Aunt Mary Jane
Written by Ila Brown Jensen, a niece
Of course I have no memory of her birth nor childhood…
‘Tis liker she would more remember mine;
For all her my life her name has been familiar…
Her home we entered many a time.
Her Scottish lilt sang in her speech,
Her light and easy step trod miles each day…
The family…mostly boys but two
(And one of those had passed away)
Demanded much from her two sturdy hands;
Much ironing with “sad-iron” from hot stove…
The many quarts canned and shelved to last year’s end.
Countless trips to Birch Creek for cool water,
Half a mile each way to each long trip.
The fruit…from grape, plum, apple, berries,
Preserved like nectar to the lip.
And, oh! Those dinners that we ate at her house!
For Yuletide or Thanksgiving Day…
Were royal with the roasted birds and dainties,
From new made rolls to pudding steamed…I say!
Her many sons were stout and manly,
Though loud their tongue and harsh their glee,
Serenely came her voice atop them all,
“Oh, Lolly” was her only word of profanity.
Fine sons and daughter crowned her later years
And many a happy, laughing grandchild came.
Reward she must receive for loving care
Of all those who needed her. Blessed be her name.
MY MOTHER MARY JANE SPENS BURNSIDE
BY: Thomas LeRoy Burnside
With eleven children, mother had little time to hold a church position, but
one time she was a counselor in the Relief Society. Mom didn't have time
for anything. Many times when I would go to town ( I was a great hand at
staying out late ) it would be one o'clock before I got home, and I would
see Mom in the house talking to herself and giving somebody the devil. She
would be ironing there and doing her work at that time in the morning.
Mother had a rough time. You take eleven kids and you have a lot of trouble
in a two room house. When I was still young, Dad built another two rooms
like across the street. This was an adobe house. Three of us boys bunked in
one room, and my Grandma Elizabeth Burnside used the other room.
My mother used a great big old coal stove, with a warming oven. The front
was always open. My dad would always stick his feet upon the warming oven,
and lay partly on his back on the chair. Pretty soon, you would see his
pants start to smoke.
My folks had it pretty rough with water in those days. My grandmother
Elizabeth spent all of the last part of her life with us (six or seven
My mother had a good sense of humor, and about all the money I ever got was
Mom getting it from Dad. She would get me 25 cents for skating. This would
buy one good hour of skating about every week.
Mother was a very hard worker. She had nine sons, and many times she would
be out chopping wood, picking up chips, and we would be sitting around
talking. She figured it was a woman's job to work hard. She loved to come
to California. Her's and Dad's last days were mainly spent in Sacramento.
"Get out of Utah's winters,” she always said. "Sunday was the worst day
of the week, because you couldn't mop floors and clean." She didn't knit or
crochet, she just worked and cleaned. She is what you would call "dirty
clean" She would buy material and get my wife to sew it for the other
daughters-in-law. She died in 1954.
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