Category Archives: Bennett/Bailey family

The Bennetts – 2000’s and beyond

 

 

 

 

Well, the Bennett household in the 2000’s started out with a bang. I was a little late in realizing that Hailey J. Marie Bennett had decided she needed to join our family. One day, in fact, September 30, 2000, I was tired and had laid down on the bed. I felt something move inside me. I had no idea I was pregnant. She joined our family on January 18, 2001. Once again my in laws treated me as if I were their daughter, rather than their daughter in law. I felt so bad that my own mother, who’d already passed away the year before, wouldn’t be there. Maxine was there for me, just like she’d been both other times.

Diary entry for Hailey

 

I think the Bennett’s were so shocked that Hailey didn’t look like either of the other two kids. Both Taylor and Jacques and in fact, the entire Bennett Clan, including all of their grandchildren, had blue eyes. Hailey came out with big brown eyes, black hair and was just beautiful. She looked like I did, as a baby.

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Ryan, Hailey, Lauren, Taylor and Jacques

Everyone doted on her and it was clear she was going to be spoiled. Hailey, too, spent a lot of time at her grandmother’s house.

hailey at grandma's house

By 2003, the Bennett household had once again returned to normal. There were Sunday night dinners, Christmas with Lloyd playing Santa to everyone and drop-in care, when needed. Lloyd, Maxine and Bea often took day trips and had visits with family and friends after Lloyd had retired.

Bea, Lloyd and Maxine

 

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By June of 2003, Paul had gotten a ticket in the Modesto area. He wanted me to go with him to court (he disagreed with the ticket) so I asked my inlaws if they would mind watching the kids. My own dad was ill, in a rest home, and not eating. When Paul and I returned to town, we stopped and got my dad something with crab in it, hoping to lure him into eating it. We returned to the Bennett’s house early evening and sat and visited with Lloyd and Maxine on the back porch. We sat there for a long while and just talked. Before we left, we offered the scrumptious dinner that my father had refused to eat to Lloyd. He took it gladly and was pleased to have it.

 

 

 

We took the kids home and that night, at about midnight, we had a phone call, saying Lloyd was at the hospital. My sister picked up my kids and we left for the hospital. When we arrived, we were told that Lloyd was already gone. Paul and I went into the room and sat with him for a while.

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The life we’d known as a family changed that night. It was such a difficult time. Lloyd had eaten the dinner we brought him but was then feeling ill. He decided perhaps there was something wrong with the food and simply went to bed. He’d been in bed for a while when he must have realized something was wrong. I think he must have had a major heart attack and in fact, that was probably why he was feeling ill. I don’t think it was the food at all. But one doesn’t know things like that as they happen. It is only after reflection on an event, can we see more clearly. I suspect he’d had pains that he must have ignored, to have a major heart attack like that. It was very difficult to tell Bea what had happened and she’d been given a sedative only to have her walk out and ask for Lloyd again, forcing us once again to explain the awful news that Lloyd had died.

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Lloyd is buried in Lodi at the Lodi Cemetery. He was the most patient, pleasant man you would have ever had the good fortune to meet. He left a loving family and returned to his maker’s arms.

Bea declined quickly after Lloyd passed away. She died on December 18, 2005. She is buried in Salt Lake City with her love, Bill Bennett, just as she requested.

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We moved next door to Maxine as way to keep track of her. That way, I would cook dinner and she’d come over for a short visit, eat dinner, then go back home. She was definitely “losing track” a bit, and soon, she was having a difficult time remembering what she’d done, what she had eaten or where she’d been. By 2010 or so, she couldn’t remember what the driving rules were and thus couldn’t pass her driving test. But we were right next door, able to take her to the store and her running around.

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Maxine and her dear friends

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Maxine at the ocean
In Santa Cruz with us

Maxine had a dear friend that lived around the block by the name of Liz. Liz relied on Maxine, as she couldn’t leave her home, so Maxine did errands for the both of them. Finally, Maxine had a few incidents like leaving the stove on and it was decided she shouldn’t live alone any longer.  Maxine had been given a choice, she could move in with whomever she wanted to, or she could move into a care facility where she could still have some freedom. She choose to live at Somerford, a residential facility for Alzheimer’s patients. She enjoyed it there and had the opportunity to have her hair and nails done (not something she was accustomed to.

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Listening to Taylor read

We saw her a lot but it still wasn’t as much as we liked. We would pick her up for holidays, take her to our homes, then return her. She had an active role at Somerford and they called her their Choir Director. As she had at her church, she loved to lead the choir.

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Picture day at Somerford

Maxine had received a diagnosis of Dementia/Alzheimers and time took its toll on her. Eventually, she could no longer get up and about. She’s always had such a good appetite but ultimately the care facility started feeding her mushy food and she wasn’t eating. She could no longer leave her room and I couldn’t be there as much as I wanted. We needed to find her a new room.

My sister in law called and said she would start looking for a new place. I had volunteered to help her search but I really didn’t have my heart in it. Taylor had just graduated from UC Davis and I asked her if she’d be able to stay at home for a bit and help if we took grandma in. She agreed and then we had a fantastic idea. We knew it would be necessary to have one more person to help. Taylor and I both worked during the day and we needed someone we could rely on for that additional assistance. Enter my best friend, Tammy Lender. We also had assistance from Hospice visiting nurses. Couldn’t have gotten by without them.

 

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As soon as I got Maxine home, I started feeding her real food again. She perked right up and ate like a champ. They’d been worried about her “choking” but really, i think they were worried about the liability of choking.  She started to put a bit of weight back on.

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Grandma Maxine is safely ensconced in her room and Taylor is on her bed next to her and I said Taylor don’t squish Grandma and Grandma said “No, we are just happily together.” I think she will be happy with us!
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Living with teens/twenty-somethings, Maxine became a selfie-queen

Maxine was 89 years old and her memory of current events had faded but she spoke often of her childhood. She would call down the hall, “Miriam, where are you?” There were times when she’d look at Taylor and call her “Carol”, her daughter’s name.

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Maxine in the “good ole days”, dressed as a witch!

One of the hardest fallouts having Maxine in our home was that she was constantly looking for her children in “childhood” form. She’d ask me for Paul and I would point to him and say, “He’s right here.” She’d get a look on her face and say, “Not that one. I want the real Paul”. She was looking for the face of a twelve year old. Often, I’d tell her that he’d gone to a sleepover. She’d continue to fret and ask for him. Eventually, I had him call from the other room haha. She bought it but seriously, she was intent on finding him.

 

Other times, she’d call down the hall, “Momma?” That was always tough for me. One day I was home sick from work and I could hear Tammy in the other room, asking Maxine to sing her a song. She sang a lot. Tammy would read to her and took such good care of her, brushing her hair and washing her up on days when Hospice wasn’t due in. I was grateful Maxine was in good hands.

She did well for a couple of months but then in August of 2015, she took a bad turn. She wasn’t doing well. The hospice nurse said she probably wouldn’t last two weeks. But she got passed it and rebounded. I wanted her to make it to her 90th birthday. She had always talked about her father not making his 90th birthday and how bad she’d felt that he’d left this earth before that momentous day. By early fall, her condition was up and down.

We had a lot of crazy days with Maxine but no time was crazier than Halloween. I’ve always been a nut for Halloween, decorated my house with cute Halloween ghosts and witches. Sometime in late September, I decided to buy myself a Halloween costume for work and got a witches dress and hat. I showed it to Maxine.

Then Maxine began to act oddly. One day we were eating dinner and Maxine toddled down the hall. She wasn’t supposed to be walking about, so I had her sit in her chair and wheeled her down to the kitchen with us. She said, “Whom are we eating?” She was using a sing-song, lilting voice, a tone I’d never heard her use before. I looked at her confused, “Chinese food?” I responded. She said it again, this time with a little more force behind her words. “Whom are we eating?” I laughed uncomfortably. I decided it was just “crazy talk” and ignored it.

After that, Maxine would, at times, speak in a high, fake voice and say things like, “I’m going to eat you.” Now, I knew she was trying to scare me and inside I was scared haha. But on the outside, I used my stern voice and said, “You’re just trying to scare me. Stop it.”

She looked up into the thin air and said, “They won’t let me.”

Now I was starting to freak out. I said, “You’re just trying to scare me, and I won’t allow it.”

She continued speaking to “something.” Taylor said she could understand how some people can be thought of as “insane” as Maxine was truly believing of what she was saying.

I thought it was a momentary blip. It would be fine after a good night’s sleep. I was wrong. The next day, my son was walking down the hall and Maxine called to him. He stopped in her doorway to say hello. He had to walk past her bedroom to get to his own. He smiled and said, “Hi Grandma”.  She grimaced and said, “I’m going to eat you.” Then she tried to stand from her bed as if she could levitate. To say Jacques ran from the room would be putting it mildly. He left and went to a friend’s house and I had to consider that this was a bit more than a momentary issue.

I really did think it would just be better after a couple of nights of rest but that didn’t happen. One day, Taylor was helping her eat her dinner and Maxine pinched her side. “You’re almost just right to eat.” she said.

Needless to say, I removed any hints of the holiday and it eventually stopped. By the end of October, she’d taken a turn for the worse. Her birthday was November 13, and that year, it would be on a Friday. Maxine’s 90th birthday on the horizon, and I wanted all of her children and grandchildren to be there for that night. I planned a simple pizza party with cake and had our family over to the house. Unfortunately, Maxine was out of it for most of the day, but she did recognize her girls as they sat for hours holding her hands.

 

 

Whenever Maxine was talking nonsense, I’d think, does she know me? But then I’d quiz her and she always knew it was me. I think I may have been her bit of reality, her bit of what was happening to her now.

So she slept through her 90th birthday. The momentous day I’d really wanted her to have and she didn’t get to enjoy it. By the next month, she was better. That is how it was, that year, just like a roller coaster. Just when you thought she was so ill, that she couldn’t possibly come back around and then she would wake up in the morning, asking for breakfast.

One day, about this time, I was laying in bed on a Sunday morning and I could hear an insistent prattling of speech coming from Maxine’s room. Her room was next to ours and anytime she moved, I’d hear her. I got up and went to sit with her a while. She was having a non-stop conversation with herself. She was saying all kinds of things, talking about a shelf up high, not waiting for an answer, not conversations, just words. It was difficult to follow. I expected that to not last very long but no, she went on like that for the entire day. At one point, I sat in her room during the afternoon and was just listening to her. She was looking up at the ceiling and says, “Oh, there’s a car pulling up in front of the house.”

This peaked my interest and I said, “Oh yeah, who is in the car?” She paused then said, “Oh, it’s Tim and Jubie.” That made me cry. I told her, “Tell my mom and dad I said hi.” I knew it was just in her mind but it also felt good that my parents were there, in her mind. The talking stopped about a day later and she had another low period.

Christmas morning 2015

By Christmas, my sister-in-law Anita had bought Maxine a new nightgown. I opened it up and put it on her, then told her that Anita had bought that for her for Christmas. Maxine’s response was, “Well, good for her.” She was so funny and always made me laugh.

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My cat Marmalade spent long hours with Grandma Maxine.

By late February, 2016, Maxine had a fall. The entire time she lived with us, they did not want her walking. It was difficult to keep her down, She’d fallen and I could tell she wasn’t doing well. She was wily at times and she’d stand before I could get to the other side of the room. This time, the fall was too great. Hospice came in and she slipped into a coma. Sunday morning, February 28, 2016, I knew Maxine was much worse. I went and sat on her bed and called Hospice again. I could tell by her breathing that she wasn’t going to last long. I laid my hand on her hip and all three of my kids came into the room to sit with me. My husband choose not to come in but the kids and I sat with Maxine until she’d taken her last breath. This woman who had to work to accept that things were not always the way she would have preferred, that had taken such great care of my children, loved those children until her last breath, left this world with her family’s love. She took the skin she was born with and our love. Maxine passed away peacefully.

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THROUGH THE YEARS

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grands and great grands

kids at funeral

mother's day 2015

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trip to dc

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Bennett family in the 1990’s

 

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Maxine and Lloyd

Okay, so when we left the Bennett family in the 1980’s, Paul and I had been married and first up in the Bennett household, Ryan Patrick McBride was born on May 30, 1990. He was Anita’s first born child and Lloyd and Maxine were just ecstatic!  He was the first new baby in ten years and he was named after his big cousin Wesley Ryan Lamb.

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Baby Ryan and his dad, Scott
Ryan with his Aunt Mary and cousin Wesley
Baby Ryan

I had a difficult time getting pregnant and tried for two years before I became pregnant. Finally, a long awaited granddaughter was born to the Bennetts on September 14, 1992.  One of the greatest attributes of Maxine was how faithful she was to her daily diary. I’m so glad that we have her words from that night.

 

Diary Entry

 

Maxine stayed by my side, when my own mother was in too much pain to keep sitting with me. Maxine held my hand and comforted me, helping me get past the pain and fear, especially when my husband went to dinner with my parents. I was a little annoyed. But Maxine treated me as if I were her daughter. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me, that my mother trusted her enough to walk out the door, knowing Maxine was there for me.

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The Bennett household was starting to fill out. As soon as I was released from the hospital, I had my parents drive me to the Bennett house, so that we could visit Grandpa Bill, and let him meet Taylor.

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Bill and Bea were spending more time in Stockton. Grandpa Bill suffered a heart attack and Lloyd decided to move them to Stockton. Scott McBride was employed to build a “grandparents’ room” for Bea and Bill. As we readied to bring them to Stockton for good, Bill passed away on December 2, 1992.

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Taylor bathing at Great Grandma’s in Salt Lake City

 

We all flew to Salt Lake City that December. Taylor was only three months old. Paul’s aunt flew in with her son, his wife and grandchild, too. That little boy was about a year older than Taylor. Bill and Bea’s grandson Bill arrived from Canada. My mother in law Maxine had decided that since Paul and I, and Rodney and his wife were there, we should have time to go out and that she and Aunt Darlene would watch the babies. I agreed, although I was a little worried. My mother in law said there was nothing to worry about. Paul’s cousin Bill took us to downtown Salt Lake City for a few hours. When he returned to pick us up, we all got in the car and Bill says, “Boy, your baby has cried the whole time you were gone!” I said, “What? Taylor cried?” I was horrified, as I wouldn’t want my baby to be a nuisance to anyone.  He said, “No, not your baby. Their baby.” Poor Darlene had a tough time babysitting her grandchild. Taylor, on the other hand, was as good as gold. I needn’t have worried. She was always good with her grandparents. As Maxine was in fairly great shape physically, she helped me with Taylor all the time. Truthfully, Taylor could stay with the Bennetts for weeks on end and she wouldn’t have cared.

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Great-Grandma Bea and Taylor

By 1993, Lloyd had sold Grandma Bea’s house and moved her to Stockton. The room that had been planned for her and Grandpa Bill became her room for all of her furniture. She slept in the house, however, as she was 84 and didn’t want to sleep out in the annex by herself.

 

In approximately 1993, Lloyd rented a large condominium on the beach so that we could have a family vacation together. Everyone was there. Incidentally, Taylor tried to take out the entire Bennett family that weekend. She had been ill the day before we left but seemed better the day we were to go. However, Taylor shared her illness with the entire family. It was a rough weekend. But it was also so great to just spend time together as a family.

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Mary, Anita, Wesley, Taylor, Me, Brent, Scott
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Anita, Taylor, Wes

By February 15, 1995, Lauren Allison McBride joined our family. Maxine was always so good about keeping the kids. She played Tiddly-Winks, play-dough, plastic magnetic letters on the refrigerator and a kitchen drawer full of plastic toys. Well, she considered them toys, but really it was a junk drawer full of odds and ends. I can clearly remember there being a hot roller (look them up kids, girls used to use them on their hair) and a stray Lego or two. She would play word games and she could keep kids busy for hours.

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Grandma Bennett announces the birth of Lauren Allison McBride
Baby Lauren and big brother Ryan
Baby Lauren
Enjoying a cupcake

Anita and Scott had moved to the Santa Cruz area, but by the time Lauren came along, they moved back to Stockton and our kids were together a lot at Grandma Maxine’s house. There were plenty of times that Maxine had plans but if someone was sick or we just needed someone to watch the kids, she was there.

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Taylor and Lauren in Grandma’s backyard
Hometown Buffet Days
Taylor and Maxine

Maxine worked at Village Oaks Elementary School and was a classroom aide. Lloyd had a master’s degree in psychology and worked as a counselor at the juvenile facility/jail in Stockton. He worked at Karl Holt School and was very well respected.

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Ryan and Taylor, hiding in the ivy

By the time Taylor was about 4, Grandma Maxine and Grandma Beatrice would take Taylor to Home Town Buffet every single Wednesday afternoon. They would pick her up from school or from the babysitter’s house and off they would go. Grandma Maxine would help Taylor get a plate of Taylor food (carrots, peas, chow-mein noodles, cheese and ice cream for dessert). She would get chocolate milk and their complete attention.

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Taylor at Grandma Maxine’s house
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Tay and Lauren
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Playing on the porch

My father in law and Great Grandma didn’t say a word about Taylor being a girl, but I do believe they were relieved when I had a boy. On October 27th, 1997, Jacques was born. I did name him William Jacques Bennett, although we call him Jacques. Paul’s full name is William Paul, his father’s full name was William Lloyd and Great-Grandpa’s full name was William George Bennett. I didn’t think it was fair to break that tradition.

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Diary entry for William Jacques Bennett
Lloyd and Jacques
Jacques and Lloyd
Grandma Josephine, Grandpa Joe, Grandma Georgette, Grandpa George
Taylor, Jacques, Ryan, Lauren

Playing at Grandma Bennett’s house became the hot spot for the Bennett grandchildren. The tire swing was replaced with a pillow case, where Grandma Bennett was always free to give someone a swing. Grandma Maxine always kept chickens in a hutch in the backyard. She would name them fun names like Mildred, Millicent, Penelope, Henrietta, and lots of cats like Blue and Gray.

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Ryan, Jacques, Taylor (Lauren in shadow)
Taylor and the chickens
Taylor and the hens
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Anita, Ryan, Lloyd, Lauren
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Showing off their tattoos
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Jacques and Ryan

By 1998, the Bennett family was in a good place, when tragedy struck. I hate having to remember that time because it was so heartbreaking and one of the worst things that our family had experienced. On October 22, 1998, Wesley Ryan Lamb died in a car accident. I’ll never forget my father in law calling at my office, to tell me of the awful news and to see if I could get in touch with Paul. I left right away and went straight to the Bennett’s house. Paul was a truck driver at this point and I knew it would be tough to get him on the phone (those pre-cell phone days). When I think of Wesley, I always picture that little boy face, his grin and bright blue eyes. Wes was Mary’s youngest boy and to lose him like we did, we were heartbroken. Jacques was only a year old and Taylor six. They never got to know Wes and I wish they had.

One day I had walked into the Bennett house and someone was playing the piano with such musicality and talent, it was shocking. Wesley was one hell of a pianist. I wish he’d had more time to pursue that craft. He was very talented and a sincere young man. Paul had spent a lot of time with both of his nephews when they were little. After we’d begun dating, his nephews hung out with my own nephews so we saw Brent and Wes a lot. The entire Bennett family lost a lot that day. When we sang “You are my Sunshine, my only Sunshine” at his funeral, it was heartfelt by everyone in attendance. Wesley Ryan Lamb is buried at the Stockton Rural Cemetery and his headstone has a VW bug symbol on it, along with the words Hakuna Matata.

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Lloyd, Paul, Brent, Wes
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Wesley, Maxine, Brent, Lloyd

My relationship with Maxine had started out distant (not on my part haha) but as we grew to know each other better, we began to like each other more and more.  One day, I’d gone to retrieve my kids from her house when she stopped me in the kitchen. She had a serious look on her face and said, “You are a good mother.” Now, Maxine wasn’t known for being flip, and was as sincere as one could be. I appreciated her words. She was such a devote Mormon that it was difficult for her when her children chose differently, but for her to say I was a good mother, was high praise.  She had a difficult relationship with my husband when he was in his teen years, as his father felt Paul would simply “grow out” of difficult behavior and I always felt like her thoughts/feelings on the matter were dismissed. I think she appreciated that I would not follow that pattern and took a firm stance on how I raised my children.

As we ended the 1990’s, we were terribly saddened by the loss of Wesley, and it was a very difficult time. But Lloyd and Maxine kept dear Wesley in their hearts and carried on.

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My final 2017 post! Cheers

This will be my last post for the year 2017. My goal for 2017 was to complete 26 blog posts. This is my 26th post. Now, I had to write 10 of them over the last two weeks, but mission accomplished. I hope to accomplish 26 more posts next year. Hopefully, I won’t have to do 10 in two weeks again.

I hope everyone has enjoyed what I’ve written. My posts mean a lot to me, each and every post. I love learning about people and telling their stories. My goal is for everyone to remember their stories, for them to be retold and learned.

One of the movies I watched this year was the Pixar movie, “Coco”. It was such a great movie. I had someone say to me, “but it’s a cartoon.” It isn’t. It is a heartwarming story of a young man who is trying to connect to a dead ancestor. I encourage you all to see it. It is a story that warms my heart.

This last post is dedicated to Aunt Mirian Bailey Wadsworth.

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Aunt Mirian and my mother in law Maxine

I met Aunt Mirian several times and truthfully, she was a kick in the ass. She was so warm, outgoing and engaging. I can’t thank her enough. She was my inspiration to start writing this blog. The last time I saw Aunt Mirian, her daughters had brought her and her husband, Uncle Milton, to Sacramento from Salt Lake to have dinner. She wanted to see her sister Maxine. Maxine’s mental health was already suffering but my sister in law called me to ask if we’d like to join them. Paul and I took our kids. I wanted them to have a chance to meet Aunt Mirian. This was about 2012, and she was probably 90 or so and Maxine 85. They sat next to each other and watched my girls sitting next to each other holding hands. I saw Aunt Mirian nudge Maxine and whisper about Taylor and Hailey. “Sisters.” Her meaning was clear. The girls reminded her of herself and Maxine.

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Taylor, Grandma Maxine, Hailey

It would be the last time those sisters were together. So, Aunt Mirian, here’s to you. May you and Maxine be reunited now.

Now, this last post is the story of two ancestors of my mother-in-law Maxine. They were her aunt and uncle and their stories are important.

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First up, a gentleman by the name of John Butterworth. Mary Butterworth Bailey was one of six children raised by William and Melinda Butterworth. William was a large gentleman from England. Aunt Mirian says he was not particularly close to his grandchildren although she did remember sitting on his lap and smelling pleasant shaving soap. He’s swing them up and say, “upsy daisy” as he lifted them.

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Grandpa Butterworth was born on September 1, 1852. He came to America with his parents at 18, after joining the Mormon church. In 1886 Grandpa and Grandma Butterworth bought fifteen acres of sandy soil on 20th East and farmed the land. They grew apples, corn and alfalfa along with the best tasting watermelons Aunt Mirian had known.

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When their children were married, they were given a generous portion of the original acres to build a home. The old farm was divided into six parcels of land.

The oldest was Uncle Will. He and his wife had 12 children, including three sets of twins. Goodness, I really can’t imagine three sets of twins.

Next was Aunt Annie Butterworth Christensen. She had five children.

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Leonard then Mary, John, Grandma Butterworth, Uncle Will and his wife, then Effie

Next was Uncle John Butterworth. Uncle John lived all his days and died in the old home on 20th East. He was slender, genteel and immaculate. Aunt Mirian remembered he smelled wonderfully of shaving soap and after shave and his hair, iron grey and sparse, was close cropped and neatly combed. He never married, to Mary’s sorrow, because, she said, he was one of the kindest, dearest men in the world and would have made a special loving husband and father. Uncle John taught Mathematics at Granite Junior High School for many years, having most of his nieces and nephews in some classes at one time or another.

Aunt Mirian had him in 8th grade math and he was patience personified. At Christmas time, he had a huge box of chocolates on his desk and each student was allowed one as they left class.

He and his sister Effie went to Mary and Leonard’s house every Thanksgiving and sometimes on Christmas, too.

Aunt Mirian remembered one summer day, as he lay dying in his bed, that she stood by his bedside, so angry that a man who lived so fastidiously and spotlessly clean could be reduced to such a “fragile and incoherent caricature” of his former self.”

Aunt Mirian told her cousin Lee Butterworth, to put his teeth in his mouth. Shortly after, Uncle John gave a small sigh, and gently died.

When they were cleaning out the house, she asked her Uncle Will why Uncle John had never married. It seemed Uncle John had a severe case of mumps when he was a teenager, and he overheard his Grandmother North telling his mother that she was certain the disease would leave him unable to have children. Uncle Will told her that Uncle John took several young ladies out at different times in his younger years, but that he probably felt he couldn’t marry and inflict childlessness on any woman.

The next aunt was Aunt Linnie. Melinda Butterworth Pike was a soft spoken, kindest person Aunt Mirian knew. Aunt Linnie had eight children. One daughter, Minerva, died of spinal meningitis when she was twelve. Aunt Linnie told her mother that there were times after her death when she felt she simply had to go to the cemetery and dig up her grave, just to see her once more. Aunt Mirian never forgot that.

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Lastly, Aunt Effie Geneva Butterworth. Aunt Mirian said her Aunt Effie had a very large bosom and was quite short. Her sister Mary theorized that these unfortunate conditions contributed to Aunt Effie never finding a mate and marrying. Aunt Effie wore her hair (Aunt Mirian says it was so thin, you could see her scalp in certain light) in little puffs and curls. She wore lipstick, powder and rouge. She subscribed to the “Pictorial Review” a popular magazine. Aunt Effie saved everything, always with the notion that she would do something with it someday, as soon as she found the time. This was a practice Maxine ascribed to, as well.

Effie worked as a legal secretary in Salt Lake. Aunt Mirian suspected that Effie was more than a little in love with her boss. But he was married. Effie would never have left that job but Mirian suspected she’d been fired. At any rate, she spent the rest of her working years at the offices of the L.D.S church. Mirian says Effie promptly fell in love with several of the brethren, one sided, of course.

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Effie and Mary
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Close up of the same picture

She had dozens of cats and named each and loved every single one of them. Aunt Mirian remembered one that Aunt Effie called “Foot-foot” and would recount the details of this cat’s activities in the greatest detail.

She would mourn each cat’s passing with such intensity that even tender-hearted Mary found ridiculous, if not pitiful.

Effie would show up at the Bailey house once in a while to “spend the night.” After supper, she and Mary would sit at the dining room table, sewing and regaling Mary with every detail of her working day. Mary loved this lonely little sister and years later, when Effie was suffering from great running ulcers on her feet from diabetes, Mary brought her to the house to take care of her.

After the Butterworth’s parents passed away, Effie lived with her brother John in their parent’s home. In 1960, when John passed away, Mary brought Effie home to the Bailey house. Caring for Effie became so taxing on Mary’s health, that her family fought to have Effie put in a rest home. Mary dug her heels in and continued to care for Effie. Once Mary’s health had deteriorated, Mirian, along with her cousins Dorothy and Alta found a rest home for Effie, which she detested. There were no other options, her medical care too great for anyone to undertake. Nothing would console her. She missed her kittens, flowers and stacks of unread magazines. After Effie’s death, they found a cedar chest filled with lovely lingerie, slips, robes and lacy nighties, truly a “hope” chest and exquisite baby clothes, frilly bonnets and sweaters for the baby she’d hoped to have one day.

Because she felt her nieces had betrayed her, Effie became bitter and angry toward them. Mirian was grateful Mary didn’t live to see her sister turn into a wild-eyed, raging, impossible tyrant. She had to be moved from the rest home to a hospital. Her nieces went to see her. When they walked in, Effie flung back the covers of her bed, screaming invectives at them and shaking with fury. All at once, she sat up, her face contorted with rage then gasping for breath, she collapsed in a pitiful heap. The emergency crew arrived within a few seconds but there was no use. Effie, filled with helplessness and hate, ravaged by her old enemy, diabetes, died as she lived – alone.

This brings us back to the movie Coco. In the movie, ancestor’s souls are in jeopardy of disintegrating into nothing if there is no one to remember them. The movie takes place on “Dia De Los Muertos.” I, for one, wouldn’t want poor Effie or John’s memory to be forgotten, nothing but puff of smoke into the ether.  So, my blog is my tower of ancestors, my posts their photographs. Here’s to you, John and Effie. May your souls forever enjoy your heaven.

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Mary, Linnie, John seated, Annie and Effie

Bennett Family in the 1970’s

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The 1970’s is the decade where the Bennett children go from young kids to teens. I wouldn’t care to experience all four kids as teens at the same time. The year Paul turned 13, Anita would have turned 15, Mary 17 and Carol 19.

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Anita, Maxine, Paul and Mary on the occasion of Maxine and Lloyd’s 20th Wedding Anniversary…and she still fit in her dress lol
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Lloyd and Maxine, 1974
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Anita, Mary, Carol, Maxine and Paul
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Mary and Carol, Christmas morning
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Mary and Carol, roller skating

Maxine went to work at Village Oaks in Lincoln Unified School District, as the Resource Teacher. She worked there for a long time.

Lloyd continued working at Karl Holt Youth Correctional Facility with the State of California.

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Paul with his “boss” 45 record and cool rocket ship cake

In approximately 1976, Lloyd arranged for he and Paul to have a mini-boys only-vacation together. They flew from Stockton to San Francisco. This was the first time Paul had ever flown on a plane. If you’ve ever taken that flight, you know that as soon as you are in the air, you are landing within fifteen minutes. While in the air, there is an arc flight pattern. Paul was so excited.

They spent the day at Fisherman’s Wharf, then Lloyd bought them tickets to Alcatraz. They saw where Al Capone’s cell was and were locked up inside it. This is one of Paul’s fondest memories of his father.

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Paul on the trip to Alcatraz
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In front of the Capone cell.
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Spending time in the City
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Beach outing

Lloyd and Maxine took their children to the ocean a lot. They loved it. Often, they’d pack a lunch and make a trip out of it. Lloyd loved to sleep on the sand. It was a great family outing for them.

 

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Christmas morning, Maxine, Carol, Grandpa Bill, Grandma Bea, Anita, Mary
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1970’s, Bea, Maxine Lloyd, Anita, Carol
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Someone thought the “Gene Simmons from Kiss” trick of putting gasoline in your mouth and lighting it as you spit it out was too cool not to try…and it didn’t work out so well for this guy
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Paul shot up all at once. Here he is with Chuck, Carol, Mary, Anita and Maxine. He went from being a little boy to a teen

When Mary was 18, she married and subsequently had Ricky Brent Lamb in 1977. He was a first grandchild for Lloyd and Maxine and he was very doted on, by the entire family.

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Brent and Maxine

The Bennetts loved Christmas. Lloyd was a very thoughtful gift giver, taking time to make sure he purchased just the right item, just what his child would appreciate most. I loved the description of the kids laying in front of the fireplace. Lloyd was famous for making clam dip. It was a staple on Christmas Eve. He also made Crab Louie’s for the entire family. Now, if you weren’t inclined to eat crab (that would be me) he was always willing to substitute out the crab for whatever you thought you would like. Didn’t like avocados? Not a problem, he made sure everything was just perfect for his entire family. He loved to make homemade ice cream. It was always a great treat. In fact, they kept ice cream in the freezer most of the time and cookies in the kitchen drawer.

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Maxine would grind her own wheat to make homemade bread. Paul wasn’t fond of homemade bread sandwiches at school as kids made fun of him for not having white bread. Anytime there was shopping to be done, Lloyd would take the kids to J.C. Penneys, taking time to make sure each child picked just what they wanted.

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Paul giving Brent a ride on the swing

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As the 1970’s drew to a close, the Bennett family found that they had expanded by three, Rick Lamb, Chuck Allen and Brent Lamb. They had more expanding to do in the 1980’s.

The Lloyd Letters – Part Two

img_4872The next letter is dated November 20th, 1966. He starts out telling his parents about their new purchase…a new car (well, new to them!) It is a 1961 green Ford Fairlane 4 door sedan.  It was a necessity because as they were headed out of town, their Pontiac had transmission trouble and forced him to stop where he was. He left the girls at a park to play and he “hot-footed” it two miles to the Hertz car rental. So glad we now have cell phones, and AAA.  He returned to Maxine and the girls and they decided to head to San Francisco. “The girls were excited as we crossed the bay bridge and were spellbound by the city itself. We visited Golden Gate Park and then I drove through the park to the point where it meets the ocean. If you will remember, you make a sudden turn, and there is the ocean in all its glory.”

Carol was the one that delighted him the most. She was simply ecstatic and could barely wait to wet her tootsies. They walked over the Golden Gate Bridge and as they got to the center, a large freighter was moving toward the bridge so he and Anita made a mad dash in order to watch it pass right underneath them. They waved to the seamen and looked down the funnels as it headed out to the big Pacific.

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He goes on to say, “One of my fellow employees who was a former tree surgeon came to the house and brought his climbing equipment and climbed our great big oak. The children were fascinated and frankly, so were we. It was quite a sight to see him go up the side of that massive tree and finally lodge himself on in a crotch many feet above the ground. We now have a swing like you hear about but don’t believe you’d ever have one. It’s about 35’ high and creates a massive arc that puts you high in the sky and gives you a fabulous view of all the neighbor’s yards. “

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As you kids can attest, the swing in the oak tree lasted for years and years and delighted every child who played at Grandma Bennett’s house.

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Fall was coming to a close and in order to prepare for winter, Lloyd made a fire in the fireplace that spread a lovely warm glow through the front room. After their popcorn and Kool aid treat, the kids lay on the rug with their tootsies being toasted by the fire and the firelight and listed to Christmas carols and talked about their grandparent’s impending visit.

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These letters are so sweet, the lyrical bent to his letters always puts his voice back in my thoughts. Boy, I liked that man.

In 1965, Lloyd and Maxine make a trip to Washington, D.C. for vacation. They visited the White House and looked so charming here.

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Carol, Mary, Anita and Paul
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Paul, Mary, Carol, Anita and Maxine
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Paul and Mary

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Lloyd, Grandpa Bailey, Grandpa Bennett and Paul
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Anita, Grandpa Bailey, Mary, Grandpa Bennett, Carol and Paul

As the 1960’s come to a close, we find those Bennett children living and playing the life a lot of kids dream of: two parents, beach trips, trips to the city, an every day life.

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Anita, Grandma Bea, Paul

Bennett Family life in the 1980’s

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Paul and his sisters
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Brent, Grandpa Bill, Paul and Lloyd

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.

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1980’s, shortly after I met Paul. This was a birthday party for one of the boys. Seated from the left is Mary, Brent, Wesley, Paul, Me, Anita and Scott.

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.

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Lloyd reading in his chair

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.

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Not long after we met

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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.

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Neil, Maxine, Valerie, Jack, Grandma Bea, Paul, myself and Lloyd

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.

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Rod, Darlene, Henry, Grandpa Bill, Me, Paul, Grandma Bea and Maxine.
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In Aunt Darlene’s backyard

 

 

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.

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Wesley, Me and Grandma Maxine
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Wesley

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.

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Traveling with Grandma Maxine, Grandma Bea and myself

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Uncle Jack, Paul and Maxine
Dating
Civil War location
Civil war location

Trip to the ocean with the in-laws

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.

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Paul, Myself, Mary, Ron, Anita, Scott, Carol, Chuck, Maxine, Bill, Bea and Lloyd
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60th Wedding Anniversary for Bea and Bill

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.

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Bennett family, Morris Chapel, University of Pacific, 1989
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Brent, Mary, Wesley, Ron
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Paul and Lloyd
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Our wedding party and our families, Jacques’ on the left, Bennetts to the right and all the kids in the middle

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 Arriminta Butterworth Bailey

Mary Arriminta Butterworth

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A note on the back from Aunt Mirian to Maxine

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Mary is the last standing girl, her favorite sister Effie the youngest sitting next to her father.

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.

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Mary holding baby Vaughn
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Baby Marian, Mary, Vaughn
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Claron, Marian, Vaughn and Baby Maxine

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.

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Marian, Vaughn, Mary holding Maxine and Claron in the foreground

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.

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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.

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Mirian, Mary and Maxine
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Butterworth children at their mother’s funeral

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.

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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.

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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 Reuben Bailey

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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.

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Leonard on the far right with his parents and siblings

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.

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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.

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Leonard Ruben, his father R.J. and his brothers, Erroll, Erwin and Marvin

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.

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Mary A.Butterworth and her sister, Effie

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.”

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Leonard and Mary Bailey, newly married

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.

Wedding 2017

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Leonard, L.Vaughn and Mary

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.

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Mary, Vaughn, Leonard and Baby Mirian

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Maxine drew this in 2002 for Father’s Day in the Stockton Record. Most of the other entrants were 6-9 years old. Her drawing, by far, was the best. Clearly, her father was never far from her heart.

 

 

Letters from Lloyd – 1960’s

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Bea and Lloyd

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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“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.”img_4860

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.

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Here is a video Taylor took of Maxine and Lloyd’s yard in 2010. Much of it was the same and very well loved.

Lloyd and Maxine Bennett in the 1940’s and 1950’s

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.

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Mary B and Maxine

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.

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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.

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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.

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pencil drawing of Lloyd by Maxine

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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

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She didn’t throw away anything, including gift cards from the showers

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A closer view of the article

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.

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They took off to Canada for their honeymoon. Here is an article from the newspaper in Canada.

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Their children came fast.

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Grandpa Bailey and baby Carol

Carol was their first born in 1957, Mary Jean in 1959, Anita Maxine in 1961 and finally William Paul in 1963.

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Baby Mary, Maxine, Lloyd, Carol

 

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Baby Anita
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Baby William Paul

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!

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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.

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Anita, Carol, Paul, Mary