Sunday, April 3, 2016

Memories of Elaine

Jeff:  My only remembrance of Mother is at 1366 Cleveland. I can remember that
she was lying in bed. I was probably just in her room to see what was going
on.  Anyway, apparently I was touching her bed which, in her condition, caused
her some discomfort. She somehow conveyed to me that she didn't like me
bumping the bed. Consequently, the part that I remember most is that her
scolding hurt my feelings.

That's it. Because my next most ancient memory if of Aunt Gloria giving
me  some kind a shot. I also remember her giving us Cod Liver Oil every
morning.  If I tried Cod Liver Oil on my kids I think it would be ACLU
lawsuit time!

Mark: I remember little about mother. I was 10 when she died. I do  remember an
experience in Idaho. I was playing on Grandpa's tractor and somehow
released the mower, which fell to the ground. If someone would have been
under it, it could have caused considerable damage. Anyway, dad was a
little upset with me. He wanted to impress the danger of dropping the
mower when other children were playing in the area. But mother came to the
rescue and protected me. Because of mother I would live another day, to set
other farm implements free.

I remember watching mother paint the bricks on the fireplace. She was so
careful to paint them just right. After she was finished she had used
little paint and the bricks were all painted red. I don't remember if I
invited to help, probably not.

I also remember during her final illness that she had a lot of pain. Dad
attempted to make her more comfortable by getting her a chaise lounge to
lie on. She had a lot of medication during that time. When talking to her
you needed to explain some things, otherwise she did not understand.

I also remember going to Griffith Park and the beach with her and the
rest of you. At Griffith Park we would swing, roll down the hill, hide in the
hedge and eat.

Grandpa Gardiner:  I remember well the incident Jeff recalls.  Elaine had
suffered a lot of pain despite the painkillers she had
taken.  This was in the summer of 1960.  We had recently
bought a portable lounge and a special mattress for her,
to see if we could make her more comfortable.  Nothing
seemed to help. She preferred to lie in our double bed.
One bright summer morning she was resting quite easily
and I was on a chair, next to the window, talking to her
about what she needed for the day.  Jeff, 3 yrs + at the
time, came and knelt by the bed on the opposite side from
me.  He rested his chin in both hands and looked carefully
at what was going on.  Then Jeff shifted and stirred the bed
at which his mother yelled out in pain at the movement and
told him to stop.  Jeff had a look of surprise and dismay
and retreated.  I knew Jeff had been hurt and tried to tell
him his mother had reacted to a pain. He was shocked because
it was not like Elaine to shout.

Elaine would never insult her children, knowingly and went to
great lengths to protect their feelings.

When Elaine was carrying Jeff (inside) in the summer of 1956,
we had just enjoyed an outing with Audrey, Glen & Gerry at
Verdugo Park.  The sun had gone down and cool evening breezes
had begun.  We packed up our blankets, food (and the famous
tablecloth), and headed across the grass to the cars.  I was
carrying a basket and blankets and Elaine had a basket and some
of the kid's things.  We were proceeding smoothly until Elaine
stepped into a sprinkler hole and pitched forward onto the grass.
She was not hurt but was upset for weeks worrying that she might
have hurt the little one she was carrying. Jeff turned out fine.

Elaine grew up in a very protected environment.  Her mother took
charge of most everything and as a result Elaine did not get to
develop some of the skills she later had to work on.

When we moved into our first house, we were ill prepared for any
sort of comfortable living.  I have a vivid memory of Elaine sitting
in the twilight the first evening, on a mattress, on the floor,
nursing Kent, looking dismayed.   She must have wondered what
ever got her into this mess.  However, she rose to the challenge and
became a wonderful wife and mother, a great manager, a skillful teacher
and child trainer, a master of keeping the kids healthy and presentable.
She was not a complainer.  She patiently waited for things to get done.
She was always ready and willing to get up at all hours of the night
for sick kids or to nurse the baby or to warm a baby's bottle.  (She
would have the job done before I had completed walking into furniture
or the walls or a half-open door.)

On the morning of Aug 29, 1960, I helped Elaine to the bathroom and
then she insisted on going to the children's rooms and inventorying
the clothes for the upcoming school year.  She found the stock of
clothes satisfactory and then went back to bed.  A group of women
from the ward came to help that day.  I took the older kids for a
day at Disneyland.  Elaine died about sunup the next morning.
Her passing was a shock to all of us, even though we had been
warned that it was going to happen.  I have been wrongly accused
of taking her passing lightly.  My attitude has always been that
I would have been grateful for her to continue but let's get on
with current problems. (Like what are we going to have for dinner.)

Much of what we have written here is on the unpleasant side. My
memories of Elaine are very positive and pleasant.  She was and
is a very delightsome person and I will include some of those
delights in future letters.

I hope you, who knew Elaine, will remember some other incidents
so we can include them in future letters.  I  
treasure my relationship to her and to all of you.
Thanks for your great reports and thoughts.

Kent: On August 1959 I was camping with Scout Troop 26. We had just
completed the Silver Moccasin, a 65 mile hike.  Mother wrote me the
following words.  "Dear Kent, We arrived home at 6:30.  Nobody got car
sick but David.  I wanted to send up your jacket, but Reeders and Petites
had left.  Wear two or three shirts and two pair of pants mornings and
evenings plus your sweatshirt.  It is hot here.  I do hope your blister
is better.  Have it taken care of if not.  Glenn and Audrey got back Friday
night.  Haven't talked to them yet.  Granddad will start the fence at end
of week.  We miss you.  Try to get lots of sleep.  Love. Mother"