Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Year in the Life of my Mother

More photos and info added since original post

How much do we learn about people from the to-do lists they make?  My mother was list-maker.  And like her, I also make endless lists.

My dad ran across a day planner that my mom had kept in 1967 - 45 years ago.  It was not so much a schedule as it was a list of tasks and events that needed to be accomplished that day.  And a wonderful record of the busy, diverse and full day to day life my mother lived when she was 31 years old.  She was a busy young mother of 3 children.  My brother Shawn was in 2nd grade, my brother Kip was in Kindergarten and my sister Terressa was 3 years old.  It was an eventful year for her - which was why she perhaps saved the planner.  She and my father were heavily involved in their new gift business - The Naturalist.  It was the year she graduated from BYU.  They were sealed in the temple to Terressa.  And in this same year, her father passed away at the age of 61.

I have been fascinated - almost obsessed with this planner.  It is remarkable to me that something so simple as a list of tasks, people's names, appointments and events could say so much about this beloved person.  And there is so much I don't understand, phrases I don't understand, people I don't know!  I am perplexed by why she wrote down certain things and I wish so much I could only ask her.  

So believe it or not - I have copied almost every day of the year 1967 in this blog post.  I have tried to keep it as accurate as possible - the way she wrote it down.  Most days are filled with the mundane but are often mixed with the unique and extraordinary.  And remember - this was life in the late 60's - most of her activities are very true to a woman's life during this decade!  My own thoughts are included in red and since I wasn't born until several years later - please forgive any mistakes.

Tuesday, January 10  The list below is a perfect example of her typical day - household chores combined with additional tasks to do with family, church, their nature business or her school degree.
plan seminary talk
start cleaning
plan menus
new artist
bird pictures
fold clothes
plan family activities

Here is the actual planner.

Thursday, January 12
call B.Y.U - minor
ski class  Because of the family cabin and other connections at Sundance my family spent many winters on the slopes there.  It is where we all learned to ski.
Jon Comes Home!!!
call Anita

My mom with my dad and her brother Brent.

Saturday, January 14
Paul Ganyan Sign 
T.V. dinners  Classic!  And I love that she actually wrote it down in her planner!)
call Carol and Brent

Wednesday, January 18
make market order
plan family nite
call Mary
canyon sign
Book store - birds
Family Nite - Seminary talk  My mother planned elaborate family nights that were usually more educational than spiritual.  And on Wednesdays instead of Mondays.  I wonder why?

Wednesday, January 25
Salt Lake Temple
Rembrandt film 6:30
Utah Valley Symphony

Saturday, January 28
Cindarella - 5:30
Primary lesson
creativity books - Moses
clean tool drawer
make menus

Tuesday, January 31
Relief Society
March of Dimes
Basement - Jon
Skiing - boys
chamber reservation
Allens photo

Wednesday, February 1
make pie crust  Making pies and/or pie crusts is something she lists frequently in her planner.
Family nite

Friday, February 3
Glen Moore  She has Glen Moore listed several times in her planner.  In doing some research I found out that he was a botany professor at BYU and co-authored a book called Utah Plants with Stanley Welsh.  She must have been consulting him regarding products for the Naturalist.
Chamber meeting 12:15
library books

Saturday, Feburary 4
pie crust  making a pie crust again!
Brent's birthday

Wednesday, February 8
1:45 T.V. Ch. 11  She reminds herself a couple of times to watch this program.  What it was I will never know!
hair appointment
make Valentines
sitter for concert
pie crust
Tootsie rolls
Movie - "Sound of Music"
register class
Dean Wilson - ill
return things
wash Tess hair
Brent and Fae's home movies
Family Home Evening (Lincoln)  One of those amazing family nights that she was so famous for in her early years of motherhood.  Once I came along - family night was dwindling altogether.

Monday, February 13
Glen Moore
Orpha (?) Gardner
make cookies
Valentines for neighbors
frost valentines
work at store  The Naturalist gift shop was in its infancy at this point and would consume the lives of my family for decades.  My father had just recently left Clark's - the well-known department store on University Avenue in Provo, that he started with his two brothers - in order to put all of his time, effort and money into this nature business venture with his family.  They opened a retail gift shop in a historic home on 400 N. University Avenue.  The business was so successful and grew so quickly that within 10 years they had opened shops in Salt Lake City, Newport, Denver, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Maryland and even sold products to Bloomingdales in NYC.  The story of The Naturalist gift shop is truly a remarkable and interesting story - but one for another time...

After my parents left this location, it was owned by The Flower Basket.  They copied how my parents had designed the layout of The Naturalist logo - going vertically up the front of the building.  It is easy to imagine how the original store might have looked - without the neon "open" sign of course. 

Wednesday, February 15
go sketch
Glen Moore  There he is again!
1:45 T.V. program

Thursday, February 23
Ski - Alta
wiglet  Mom had amazing, gorgeous hair that she would enhance with wiglets.  I had never heard her use this term.  I looked it up online.
do telephone no.
Etienne Literary  She was a member of the Etienne club group for many years.  She attended faithfully up until the very end of her life when she was too sick to go.

Friday, February 24
Mr. Moore (candy)
pay Jackie
pick up grade at Y
write Ray
return plate
Engineering displays 

Saturday, February 25
Label wild flowers
Engineering displays
History of fashion  One of the many large projects my mom put together was a presentation of the History of Fashion.  She had elaborate and authentic costumes sewn for models to show how fashion evolved through the years.  Her costume collection (some of which still exists) represented time periods dating back to ancient Greece and Egypt, all the way through Medieval times, the 1800's and up to the 1920's.  She drew sketches and had visual aids for her presentations.  She was asked to do this presentation many times over the years.  And thank goodness for the costume collection - how else would I have been Marie Antoinette for Halloween?  Complete with a white powdered wig.  
Neighbors in for movies

Saturday, March 5
Grandpa Beck's birthday
Birthday party - Evan
Leola's Baby
shop Jon
Jon's Birthday

Tuesday, March 6
clean hamster cage
wild flowers
hair cuts
put up fall
call B.Y.U. library - Bird Books
button on coat and yellow sleeve

Saturday, March 11
Bury Treasure  ???
Weiner Roast  This activity was held several times during the year.
call sitter
clean hamster cage
call Trevor Southey  Southey is a well known artist that at this time was just finishing his degree at BYU.  He was working with my parents on products for The Naturalist and also they commissioned him to paint a portrait of my sister Terressa - a lovely masterpiece.  Interestingly enough - it was in the year 1967 that he moved to Alpine, UT where he lived for 15 years.
Salt Lake

The portrait that Trevor Southey did of my sister Tess can be seen hanging on the wall.  This was the display at my mother's funeral.  The sculptor Carol Jackman is also mentioned in this planner - in May.  Interestingly enough, many years later she used me as a model for the sculpture of the dancer seen below.

Thursday, March 16
B.Y.U. Dairy
Fae's Birthday
fold clothes
make lasagna
nursery appt.
make pie
creative program

Friday, March 17
rabbit - school  I grew up in a family where pets were prevalent and varied - similar to my own family right now!  This planner mentions a hamster, a rabbit and a dog.  Other pets over the years included cats, snakes, frogs, birds (a cockatoo and several hawks and falcons), lizards and many insects.  My mom was always the first one to volunteer to take the pets to school.  She loved any opportunity to educate children about nature and animals.   
art materials  I think she might have been taking an art class at BYU.
teachers interviews:
3:45 - 2nd Grade
4:00 - Kindergarten

Saturday, March 18
Elison baby  Would this be Jerry Elison?
go over hole-in-rock  My father's ancestors were involved in the infamous "Hole in the Rock" expedition.  My mother did extensive reading on this subject and would give presentations.  I wouldn't be surprised if she gave the fireside listed below.
work at Crapaws
deliver things to Fae
Fire Side (Hole-in-the-Rock)

Wednesday, March 22
plan weekend
plan Easter party
plan home evening
shop groceries
12:30 - Symposium
Wilson weiner roast
Family Home Evening

Wednesday, March 29
Call Jackie
rabbit house
pay Jackie
box winter clothes
tree house
pay Phil

Wednesday, April 5
rabbit house
plan trip
call typist
write Ray
box winter clothes  My mother was very organized with her wardrobe.  It was a biannual routine to transfer her seasonal clothes to and from storage.
pick up bird book
RSVP  Military Ball
Family Nite

Friday, April 14
Trip - Arches, Dead Horse point and Mesa Verde  The interesting places we would visit as a family definitely inspired me in planning my own family vacations.

Friday, April 21
grocery shop
pay Jackie
call neighbors
hair appointment
write Helen
Covey baby  A reminder to buy a baby gift.
call Guides  I believe that Mom and Mary Alice were called as Guide Patrol leaders which could possibly have been the cub scouts but I am not sure.  They were faithful in the calling and scheduled a hike almost every Saturday morning.
pack lunch
Gold and Green Ball - 8:30

Saturday, April 22
learn Primary part
mail ticket to Shanna
scout things
Art exhibit
call Mrs. Hill
Neighbor Visit

Tuesday, April 25
Relief Society
Call Luncheon reservation
rabbit pellets and dog food
Daddy - party  See pictures below from this party. 
Pat - 2:30
take orange card to MIA
Call Rob Slover
M.I.A. (mia maids)

I just realized this picture was actually taken later in the summer of 1967.

The cousins

Saturday, April 29
Guide Patrol hike
Primary Practice
wild flowers  Collecting and pressing wildflowers was a regular routine for my family starting about this time and continuing until I was a little girl.  Collecting would often take place behind Squaw Peak.
Covey Baby
Burr Baby

Monday, May 1
Tickets - La Boheme
collect fashion money and mail
call Lillian Smoot
do hair pieces
scones - thaw
Ralph Woodward Chorale  The late Ralph Woodward taught conducting and voice at BYU and started this chorale in 1965.  It was active until 1994. 

Saturday, May 6
Luncheon - Fashion Show
Baptism - 8:00
make cookies
Burr Baby
wild flower project
Mary $10.00 - potatoes  It was imperative to my mother that she paid back friends and neighbors - when she owed them anything from money to an egg.

Wednesday, May 10
Mother Relief Society - Creativity  My mother was always travelling to different wards, Relief Societies, Primaries and groups to give presentations on several different subjects including nature, quilts, creativity, food demonstrations, holidays and other subjects.
Shawns' program - 2:30
turn in scout money
ward preparation - "honesty"
pick up announcements  This is referring to her graduation announcements.
History talk - Karl Young

Here one of her lectures on creativity is featured in the newspaper.

Friday, May 12
call Marilynn
do hair pieces
pick up announcements
call Lester 
work on flower pictures
call Mrs. Wagnar
Guide Patrol - pack lunch
Guide Patrol - plan hike clothes
Dentist - 4:30
call Guides - weather
Jon's Award Banquet (Businessmen)  I wasn't aware my dad received any businessmen awards - Dad?

Saturday, May 13
Scout Hike - 8:30  Another early morning scout hike
Senior Breakfast - 7:00
1:30 Dayton's Primary Practice
mother's day gifts
grad. announcements
Pinegar baby
Call Carol
Mrs. Utah Contest  ???

Monday, May 15
pick up tickets - commencement exercises
call Marilynn
shopping ingredients Relief Society
call Carol Jackman  Several years later, when I was a child, I was a model for a sculpture Carol did.
1:00 Cultural Meeting
Carol Ashworth
Pinegar baby

Friday, May 26
Graduation - B.Y.U.
Graduation - 8:20 am

My mother with her parents, Florence and D Elden.  Her father taught Zoology at BYU at the time.  This picture was taken a little over 2 months before he passed away.  I am struck by how young my mother was when she lost her father.  Due to the fact that I feel like I lost my mother very prematurely, I have a much better understanding of what she must have gone through losing her father whom she loved so dearly when she was only 31 years old.
Mom with her young family on her graduation day.

Saturday, May 17
Guide Patrol Hike - 7:30  The day after her university graduation ceremonies, she was up for an early morning hike with the scouts.  That is what I call devotion!
Trevor Southy Reception

Thursday, June 1
Uncle Rondo
call Mary  Many hours of my childhood were spent patiently (and not so patiently) waiting for my mom to get off the phone with her dear friend Mary Alice.
call David Boorman 
call Marilynn
mount wild flowers
Birthday card - Kay  Kay Webber was my mom's best friend from childhood.  She passed away from breast cancer several years before my mom.
thank you notes
read about butterflies
Mrs. Thorn - 25 cents
call Mrs. Leishman
press more flowers
sign transportation
blotters dry  Laying the multi-colored blotters out to dry on our back patio (and collecting them again after they were dry) was part of the routine of pressing flowers - and was often my job as a child
Math - Kip
look over guide lesson

Saturday, June 10
Go to Calif.

Wednesday, June 21
8:00 Dentist
Temple - Terressa sealed (underlined twice)  We have discussed this as a family and we are not sure why my parents waited 3 years before being sealed to my sister.  
tarts and shells
Orem 14th Ward Fashion talk

Friday, June 30
wash clothes
put up Tess hair  I think my mom gave as much attention to Terressa's hair as she did her own!
put up my hair
money - tomorrow

Wednesday, July 5
work store
art class 9:30  Even after she graduated and well after I was born - my mother had a passion for learning and continued her education with occasional classes at BYU.

Tuesday, July 11
call Carol
5 mile hike - Stewart Falls
Outstanding Women appl.  Is this something my mother applied for?  I don't know.  But she probably deserved it!
Driving Schedule

I found this in her file and discovered that she was one of 5 local women selected as Outstanding Young Women.  They were to be featured in the 1967 edition of 6000 Outstanding Young Women across the country.  This is the letter she recieved 

Wednesday, July 12
tennis - Shawn
Library Books
Call Carol J.
distribute driving schedule
drive art class
go over fashion talk
pick up clothes, boards and pins  For the fashion show presentation.
get sitter
Etienne Meeting
Party - Aunt Iris 2:00  Iris was my grandmother's sister - my mother's aunt.
meet Lee Knell 5:00  Lee Knell was their architect.  During this year, my family was living in an old farmhouse on the hill behind where they were building the home they would live in for 44 years - where my father still lives.
Orem 114th fashion talk  It looks like she made the touring circuit with her presentation on the History of Fashion

The old farm house that they lived in while building their home.
Photos of the home they were building - construction went until 1970.
 The beams were salvaged from an old church being torn down in Tooele.

Tuesday, July 18
shop - downtown  Any significant shopping trips would be made in downtown Salt Lake City.  It was always very exciting for me as a child to travel to the city for school or Christmas shopping!
weed garden

Wednesday, July 26
apricots  Due to the fact that 7 large apricot trees stood on my parent's property - the annual late summer apricot crop was a regular part of our lives.  And from looking at the planner - it started many years before I came along and continues to this day.
kitchen chair
Portrait sitting - Wed. 3:00 ???

Thursday, July 27
Dentist - 9:00
Tennis  Another favorite family past-time.
call doctor - Shawn, hay fever
tart and patty shells
wild flower pictures
plan Pet show  My mother developed a reputation for herself as the neighborhood activities planner.  She planned pet shows, bike parades and even organized a couple of fairly sophisticated dramatic productions of Tikki Tikki Tembo and other stories.  The neighborhood children performed - the parents watched.
Deseret Industries container
class - "Creating a Happy Home"  This could have either been a class my mom was attending or was teaching!

Saturday, July 29
clean refrig.
press flowers
cub scout game
bake and cook
collect weeds
swim lessons
Pearson baby

Wednesday, August 2
defrost freezer
England gift
swim reg.
Otto  The beloved family dog
cub game
grocery store
call history councils
Library book
Trevor - 2:00
Dr. Smith - 4:00


Tuesday, August 8
Daddy died - 5:30
Utah Valley hospital
(in coma for three days)  This was underlined twice. Not only does it interest me that this was written in her day planner but that she called her father "Daddy."  I had never heard her refer to father with that term of endearment.  It is very touching.

Saturday, August 12
Daddy's funeral
East Sharon Stakehouse

Monday, August 14
scrub floor  I find this an interesting task list for two days after her father's funeral.
plan menus
shop groceries
cupcakes - Wilsons
swim class
Terressa - swallowing aspirin - hospital twice  I am grateful that in addition to her task and event list - she felt the need to record significant events in her day planner.  

Thursday, August 24
fold clothes
scrub kitchen floor
pick up popcycles
Pet show  The day of the pet show finally arrives!
The pet show flyer - a ditto copy of course.
The pet show was even featured in the newspaper!

Saturday, September 2
make placemat settings
birthday invites
Tess party
remember tithing Sunday

Monday, September 4
Larry's yard - family work

Tuesday, September 5
Terressa's Birthday
(Storybook Land)

Friday, September 8
House clean
plan talk Etienne
brief cases - boys
ties - boys

Wednesday, September 20
clean under bed
plan Etienne meeting
make pie crust
signs and cards
chili sauce and peaches  Another family autumn ritual - making chili sauce and bottling peaches.  Continues to this day.  Although my Dad has taken over this responsibility the last couple of years while my mom has been too sick.  A family tradition 45 years in the making.
get sitter
School - Lab 7:00 - 9:00

Thursday, September 21
fur piece
clean basement
nests  My mother had a collection of birds' nests that varied from a basic robin's nests to a hanging oriole's nests to even a tiny hummingbird nest.  She would use these nests in her presentations on nature.
large xmas box

Saturday, September 30
collect Insects
call Ida Lee

Tuesday, October 3
Relief Society
(Ida Lee)
Libby Hayward
make wreaths  My mom was a professional with the glue gun and each Christmas would make several different themed wreaths to sell at their gift shop.
salmon loaf  

Tuesday, October 5
no nursery school
Lehi-pick up Uncle Frank
Bookstore - Dialogue  My mom was a bit of a liberal and was an avid reader of Diaglogue and Sunstone magazines.
ant farm tubing - ant farm
Shawn bike
cat litter
Stake meeting

Tuesday, October 10
Shop groceries
Fashion show plans
go over notes - Xmas demo  She was planning a Christmas presentation that she gave in a couple of different Relief Societies.
makes pies  She must have made a pie at least once a week!

Friday, October 13
Relief Society Demo - 10:00 Orem
8:45 Sister York

Wednesday, October 18
book - Bookstore
put up display
go over Guide lesson
call sitter
field trip - school
8:00 Xmas Dem - Linda's ward

Friday, October 27  I am struck by the variety of tasks listed on this day!
Children's Friend Drive
plan family home evenings
Natural History displays
more ants  For the ant farms
birthday gift
get sitters
long underwear

Thursday, November 2
flower pictures
hair - 10:00
clean basement
Halloween things
Guide lesson
study zoology
Kip's party
call Helen W.

Wednesday, November 22
shop groceries
$1.50 - ironing
walking stick
clean stove
visit neighbors
Welfare Dept visit - 4:00

Thursday, November 23
Salt Lake - Wheelers for dinner
Tess on T.V.

Friday, November 24
make chili sauce
Shawn's talk
Xmas parade
Dr. Smith - Tess 3:00  Dr. Thales Smith was our family pediatrician.  He was also a neighbor to Weston and I after we were married when we lived in my Grandma's basement.

Tuesday, December 5
Chicken Pox - Kip  Chicken pox makes the rounds...(see below)

Monday, December 11
Peter Pan (pay tuition)  Peter Pan was the preschool Terressa attended.
Symposium Tea - 12:30, Riverside
do table decorations
Primary (make Xmas cards)
Dorothy Bowen - Mia Maid class
Xmas ideas

Wednesday, December 13
pick up gingerbread
plan family nite
Chicken pox - (Shawn and Tess)  This was before the vaccine when families would just wait for the chicken pox to infect family member after family member.

Friday, December 15
Shawn Teacher
wrap gifts
make clorox cradle  
plan Guide games  It is easy to see from her lists that she was very devoted to her calling as a Patrol Guide Leader.
plan Guide gifts
plan party menu
no Peter Pan

Tuesday, December 19
make cookies
make chef hat
28 apples
white elephant
Etienne gift
call Joan's family
make jello
hair appointment 2:00
Good body
gift - Miss Wendy  Teacher at Peter Pan Preschool.
Wasatch School Open House 6:00 - 8:00

Thursday, December 21
last day of Peter Pan
(Start again Jan. 2)
take 50 cent gift
Beck family for lunch
deliver gifts

Monday, December 25
Xmas Dinner at Mother's

Tuesday, December 26
Ski - Shawn and I

Wednesday, December 27
Ski - Family

Thursday, December 28
Nutcracker Ballet  The Nutcracker and the Messiah were some of my favorite Christmas traditions from when I was a child.  Obviously these traditions started long before I came along!

Friday, December 29

One year in the life of my mother.


Kip said...

Very interesting, Emily! It's interesting what one can learn from a list of fairly mundane details. Thanks for sharing.

Julie said...

Fascinating! Thanks for taking the time to share this. My favorite thing...."Larry's yard."

Karen Parkinson said...

I'm surprised at how few trees there were on 1400 E back then. We moved in summer of 1969 so this is before our time but I did know Otto, I did attend Peter Pan with Tess an I WAS Tikki Tikki Tembo! Thanks for sharing. Makes me wonder I I'd get more done if I had a planner. "Clean the hamster cage" is a good one!

Kacy Faulconer said...

This is so interesting. I love reading about your wonderful mother.

Anonymous said...

Do you know if there is still a shop at that location? I remember being in Provo going to a shop that looked just like that building and getting the most wonderful smelling perfume, which broke in a move. I was so sad. I know a lot of houses in Provo look alike, but I am hoping I have found the shop again!

Becca said...

I came to read your post from design mom, and I know that this must have been so personal for you to share--I just had to comment and let you know how touching this was for me!

My grandpa (Ralph Laycock) and grandma raised their family in Orem, and your mom's lists reminded me so much of my grandparents' and my own mom--so much going on there in Utah County, with all the nature and art and fantastic ideas swirling around! I wish I had a chance to meet your mother--from her lists, I can tell that she was very special.

bp said...

Lovely post about a lovely woman/mother/daughter! It makes me wonder how our children will be able to document our lives. Will they be able to see my picaba notes on my iphone? This post has inspired me to take the old fashioned route and write things down in pencil. Thank you!

Mary Beth said...

This is fascinating. And it makes me wonder if my daughter will pour over my day planners in the future.

Grace @ Sense and Simplicity said...

Such an interesting post. I can see why you are obsessed with the book of lists - I would be too. I enjoyed your notes and the glimpse into the slice of your mother's life. I wonder why there were days and even up to a week's gap sometimes (like at the end of February).

The book of lists has inspired me to keep my lists together in a book like that - not that they would be as interesting as your mother's, but they might help me get more done.

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog through Design Mom and read back a while. My mom also died this fall after a 10 year battle with Multiple Myeloma. Reading your accounts of her treatment and how you came to a greater appreciation of your dad was liking reading an autobiography. Thank you for sharing. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family this holiday season.

Wendy McDonagh-Valentine said...

Hi there. I just found you thru Design Mom as well. I just learned, thru your blog, that I was born on a Thursday. My birthday is January 12th, 1967. :-) This was so interesting to read and what a wonderful keepsake!! So sorry for your loss. God bless.

~ Wendy

Erica said...

So happy to have met your mother on occasion and to read this now (I remember that she had picked edible flowers for Nikki's shower). You are too young to lose her and I am sorry.

Jamie Walton said...

Another Design Mom referral. I loved reading through this. As a list maker and mama, I thrilled to see that our lives are so intertwined with--and so similar to--generations of other women. Your mom seems like an incredible woman, and I am comforted that such a woman had to remind herself to wash her little girl's hair! (Feb 8) I definitely have days when my kids' baths need to be added to the to-do list. What a lovely gift to have her year in your hands. Thank you for sharing it.

Deborah said...

I found you thru Design Mom. Beautiful post and what a wonderful keepsake. You did a wonderful job putting the entries with your own notes and pictures.

I'm sorry for your loss.