Esther "Etta" Mariah Hanks Fowlke

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By Sandy Larsen Richards and Lois Fowlke Larsen


Sandy lived with her grandparents in Orem, Utah for approximately nine months. I was working at Geneva Steel, as a payroll clerk prior to my divorce. It was important that Sandy would be well cared for.  She was very young, approximately two years old.  My parents were wonderful to her.  Grandpa always took her in his truck to get special food for the farm animals and that usual ice cream cone. This was her private time with Grandpa.

I recall the first time I saw Sandy feed Lady, her dog, a serving of pie from her fork. The little puppy would jump up and bite her long blond ringlet, then watch the ringlet flip back in place. I always bathed and washed Sandy's hair when I visited her on the weekends. It was nice to make her look pretty with her head of ringlets. Once in a while we gave Lady a bath. We needed her to be clean because she was the first puppy to ever live in Grandma Fowlke's home.



I remember visiting Grandma Fowlke often when I was a little girl. She always seemed glad to see me and wanted me to sit on her front room couch to visit. Her front room was covered with pictures of her many children and grandchildren. She was so proud of the way they were living their lives. While my grandmother was not highly educated, she always talked to me about what I was doing in school. (Mother graduated from the eighth grade, a common education for her time.) She liked to show me pictures of my aunts and uncle that had graduated from college.  I don't ever remember visiting with Grandma when she didn't remind me of her two favorite pieces of advice.  First, stay in school, get a good education and go was far as you can.  Second, pretty is as pretty does. This was not idle advice.  She expected me to follow it and I had to report to her often on the progress I was making.

Some of my fondest memories were of Grandma and her kitchen. She had a wonderful wood or coal stove and oven. I remember spending hours sitting by the stove just watching the beautiful flames dance and spit.  I remember Grandma's concern over my fascination with fire. Not only was she afraid I might get burned, but I think she was a little concerned with my prolong fascination with her fire.

Grandma was a wonderful cook.  She would cook huge meals for her large family and many of the farm workers. Three things that Grandma made that I dearly loved were cornmeal mush with cream and sugar, chunky applesauce, and bottled cherries. Grandma kept most of her bottled fruit in a dirt cellar.  As a little girl, I remember trying to get the courage to face the damp, moldy, dark, spidery cellar as Grandmother and I would retrieve the dusty bottles of fruit.  As Grandma became elderly, she stopped making many of her wonderful goodies. But even as a teenager, I remember Grandma saving a couple of jars of applesauce and cherries just for me because she knew that I loved them so.

Grandma's house was the place where I learned to love dogs. My first dog, Lady, lived at grandma's house.  (In fact she was a little puppy that was bought especially for me.)  No little girl could have loved a dog more than I did. I was amazed to learn that Grandma and Grandpa weren't particularly thrilled to have a dog, especially in the house.  But they loved me and knew that I needed someone to play with.

Grandma and Grandpa lived on a small farm. I remember feeding the chickens, gathering the eggs, teasing the cow, feeding slop to the pigs and watching them roll in the mud, and carefully observing the Billy goat. One concern that I never fully understood was why the cows always got into the (clover?) only to bloat and die.

Aunt Lou lived right next to Grandma and Grandpa.  Whenever I visited Grandma, I would also visit Aunt Lou. Aunt Lou who was always nice. Sometimes I got goodies, and sometimes I got to go visit with her friend who everyone called "The Judge."

For me, Grandma Fowlke was a wonderful, loving, and caring grandmother.  She was always interested and concerned about the things I was involved in.  She was strict, but I knew that it was only because she wanted the best for me.  She expected me to make something with my life.  There were times when I was accused of being one of the favorite grandchildren. I don't know whether that's true or not, because I don't know my cousins very well. But I know that Grandma did things for me that she did not do for everyone.

It is interesting that Judge Joseph Nelson was the Judge that officially changed my name to Sanrolane Larsen when I was very young.

Sandy Larsen Richards


Lois Fowlke Larsen

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