Memories of Don & Annie Bigelow by Elva B Carter
My parents were also a devoted couple. One time Father was asked why they sat on opposite sides of the table. Father said, "So I can look at your mothers beautiful blue eyes." He was so good to Mother. Her health was not good. She could not raise her hands above her head to comb her hair when she got old, so Father put her hair up on curlers. She always looked like she had just been to a beauty parlor.
My father was as honest as the day is long. His word was as good as his bond. Mother tried to please Father. She would always say, "What will your Father say?" They always said Father was the head of the house, but Mother turned the head.
I thought my parents were about as perfect as they could be, and still live on this Earth. My father was a humble man, and I remember his saying, "If I had of known what I do now I would of done different!" He never swore, and he always used the word, "Thunderation" when he wanted to emphasize something.
My Mother was very talented. She wrote poetry. In fact, she wrote her whole history in poetry form. On holidays they nearly always had a program in Wallsburg. It was generally held in the morning. Invariably Mother was asked to write a paper, and read it. She would sometimes write poetry to tell jokes, or to give advice. They were always informative, interesting, and humorous. We used to have family home evening which we all enjoyed. Father and Mother used to sing songs together, and Father would play his guitar.
A favorite poem which he used to recite, was:
Abou Ben Adam
Abou Ben Adam, May his tribe increase,
Awoke one nigh from a deep dream of peace.
He saw within the moonlight in his room,
Making it light, like a lily in bloom,
An Angel writing in a book of gold,
And said to the presence in the room,
"What writest thou?"
The vision raised his head, and
With a' look of sweet accord,
Replied, "I'm writing the names of those who love the Lord."
"And is my name there?." asked Abou.
"Nay, not so. " replied the angel.
"I pray thee then, write my name as one who loves his fellow man.
"The angel wrote, then vanished.
The next night he came again and with a great awakening light, he said,
"I'm writing the names of those of whom the love of the Lord has blessed.
"And lo, Ben Adams name led all the rest.
Father was a man who loved his fellow man! We had such tun times, and we enjoyed being together, and we always had special goodies to eat.
Father thought Mother was the best cook. When he came to our homes for a good meal, he always complimented us and then said, "Your Mother sure taught you how to cook." My Grandmother, Permelia Mecham Bigelow really taught my father to be honest I've been told that my grandmother would not keep a pin that she picked up in her friends yard, because in Pioneer days pins were scarce. To us a pin seems like nothing.
There was a terrible diphtheria epidemic in our valley. Nearly every family in the town lost someone, and the few who were well, had to care for the sick. In our family, four girls died within a week. Ervin took sick first, then Adora, Ida, Eva, me, and Floralia all caught it. For two days and nights, Mother and Father thought every breath I took would be my last. Afterwards Mother used to say, "Those little girls were too good to live," and it made me wonder why I had to live. Wasn't I good enough to die? Ervin and I were the only ones left in the family. Later on we were blessed with William, then Alton, Emily, Winona, and last Okie.
(Attribute, and short sketch of the life of my mother, Annie Maria Boren Bigelow, written for a family reunion).
She was born in Wallsburg, Wasatch County, on the 24th of October, 1873, the fourth daughter and seventh child of Jasper and Lucina Meacham Boren.
Mother received her schooling in Wallsburg in a one room school house, with one teacher for all ages of children. She read and studied all her life, never being satisfied with her schooling and education.
Mother was gifted in writing, especially poetry. She wrote many compositions and articles for programs, special occasions, for church and other entertainments. She wrote many poems throughout the years, finally writing her history in poetry form.
Mother tells of her childhood; going to rag bees, (they sewed rags to make carpets and rugs, and they would tear old clothes into strips, then sew them together.) quilting bees, learning to knit stockings, to darn, to mend, and to sew. She told of going barefoot most of the time to save her shoes for Sunday, shoes her father had made, and of the pride the family felt for the splendid shoes he made for all the family. She told of games she loved to play, such as town ball, steal the stick, races they ran, and in the winter, of coasting down the hill.
Mother told of gleaning wheat with her mother, her brothers and sisters, and there was a call from the church to store wheat, and when World War I was raging what a salvation this stored wheat proved to be.
At the age of sixteen mother worked at a saw mill. She helped cook for a large family, and washed their clothes on a wash board, ironed with stove irons, scrubbed wooden floors, helped milk twelve cows morning and night, and at the end of the week, she received $1.75 for her long days of labor.
At seventeen romance came into her life. At the first proposal of my father, she refused, saying that she was too young for marriage. Patiently Father courted her, until an opportune time, and told her this lyric:
"If to me your heart resign --Then in turn I'll give you mine."
Mother accepted his proposal, and they were married for time and eternity in the Manti temple on the 29th of April, 1891. Eleven children blessed this union, eight girls and three boys: Adora, Ida, Eva, Don Ervin, Elva, Floralia, William Wells, John Alton, Emily May, Winona, and Okie. With their first two small daughters, Father and Mother moved to Vernal to homestead 40 acres of land. There their third daughter was born. Many trials came to them pioneering, and trying to wrest a living from this then bleak land. Their property was situated where the Indians had camped for years, and Mother had many frightful experiences with the Indians.
After two years my grandfather, Daniel Bigelow, persuaded my parents to return to Wallsburg to help him on his ranch. Their property in Vernal was traded for property "around the hill in Wallsburg." They later purchased grandmother Boren's store, and also took over the Post Office.
Mother helped run the business, clerking in the store, helping with the purchasing of merchandise, which they hauled in covered wagons from Heber, Provo, and Salt Lake City. Mother was a shrewd business woman. She was very diplomatic, and very wise in handling difficult situations.
February of the year 1902 brought tragedy into this happy home. Measles and diphtheria were raging in the town. Within one week four of their daughters died, two of them being buried in the same grave.
In the fall of that year Father was called on a mission, leaving Mother to care for their two small children, run the business, and also the Post Office.
Under the strain Mothers health failed, and Father was called from his mission. With loving care and much rest, her health began to improve, when an epidemic of typhoid broke out in the town. In mothers weakened condition, she contracted it, and for two months or more, her life hung in the balance. Through much faith, prayers, and fasting, she was promised she would recover, but when winter came she became ill again with meningitis paralyzing her whole body except one arm. The Elders of the ward and the family fasted and prayed for her; and again her life was spared, but she was left with leakage of the heart.
Father took mother to the Salt Lake Temple, and there she received a blessing promising her that she would be healed and live to raise her family, and do a noble work in her ward and community. Then nine days after the birth of Winona, her tenth child, she again became seriously ill, developing milk leg. Several women in the county had already died that very year. Through fasting and prayer, Father was inspired what to do. He used hot packs on her legs. Later this method was practiced and recommended by the doctors in the county, and proved to be very successful.
When Mother regained her health, she was called to work in the organizations of the Church. She first taught in the Primary, then Mutual. Then she was called to be Secretary of the Relief Society, and then Relief Society President. She was President for sixteen years. She went day and night to care for the sick and needy, to lay out the dead, and give comfort and solace to those in distress.
After her release from the Relief Society she taught the Gospel Doctrine class in Sunday School, and for this she constantly prayed, studied diligently, and humbly and gave thanks to the Lord for the success she had in teaching this class.
A missionary committee was called to raise money to help keep missionaries in the field, and Mother was an active member.
Mother had a burning testimony of the Gospel. It took a great deal of courage, when Father was called on a second mission. Her last and eleventh child, Okie, was born while he was on this mission. Mother was appointed to finish out Father's term on the School Board, and then was elected to another term.
In their later years Father and Mother devoted their time to working in the temples, and doing temple work.
Mother was such fun to be with. She could take a joke, and had the ability to laugh with you, not at you, no matter who the joke was on. She was gentle, kind and understanding. She was a loving, devoted wife and mother, sacrificing much for those she loved. She lived the gospel, loved it, and devoted her life in service to family, friends and all with whom she associated. Mother died at my home in Provo, January 5, 1947, and was buried in the Wallsburg cemetery.