The 1980’s start out with Wesley Ryan Lamb’s birth on March 22, 1980. Lloyd and Maxine couldn’t have loved those boys any more if they tried. The boys were a matched set, two little blond boys, happy and playful.
Next, Anita married Scott in 1984. This was the same year I had just met Paul and they were married in a meadow at Oak Grove Park.
When I met Paul on April 1, 1984, I’d been cruising on the Avenue (Pacific Avenue) and was with a friend who knew his friend. We stopped to talk to them. Paul never said a word to me, the entire night. I saw him again the next week and this time, we did talk. We hung out that night in the backyard of his next door neighbor’s house. The next door neighbor wasn’t home but we sat in the backyard and talked. At one point, I needed to use the restroom and he said we could go right next door to his house. Lloyd was in the living room and we stopped and said hello.
Some time a week or so later, Paul had invited me over to hang out at the neighbor’s house. When he needed something from home, I walked with him but waited in the driveway. Anita raced out the door and introduced herself to me. Apparently she just wanted to get a look at me. My husband had a reputation for dating dumb girls with big boobs. I wasn’t dumb haha.
Anyway, Paul and I started dating casually for the first few months. Sometime later, probably about six months in, Paul had been at a party and was drunk and angry at the next door neighbor. Lloyd called me at home to say Paul was very upset and could I come over there? My mother said yes, so I drove over. I calmed Paul down and at this point it was probably 1 in the morning and Lloyd asked if I would stay the night. It was funny because I don’t think Maxine was thrilled and Paul was still angry and insisted I sleep next to him on his bed. His father agreed (nothing happened, for heaven’s sake, haha) and Maxine was, um, formal the next morning. I explained everything to my mother and she agreed it was better that I stayed and helped Paul. I think both of our parents understood that Paul and I were serious and that we’d be in each other’s lives. I think that is when Maxine’s attitude toward me changed. When I met her, Maxine thought I was another girl with big boobs and so she was very stiff and formal with me. However, I guess I wore her down because I know she really came to love me.
After we’d dating for a couple of years, Paul’s parents were headed to Salt Lake to visit Grandma Bea and Grandpa Bill. Paul wanted me to go. My mother agreed and thus I went to Salt Lake for the first time. Nothing could have prepared me for riding in a car that Grandpa Bill was driving. I’ve never been so scared in my life and I’ve ridden in a taxi in Mexico. Grandma Bea’s relatives were visiting from England. Uncle Jack had been married to Grandma Bea’s sister. Along with Uncle Jack, were his son and daughter in law, Neil and Valerie. They were all very nice and just a bit tough to understand. It was a lot of fun. Of course, Great-Grandma Bea liked me, and was always on my side. In fact, not long after Dad and I got married, some ex-girlfriend of his called the house. Grandma Bea told her that he was married and Paul wouldn’t want to talk to her.
The following year, the Bennetts, Junior and Seniors were planning a trip to North Carolina. Paul wanted me to come, too, as well as Grandma Bea. We stayed with Paul’s Aunt Darlene, Uncle Henry and his cousin Rodney. All nine of us traveled in a van together for a week. It was a fun visit. It was the first time I’d had a chance to visit civil war locations and I loved it. I also was able to see Kitty Hawk and Jamestown, Virginia. I really loved that trip. I stayed in the hotel room with Grandma and Grandpa, haha. Paul stayed with his parents and Rodney stayed in his parents’ room. We really did have a fun trip.
I traveled a lot with my in-laws. One trip was to see the elephant seals here on the west coast and Paul ended up having to work. Lloyd said there was no reason why I shouldn’t go anyway, so I did.
Paul babysat his nephews a lot and little Wesley, he was so sweet as a little boy. He was very relieved when Paul and I actually married, because he wanted to call me Aunt Yvonne too. Our lives were filled with kids, from the get go. Besides his nephews, my nephews went with us a lot and they became friends too.
In 1988, we traveled back to Salt Lake City for Grandma Bea and Grandpa Bill’s anniversary party. My father in law asked me to help him plan the party. I had planned a few large scale parties, including my parent’s anniversary party, and Lloyd trusted me.
By September 9, 1989, Paul and I were married in Morris Chapel. My in laws had a beautiful dinner in the backyard on Valencia for the rehearsal dinner. It was a lot of fun.
We left the 1980’s with the Bennett clan just a bit fuller, and head into the 1990’s, where we lose our patriarch.
Here is a video of a very typical scene at the Bennett household on Christmas morning.
Mary Butterworth was born on March 7, 1892 at 20th East in the home where she spent her girlhood. Her parents were William James and Melinda North Butterworth. She was next to the youngest of six children and so tiny when she was born that no one thought she would survive. Her Grandmother North urged her parents to name her quickly before she died. She was named Mary for her Grandmother Butterworth and Arriminta for her Grandmother North. Mary Butterworth was told that she was so tiny her grandmother’s wedding ring would slip over her hand.
Her siblings were Annie, Melinda, William, John and Effie. Aunt Mirian describes her mother as not very tall and not very pretty, a mousy little lady. Mary Butterworth was more than her looks and Aunt Mirian says she was the reason everyone went home on Sundays to visit. Mary surrounded her children with unconditional love, even when they didn’t deserve it.
Mary was the type of mother who read bedtime stories to her children. I think she was my kind of mother. Aunt Miriam said at times her mother would nod off while reading and she’d have to nudge her awake.
She took excellent care of her children and was very particular about their hair being combed and faces and hands washed before they were allowed to go along to Grandma Bailey’s house. Mary was a mother who governed with strict obedience. Her favorite punishment for almost everything was “sitting on a chair” for a prescribed number of minutes. She was not averse to using a little willow on some naughty little legs, either. She would not put up with a saucy mouth and often prescribed “thimble pie” to those who disobeyed. “Thimble pie” as my own children can attest, was a quick thump on the top of the head, a quick little flick to let a child know that disobedience would not be tolerated. My mother in law Maxine prescribed to the same practice and now I can see where she got it. I’m surprised my husband doesn’t have a permanent dent on the top of his head.
Aunt Mirian said her mother wasn’t a fancy cook but could remember wonderful Sunday roasts and fried chicken and tender pie crust along with her sage dressing, a recipe from her mother.
Mary loved Thanksgiving, and everyone helped prepare the meal. Everyone had their favorite dishes that had to be included in the tradition. Aunt Mirian’s girls helped Mary with the preparations for last Thanksgiving of her life. Mary’s diary entry read, “In the evening, Mirian’s girls and Claron’s Besty came over and crumbled bread for the dressing. Kathryn came over after mutual. She ate some crusts, too and afterward we played Chinese checkers. It was all fun.”
Mary was an excellent seamstress. She taught her daughters to sew and embroider, too. She praised the girls when their stitches were small and neat and made them pick them undone when they were not. She encouraged her girls to write and they were allowed long uninterrupted hours in the back porch room scribbling away on a story.
Mary was a fine pianist and Aunt Mirian says Mary must have been so happy with Maxine, who was able to sit and practice piano playing for hours on end. Mary taught children piano for years and years.
Aunt Mirian says Mary was never robust and must have been rather fragile as a child. Given that she almost died, I’m not surprised. She was pampered and protected by her parents and her siblings alike.
Mary was valedictorian when she graduated the 8th grade. Aunt Mirian says she has a picture of Mary seated in the middle of her classmates with her serious little face, diploma held proudly in her hand and the picture speaks volumes of her dedication to scholarship. I have two girls who both feel the same way about their education. I am grateful for Mary’s genes!
Aunt Mirian’s opinion of her mother was that she was certain her mother never had an impure thought in her entire life and that she didn’t abide lewdness in any form. The only swear word she ever uttered was “de-amn” and always directed at herself.
She read the Church news from cover to cover every week. She upheld the Brethren in the face of Papa’s rebel comments, but her admonitions were couched in, “now, Leonard, dear…”. I can’t say how fortunate we are to have Aunt Mirian’s words of love for her parents. We have such a first-hand accounting of Mary and Leonard.
Mary believed a real woman never left the house without a hat, purse and gloves. Mary was generally even tempered but could be stubborn, too. Mary wore her hair, which was neither thick nor lustrous, combed back from her high forehead and twisted into a bun at the nape of her neck. Aunt Mirian always wanted her mother to cut her hair which was how all the other mothers wore their hair when the kids were in school. She refused.
Aunt Mirian only had one quarrel with her mother and it was one she regretted her whole life. Her Aunt Effie, who had lived with her Uncle John as neither had ever married, was of ill health and thus, after Uncle John had passed away, her Aunt Effie had moved into Mary and Leonard’s home. Mary was spending her days and nights caring for Effie who was suffering from diabetes and had large sores on her feet.
Aunt Mirian and her father Leonard both felt that Mary’s life was being taken over by caring for her Aunt Effie and Mary’s own health was suffering. Mary was growing visibly tired from the constant care her sister required. Mary refused to put her sister in a rest home and Leonard began railing against her continued living in their home.
Aunt Mirian felt that her mother was being unreasonable. Mirian could think of no solution and no amount of discussion would get her mother to agree. Mirian resorted to a threat. She told her mother she wouldn’t talk to her nor would she visit until her Aunt had been put into a home. Aunt Mirian hadn’t taken into account the Butterworth love and loyalty and stubbornness.
The days went by and Aunt Mirian continued to stay away. They were at a total impasse until one day Mirian’s sister in law called to let her know she had taken Mary to the doctor. There was a suspicious lump in one breast and a biopsy had been scheduled. Mirian raced to the hospital to find her mother laying on the bed, groggy but awake. Not a single word was spoken about their disagreement beyond Mary’s understanding and that she forgave Mirian completely.
The lump was malignant and she had a radical mastectomy that night. Two of Aunt Mirian’s cousins, along with Aunt Mirian, finally put her Aunt Effie in a rest home. They never spoke of it after that. It wasn’t long before the doctor said that the cancer had been in her lymph system and had spread to her lungs, that she wouldn’t have long to live. Aunt Mirian begged the doctor not to tell Mary, to let her go on thinking she would be fine.
Not too long afterward, on the morning of June 27th, 1962, on Mary and Leonard’s 45th wedding anniversary, Leonard called Mirian to say Mary wasn’t feeling well at all and she flew along the road to see her mother. Mary lay in her pink flowered nightgown, her head turning restlessly on her pillow. She looked at Mirian as if she were trying to think of who she was. Finally, Mary said, almost to herself, “Oh, dear, I didn’t want to go!”. She was quiet for a moment as if she were mulling over her last words, then said, “Please take care of Daddy.” She never spoke again. The doctor came and said she’d had a major heart attack and if it were his mother, he’d let her rest in her bed. It wouldn’t be long.
Mary lay in a coma. Her grandchildren tip-toed in to say their goodbyes and her children stayed by her side. Her boys were silent and perplexed, Maxine weeping next to Aunt Mirian while Leonard sat at one side of the bed. Mary’s breathing quieted until it simply stopped, as if she had fallen to sleep. Mary left this world surrounded by her family, wrapped forever in their cocoon of love.
Mary Butterworth Bailey died on June 27, 1962 and is buried in Wasatch Cemetery, Salt Lake City, Utah, in view of Mount Olympus.
Leonard was born on August 7, 1889 at the old Bailey home, 3578 South, 13th East, Salt Lake City, Utah to his parents Reuben Josiah (R.J.) and Alice Ellison Park Bailey. Leonard’s siblings who came after he was born were Bertha, Vivien, Delores, Erwin, Errol and Marvin. As described by Aunt Mirian, Leonard and other Bailey family members were fiery tempered, worldly, opinionated, mostly superficially religious, judgmental, proud gun-toting ranchers.
His father, known as RJ, was a sheep rancher and Leonard was brought up on a ranch. Aunt Mirian goes on to describe her father as charismatic, unpredictable, tender-hearted, violent, unforgiving, generous, proud and passionate.
Leonard was a larger than life character, a man of many talents and passions. He attended “North School” then graduated 8th grade and attended the University of Utah for two years until his father, RJ, showed up and asked the teacher if Leonard would be better served staying at college or coming home to the sheep ranch business. His teacher had replied that Leonard was very lucky to have a business to go to and thus Leonard ended up as a sheep rancher. He did go on a Mormon mission to the eastern United States.
Leonard loved to tell the story of how he met his wife, Mary. Leonard went to a ward party where he felt stiff and uncomfortable as he was fresh off the range and herding sheep. A slender young girl dressed in pink came and sat down by him and struck up a friendly, casual conversation. Of course, they belonged to the same ward so they knew each other by name and Marian says her mother, Mary, came from people who were genteel, long suffering, modest, accommodating, deeply religious farm folk. Marian was certain her mother was feeling sorry for her father and Leonard never forgot that evening. He wrote a poem, “Pink Lady” dedicated to Mary and he compared their meeting with two ships encountering each other “on life’s rugged ocean” and their subsequent journey together.
Leonard wrote many letters to Mary, starting in October of 1914. Aunt Mirian’s recounting includes part of his letter, “Dear friend Mary, you will be surprised to get a letter from one out on the desert lands. We are on our way to the winter range once more with the sheep. I am going to ask you if I could correspond with you this winter. Friendly letters help so much in more ways than you may well imagine, especially to one out in these circumstances. If you would consent to such a thing, I would respect you highly and appreciate your letters. Hoping that you will grant my wish and that everything is well with you, I remain your friend Leonard Bailey.”
His letters went from “Dear Friend” to “My Dear Mary” to one year later, “My Dear Girlie” and then boldly, “My Little Sweetheart.” The letters are filled with descriptions of lonely days, the rigors of camp life out with the sheep, changing seasons and finally changing hearts.
Only Leonard’s letters remained because he had periodically burned Mary’s responsive letters to keep prying eyes of the camp tenders off of the letters. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple and their reception was held at the Granite High School gymnasium on June 27, 1917.
Later in life, Leonard related to his children about his wedding night. It seems that his mother had given him a certain little self-help book for the newly to be wed young man. In it, Leonard said, the groom was counseled to be mindful of all the pre-nuptial trauma that his bride had had to deal with, parties, wedding plans, dress fittings etc., and in deference to her shattered nerves he should postpone any idea of consummating the marriage until he felt certain she was sufficiently calmed down and well rested. By the third night of their brief honeymoon, at a hotel in town, according to Leonard, Mary was in tears, her maidenly modesty prohibiting any questions as to what might be the matter and fears she had probably had about the wedding night were magnified by her groom’s apparent disinterest. Leonard would laugh at how he’d gathered Mary in his arms, trying to explain his seeming lack of ardor.
Leonard and Mary went on to have five children, (Leonard) Vaughn, Mirian, Claron, Maxine and Vayles.
Leonard was a man who would climb on the floor to play horse with his children. He had a quick mind and loved word games, mathematical tricks and story-telling. He was talented at drawing, art and poetry. He loved to sing and would sing “Oh, I am a Utah Man, Sir” with gusto in a great baritone voice.
He expected obedience from his children at all times. Lying meant real trouble, talking back was forbidden and quarreling when they were small would be punished with a spanking. He was a man who cared deeply about his children’s education and was just as likely to be in their corner as not. When his girls would go on a date, he’d tell them, “Be a lady, Tootsie.”
One of the stories that made me laugh was that Leonard and Mary had a pact between them. When one of the children were sick and had been vomiting, he’d be the one to clean it up as it would make Mary ill if she did. However, Mary would be the one to change every dirty diaper as Leonard couldn’t handle that. Paul and I have had the same arrangement. One day, Paul had baby Taylor at home while I was working. She had a messy diaper and Paul thought he should just cut it off her so he wouldn’t have to pull the dirty t-shirt over her head. I told him, “Don’t you dare cut that off her.” That arrangement served Paul and I well and clearly, Leonard and Mary were served equally well.
Leonard loved Christmas time and he would help twist red and green streamers of crepe paper that were hung from the light fixture in the front room. He always brought home a tree from White’s grocery and joined in on the trimming festivities. He could scarcely wait for his kids to get up on Christmas morning and if they waited too long, he’d go down the hall shouting that he was pretty sure Santa had come.
When he turned fifty, Mary arranged to have all of his poems typed up and bound into a book for his present. The book was bound in a handsome leather cover with “Poems of Fact and Fancy” in gold across the front of it. Leonard was ecstatic with his gift.
Leonard’s ranching days went through a difficult time and at times there was hardly enough money to keep one going. He never owned a car until 1951, when most of his children were married. He bought Maxine a new 1951 Chevrolet for her to drive back and forth to work when she began teaching school.
One of Leonard’s poems entitled, “To The Pioneers” was read into the Congressional Record in Washington, D.C. during the inauguration of the Bringham Young Statue in the Capitol rotunda. He was so proud of that accomplishment.
In 1954, Leonard suffered a serious accident at the Utah Oil plant where he worked. A huge scaffolding fell in a high wind and struck his shoulder, transmitting the shock through his body to his right knee. It was completely shattered.
Mary Bailey passed away in 1963. Leonard continued to live alone, ever stubborn and insistent on living his own way. His children would take turns having him to dinner. Some time after his wife died, he was crossing the road to visit a neighbor when he was hit by a speeding car. He was forced to stay with Mirian’s family for a year while he convalesced. He was a model patient and very pleasant the entire time he was there. One day, Mirian looked out the window to see her father using his walker to slowly make his way down the road. Mirian ran out and said, “Papa, what are you doing?” and he replied, “I just wanted to go home for a little while.” He was so independent he just couldn’t wait to get back to his own home.
One of Leonard’s favorite pranks to play on an unsuspecting child was to ask, “How do you spell your name, my boy?” and after the young man had replied with spelling his name, Leonard would respond with, “I would spell it Y-O-U-R-N-A-M-E”. I can remember Maxine asking the same question lol.
In 1979, Leonard was 89 years old when Marian walked in to find her father sitting in his chair, partially clothed and unable to speak. He’d had a stroke and was taken to the hospital then sent to a rehabilitation hospital. He recovered some of his speech, but it was clear he was living somewhere else. He’d say, “My, Toots, just look at those horses coming through the door.”
Leonard died on June 19, 1979, just two months short of his 90th birthday.
Maxine left a letter, describing her father’s funeral. She said 286 people signed the register. Vayles offered the family prayer. Leonard lay in his casket in his temple clothing, looking serene. The Bishop spoke of Leonard as a valiant and strong son whom Heavenly Father sent to earth nearly 90 years ago. He said Leonard had poked lots of Deacons with his cane, and made no bones about protesting what he thought was error or injustice. One of the injustices Leonard thought was of the church itself. They would have funerals in the chapel and the descendant’s body would be wheeled to the front and would have to leave down the same aisle. Leonard felt that wasn’t right and railed to have a door installed in the back of the church, for the body to be removed through. After some time, the door was finally installed, and the Bishop said it was the Leonard Bailey door and would be called such, forevermore. Leonard Bailey was wheeled through the Leonard Bailey door, to be laid to rest at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park.
The 1960’s find Lloyd and Maxine along with all four kids living in Stockton, CA. My father in law Lloyd moved to Stockton first, began his job and lived in a small apartment. We are so used to reading Maxine’s words as she left a diary for every year of her life. She didn’t always reveal her inner self in her diary but occasionally she would let her feelings show.
On the other hand, Lloyd never wrote in a diary. But, we found some letters he wrote in the mid 1960’s to his parents. He wrote, “I hope that next time Mom goes to S.F. that she remembers her long “woolies” so that she doesn’t freeze to death in the S.F. cool.” That sentence made me smile. I can hear his voice in my mind. His letter details what it was like to live in Stockton in the mid-1960’s. He said, “The downtown area of Stockton is rather “ratty”. So, downtown Stockton was “ratty” in the 1960’s? How long ago was downtown Stockton great? Good lord, 60 years of a crappy downtown. Well, maybe someday it will get better.
His letter says the house he’s looking at is “2 1/2” blocks from Kelly Park which is a neighborhood development of Colonial Heights for which we pay $28.00 a year for it’s use.” He ends his letter saying, “… can hardly wait for the September 17th, date which is our tentative get together time” with Maxine and the kids.
On September 11, 1966, Lloyd says “It was so exciting to talk to Maxine this morning because it is our last ‘Sunday’ call. She and those dear children of mine should be in Stockton next Saturday morning unless something terribly unforeseen happens between now and their arrival.”
He was waiting to hear about his home loan, “Although I haven’t yet received final word on the house loan, I’m hoping against hope I’ll get the final approval tomorrow.” He did.
His next letter is from September 18, 1966 and he says, “I sat in our garden today, under the great oak that dominates our backyard scene. I had in my hand several bunches of sweet concord grapes and a bunch of Flaming Tokay grapes that I had picked from the grape arbor at the end of the lot. They were simply delicious, so sweet and so fresh”. They had such a beautiful lot. Those grapes were there for a long time. Maxine put in blackberries in the same area (just past the sand turtle she put in for the kids).
One of his last lines says, “The oak is massive and quite a sight. I looked it over today and have located the ideal limb for a swing – so a rope and a board will be required for a “young people’s enjoyment spot.” Not only did his children enjoy that swing, so did his grandchildren. Everyone loved the swing.
He’s talking to his parents and goes on, “I’m proud to say that one of the attributes I’ve received from both of you is to give my employer my best and not be afraid of hard work. I thank you for that heritage-you both are such hard workers and truly dedicated employees.” His closes his letter, “Loads of love, Lloyd.”
The next letter is dated October 9, 1966. He says, “It’s a beautiful Sunday morning here in Stockton and the girls including Momma, are attending their first Sunday school while Paul and I enjoy a morning together.”
He says “It’s probably unnecessary to say that I’m pleased to have us again united as a family. This business of living alone is for the birds. It was a real pleasure to have picked up my family a week ago last Friday and I brought them to our new home. Paul loved me all the way to Stockton and would reach over and hug me every few minutes. When he arrived he was harnessed to Maxine and he broke into tears when he saw me because he couldn’t run to meet me. Above all else, however, the light of my life has arrived and life again has a sense of real balance and purpose with her by my side.” Now, in all fairness to my mother-in-law, Paul took apart a water fountain on this trip (he was 3) and she was traveling with a three year old, five year old, seven and nine year old kids. I might have used a harness, too.
“We’re enjoying the new house immensely and have already cut new doorways and started making some remodeling plans.”
His update includes the kids, “Carol has had her ninth birthday and was most delighted with your gift. She loves money, particularly the green folding kind and has spent some of it on a basket for her bike and a new combination lock for her bike so she can lock it up when she rides to school.
Mary Jean is making many friends (as usual) and has been to several activities with friends, including a birthday party.
Anita is as mischievous as ever and full of ‘old nick’. She keeps us hopping, believe me, but she is also so affectionate that you cannot help but love every bit of her. I believe she has her father’s number and I’m sunk when she comes to me with a kiss or a hug.
Paul is his typical affectionate and helpful self and is constantly suggesting that we go over and visit grandma or grandpa. I’ve tried to explain the distance to him but this doesn’t stop his request for a visit.”
He ends this letter, “Paul just came in –gave me a hug-then rushed out again for more tricycle riding on the driveway. He’s a dear soul and so darn loveable.”
Lloyd gave Maxine the last page to add her thoughts to her in-laws and then at the very end, you can see all three girls wrote notes to their grandparents. These are so precious. It seemed California living was agreeing with the Bennett clan.
Here is a video Taylor took of Maxine and Lloyd’s yard in 2010. Much of it was the same and very well loved.
Miss Maxine Bailey traveled to the L.D.S. Chapel in McAllen, Texas in 1946. She was there for her mission. She spoke Spanish flawlessly and the Hispanic members of her church were very dear to her. I didn’t realize when Mormon’s went on a mission that they could be sent domestically. I had assumed that it was an over-seas event but Maxine traveled from Salt Lake to Texas.
I only knew Maxine as an adult but I do have a good idea of how she must have been as a teenager/young adult. She was such an earnest person. While Maxine wasn’t overtly “touchy/feely”, she was so caring that you could always see how deeply she cared. I’m sure that is what she took on her mission.
What Maxine did on her mission is very well documented. She took hundreds of photographs while in Texas. As you can see, they are all very high quality photographs. Then, on the back of every photograph, is a detailed explanation including names, dates and events. Maxine would continue to identify every photograph that she took. I can assure you, I never had that kind of detail from my mom. Haha, not to disparage my mother but the kind of detail Maxine provided was something that can’t be duplicated.
This first photograph is labeled “Looks like the hen and flock or some of the Madonna pictures” haha. Those little girls are so cute. Maxine looks adorable in the picture, too.
The next is Shirley and LaVina Garrison, Christmas holiday 1946
The Fernandez family, Elvira, Tossie, Mollie, Raul and Senora Fernandez near Keene Street, Houston Texas February 19, 1947.
The next picture says there must have been an error in ordering this picture. That tells me that the photographs were taken by the missionaries of the church and then ordered through the church. I could tell they were a good quality.
The next is a picture of Maxine, wearing a red corsage made of pipe cleaners for Mother’s Day, 1947. She was given the flower for having a mother, lol.
The next photograph is of small children but uncharacteristic of Maxine, no identification on the back. Such cute kids, though.
The next picture cracks me up. There are three young men but it is the gentleman on the right side of the picture. Maxine said his stomach hung over the picture so she drew it in. She is so funny.
This next picture is very sad. Maxine’s explanation says “This man is a neurotic, shell shocked returnee.”
His face looks like he is remembering a horrific experience and that is so sad. Clearly, he has returned from World War II and experienced a dreadful conflict. Terrible.
The last picture is Maxine. Her note says that maybe the hot sun during tracting was responsible for the idiotic expression. That made me laugh. I don’t consider that an idiotic expression, just the expression of a young lady who has a minute to slip off her shoes and take a quick break.
She wrote home and also received newsy letters from her family. This one was sent by her father. As you can see, he calls her Tootsie. He tells her that her mother wanted a new electric range and water heater. He was hoping by spring he could put one in.
Lenard told his daughter he just wrote Vaughn a letter. He dreamed Vaughn was ill the other night. It seemed he was knocked out on an operating table with a young army doctor ready to manicure his appendix. Quite real, it was just “a wild life dream”. His son Vaughn was a soldier in World War II and thus clearly he’d been on his father’s mind. His letter goes on, “I swore in front of Christie the other day and she said, “We don’t say Son of a (bitch)” Christie was Aunt Mirian’s daughter who was about three at the time.
Maxine returns home to Salt Lake and works for a year at Olympus Junior High as a teacher. That is when she meets Lloyd. If you read the previous Lloyd post, you’ll recall she met him while working on a Roadshow put on by her church. Several churches would work them together and he was in college and living in Salt Lake
August 18, 1956
Their wedding was very much a family affair. I love that his Jackson grandparents came from England for his wedding. That is very cool. Maxine’s two nieces were their flower girls. This reminds me of my wedding, also a big family affair.
They took off to Canada for their honeymoon. Here is an article from the newspaper in Canada.
Their children came fast.
Carol was their first born in 1957, Mary Jean in 1959, Anita Maxine in 1961 and finally William Paul in 1963.
I can only imagine that she was relieved at finally having a son. I feel like she had a lot of pressure from her in-laws to produce a male heir. Silly, right? But I also know how she must have felt. I, too, had a female child first. Truthfully, I wasn’t pressured by my in-laws, but Great-Grandma Beatrice was very, um, excited, when we had Jacques and named him William. I think there was a relief that their name would continue. I, too, am glad that our line of the Bennett name continues. Now it is up to my son. But no pressure!
Maxine and Lloyd spent their early years living in Holiday, Utah on Ridgedale Lane. However, one day he came home and said they would be moving to California, specifically to Stockton. He’d taken a position at Karl Holt Youth Correctional Facility near Stockton. I don’t think Maxine was thrilled at moving away from her family but she made the best of it. That was how she was. Given lemons, Maxine would make the best lemonade she knew how. However, I do think secretly she must have been a bit relieved to have some space from her in-laws. Lloyd was very close to his parents and I can’t imagine she had an easy time as a new daughter in law. Maybe that is why Maxine made such a good mother in law. She’d had a tough one and perhaps had vowed not to be that type of person. She was a woman who said, “What can I do for you?” and she meant it. Ask anything in the world and she’d do it if she could. That is the one thing to remember about Maxine. She had a heart the size of Texas. When she gave a hug, it was so tight you’d never mistake it for anything other than genuine emotion. So, the early 1960’s find my in-laws living in a new town writing lots of letters to Bea and Bill Bennett.
The dawn of the new century did not shine bright on the Jacques family. By early January, it was apparent that my mother’s health was in fast decline. By the first week of January, it was clear my mother would not make it to her surprise party. I’d already sent out all of the invitations, so I had to cancel all of our plans and turn around and call everyone, explaining the situation. Instead of coming to her birthday party, they’d be coming to tell her goodbye. Several of her girlfriends from school came to Stockton to visit her. I believe every single family on my dad’s side of the family arrived. It is difficult to remember everyone as one day slid into the next over the course of the next two weeks. The one person who had been my best friend was preparing to leave us. I don’t have enough time in the day to explain my relationship with my mother, but I spent every possible minute with her that I could, and I won’t ever regret it.
Of course, it was most difficult on my father. My parents had such a great love for each other. They knew each other as well as one person can know another and loved each other through every up and down imaginable.
Ruby Mae, whose father had nick named her Jubie, returned to her first family on February 1st, 2000. I know my Grandma Flora, my Grandpa Charles and my Aunt Jean were all so happy to have her home again. I was not. But I had two children, one seven and the other just past his second birthday. I would have to push forward.
The day mother passed away, Jackie and I had been sitting at the end of her bed. No one had left mother’s side and we had simply rotated, taking turns to just sit near her. When she stopped breathing, it was the absence of sound that shocked me. I felt as if I were in a magnifying glass that had been scrunched tight then turned upside down. When it was flipped back, my life was no longer felt the same. Mother’s hospice bed was in the dining room and everyone had lined up to kiss her goodbye before they took her out. I bent over and kissed her forehead, but my tears rolled onto her cheeks. Dad had been standing behind me and said, “See that? Your mother doesn’t want to go. There are tears rolling down her cheeks.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him they were my tears.
Mother’s funeral was well attended, and she was laid to rest at Cherokee Memorial Park. My dad was already suffering from Parkinson’s disease and thus he had a tough time getting around. He was still driving, just to the store or he’d meet me at church on Sunday morning. Eventually he moved into several different senior apartments.
The following summer my nephew Eddie got married in North Carolina. We all flew to North Carolina, including Dad. I left Taylor here in California, as she was in my cousin’s wedding and I would be returning in time for that ceremony. Jacques stayed with his Grandma Bennett.
When I got back to California, summer was ending. I’d taken you kids to the pool when I realized my bathing suit had shrunk. I thought that was so odd.
A month later, I was laying on my back in bed on a Sunday morning when I felt Hailey kicking inside of me. I was so shocked. Truthfully, it was the best thing that could have happened to Dad. He was so pleased with that new baby. I was in a quandary. I wanted to name Hailey after my mother, but I also knew Momma wasn’t fond of her name Ruby and I didn’t know if I could put the name Jubie on a little baby. I settled on Hailey J. Marie Bennett.
I finally gave Hailey just the letter J for her Grandmother. Papa was so damn happy and loved spending every minute with her he could. He would also say Hailey was stubborn. Boy, he exactly right. But Dad’s health problems progressed. I moved him into our home while he waited for another apartment to open up, one where he could have increased care.
In 2001, my brother Tim took Dad on a cruise with Aunt Fran and Uncle Don. His health had declined but my brother was certain he could handle taking dad and he did. He did such a great job taking care of Dad. I can’t even tell you how close Tim became to Dad and my mother would have been so proud of my brother. Dad had a great trip. Tim would push Dad up to the casino and he’d play black jack for as long as he liked. Dad won a ton of money, too. It was a memorable trip.
Dad’s first great-grandchild, Kylee Marie O’Shea had been born and Dad was so pleased with that baby too. Those new little lives put a spark back in Dad. Also having Dad live with me really gave me an opportunity to learn how to cook chili. I had watched him do it a million times but now, he’d sit on a stool in the kitchen, next to the stove and show me step by step. I am so fortunate. Although I’d lost my best friend, I turned that role over to Dad. Jackie and I would never have gotten to know him so well with Momma here and that was a great silver lining.
When my Dad turned 75, I had a birthday party for him. He loved his children and grandchildren and we took lots of pictures together.
Dad had booked another cruise for 2003 but by February, the doctor decided Dad was too ill to go on the cruise. Dad had already paid for the trip and wanted me to take the cruise with Tim. First of all, I would be leaving Dad and all three of my kids. That was tough. I was worried Dad wouldn’t make it until I returned. But he assured me he would be here when I got home. So glad Jackie would visit him while I was gone too. It was a great cruise but very difficult to relax.
My husband did a great job. He took care of the kids, with his parents’ help, but he also took the kids to see their Papa while I was gone. It was one of the nicest things anyone had ever done for me.
I returned home to find that dad’s decline was real. It was time for him to go into a rest home. We had him moved and it wasn’t long before Dad’s time was small. By the last week of his life, I called my relatives to come and say goodbye to him. But his humor didn’t leave him, not even at the end. Toward the last days, we were sitting around his bed and he asked for a coke. Paul went off to get a soda from the machine and when he returned with a Pepsi can, my Dad joked, “I said Coke.” Daddy had a fun sense of humor. Dad left us on June 30, 2003.
Both of my parents were gone. So many great things happened for our family over so many years and the sadness will continue, but my parents go on. They really do. When I see Hailey’s eyes light up at gossip, I think, lord, my mother continues.
My parents surely must have been watching the World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014. My Mom would have jumped ten feet off the ground. Damn, she loved her Giants. That continues through each of us.
Where do we go from here? We go forward. We can’t go back. Every once in a while, I’ll have chili and beans and think, damn, Dad would have appreciated that meal. Or I see a Twinkie and laugh, cause Momma loved Twinkies. Our life wasn’t perfect. My parents weren’t perfect. But we had the best parents for us. We came from a great love. That continues. You children will continue. My parents would have been very pleased, indeed.
William Lloyd (always went by Lloyd) was born on August 21, 1929 in Cardston, Alberta, Canada. I never think of my father in law as a Canadian. When Lloyd was born, his mother Beatrice said that the doctor said, “You can’t deny this one, Bill”. Lloyd looked just like his daddy. He was raised as an only child until he was ten years old. Lloyd was born just as the depression was getting under way and his father had a very difficult time finding work.
Bea was at home with Lloyd and Bill searched week after week to find a job. One day he returned home to find Bea and Lloyd sitting in the dark, as their electricity had been shut off. His parents lost their home in July of 1933 and Bea was pregnant with Lloyd’s baby brother. His mother had the baby, but he died just after birth. Bea said he’d looked just like Lloyd.
The Depression forced his family to move to England, as well as Bea’s longing for home. They were able to both find jobs and moved to a home on Bushland Road, Northampton. They would go to the market on Saturday afternoons. Bea, Lloyd, and Bill would get away and have fish and chips together. That was a meal Lloyd would continue to treasure his whole life. Both of his parents had positions in the Mormon Church. Bea was working in a shoe factory. She had to be at work by 7:30 a.m., worked until 5:30 p.m. and got home from work after 6:30 p.m.. She paid a Mrs. Frost to watch Lloyd, as he was just going to school. Lloyd remembered waiting on the corner, wearing his mother’s wrist watch. She’d given it to him to hold so he would know when she would return from work. His missed his mother.
Eventually, his parents moved back to Canada in the fear that war was on the horizon. It was. Lloyd’s father was very homesick for Canada and was happy to return. This was September of 1939 and Lloyd was ten years old. They finally, after many travails, arrived in Cardston, where they were met by Bill’s family.
They lived with Lloyd’s Uncle Marlin Bennett. Lloyd didn’t like being in Canada, as he wanted to go home to England. He was very popular in school because he was a proper English student and all the children wanted to hear him talk. Lloyd got a baby sister when Darlene was adopted in February of 1940. His sister Miriam, also adopted, joined the family in 1942 and their family was complete.
Lloyd went to school in Cardston, then graduated and went to the University of Utah. Lloyd enjoyed the Boy Scouts program and achieved the rank of Canadian Eagle Scout
Lloyd graduated from high school then took off to Salt Lake City to go to college. He attended the University of Utah. As he was raised a Mormon, he stayed active in the church. Lloyd had a lovely tenor voice and played the piano.
The Mormon Church is split into geographic locations. These levels include a Branch which is their home church, a Ward which is a number of churches in a larger geographic area, and then a Stake. The Stake house is a larger territory where they oversee Wards and activities such as genealogy research. One of the activities that the Stake would perform was (and as recently up to the 2000’s) was called a Road Show. Here is an explanation of the Mormon Roadshow: “Roadshows, 15-minute skits acted by members of an LDS ward were performed over and over in all the wards in an LDS stake in a single night. Performers travelled between church buildings in a caravan of cars on a tight time schedule. They began as entertainment for weary pioneers and blossomed into a full-blown theatrical tradition in the 1950s and 1960s. At the roadshows’ pinnacle, the LDS Church sponsored an all-church competition, bringing regional winners to Salt Lake City for the final competition.” The Roadshow was said to have started with Brigham Young, to encourage the Pioneers to entertain each other.
Lloyd met Maxine Bailey at a Roadshow. She was an excellent piano player and they both were very involved in their church. They worked together, built a friendship and then more. Lloyd and Maxine married on August 17, 1954. Lloyd was 24 and Maxine 28 years old. I, for one, am grateful for their meeting.
The 1990’s arrived and found my parents in a new town. They had moved to a retirement community, just south of Red Bluff, CA and east of Corning, CA. Corning was the area where Mother had moved to as a child in mid-1930. Rancho Tehama was down a very long 10 mile drive off Interstate 5, then past a cow pasture and up into the foothills. The houses were mostly mobile homes and Mom’s property had about a half-acre of land, on a hillside. Their home had two bedrooms and a built in hot tub. There was one bathroom.
One of the consequences of our parents moving was Aunt Jackie moving into her own apartment. With our parents gone, her apartment was very close to our duplex and thus she came to our house all the time. We all traveled to Mom’s a lot.
In fact, when I was very pregnant with Taylor, about 8 months, we’d driven to Rancho Tehama for the weekend and traveled with Aunt Jackie. She was driving my car back, Paul was in the front seat and I was laying in the back seat (I wasn’t feeling great). We had our windshield busted out by a bird. It was very scary. We pulled over on the median and then I drove home the rest of the way, busted windshield and all.
Max Theodore Dodson was born on September 22, 1991 and the following year, Taylor Carson Bennett was born on September 14, 1992. We went to Rancho Tehama a lot when they were little. It was a three hour drive from Stockton. We traveled constantly.
We’d arrive on Friday night at 10 p.m., as we left when Paul got home from work at 7 p.m. Mother would be in bed already and Daddy would be up watching t.v. but really he was waiting for us to arrive. Momma would come out to say a quick hi then straight back to bed. We’d get up on Saturday and they’d make a huge breakfast about 11. By the afternoon, I’d be playing Scrabble with my parents. The house smelled of cigars, as Daddy smoked his cigar while playing at the table.
For dinner, they’d make steaks marinated in olive oil and garlic. The smell of the barbeque always made your mouth water. There were twice baked potatoes and garlic bread. They were such great cooks.
By Sunday, we’d run to Red Bluff to grocery shop. I loved that little town. It was very quaint. That was really when Walmart became a big box store and we’d shop at the one in Red Bluff because it was the only place in town to get what you needed. On the Fourth of July, we’d go to town for the fireworks display. The whole town showed up and the fireworks were shot over a pond. There was only one movie theater and we’d go there during the summer.
Mom and dad had a huge satellite dish, in order to get all of the television channels that they wanted to watch.
Daddy planted vegetables and fruit, along with tulips. My dad planted flowers at every home they lived in.
My parents started traveling. The year Tara was five and Eddie three, my parents had taken them to Disneyland. I got to go on that trip as the teenager so that I could take them on the rides. This time, in the early 1990’s, my parents had purchased a van and took all five of their grandchildren to Disneyland. Tara was 15, Jim was 14, Eddie was 13, and Anthony and Nick were both 10. They had such a great trip. Of course, Nick and Tara fought the entire trip. It happens.
The 1990’s is the decade my parents took a trip back east. Mother had been wanting to travel so they got in their van and drove from California to New York to view the autumn colors. They stopped at my cousin Dickie’s house in New York. My parents got the biggest kick out of that visit. Dickie took them to where he worked in the Senate, and they were very impressed. They thought Lorraine and the kids were great. But mostly, my dad was so damn proud of Dickie and he knew his brother Epie would have been so damn proud of him too.
They also took an Alaskan Cruise. They absolutely loved Ketchikan, Alaska. They were very impressed with all of the ice and of course, made wonderful cruise friends. That’s how my parents were, they could make friends anywhere, with anyone.
They also took a trip to Alabama along with my Aunt Kay and my cousin Cynthia Paulson. They visited with all of my Grandpa Hardin’s relatives and my mother was happy to meet so many cousins. Most of them were redheads and Mother fit right in.
Lenny Holmes, Cindy Wilkinson, Kay Paulson, Tim and Jubie and all that is left of the fireplace where Charles Hardin was raised in Alabama
House as it was when Charles Hardin lived in Falkville,AL
They also took a cruise with Aunt Fran and Uncle Don. They were the best of friends and just had such a fantastic trip together. Of course, when Mother traveled, (prior to everyone carrying a cell phone) I would go for days without hearing from her and it would drive me crazy. It drives me crazy now, not being able to call Momma. In Dad’s video, you can hear Uncle Don say, “Jubie, phone’s for you. Cookie’s calling you again”. Hahaha. That video made me laugh. As much as it makes me cry, it makes me laugh too. Yes, I’d called Uncle Don like seven times while Mom and Aunt Fran were shopping. I might have been a bit impatient. And Uncle Don loved me.
Every time my parents would go on a trip, I’d go stay at their place for a weekend while they were gone. It was never as fun when they were gone.
We also made more than a few trips to New Mexico. The first, when Taylor was just 6 months old. Here she is at the Grand Canyon on our way home.
The next New Mexico trip was in 1996, when Taylor was four. Tim, Jackie and Paul and I along with Taylor, Cammie, Jim and Nick met up with Mom and Dad. They’d driven with Eddie. It was a great trip.
For as much as they loved living in Rancho Tehama, Momma kept her doctors in Stockton. Consequently, she would come back to Stockton every time she had a doctor visit, so in between our trips up there, they’d come back and stay a day or two at a time.
When I was pregnant with Taylor, Momma and Daddy came and stayed for about a week, driving us to the hospital. I went into the hospital and my Mom and Dad took your dad out to dinner. I was perturbed, to say the least. I thought it very unfair that I was laboring away and my parents decided he needed to go eat. Haha, makes me laugh to think of it now. With the pain my mother had, I knew it was very difficult for her to sit at the hospital hour after hour with me. Part way through the night, she had to leave for a few hours but Maxine stayed with me. See, Momma was very happy that Maxine was strong and resilient and able to sit for the long hours my mother couldn’t.
After an emergency C-section, my Mom and my Mother in law were outside of the nursery window, waiting for Taylor to be brought out, along with your aunts, and they both started screaming and jumping up and down when Paul came out with that baby. Paul couldn’t figure out how they knew it was a girl but that pink knit hat had given it away. Gosh, they were so happy. Taylor was the first Bennett granddaughter (followed by Lauren, then Hailey) and the second for my mom and dad. They took us home from the hospital, too. Mother let my dog, Buddy, smell that new baby, then told him that she was ours. Buddy was a very good dog and the only time he misbehaved was licking Cheerios off Taylor’s fingers.
In 1995, we had a 40th birthday party for Tim. That was a very fun day.
Mom and Dad had a good run living in Rancho Tehama.
Mother battled health problems for the entire decade.
Two more great events occurred in the 1990’s. Aunt Jackie and Uncle Roger got married on September 27,1997.
Jim and Stefanie got married on December 28, 1997 in Monterey, CA and then had a church wedding on November 28, 1998. Taylor was the flower girl in each of these weddings.
Eddie was supposed to be in Jim’s wedding but Eddie had enlisted in the U.S. Army and thus missed the service. Anthony filled in for his brother.
These were the last big events my parents were to participate in.
The last grandchild to be born while my mother was alive was William Jacques Bennett. I had toyed with the idea of naming him William Charles, after my grandfather but then I thought about it and really liked the idea of naming him our family name.
The one event that crystallized our family life in the 1990’s was the year we all celebrated Christmas at my mom’s house. I don’t think Jacques was born yet, but every member of our family was present. Usually there would be someone missing from a holiday, but that Christmas, each and every one of us was present. All nineteen of us, under one roof. And yes, one bathroom. That was a hell of a holiday. My mother was so damn happy. We sang songs, ate Christmas dinner, opened gifts, it was every holiday movie rolled into one, much to my mother’s delight. There were people sleeping in every room. Mother had the kids make Christmas lists for her and then she purchased every single item on the list. She said she needed to spoil them while she could.
In the last three years of the 1990’s, Mother’s health really deteriorated. She had a new tumor and we found that the cancer was active again and had spread to her brain. She was 69 years old and was coming up on a big birthday. By the new decade, she would be turning 70 years old. I had another great brainstorm…we should throw Momma a big bash for her birthday. It was going to be a surprise party and I had her invitations designed. Unfortunately, the party was never meant to be.
The turn of the new century was kind of weird. Everyone thought that the whole Y2K thing was real, that at midnight, all of our computers would explode, that the internet would self-destruct and that time would stand still. It didn’t. Paul and I went to dinner on New Years Eve with Momma and Daddy at Stockton Joe’s. Then we picked up the kids and took them back home. But in a way, time did stop for us. Momma had brain surgery, trying to eradicate the cancer. It didn’t work. She and Dad had been forced to sell their home in Rancho Tehama and move back to Stockton. We spent our last Christmas together, as a family, in a small rental home here in Stockton on East Benjamin Holt Drive.
Growing up, my mother had been very particular about her Christmas Tree. She always liked a Silver Tip Christmas Tree. I went out and bought one with elegant branches and that Christmas Tree smell.
I hung all of her lovely decorations and then tinsel, strand by strand. We tried to make it the best Christmas we could. But there was a pall in the air, one that we couldn’t run from, couldn’t hide from, one that would change us forever.
By the dawn of the 1980’s, we’d moved to Stockton, CA. My Grandma Tonita had passed away in the 1970’s, but by the 1980’s my Grandma Flora was ill. After my Grandfather Charles’ heart attack and passing in 1960, she had remarried in 1965. She had married Neil True. My mother wasn’t fond of him, but got along with him, for my grandmother’s sake. We all called him Pappy.
By 1980, Grandma Flora was 78 years old, had suffered a stroke and was then diagnosed with breast cancer. My mother moved her off the hill where she lived in Nevada City, and moved her into a small duplex off of Quail Lakes. Pappy had health issues too. Aunt Kay took care of all the bookwork/banking for them, so my mother took care of Grandma and Pappy. My mother was very close to her mother and she did her level best to take good care of her. However, it was difficult for her to deal with Pappy. My mother would hire someone to take care of Grandma Flora and Pappy would fire them. My mom took a lot of stress from him. Eventually, my mother gave in and she cared for Grandma and Pappy herself during the day and I would get done with school and go and stay there at night, taking care of them. They were mostly asleep the entire time I was there, however I did make them dinner, help them get into bed and then sleep over.
We finally found a nurse that was a godsend. Her name was Emily. Suffice it to say, Grandma Flora liked Emily and so Pappy wasn’t able to fire her.
My mother’s time was consumed by her parents. However, Momma also had three grandchildren with whom she spent a great deal of time.
When we moved to Stockton, Tara Lynn was about two years old. There was a double fireplace that went from the family room to the dining room. Tara would peek through the fireplace and say, “I see Papa through the willow”. Willow was her name for window. She was such a cute baby.
By 1982, Grandma Flora was very ill and not doing well. She finally passed away on May 22, 1982. My mom was devastated. I’ll never forget the sight of her laying on her bed, sobbing. As soon as my grandmother had passed, Pappy’s “family” had arrived to take over with Pappy. They immediately wanted all of the money in Grandma’s account and began packing up their things, including Grandma’s belongings. My mother was so incredibly hurt. She internalized all of the stress and pain
At one point, my sisters and I may have broken into my grandmother’s home and retrieved everything of hers that we could. We may have.
My father squired mother away for a brief trip, hoping to get her back on her feet.
Eventually, Pappy’s family took him to Washington to live out his days. However, once he, too, had died, they shipped him back to California so that he could be buried with Flora.
A short time later, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Mother felt certain that she had developed the cancer from the extreme stress she had suffered. She was probably correct. She also found out she was suffering from diabetes. She had a mastectomy then had radiation and chemotherapy. She fought back.
I used to play Scrabble with my parents. We’d sit at the kitchen table and play for hours at a time. We had such a great time playing that damn game. My mother was difficult to beat. She’d really get a thrill if she got a great word score. She was very competitive and found it impossible to hold back and then my dad would get tired of losing and decide he didn’t want to play any more. So my mom would think about letting him win but she just couldn’t do it. We played games all the time including Dominos, Black Jack, Thirty-One, Poker, and Uno. But we’d always go back to Scrabble.
I graduated from high school in 1983
My parents had two more grandchildren, Anthony Laubenstein and Nicholas Stromgren.
My dad had been working in the Bay Area when we moved to Stockton and he continued to do so. He’d drive down to San Jose on Monday morning, some weeks he’d stay there for the entire week and then return to Stockton on Friday night. We lived at 3218 Harper’s Ferry Court. They were very happy to be back in the town where they’d met.
I met your dad, Paul, in 1984. We’d dated for several years then became engaged. My mother took my mother in law Maxine out to lunch by themselves. I was kinda worried about it but my mother drove them to the Nut Tree in Vacaville for a lovely lunch (as my mother was inclined to do). When they returned, I asked my mother what they talked about. She was cagey, just said that everything was fine. Truthfully, I think my mother was trying to gauge how Maxine would be as a Grandparent. I think my mother recognized that she wouldn’t be on this earth as long as she wanted, wouldn’t be able to grandmother you kids as she thought you deserved. The only thing my mother told me about that lunch was that she was surprised Grandma Maxine had said your dad wasn’t her hardest child to raise, haha.
In 1986, my cousins Rose Marie and Anna Marie Lujan threw a 70th birthday party for Aunt Flora (my dad’s double first cousin).
My parents and really our entire family had the best time. It was a Roaring Twenties costume party and they just had a ball. My dad had a few drinks and my brother ended up driving all of us home.
1987 was the 35th Anniversary. I knew my mother was ill, I didn’t foresee her celebrating their 50th Anniversary, so I put together a wedding for them. My parents had run off to Las Vegas (my Aunt Jean had notoriously given them six months before they divorced) and I just felt they really deserved a large affair. I planned it as if it were a wedding. It was amazing. All of my dad’s friends from when he was a teenager showed up. Relatives and friends alike, it was a hell of a shindig. I was very proud of how their wedding turned out. It was a great party.
By 1989, Paul and I got married. My parents paid for most of my wedding and it was a real opportunity for them to throw a fancy wedding.
We got married at Morris Chapel (yep, same place mother had married that other man) and had close to 200 people attend. Having my dad walk me down the aisle meant the world to me. My mom and Maxine lit two candles on the alter then your dad and I lit one unity candle. We had a nice wedding. Paul and I went on our honeymoon on a Mexican cruise. My mom was mad because I hadn’t called her during my honeymoon.
By the time my wedding was over, Dad decided it was time for him to retire and for them to really start traveling.
We got married in September. We’d go to my mom’s house for dinner every night after work, because I knew Momma would be making dinner and really, why should I have to make a whole dinner too? Haha.
By November 1989, my parents sold their home on Harper’s Ferry Court and had moved three hours away to Rancho Tehama. Their home was in a small community up in the foothills just south of Red Bluff, CA. We really enjoyed spending time there. I also learned how to cook for myself. The end of the 1980’s found my parents squirreled away in a region where there were birds to watch, deer who visited and a daughter who called her mother every day, sometimes three and four times a day.
The new decade brought about new grandchildren, a new home and the end of the Jacques family as we knew it.
Venita Maxine was born the fourth of five children to Leonard R. Bailey and Mary A Butterworth Bailey. Her siblings were (Leonard) Vaughn, Claron, Vayles and her one sister Mary Mirian Bailey Wadsworth.
Before I started writing my blog, I had read a copy of a book that had been written by Aunt Mirian. She had given it to her sister Maxine and her writing was so beautiful, I was simply entranced. She detailed their lives of growing up as a family so perfectly, I could see and hear each of the family members without ever having met them. I was hooked. So, part of the descriptions we have of Maxine come from her sister. There was such a truth to her writing that I knew that I wanted to write something like she had written. She had loved her family and shared her words out of that love. That is what I have tried to do with my blog.
Aunt Mirian was five years older than Maxine and said that Maxine had been born at home. They lived at 3507 South, 13th East in Salt Lake City. Because of their age difference, Aunt Mirian thought of Maxine as a troublesome younger sister. She resented having to share a room with her because her sister seemed like a foreigner, mostly because from the day Maxine was born, she was a saint. Maxine had a quiet, sunny personality, gentle and obliging. Maxine lived in a secure little world of her own, reading and drawing, and excelling in everything she did. Except her housework. Mirian recalled chasing Maxine up over the canal bridge and literally dragging her down to the house to finish some chore. That makes me laugh.
When Maxine was three, she was given the privilege of naming her baby brother. I cannot fathom anyone letting a three year old name a baby, but she choose Vayles. And that, my children, is why we don’t let three year olds choose names.
Mirian thought Maxine was predominately a Butterworth, like her mother, inheriting all the good and worthy traits and none of the Bailey fire and brimstone. Maxine moved serenely through childhood, playing with her friend Bernice Cummins across the road. She was undemanding and pleasant, never one to pick a quarrel. When she was two years old, their father taught Maxine to spell all of their names and he delighted in showing her off.
Baby Vayles, Mirian and Maxine
Claron, Baby Maxine, Vaughn and Mirian
Vayles, Maxine, Mirian, Claron, Vaughn
When Maxine was in the 7th grade, her mother had been hit by a car crossing Highland Drive on their way to a show at their church. She was taken by ambulance to the County hospital. Mirian said they had been waiting for a movie to start at the church when a neighbor came to take them to the hospital. Mirian walked into the hospital holding Vayles’ hand, scared to death what they would find. Her mother was lying on a gurney. Her hair had come undone and was hanging over the side of the bed. She had a great bloody gash on her head. Her mother’s face was white with pain and shock but she still whispered that she was alright to her children. Mirian couldn’t recall who had taken the children back to the house, but she’d spent the night next to Vayles, her youngest brother. They were all too upset to sleep. In the morning, a car came down the drive and Mirian thought her mother had died. She hadn’t. It was her Uncle John bringing her father home, but Mirian said she would never forget that awful moment when she was certain her mother had passed away.
Their mother’s pelvis had been fractured and her left leg was broken in eleven places. Some of the doctors thought it should be amputated but her doctor said no. He put a huge cast on it from her thigh down to her toes with ugly looking pins through the knee and ankle.
Mirian says, “I remember dreaming one night that she had indeed died and I ran from the sleeping porch where Maxine and I slept, down the hall to her room and stood by the side of the bed straining in the night light to see if she were breathing. She (her mother) must have sensed me being there because she awakened. I was so relieved I began to cry. She held out her arms and I fell on top of the covers as close as I could manage to get to my mother in her narrow little bed and she held me tightly against her until I could stop crying.”
Maxine was forced to miss the 7th grade completely. She stayed home and cared for her mother after not being able to find a nurse. Maxine was chosen to stay home because Mirian was a senior in high school and her parents wanted her to graduate with her class. Mirian says it didn’t slow Maxine down one bit. Maxine went straight into the 8th grade and brought home straight A’s.
Mirian was given $1 each day and she would have to decide what to make for dinner, walk to the store and then go home and make dinner for “three hungry brothers, a sometimes impatient father, uncomplaining Mama, Maxine and myself.” She’d feed 7 people on that $1 a day. Ground beef was 2 lbs for a quarter and their cow provided milk. They churned butter from the milk and they had plenty of eggs.
Mirian said her diary, during this period of time, was filled with her own withering disapproval of Maxine’s adolescent laziness (as she judged it) and the mountains of wash and ironing she had every Saturday.
We are so lucky to have such a clear picture of Maxine’s childhood: how her life was impacted by the way they grew up on a farm, her mother’s accident, and how the consequences of that accident played into their futures.
The Bailey family was a fine Salt Lake Mormon family and took their religion seriously. One of the tenants of their church is to write in their diary every day. Maxine took this seriously indeed. From the time she was a young girl, Maxine kept a diary and wrote in it every day. Her diaries are very fun to read because most of the diary entries would contain where she went and what she did, but every once in a while, the real inner Maxine comes out. These little gems make each diary a wonderful read.
In the diary from November 13, 1940, her fifteenth birthday, Maxine says she left for school in a “I must appreciate my blessings mood.” She wore an orange dress and her stockings kept sliding down at the knees. She says all in all, school wasn’t much fun that day. Maxine received $2 for her birthday. At the eleventh hour, she went to a carnival at Z.C.M.I. (a department store in Salt Lake. It stands for Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution, the very first department store in the United States. This store was founded on October 9, 1868). Claron didn’t get a doughnut, none of them had cider but it was fun. She ended her birthday by deciding she would ask Eugene to go to the dance with her the next day at school. She didn’t do any of her homework and didn’t put up her hair. She ends her post, “good-nite”.
Vayles and Maxine
School days, Maxine is in front, bottom right
By 1943, Maxine’s birthday entry says her dinner was super. Her best friend Bernice brought her a lovely green scarf and was asked to stay for supper. Mirian and Milton gave Maxine a bracelet and necklace. Vayles gave her a huge bottle of lotion and Claron contributed $2.01 toward the gift. She says they wrapped wedding cake until 11:30 p.m.. and that the bride to be (Mirian) was rather silly. This makes me laugh and we get to see some of Maxine’s thoughts of Mirian. Mirian and Milton Wadsworth were married on November 19th, 1943.
Maxine and friends
Fishing but looking lovely
Maxine graduated from Granite High School in 1943 and not surprisingly, went to McAllen, Texas, on her Mission for the Mormon Church. She learned to speak fluent Spanish and had a terrific experience there.