For my Mother’s birthday, I thought I would share a few thoughts about her. I know she is pretty maligned by some, praised by others, and many more just do not know what to be in relation to her. Therefore, I thought I would talk about her with that title, Mother.
The above photo came to me in 2010. This photo was given to my Great Grandmother, Lillian Coley Jonas Bowcutt (1898-1987), probably not long after it was taken. I am guessing before 1960. From my understanding, it hung on the wall of my Great Grandmother in Richmond, Cache, Utah until she had to move in with her daughter, Lillian Jonas Talbot (1930-2009), in Layton, Davis, Utah the mid 1980’s. It still has its original heavy paper frame and original glass. I took the picture out of the frame to scan it and imagined that it was the photographer who placed it there in the late 1950’s, or more likely, one of my grandparents. I can imagine the photo carefully located on Great Grandma’s wall and the love that swelled in her breast as she viewed my Mother and my Uncle Doug. I am sure the scores of other grandchildren hung on the same wall, but these were grandchildren that also lived in Richmond and paid regular visits so there was a personal love as well as that motherly love.
When Great Grandma Lillian moved to Layton, all her photo albums and pictures went with her. When she passed away in 1987, they fell into the possession of her daughter, Lillian. It was almost 20 years later when I knocked on the door and wanted to see photographs. I found the goldmine when she pulled out these albums. I scanned the photo above in 2006, but after Aunt Lillian passed away in 2009, the family thought to give me this actual photograph.
A copy of this same photograph hung in my Grandmother’s house in Paul, Minidoka, Idaho. It sat on a cedar chest in one of the bedrooms. I do not know what happened to that photo when my Grandmother died, but I have this image in my mind of that photo being in my Grandparent’s possession from the late 1950’s as well. Tended, loved, and on the wall overlooking the family as they grew through the years. I know I probably romanticize it as any child does to ignore the pain of their childhood for the faults and inadequacies of their parents. I know my mother romanticizes her childhood and the relationship with her parents. I see in this picture a happy smirk and a couple of contented children. What did my Grandparent’s see in their children? What did my Great Grandmother see in this picture? I will not likely know while I am alive.
As I now have a child of my own and feel great love in the features and form of the child, not to mention the personality, I know how I feel looking at pictures of my daughter. I assume my Grandparents felt the same for their children. I look at this photo with new eyes, especially where I can sense so many similar features between my daughter Aliza and her Grandmother Sandy (and even a few with her Grand Uncle Doug).
Here is another picture of Mom and Uncle Doug outside their home in Richmond. Again, I see two cold, but happy, kids playing in the snow outside the home my Grandpa Jonas lovingly built for the family in the late 1940’s.
Here is another photo of Doug and Mom outside the Richmond home near the front sidewalk.
This photo does not look quite so happy. Mom looks like she is in the same sweater as she was in the first picture above. My Mom had a pretty mangled right-handed ring finger that had not been removed by this point. I imagine she is holding her right hand to hide the the bandages and injury to that finger. That seems to expand my sympathy for her and the somber look she has on her face. No three- year-old should have that type of injury and then keep a mangled finger for 5 years when it finally has to be removed due to doctor negligence and improper care. I think she would have lost it anyway, but the doctor certainly sped things up.
How did my Grandparents view this little girl who was injured? I am sure they loved her dearly. I remember one time after asking my Grandma how she felt about my Mom as a little girl and she referred to her as “her little darling girl.” I am sure it was with heartbreak that this little darling girl now had to live with the pain of a lawnmower almost removing a finger. I am sure a sigh of relief that only one finger was lost rather than all of them.
Here is another picture. This was also taken in 1957, the same year that Mom would suffer the severe trauma to her finger. She still has it in full glory at this point. This picture was from the Andra Reunion which I believe was held in Preston, Franklin, Idaho.
Again, I feel for the family. I sense a contented nature in this picture. Grandpa did not have his life increasingly taken over by alcohol by this point. He looks like a good healthy, strong man. I love the classic late 1950’s clothing they all sport. Doug’s ironed shorts, the patterns in Grandma’s pants, the shirt Grandpa wears with the sleeves rolled, and the one piece jumper Mom wears with its pattern.
Here is a picture of Mom playing with some friends. This picture was taken or developed in August 1958, at least that is what the side of the photograph said. Classic wallpaper, carpet, and clothes of the late 1950’s. I especially love the Crayola crayons box on the table. I wonder where these other two ladies are now and what their impressions of the photo and others are?
Last picture of the childhood of my Mom. This one is probably my favorite.
This photo is also classic of the time with its painted colors. This is obviously a couple of years later, probably even into the 1960’s. Too bad it is slightly blurred, but at least I have it. Oddly enough, the same photo appeared in black in white just this year with this accompanying side shot.
A happy child lovingly tended to and cared for. The years fly by until we hit about 1966. The family’s time in Richmond was slowly drawing to a close.
Although by this time a younger sibling, Jackie, has joined the children. Here is another picture from about 1968, probably shortly before the move to Burley, Cassia, Idaho. Sally (1955-2010) was Mom’s best friend growing up. Dee is Mom’s first cousin.
The family moved to Burley in 1968 when Grandpa secured work on the construction of the new Del Monte plant. I know Mom was not at all excited about the move. At this point, I think I will leave Mom’s time in Idaho for another time. But I have at least documented some of her life from 1954 through 1968. One last picture of Mom and me around 1980.
Happy Birthday Mom.