Grandpa and Grandma Stories
I can still see the white enamel cup by the kitchen that EVERYONE drank out of. I never even THOUGHT of getting a clean one out of the cupboard. I don't think anyone ever got sick from it either. I can still taste Grandma's homemade bread, hot mush, and raspberries cool from the cellar.
A bowl of raspberries with sugar and cream was a wonderful treat. Grandma said she saved them for special people. We've raised raspberries and they're like gold at our house. We crank them out on very special occasions when we have people we really love in the house and we always felt that way when she shared them with us.
Watching Grandpa killing chickens was a real adventure to us city kids..to see those chickens run around after he had cut the heads off! And sitting up in a tree in the apple orchard eating the apples right off the tree.
I can still see their HANDS--Grandpa's missing fingers and Grandma's crippled hands. I treasure my pin cushion that Grandma made with those hands. It is the only "material" gift I remember receiving from her. But I received other, greater gifts from both of them. I remember their special rocking chairs, Grandma's aprons and Grandpa's overalls; the box of old metal farm toys everyone played with.
Trips to Blackfoot meant to see Grandma and Grandpa also meant times with cousins, aunts, and uncles. Anne was a great cousin to me. We had great times together and wrote letters to each other for many years. I'll always remember the swings over the driveway, playing "forbidden" places like the granary and the haystack, swimming in the canal, and the magic of watching milking time.
Once when I was Young, Jay told me I'd better not use his towel or I might grow whiskers. The problem was--I had already used it! I didn't really believe him, but I checked everyday for a few days to make sure none appeared! Marilyn gave me tips on the right way to dress. One trip to Blackfoot I was shown how to wear my blouse untucked for the correct "look." It seems the next trip--the "look" had changed to tucked-in blouses. Mostly I remember the love that our family has and gives lavishly to each other. That's a great Family Tradition!
Our Grandpa was Grandpa Callister to the whole ward. He was like the beloved patriarch of the community. Everyone seemed to like him and he took time out to befriend and visit with all ages. When I was in Jr. High, a cute boy I liked even called him Grandpa !
Grandpa taught me how to fish. One vivid recollection was when we went fishing up to the Little Lost Creek. Dad was busy trying to help Seth and Grace fish so lucky Grandpa got me. He set me at a likely-looking spot and he tried another one close by After a short while during which neither of us caught anything, he moved me over to the hole where he had been and he tried another one. Almost immediately, I hollered, "I got one!" Grandpa looked surprised and as he still had not had a nibble, he said, Damn."
Grandpa's eyes twinkled even as he got older and his body couldn't keep up. When he had his picture taken for his ninetieth birthday, he looked just like he had sneaked into a cookie jar. The photographer fell in love with "such a cute Grandpa."
Grandpa had a beautiful vegetable garden--rows of pole beans, with thick beans tied to the poles with string; rows of fresh peas which always tasted better in the garden and strawberries, carrots, onions, corn, and squash. He had a gorgeous flower garden, too, and often furnished flowers for the chapel. He taught me a lot about taking care of a garden.
Grandpa came to our house fairly often for Sunday dinner especially after Grandma died. One day, we were almost done eating and he had a solemn look about him. My mother asked, Dad, what could I get you?"' Without hesitating, he said, "a million dollars!"
When it came time to go away to college, I went over to visit Grandpa. I asked for his advice. Again, he didn't hesitate. He said, "Stay a Virgin!" I was lucky to have him around until I was nineteen . Still, I always felt bad that I couldn't introduce my future husband to him like the older cousins had been able to.
I remember walking through Grandma's front door. The first thing my Dad would say was, "What's to eat?" There was always something. Grandma would be sitting in her little rocking chair, wearing the huge apron that covered her dress. Back then Grandma's wore dresses all the time. She welcomed us into her home. Grandma's kitchen was a wonderful place. There was always something good to be found. If it wasn't homemade bread with butter and honey, it was a raisin-filled cookie. If Grandma hadn't any baked treats, it was a little box of pale yellow mints sitting in the "dish" cupboard just waiting to be shared. If you happened to be there for breakfast, it was always the same--hot, cooked "mush" served with sugar and thick cream. Grandma cooked it in a little double boiler that always fascinated me. I don't know exactly what kind of cereal it was she cooked, but I remember that it was so good! If my mother had fixed it I probably would not have eaten it. At Grandma's house, it was delicious.
Santa Came to Grandma's House.I really saw him and talked to him. well, HE did most of the talking! It was a snowy Sunday evening. I was nine or ten years old and it was Christmas Eve. Back then Sacrament meeting was held at 7:30 in the evenings--after the chores were all done. This particular night it was my turn to "tend" Grandma Callister. It was hard for her to get out all the time so the two of us were at her house. We were watching television when all of a sudden we heard a noise. The front porch door was opening, bells were ringing, and Santa Claus was looking at us through the window of the front door. He wasn't just looking--he was opening the door and coming in! "Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas," were his exact words. I don't ~now who was the most surprised, Grandma or me. We just stared with wide eyes and open mouths. He just stayed a few minutes. Grandma and I couldn't think of much to say. He left with a hearty, "Happy Holiday." Even after he left Grandma and I just stared at the door not sure if what we had seen was what we had really seen. I don't know who was the most surprised. I don't think Grandma had ever been visited like that before. Santa also made a brief visit outside the Church house as everyone was getting out. He had a holiday greeting for all. It's too bad Uncle Golden missed the meeting that night. He loved Santa Claus. What a special Christmas memory this is!
As a child, I respected Father but never felt very close to him. His discipline was often abrupt and severe. He usually followed it up with love and consideration which was hard for me to accept. But it did help to keep things going a little bit. I remember one time when Hyrum was teasing me and I hit him with a stick on his shin. Dad came up and picked up the stick and broke it over my backside. I was about eight years old. The minute he quit, I took off around the house and found a corner to hide in to sympathize with myself and wondered why my parents had adopted me. Dad came around and explained how he felt it was necessary to discipline me and tried to make it up. It helped although I didn't completely mellow at that time.
Dad set us an excellent example in working. He never shrank from a job and although he had a severely damaged hand, I never felt there was anything to be done that he couldn't do as well as anybody else. My recollection is that he was out early in the morning to check the water, feed the horses and cattle, and late at night whether it was planting crops, irrigating or harvesting. Early in life I remember waiting for him to come in from the lavas where he went to get cedar wood which was our fuel for the winter. I never went with him but I saw the kind of country he was in with the necessity of bringing out those trees from the lavas with the horses and I know it was a dangerous procedure, and every fall when the crops were in he was out working in that wood. I can remember it was difficult wood to chop because often it was twisted and full of knots and we were always glad to see him coming in at dusk, and sometimes after dark, with those loads.
I admired Dad for the way he handled the problems he had. Once in a while he reacted a little bit. I can remember once when he said very explicitly "Damn, I can't see why I can't get ahead. I work hard." His progress was slow after the setbacks he had financially early in his married life. But one thing I always felt good about is that Dad had concern for everybody and was never known to treat any person unfairly and didn't run them down or disparage them and was always willing to throw in a helping hand where it was needed.
I appreciated his faithfulness in the Church. He was always a full tithe payer no matter how bad the situation was. We always had family prayer night and morning and Dad accepted the callings that he received and performed them to the best of his ability.
Although he had very little schooling, he had a great deal of integrity and he took that rough 40 acres and made it into one of the best and most productive farms in the valley. He loved to raise flowers, vegetables and fruit and knew how to do it. He was proud of his ability to work. When he was 75 years old, the school board decided to take out the trees on the school grounds across the street. Dad went over to watch them and they had some men cutting down the trees and digging out and cutting the roots to get them out of the soil. He asked one of the men what they were getting, my recollection is that it was $2.50 a tree. Dad went and asked the boss if he could have a job. The boss asked if he thought he could do the work. Dad said, "Yes," and he got out about two trees a day until they got through. Then one winter we went down to stay with Eldon and they were trimming the grapes. Eldon had several grapevines and had a man about ten years younger than Dad trimming the grapes. Dad went out to work with him. Dad was very competitive. The first day he came in and said he almost kept up with the man. A couple of days later he came in and said he kept even with the man. And a few days later he came in and said, "I beat him all the way."
When Aunt Francella was growing up everything she did was right, she'd never displease Grandma and Grandpa. But my mother came along and she wasn't like that. To this day she still feels bad about what she did to Grandma Holt. She danced while she did the dishes, she danced to the out house, she danced around the room. Poor Grandma Holt thought for sure she was going you know where. Every Saturday night Mom and her friends went to the Blue Bucket, into Blackfoot, to the Blue Bucket to dance. I asked her how much she paid for a dance ticket, but she didn't know, she always went with the boys.
Orson I remember two characteristics about father that set him apart among men. These are exemplified in the following stories: This one happened on a snowy winter night when we lived on the hill in Groveland. I was probably 16 or 17. A knock came on our door about three o'clock in the morning. There stood a man shaking from the cold but in deep trouble. His car was stuck in a snow drift between our place and Peter's. Would we help him? Father awakened me and together we harnessed the two horses and towing a set a double trees and chain, headed down the road to the car. We soon had his car out of the drift and on open road. It probably took us over an hour at least.My thoughts were--this is going to cost him plenty: getting us up from a warm bed in the middle of the night, below zero weather and snowing and blowing. With the job done the man pulled out his wallet to pay--how much did he owe us? "Not a cent," father said, "but if you have occasion to help someone in trouble as you were, I hope you will be equally as kind."
The other story involved father as a peace maker which the Savior states is one of the qualities necessary to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Several of the leading families of the ward were feuding. Accusations were being made and feelings hurt. I remember father sitting in meetings with heads of these families helping them resolve their differences. At times it was very difficult because they were proud people but through his influence, they saw the error of their ways and repented.
We bought part of Dad's lot and built a house next door. We treasure the close relationship we had with him and mother during their remaining years. Dad had a very well cared-for garden between our homes. When we walked out over it, he always had a hoe in his hand. I thought he was using it for a cane until he told me why. "I don't ever pass up a weed." No wonder his yard was so neat! I learned so much from him.
After mother died dad needed a bit of help with his house-keeping. Whenever I was mopping or cleaning he'd say, "Oh Sweet-heart, I wish you didn't have to do that!" He was so kind and appreciative. I lost my father when I was ten years of age so it was always easy to call Orson's father, dad, I and really missed him after he died.
MOTHER CALLISTER was the most uncomplaining person I have ever known! She was truly a person "without guile." I sew her mixing bread with her gnarled hands, shuffling about the kitchen, determined to care for dad on her own as long as she could. She always kept herself clean and neat. I loved to do her hair for her. She had pretty hair and Margaret and Lois saw that she was taken to the beauty parlor for permanents. I was the first daughter-in-law and it was a new experience for me to visit in a predominantly male home. I don't suppose it was easy for her either but she was so kind and understanding. It wasn't hard to love her and she never criticized me--I'm sure she had reason to more than once. She was so patient and kind!
Both Eldon and Hyrum skipped a grade in school, so they were both a year ahead of their classmates. Eldon was older, but Hyrum got to be bigger, and they were always competing with each other. Sometimes this became just a little bit vicious. Hyrum was determined and Eldon was stubborn, and they were both the other way, too. So neither one of them would give in, and in everything they did they were competing against each other. I remember one time Dad bought a set of boxing gloves and Hyrum and Eldon put them on and they were just boxing along and then pretty quick they weren't just boxing. They were determined that each was going to get the best of the other. It was really rough there, they were really going at it, really having a knock down drag out. Dad came in and said, "Boys, if I'd a known this would happen I'd never have bought those gloves," and Eldon said, "Dad, would you get out of here and let us settle this?"
At every family gathering we had to play horse shoes, and then we had to play basketball, nearly every sport, to determine who was the best before we could ever settle things and get down to the reunion... Being the youngest brother in the family, I really enjoyed my older brothers. We played sports together. We had a wonderful time. One time we got a basketball team together and played against a team in Moreland-- they weren't too good a competition even. We sure had a good time.
Dad was Scoutmaster in the Groveland Ward while Eldon and Hyrum were scout age and his troop won nearly all the skill activities they participated in. However, they were unable to raise money for uniforms and were not recognized by some leaders because of the lack of uniforms. After Dad retired to his home in the Groveland townsite, he always had neighborhood boys meet him--boys who needed encouragement and a friend. Even now I have men who were in the troop, tell me how grateful they were for the things he taught them.
Dad did all his farming with horses when I was young. He had one bay mare called "Nellie," his favorite. Nearly all his draft horses were colts from Nellie and had names such as "Queen, King, Prince, Duke," and etc. His last horse of this line was a big, bay mare called Nellie. She developed milk fever after she had a colt and Dad couldn't get her treated by a veterinarian in time to save her life. That was one of the few times I saw Dad cry, because he lost the mare and the colt and that ended that line of horses.
Fishing was Dad's favorite activity after his retirement and it became serious business with him. It gave him a chance to be outside and to be active. He spent long hours down on the Snake River fishing and visiting with other fishermen. When we took him to the Lost River area to fish, he would head either up or down the stream and the rest of us spent long hours trying to find him when it was time to go home. Even with his crippled leg, he could walk farther and faster than any of the rest of us.
Rex remembers Grandma's cooked mush with real cream and sugar and homemade toast. We all loved her raisin-filled cookies. What a special treat they were, especially after her hands became so crippled. It must have been pretty tough for her to roll out that cookie dough. I tried many times to make cookies just like Grandma's but they never tasted the same. Another thing that was kind of hard on my ego was Grandma's Tomato Soup, which Lovell always ate before a ballgame. He thought it was the greatest treat in the world. I tried to make tomato soup just like Grandma did--even used her recipe and instructions but my soup always curdled. Lovell has finally learned that Campbell's Tomato Soup is not so bad!
Martha says she doesn't remember the circumstances but Grandma had the kids out gazing at the clouds to see what pictures they were forming in the sky.
Uncle Golden surprised Grandma Callister and Martha one Sunday evening just before Christmas while everyone else was at church by paying them a visit dressed in his Santa Claus suit. Martha was so shocked she hid behind the bed but Grandma loved it! Grandpa Callister got quite a kick out of standing in the doorway of his home and whistling and waving to his grandchildren playing in the school yard across the street.
It must have been quite a challenge to Grandma and Grandpa to find out that their youngest son was dating a non-member girl but they accepted me as I was and, so far as I know, they didn't even try to change Lovell's mind. They told him if I was the girl he wanted to marry, it was his decision. I always felt comfortable with them and it was because of their good example and their love that I later joined the Church.
Mother and Father worked under hard under very adverse conditions to give us every opportunity. I was proud of Dad. He spent three years on a mission without purse or script. He had that kind of faith. I think he was the only one of his full brothers and sisters that served a mission.
Dad was raised in a rough environment. He only got about to the fifth grade because he spent his time out taking care of the sheep and the cattle and only got to school in the two or three months of winter each year. He homesteaded in Eastern Idaho, and then lost everything he had and came back and started again. He was a hard worker and he was an intelligent person and became one of the best farmers in the area. He took one of the poorest farms and made it into one of the best.
But the thing that I most respect about Dad was his integrity and honesty. His word was good everywhere. In our large family it was often necessary for him to buy on credit in the spring and pay in the fall. He had to borrow every year to get his crops in and he ended up, if he was lucky, paying it in the fall with very little left. But he always paid his bills. He could always go to the bank and get credit; he could always go to the stores and get credit because the bills were paid when and where he said they would be. I can remember going in to charge some school clothes when I was in high school. I think it was Ray Eskeleson who worked for Penneys and he didn't give a moment's thought when I told him I wanted to charge to Dad's account and he accepted that immediately. I never found anyone that didn't respect Dad's honesty and integrity.
He was a hard worker. He and Mother were both up early, and worked late. I can remember Dad coming in at 10 or 11 o'clock at night, because he was irrigating late, and Mother was sitting up at the sewing machine or darning. They never got to bed before 10 or 10:30 pm and were always up between 5 and 5:30 in the morning.
I always respected Dad for the way he respected Mother. He recognized Mother's intelligence. Mother was a quiet woman. I never heard her raise her voice in anger, but she counseled Dad and he went to her for counsel at times, not obviously, but he did and he listened. We were always short of money and every time we went to Dad for fifty cents to go to the dance he also included a good lecture upon how short we were of money and how careful we had to be. So we started going to Mother. Dad recognized what the situation was and he always used to leave a few dollars with Mother so that could be done. I am grateful. They were proud of their family. They were pleased with their accomplishments. I know no one who did more with less.
We would thin beets in the summer almost until school started again. Well, one day we were down in the field thinning beets and Marion was working and he said, "You know, there's got to be an easier way to make a living than this." So he left the farm and became a judge. He was president of the student body at Blackfoot High School when he was a senior, and a member of the school basketball team that won the state championship. The day of the game they were out of school so they could all rest up. What the coach never knew was that this president of the student body and his fellow team members spent the day out in the lavas hunting rabbits. Their car got stuck and they just barely made it back to the school in time for the game.
Often Lovell and Marion would get into a quarrel and Lovell would come to us. I would go to Marion and start saying something and he'd run to Dad and say, "These boys are picking on me." Then they used to play Twenty-one. Marion would get him to play Twenty-one to see who had to do the chores. Lovell was the youngest, and he'd get mad but he wouldn't quit and they would go on and on.
It did go on and on. After we were married we stayed with the folks a little while and Marion and Lovell were still playing Twenty-one to see who had to go get some coal or who had to carry in the water. Mother Callister had more patience than anyone I ever did know and she sort of put up with it. It got to where I couldn't handle it, but the minute I'd pick up the coal bucket or water bucket and head out, here they'd both come. Well, after they'd been out there playing one out of three, three out of five, five out of seven, six out of nine, it went on and on, then they'd say, "Oh we intended to get it all the time." Well, in the meantime the house could burn down waiting for water.
I saw the last wrestling match Marion and Lovell ever had. Marion was older and so usually he could handle it. This time it was a draw, I thought it was going to be a dead draw. Those two kids kept on going and going and going and I don't know how they finally fell apart. But I never saw either one of them start to wrestle with the other one after that because they knew it was a tie.
I loved to go visit Grandma and have her tell me stories about my dad when he was a little boy. I especially loved to hear about him being bad and having to sit on a chair and look at the clock. I thought it was so funny for my big strong daddy to have been a little boy and especially enjoyed knowing sometimes he got in trouble, too!
Grandmas hands were so crippled from arthritis that how she ever sewed, I'll never know. But, sew she did, making pin cushions for her granddaughters and doll blankets, each stitch a work of art and a price of pain. Several of us were busy in 4-H. With aunt Edna leading the "Country Cousins," we learned a lot. Each fall, we modeled the outfit we had made. The morning of Grandmas funeral, I modeled a pair of pajama and a housecoat. It seemed like my little, crippled Grandma was there, cheering me on and I got a blue ribbon. That was the only time Grandma was able to watch me model.
Grandma was a worrier (so that's where we got it!) and if Grandpa was due home from a fishing trip at six o'clock, she started to fret about five. By six, she was pretty worked up and by seven, she figured she was a widow. It was hard for her to sit home and worry and wait. We often took turns staying with her until he came, or if it was an overnight camp-out, then, we stayed with her. We had lived close by for so long that when she died, it didn't register right off. Of course, she had been sick for a while, so maybe it seemed like she was getting some relief. But, I didn't cry at all during the funeral Service. A few days later, I rode my bike over to their house, opened the front door, and hollered "Grandma" just like I always did. It was the first time in fourteen years that no one answered back, and I realized then that she really was gone. And, then, the tears came.
Grandpa Callister was one of my best friends. I used to go over and visit him frequently. He always seemed glad to see me. We spent many hours playing Chinese checkers and American Checkers. He didn't appreciate anyone helping me. "Leave him along, he can do it himself" was his warning to any potential offenders. He lived across the street from the grade school. I parked my bike there when I rode it to school. Unfortunately, by the time I had done my chores and gotten cleaned up and had breakfast, I usually raced the bus to school. He would sometimes complain about me leaving the bike there everyday without stopping to visit.
I remember once getting there early, and helping him catch worms. Her had these two electrical probes he would put in the ground that would shock the worms so that they would come out and you could catch them. He would always try to have some candy to give to you. Once, after I had been there a while, he gave me a dime and told me to go to the store and buy some candy. I figured it was for him. I went and bought him some mints like he often gave out. When I came back he said, "No, that was for you." For as long as he was able, he always had a big beautiful garden. It seems like each fruit or vegetable was planted three rows thick, and about a hundred feet long. He had strawberries, raspberries, and lots and lots of other good stuff. I remember him pulling into our yard once and hitting a truck with the corner of his car. He got out, and came into the house complaining about whoever had parked the truck in the way.
Grandpa wasn't a good driver. I came from the city and I can remember one time when I was about eleven and we came up. Grandpa Callister said, "Come on, let's go down the ditch and find the boys." Kathe and I thought he meant walk down, but we got into his car, an old greenish car, and we went down the ditch bank between the canal and the ditch, driving down there about twenty-five miles an hour. Kathe and I looked at each other and I thought, "We're going to get killed." It was almost like the wheels were hanging off on either side. Finally, he stopped the car, and said, "Yeah, I see them, they're down there." "We got to turn around." I thought, "Let me out of this car," but I couldn't say that then, I would now, but I didn't then. So he proceeds to turn where he goes a little bit off on this edge and a little bit off on this edge 'til we were turned around and going the other direction and I've never been so scared in a car, I thought we were going in the canal or in the ditch for sure.
I want to tell my version of one story about Grandpa's driving. Those who knew us at the time know that we lived on a hill, and coming off this hill was a little lane that went from the house down to the highway where the speed limit was fifty miles an hour. When most people drove down the lane they would have to stop and look both ways very carefully before they pulled out onto the highway, but not Grandpa. He'd just always go down the lane and right out onto the highway. He'd just figure the Lord would watch over him. Well, when I got big enough to help push a lawn mower and pull a few weeds, Grandpa would come get me, sometimes, and have me help him. The good part of this was that he paid me a little money, but the bad part was that I had to ride over to his house with him. This one particular day he went down the lane and I had my fingers crossed and my eyes closed, and I was praying that I would get there safely. We got out on the highway and nothing hit us, and I breathed a sigh of relief as we started down the road at a speed of about twenty-five miles an hour, smack dab in the middle of the road. Then in the mirror I saw a pick-up coming up on us really fast and I thought, "Oh, no." I could watch them in the side mirror, and they got right up behind us and they tried to go around and they couldn't. They just sat right on our tail, and they tried again, but they couldn't get around, so they started honking their horn. Grandpa said, "What the hell's the matter with these people?" Now, I was just a little kid and I was scared, so I said, "Grandpa, I think they want you to move over so they can get by." And he said, "Oh," and he moved over about three feet. I can still picture that pick-up going around us with their left wheels down in the barrow pit, and they were glaring at us. As soon as they were by us Grandpa pulled right back over to where he had been, and he said, "What in the hell's the matter with people these days? They had plenty of room to get around!"
The problem is Grandpa never learned to drive a car, and I say that with all due respect and love for my grandfather, but he didn't. He was used to horses. One time he had a tractor, and all he was doing was harrowing the garden, and he turned too sharp and the chain of the harrow caught on the rear tire of the tractor and it lifted the harrow piece up in the air. Grandma was outside, and the two of them were alone. I don't know how far away she was, but it was far enough away that she couldn't help and as the lugs on the wheel raised the chain up she could see this harrow coming up and up and up, and all Grandpa could do was grab hold of the steering wheel and yell,"Whoa, whoa, whoa." It kept coming and finally he had enough presence of mind to shut the key off. I know that seems a simple thing to everyone from my age on down, but Grandpa didn't know what the clutch was for. All of the neighbors around Groveland talked about Grandpa's "jack-rabbit"starts, and that's what he did. He started a car in gear, and it lurched and bounced a few times and then went off down the road.
Some of my memories of Grandma are: Combing her hair with those big haircombs - pushing it back with her withered hands and then securing the combs into place to hold it back; sitting in her; rocking chair and leaning forward and back about 4 or 5 time tc get up out of the chair. I also remember her out in the garden picking a few things, but this was rare. I remember for breakfast it was always whole wheat cereal steaming hot, and homemade bread, and the most delicious Jam. I knew she loved us dearly, and she had that sweet laugh when we would do something silly.
I have more memories of Grandpa: I loved to hear him sing as he worked. He always started each phrase loudly and it trailed off at the end of the phrase and then the next phrase would come in loud again. I remember him showing us his hand with the fingers missing and telling us the story over and over again about the dynamite. He never tired of telling it to each grandchild. I loved his persistence and independence as I would watch him eat his toast with those last two little fingers, which had grown big and strong. I also remember Grandpa out in the garden picking the vegetables.
I loved going into the Potato shed (I don't know what it's called) with him, and also down in to the root cellar to get a bottle of fruit. I remember his laugh and delight as he watched each grandchild and especially as he watched the boys playing sports. He got so excited and involved.
I loved the way he helped Grandma get tucked into bed each night. I remember his telling me "I can't go until mother goes first, because I have to take care of her." He had total faith that he would outlive her. I remember visiting him to introduce Tom to him when we were engaged. He gave that big smile. But he seemed so lonely that time, because Grandma was gone and he was alone... I loved hearing him tell stories of when he was a boy, or his sons were boys, because he always told the stories with such enthusiasm!!!! He truly got so excited about things.
When I was little, I remember going to lots of church ball games. They were a little more important than they are today. We did not have the NFL, NBA, etc. A church ball game drew the whole community. I remember going to the Groveland ball field across the road from Grandpa's house. At that time they had bleachers and a concession stand to sell treats. If the ball field lights were on, you could always find Grandpa watching the "boys" play. Even though they were not his boys, he always enjoyed a good game. Afterwards, we would have to make sure that Grandpa made it home safely.
Saturday nights were not the time to visit Grandpa. That was HIS night to watch the boxing matches on TV. The sound would be turned up on the set as LOUD as it could go. Grandpa would sit in his chair using fists, elbows, shoulders, and sometimes even his feet to help the fighter he favored win the bout. After the matches were over, he was glad to visit.
Grandpa always had a huge garden with raspberries on one side and vegetables on the other. Out in front was a huge flower garden. I barely remember going with my family to pick raspberries. We used a little tin bucket with a handle. Out behind the garden was an old chicken coop--minus the chickens. Once in a while, when everyone was busy, we would get to play in that old shed. Eventually the raspberries and vegetable garden were gone. There was always a beautiful flower garden. I was allowed to pick flowers only one day of the year. That was Memorial day. There were always lilacs, peonies, iris, and blue and purple bachelor buttons. It was like a ritual. We all met at Grandpa's to get the flowers. Then we went to the cemetery to decorate the graves. Grandpa always took a big bucket of lilacs. He made sure that on that one day, every grave had at least a branch of lilacs on it. The rest of the year we all had to be careful. The flowers were to be seen, smelled, and appreciated, but not picked! There isn't a summer that passes that I don't think of Grandma and Grandpa as I work in my own garden. It is sort of an invisible link I share with them. I have raspberries, strawberries, a few vegetables and lots of flowers. I love flowers and feel that I inherited that appreciation from Grandpa Callister. But my flowers are seen, smelled, appreciated and usually found in a bouquet on the kitchen counter. Usually these bouquets are picked by a little child that just couldn't resist the temptation to share something beautiful.
I remember Christmas 1964, the year Grandma had died. Other years, we went to Grandpa's house at Christmas time. We made sure there was a tree. It was always a "cedar" tree from the desert in a bucket of wet sand. We always took Christmas gifts to Grandma and Grandpa, but I don't remember as a child, ever getting gifts from them. But this Year as Christmas came Grandpa brought out four wrapped packages--a present for each of us kids. I was only 14 years old, but I remember tears coming to my eyes as I held that little package. Thoughts of a lonely little man at Christmas time made me sad. Inside the Christmas wrappings--a box of Cracker Jacks. It hit me so strongly that it was not the gift but the giving. Grandpa was saying more than "Merry Christmas." He was saying "I love You."
I remember when Grandma and Grandpa cut down some big trees in front of their house over by the school. They lay at the edge of the street for a few days, until they could be cut up. It was fun to play in them. Then Grandpa planted the weeping willow tree out on the corner of his property. At first it was really small, but it grew fast, and before many years went by we could play underneath it, making huts and play houses.
Grandpa's garden was always something special. He had all of those beautiful flowers out in front, and that large vegetable garden in back. I can remember working in the garden, sometimes when I didn't want to. I picked peas, beans, raspberries, and strawberries. We received corn, squash, carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes. We used to pull the huckleberry vines and take them home to glean the berries off of them. Carrots pulled fresh from Grandpa's garden always tasted best, especially when they were washed with water from the outside tape and eaten moments after pulling. One summer I slept out on Grandpa's lawn with Karen, Janet, and Marilyn. We went out into the garden after dark to get some peas. The next day Grandpa got after us because we pulled up some of the vines.
Going fishing with Grandpa was always something, too. One time I was assigned to stay with him, being younger and needing an adult to take care of me. I caught some fish, but Grandpa didn't. He told me he was going to stay there and that I could go around the bend to fish. Sometimes he had a lot of patience to stay in one place, but often if he didn't catch a fish right off he would move to another spot. Whenever it was time to go home we always had to find Grandpa. We would walk up and down the banks calling for him, or drive along the road honking. Grandpa buried a big barrel in his back yard and started a worm farm in it so he could have his fish bait handy. He also had night crawlers in his lawn.
Even when Grandpa was old enough that he shouldn't be driving, he still did. One night Grandma called out house worried that Grandpa hadn't come home from fishing "up the river." We went to look for him. He was "just a little bit" stuck. I can remember Grandma wringing her hands waiting for him to come home, and bawling him out for not being more careful. He told her she shouldn't worry so much.
Sometimes, if we went over to Grandma and Grandpa's house at supper time, Grandma would let us have peaches with cream and sugar on them. We also got to eat bread and butter. Grandpa often had a bowl of butter mints in the cupboard and it was fun to sneak a few when no one was looking.
I remember that Grandma put her false teeth in a glass in the bathroom at night.
Grandma and Grandpa used to come to our house on Christmas morning, to share in our gift opening. We never got to start until they were there. If Grandpa couldn't drive then someone from our house would go over and get them. Before Aunt Edna and Uncle Orson moved to Groveland we used to have Grandma and Grandpa for Sunday dinner a lot. We used to pick them up to take them to church, going into their house to help Grandma out to the car. We got to visit them when we took them milk. Mom would often take them a loaf of freshly baked bread.
Because of Grandma's arthritis she couldn't do as much as she wanted. Sometimes when we visited her she would be just sitting her her rocker, looking out the window or watching television. I do not, however, remember her complaining. When I was in high school Grandma sometimes asked me to come over on Saturdays and put up her hair. It was kind of hard to do because she had a bald spot on the back of her head, and I didn't always appreciate doing it, but sometimes now I surely wish I had the opportunity.
When our house caught on fire Grandma and Grandpa were worried about us. I can remember going over to their home and seeing Grandma pacing in anxiety. She was really relieved to know that we were all safe.
Grandpa used to bounce us on his knee, doing "This is the way the ladies ride." The last time I remember him doing it to me I was ten years old, and really too big for him to be doing it, but he did it and didn't complain.
Grandma made pincushions for all of her grand daughters, doing the difficult job with arthritic fingers. I received the very first one she made. When our house caught on fire it burned and I felt sad about losing it.
After Grandma passed away I asked if I could have the one that she kept on her dresser. It is something I treasure. When Grandpa was in the hospital some of us took turns spending the night with Grandma so she wouldn't be alone.
She fixed wheat mush for breakfast. I think she always did.
Although Grandpa taught me many lessons that I will never forget one had a special impact on me. It was some time after he had been in the hospital and we had been told he had cancer and wouldn't live very long. He surprised everyone, didn't he. Later he told me how he felt about it. He said that the Word of Wisdom promises us that if we stay away from things that are harmful to our body that the destroying angel would pass by us, and he felt that had been the case with him. He had never smoked or drank, and because of that he felt the destroyer had passed him by.
Although Grandpa never had much formal education he was always learning. He kept a big world atlas by the side of his favorite reading chair and more than once I went to his house to see him studying it in the evening. There were other books he studied as well.
The last time I saw Grandpa before he passed away he was in a bed at Aunt Edna's house. I sat down by his bed to say hello and tell him I loved him. He returned the compliment. Then he told me I should always remain true to my name (he was quoting Shakespeare), that I had a good heritage and should always be proud of it. I am. There could be no more wonderful grandparents than Orson P. and Annie Francella Callister. God gave me one of my greatest blessings when he allowed me to be one of their grandchildren.
Grandma's arthritis took it's toll. I remember her with crutches, and hands that were swollen and crippled, but soft, and shiny.
We lived with them for a while when Dad first bought the family farm. Grandpa would chase me around the living room and tickle me. I tried to tickle him back but he wasn't ticklish. He taught me not be be ticklish either.
I remember when Grandma caught her hand in the ringer of a washing machine in the lean-to off the kitchen that later became our bedroom. I think it caught on her ring. There were drops of blood on the linoleum and the washing machine and I was scared because she was hurt.
They left a couple of trunks in the basement for a while, with some of their personal effects. I remember looking at the pictures, and wondering who the people were. We dressed in some of their clothes and used an old telephone for a prop and put on a play.
Grandma was always glad to see me when I came to visit in their new home on the square, and gave me cookies and fruit or hot, homemade bread, with butter and honey. I had my share of raisin cookies and milk, but it was fresh hot bread and honey I remember best. Sooo good.
I went fishing with Grandpa sometimes... just the two of us. One time we were out in the Lost River Valley, and he got distracted and ran off the road. He swore me to secrecy. Made me promise I would not tell a soul, because he was afraid they would take away his driver's license and wouldn't let him drive anymore. I never told anyone.
Later I went to visit him when he was in the hospital. The doctors told him he was dying of cancer and had only six months to live. He gave me some advice to remember him by. "Always jump for the highest branch, " he said. If you don't reach it you can at least catch one of the other branches on the way down!" Grandpa lived for another ten years after that
When he died and the relatives gathered and treasures were being divided up, I took one treasure for myself. On his desk was a faded clipping cut out of the newspaper he had saved. This is what it said: "Many many years ago Bessie A. Stanley wrote her definition of success. In putting down her idea of a successful life she wrote: He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and lived much, who has gained the respect of intelligent men, the trust of pure women, and the love of little children, who has filled his niche and accomplished his task, who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved topic, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul, who has never lacked appreciation of the earth's beauty or failed to express it, who has looked for the best in others and given them the best he has, whose life is an inspiration, whose memory a benediction.'"
She could have been describing my grandparents.
Grandpa had a thirst for knowledge. I remember going to his house after Grandma died and he was there, all alone. He had the TV up.. just cranked as loud as it would go... and he sat there in front of it with his atlas in front of him and whenever they would talk about some country he'd open it up and he'd learn where that was -- what country was involved. His scripture memorization was really impressive. I don't know how many sections of the Doctrine and Covenants he memorized during those past two or three years before he died, but he surely didn't waste his time just sitting there doing nothing. He learned the sections of the Doctrine and Covenants, and he would quote those to you, going on for verse after verse. Another thing he had committed to memory was a poem he liked to recite..."I Ain't Dead Yet." He had a sense of humor, and he would stand there the way only Grandpa Callister did, and he'd stick out his chest, and say
When I went to BYU I had friends driving up this way a couple of times, so I'd get in the car and come with them, and stay overnight with Grandma and Grandpa and then ride back to school with my friends. One time, after Grandma had passed away, I came up to the house and opened the screen door and let it slam shut real loud. Grandpa didn't hear very well, and I always tried to be noisy when I came in because I wanted him to know I was there before I saw him face to face. He hadn't heard me so I started to say, "Grandpa," and then I realized he was praying so I didn't say anything else. He was praying and he said, (I can't remember the names of his friends, but he said,) "So and so's gone, and my wife's gone, and I'm no good to anybody here now, Lord. I don't know what you want me to do, I'm just an old man, but I'm going to get up and I'm going to be ready for whatever you have for me today. I'm not going to lie in bed." I can remember waiting until he finished his prayers and I gave him a big hug.
I hope that when I am old that I can have the same kind of determination that he had and the willingness to do what I needs to do... what our Heavenly Father wants me to do.
I think it's important we hear those stories about our grandparents. When we get together we always tell the funny ones -- Grandpa's driving or his fish stories. But to us who knew him he was a wonderful, wonderful man. It is important for our children to hear stories like Cinda's. Reading through the red book again, starting with Thomas Callister and his story, and Grandma Larson and her story, and on through Grandma and Grandpa and their stories, and then the aunts and uncles and cousins, I realized again what a wonderful heritage we've received and how grateful I am for the blood that runs through my body and gives me the strength to face some of the things that I've had to face. I often think of Grandma, and I think of Grandma Larson, and Grandpa Thomas Callister and the things that they gave up and the things that they survived. Some days when I've thought I can't make it I would think of them, and it would give me the courage to go on one more day. "If they can do it, I can do it. I'm going to make it. It's going to be all right."
I have so very many memories of Grandma and Grandpa. From going rabbit hunting and fishing with Grandpa to eating supper at their home and seeing the canned fish that Grandma put up. Then there were the stories of how her own kids would drink their milk which was kept in the basement because they didn't have a refrigerator. How they loved sweet, fresh cream! Also I remember the story she told of her brother being shot with an arrow and of how she would can certain things without pressuring them. I remember the time she jumped over the ditch with the scythe because of her telling. When one of Marjean's brother-in-laws broke his collar bone on a family outing in Copper Basin we had to load him in the back of a pickup and drive for almost two hours to get him to a hospital.. That trip has vividly impressed me with what Grandpa must have gone through seeking help after his experience with the blasting caps.
When Jay was in the Mission Field Grandpa was having some problems with his health. One day he said to me: "I do hope I get to see Jay again." Time marched on and it was almost time for Jay to come home, and Lee was in the Mission Field. Grandpa said, "I'm sure glad I'm going to get to see jay again." Then he ducked his head and gave his silly little griin and said, "Now I want to live to see Lee again."
After we fixed the hill out in front of our house so we could park two vehicles up close to the door, we did--and usually the pickup and the car were both there. One day when they were both parked there there was plenty of room between the 2 of them to park a 3rd outfit between them.. Grandpa came up to get some milk, chugged up the lane, and headed for the center parking spot. He mis-judged, and hit the right rear fender of the pickup with the left front fender of his car. Oops! So he backed partway down the lane and tried again. That time he missed the pickup entirely but plowed into the left rear fender of our car with the right front fender of his car. He ws fun to have around!!!
Living close to Grandma and Grandpa we got to see them a lot. Most of my memories are of their later years, more of Grandpa. I did look forward to the get togethers. I remember waiting for cousins to arrive and the fun things we did then.
I loved to go to the "square" as we called the ball diamond by the church on a summer night to watch the games. It was fun to stop off at Grandpa's and eat some fresh peas or red strawberries that were in his garden. I don't know if he realized how often we did this. Her often gave us a packing of beans. We would go in the morning while it was still cool and strip the rows of pole beans. We used old honey or karo buckets with wires across the top for handles. As he grew older he grew more flowers and less vegetables. Bachelor Buttons are one of my favorites because I remember him having them. He also had a beautiful bleeding Hearts. There was a bush of pussy willows that we watched each spring for blossoms that indicated to us that spring was really here.
One summer I was hired to help take care of the yard. I got $1.00 a day to weed, mow, and water the lawn. He taught me to mow in a square so the clippings were never in my way. We watered by flooding and no matter how careful we were the basement always flooded. I got to go down into the basement to mop it up. I hated going down there, especially after he told me there were a couple of mud puppies down there.
Grandpa had a red book about a Japanese character I like to look at. I think it was called Little Itchy Itch. I sometimes spend the night at their home. Grandma always had cooked oatmeal with lots of thick cream. She made a lot of raisin filled cookies, but I didn't like them. Grandma was always in a dress with nylons, and wore an apron whenever she cooked or cleaned.
After Grandma died Grandpa often ate Sunday dinner with us. He got milk from us, using a metal karo bucket to carry it in. On one of his birthdays I ran in to tell Grandpa it was my special day. I can still see his deformed fingers reaching into his black coin purse as he pulled out a nickel to give me. Grandpa swore a little, something I had never heard of. I didn't think him a bad man because of this, but it did shock me.
Grandpa kept some butter mints in the cupboard for his stomach (or so we were told). I know I wasn't the only one who liked to get into them, thinking he didn't know. It is sad to say but Grandpa's funeral was a happy time for me. All the cousins and aunts and uncles were there. his children did a lot of reminiscing and we heard a lot of stories we had never heard or had forgotten. And best of all we all knew he wanted to join Grandma.