One, snowy – winter’s day – January 29, 1923 in Salt Lake City, I was born. Didn’t have a very happy childhood. Had a little sister, Audrey – 3 years younger than me. Lost her 4½ years later. I was 7½. At the age of 11, my mother died from childbirth. She had another little girl, baby died at birth, Mother died 3 days later.
My Dad remarried when I was 13.
Because I started school in a private school, I was a grade ahead of public school and much younger than most children. I graduated from South High school in Salt Lake City, at the age of sixteen.
I worked until I was almost eighteen – doing housework and tending children for my board and room – had to – my Dad and Step-mother kicked me out the day I graduated, and I’ve been on my own since. It was rough, but I made it.
On December 24, 1940 I married Don Hancock. Spent the happiest years of my life up to that time. Had a son, Mark, day after I turned nineteen – January 30, 1942.
Soon became pregnant again.
Don worked for his father, who ran a coal yard in South Salt Lake. Don trucked coal from the mines in Carbon County. Mark and I used to go with him on many of his trips. Met a lot of nice people – always enjoyed my trips. Don always wanted to work in the mines but for some reason I had a fear of him working in the mines and never would give my consent.
At Christmas time, 1942, we had all but one more gift to buy for Christmas. Don had to go for a load of coal the 22nd of December, so he planned to be back that same day. We planned to finish up our shopping for Christmas the 23rd.
At this time we had my younger cousin living with us. She had been in some trouble and my uncle was all geared to put her in reform school. Neither Don or I could see this happening, so we talked to the juvenile authorities and got custody of her, and things were all working out just fine. Don’s folks were more like my Father and Mother to me than my own father and step-mother, and I was happy. Mark was growing like a weed.
Well, it seems Don wasn’t home that night, as planned. I was a wee bit upset about it. Next morning expected him all morning. When afternoon rolled around, Don’s mother came over and it was then she told me Don was dead. What a shock. I was heartbroken and six-months pregnant and only 19 – felt like I needed my Daddy in the worst way. Called him but he refused still to come. Had made many attempts before to get together. It hurt. I had no insurance; now, no income and a baby on the way and one not a year old yet.
Don was killed the day before our 2nd anniversary, and just 2 days before Christmas. Makes that time of year extremely difficult, even today. Found it hard to make myself believe it had happened.
It seems the 22nd there were so many trucks after coal that day that Don couldn’t get loaded and had to say overnight. He spent the night with the owner of the mine – Wayne Day. He is still a good friend. He decided to go in the mine in the morning with Wayne and the other miners and they were to send word in when his truck was loaded. The mine was small and only about 15 miners. Don really enjoyed his visit with them and his trip in the mine. Well, it seems word was sent in about 5 minutes to 12:00 that his truck was all loaded. Because the mine was small, the men all came outside to eat lunch, so Don decided to wait and go out with them. For no apparent reason Don turned and walked across the room from where the men were working and the whole roof caved in on him. Only lived about 10 seconds. Never knew what hit him. A very trying time for me.
Three months later I had my baby, another boy, Bruce – born March 13, 1943. I was just 20 and now had 2 little ones to raise.
Sold Don’s truck and was able to buy a small house. Got a job working for Pete Harmon at the Dew Drop Inn, it later became Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Met Keith in 1944. It was a whirlwind courtship. We were married April 7, 1944. Was very happy. A son was born February 3, 1945 – Kent. Made 3 boys. Keith was so good to my boys. Wanted to adopt them, but Hancocks were against it. So not to cause feelings, we decided to wait until the boys were old enough to understand and let them make their own decisions.
Another son, Doug, was born August 5, 1948.
Our next few years were busy, bustling years raising a family. In 1950 Wayne Day asked Keith to come work for him in a small coal camp, Dragerton, as a manager for a used car lot he was starting. My very first time living out of Salt Lake, but I grew to love it. Two years later Keith had a chance to go to work in a coal mine there. Could make more money, which we needed. It was a hard decision for me to make, after what had happened to Don, but you learn to live with it.
Mark joined the Marines at age 17. Kent joined the Navy at 17. Doug served two years in Korea in the Army. Bruce went on a mission to France and Belgium. Through the years, Keith sustained many injuries – also developed Black Lung. Finally had to retire before we were ready for retirement. Quite a shock to both of us, and we had adjustments to make.
My school-hood chum had purchased a place in the extreme South-Western part of Utah, in a small town called Ivins, just 6 miles out of St. George. We spent many weekends down there visiting. Fell in love with it, and thus decided to buy a lot down there as a 2nd home. Put a trailer on the lot but soon found on our small income we couldn’t afford to keep two places. Had to decide which place to sell. Decided to keep the one in Ivins. Weather and climate were big factors in helping us to make a decision.
In our years of retirement we’ve battled with many obstacles – heart problems, surgeries, etc., but so far we’ve weathered all storms. We are looking forward to a nice long future together.