socket torn loose, my face was literally destroyed. Nose cut almost off, pallet torn loose, teeth out, head and diagonal cut from one side of my face to the other severing both lips, which controlled the muscle that controls my smiling. We were picked up by a (?) after delivering a body to Provo. It was Mervill Holbrook, who knew Helaman. He took us to the St. Marks Hospital on the 7th of December 1946.
George Robert Thackeray
Contributor: MDSIMS Created: 7 months ago Updated: 7 months ago
George Robert Thackeray was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on the twenty-ninth of June 1860 to George Thackeray and Helen Condie. Before him were born Helen and Martha who were four and two and a half years old at the time of his birth. George Robert was the first son and so was named for his father and his father's father. George’s father was a convert to the Mormon Church and had come from York, England. His mother had come with her convert parents from Scotland.
When George was three years old his parents moved to the Lost Creek Valley and Morgan County and lived the first winter in a home dug into the side of a mountain. By the time George Robert was ten years old he had two more brothers and two more sisters, Thomas, Nan, Joseph and Eliza. Sadly baby Joseph died when he was eighteen months old. In 1870, at the age of ten George was baptized. During these years George as the oldest son helped his father build a rock home for his growing family. When George was a teenager his mother gave birth to three more children. A daughter Mary Jane called Jenny, a son Howard and a daughter Adeline. This made a total of nine brothers and sisters for George.
We know that George was ordained both a deacon and a teacher in his church on the 12th of September 1877, and two years later on June 7th, a priest. He was nineteen at the time. George lived at home with his parents until he was 23 years old and married Annie Elizabeth London from nearby Croydon. They traveled to Salt Lake City by wagon to be married in the Endowment House there. On the 5th April 1883, the two of them slept in the wagon box, separated by sacks of grain to ensure that there was nothing improper about the trip. Once they returned they took up residency in the two north rooms, which had been added on to his parents' home.
For a short time, George and Annie lived in Grass Creek where they took in boarders who worked in the coalmines there. George used to love to tell the story of the Chinese cook they had whom he discovered softening the biscuit dough by spitting mouthfuls of water on the dough as he kneaded it! George decided he wanted to homestead some land so they returned to Croydon. Once back in Croydon, he farmed the land and began raising cattle.
George also kept himself busy raising children. By the year of their tenth wedding anniversary he and Annie had five children. Their names were Laura, Ada, Thomas, Zina and Mark. George served in his church responsibilities faithfully. He was called as the President of the ward Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association and later as the Assistant Superintendent of the Croydon Sunday School.
In 1894 George was called to leave his family and serve a mission in Tennessee. He left his wife with five children under ten to care for in his absence. He left in April of 1894, but contracted Yellow fever while he was gone and had to return by that July because of his health. The following February 10th, Annie gave birth to a baby boy Parley who lived for only three days.
In 1895 George bought a third interest in a sawmill with Thomas A. Condie and John Hopkins, but was deceived into selling the property. Later that year, he and Thomas Condie were set apart by Samuel Francis to labor as home missionaries in the Morgan Stake. He had previously been ordained an elder and a seventy and on February 16, 1896, he was ordained a high priest. This was just after he was called to serve as the third Bishop of the Croydon Ward and ordained by Joseph F. Smith on January 18th.
George continued to involve himself in civic affairs. He was identified with the development of the Echo Reservoir and contributed to irrigation and reclamation projects in both Morgan and Summit Counties. He served as Bishop for over seven years. This responsibility demanded much of his time. In those days bishops were paid tithing in kind and he received butter, eggs, meat and other produce, which he hauled regularly to Morgan in a wagon. On July 12, 1899 another baby girl, Elsie, was born into the family. George Robert loved his children but according to Zina, "Father's word was law but occasionally Mother could persuade him to see things her way. It must have been through love, after they went to bed, for I can't remember them ever quarreling." Just after George's release as the Bishop his wife had another son. He was born on April 28, 1904 and they named him Horace Emmanuel.
George continued to divide his time between ranching, community service and his growing children. When he was almost fifty-one and his wife forty-six they had another child. The baby, John, was born on the 22nd of January 1904, but did not live beyond that day. George and his family had to face another tragedy the following year when their house burned to the ground. He and his wife had taken a trip to Salt Lake City and upon his return he stopped in Morgan to see his daughter, Laura. Annie had stayed on in the city. It was while walking to Laura's small house across from the telephone office, that he heard the operator shouting that John London was calling to say the Thackeray home was burning.
George had planned on riding to Croydon with his son Royal after a dance he had attended, but now the two of them and Zina, who was also in Morgan, raced their horses for home. The neighbors had managed to save the downstairs furniture and put everything outside in the snow. Little Horace was seven years old and stood standing in the snow crying because his new Christmas axe had burned. The house burned to the ground. Royal had put extra coal in the kitchen stove and the fire started above it in the upstairs room. Others thought it started in an upstairs closet from a candle left when someone went for clothes for the dance. Zina said later, "Nobody knows what caused it - I most likely."
Fortunately the cattle ranch was prospering and George could afford to build a new home. It was a yellow brick house and the largest in town. All of his children and their families congregated there often, especially for Christmas. George loved Christmas. He gave a dollar to the first one who woke him up Christmas morning with this rhyme. "Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, a pocket full of money, a cellar full of beer, and a big fat pig to last you all year."
He kept the silver dollar under his pillow. George gave a silver dollar to each of his grandchildren for Christmas. Sometimes he gave $2 or more to those going away to school and always $25 to his own children. Once, in his later years he surprised them when he gave them each $1,000. When the number of children increased so that the silver dollars were being lost, he replaced them with dollar bills in folders from the bank with their names on them. After the gifts were given out by Santa, who was one of his sons dressed in George's calfskin fur coat and a mask, the children put on a variety show with poems, dances and songs.
His granddaughter Jane remembered his Christmas speeches. How "Gramps" said the blessing and the sleigh rides down the hill. "And then I remember watching him doze before the fire - well pleased with the day."
George's cousin Thomas Condie had married Annie's sister, Alice. When his cousin passed away, George took responsibility for advising Alice in her affairs. His nieces loved him very much. One of them, Lula, said, "Aunt Annie and Uncle George were two of the most generous people who ever lived. Uncle George killed a beef each Christmas and divided it amongst his relatives and friends. We spent a lot of time with them."
George served as county Commissioner for two years and later in 1921 decided to retire from the ranching business. He bought a house next door to his daughter, Zina, in Ogden and moved there at the age of sixty-one. However, George was not able to really retire and spent most of his summers back out at the ranch keeping an eye on things. Some of his sons had taken over and his grandsons were now old enough to be working on the place. Many of the special family occasions were still celebrated up in Croydon. During these years he had a close relationship with Zina's children who lived next door to him.
In 1946, after his death, Jane wrote: "I can remember, as though it were yesterday, watching Uncle Royal and Gramps replacing poles in the old barn in Croydon, having him haul me out of the granary where I'd spilled something I shouldn't have. I can see him now standing on the back porch, when that big old closet used to be there, pulling off his boots and throwing them in and then telling mother to 'hurry-up, hurry-up, or you won't get anything to eat.' I remember too what a fuss he made when his son took out the old coal stove and he couldn't get his feet warm any more. After he moved to Ogden, we once started up 24th street with a watermelon and both wanted some so badly we ate it before we got home."
In 1933 George and Annie celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary at the Bigelow Hotel in Ogden. This was a great family celebration, which was attended by all of his descendants, but only two months later, Annie passed away. George did not like being alone and soon after he rented the house out and moved in with his daughter, Zina and her family. He also spent part of his time on the ranch with his son, Royal, at the family home. He was a very lonely man and at times lapsed into past memories. He was not content to stay with anyone for long. He was still a very handsome man and carried himself erect, but he lost much of the weight and height of his youth. He preferred gray suits and wore expensive, well-cut clothes.
On the 18th of October 1946, at the age of eight-six, George died in the downstairs bedroom of the brick home in Croydon that he had built for his wife and family. He is buried beside Annie in the Thackeray plot, overlooking the valley where he lived most of his life. Jane wrote: "His was a good life, a wholesome one, a profitable and happy one and it is my earnest hope that I can be a credit to one I loved dearly."
From some memories of his descendants gathered and mainly written by Dianne Friden and Beth Hubbard