Mary Lucille Wright Walker

Mary Lucille Wright Walker
Born: July 26, 1906
Died: December 15, 2001

Biography of Mary Lucille Wright
by Mary Jean Walker Caldwell

Lucille, as she was always called, was born 26 July 1906, in Lindon, Utah. As was the custom of the day, she was born at her parents home. She was the second child of Hyrum Isaac and Mary Jane Bezzant Wright. Even so, with their combined families she was the thirteenth child and would have one younger sister and two younger brothers. She immediately became the much desired property of her older sister Eileen. Her family consisted of her father, Hyrum (a farmer); her mother, Mary Jane; a younger brother, Harold; a younger sister, Emily and Don, the baby of the family. Both parents had families before they married each other. Four older brothers, Reuben, Clifford, Leon and Bert still at home as well as an older sister Eileen. Lucille fondly remembers how Bert always played with her when she was real small. Bert drowned in a ditch in Idaho when he was six years old.

Harold being one and a half years younger was her playmate. One time they were playing butcher shop on their front porch using milkweed pods for meat. They ran out of milk weed pods and couldn’t find any more. Lucille went into the house and got a sharp knife and proceeded to cut Harold;s wrist for the badly needed meat. This was stopped quickly by her mother.

Emily was three years younger and was the “little” sister. As big sisters do, Lucille objected to her “tagging along” whenever she went anyplace, and was constantly trying to ditch her. When they both became teenagers this changed and they became very close sisters.

Don was seven years younger, so Lucille was his baby sitter. The day he was born, the Doctor came down the street; Harold, Em and Lucille were rushed over to their Aunt Hattie’s to play with their cousins. When they returned home they had a new baby brother. On the horseshoe shaped street where she lived were cousins by the dozens to play with. Also Grandma Bezzant lived right next door, and later she lived with them. As a child she believed, “if mama and daddy say no, ask Grandma.” Lucille was surrounded by cousins. Aunt Hattie and Uncle Sam (Bezzant) lived down the street from her house with 2 girls about the same age and a boy a little older. She spent much of her younger life at their home. She liked to spend the summer in their summer kitchen, it seemed there were always pies and cakes cooking, and in the winter time it made a fine playhouse. Oh, the good times she had with Clarissa and Chloe and Floyd.

On the top of the hill lived Uncle Jim and Aunt Annie (Wright). They also had children the same age. One son Lafe was just a year older than Lucille, and was one of her favorite cousins. Vera, his sister, was one year younger. They picked Sego Lilies in the sand hills across from their house, and made sand castles and even built sand forts there. Aunt Annie made the best chocolate pies anyone ever ate.

Up the street a ways lived Uncle Joe and Aunt Elva (Bezzant). That house was originally Grandmother and Grandfather Bezzant’s old home, it was built on short stilts. One day Mary, Elva and Lucille crawled under the house to find ant furniture, Lucille’s leg was cut on a piece of an old glass bottle which she knelt on and the adventure was canceled. Elva and Lucille often were mean to Mary and aggravated her. Once when Mary was angry, she decided to take Lucille’s rocking chair to her house, so Lucille and Elva climbed on top of the barn and threw rocks at her. She left the chair in the middle of the road and went home, which was what they wanted her to do. Of course, the chair was retrieved and played with by the twosome.

Everyone in the family liked to play house on the hay stack next to the barn. The play house always extended to the attic above the barn. That was really fun. The hay stack was soft, and they liked to play on it and slide down it. This behavior was unacceptable to their father, but sometimes they did it when he wasn’t around and ran the chance of punishment–they really weren’t too frightened.

When Lucille started school her two older brothers, Lynn and Cliff were assigned to carry her on their shoulders the one mile to her friends house and then she walked the last mile to school. In the winter sometimes her father would take them to school in the horse drawn buggy. If the snow was too deep, he drove a sled. There was no central heating in homes, but there was at the schools, so in the cold of the winter she wore two or three wool flannel petticoats under her dress, a panty waist to hold up her heavy socks, long underwear (to the ankle and to the wrist), high top shoes, boots, mittens and a muff over her hands, a heavy winter coat, scarf around most of her face, neck and head, and a hat. For a usual school day when the weather was warm, she still wore high top, button up shoes, long stockings, one petticoat, a dress and a cover-up apron. One day she decided she didn’t want to wear the apron and hid it under the bridge after leaving home. That afternoon she couldn’t find her apron when she returned. Her mother gave her a scotch blessing and the punishment was such that she never did the stunt again.

The biggest thrill of all was when she would board the train alone and go to visit her Aunt Em (her mother’s sister), Uncle August and family. Her father would flag the train, see that she got on 0.K. then the journey was up to Lucille. Aunt Em’s family always met her in Salt Lake City. What a thrill to be in the big city. Aunt Em was truly a second mother to her. She lived on 2nd west and 8th south.

Lucille and her cousins walked to town to shows, sometimes they rode the trolley car. It was great fun for a country girl. The block was filled with children to play with and all were glad to see her again. Lucille grew up as much with these cousins as she did with her friends at home. There were 4 girls and 1 boy in Aunt Em’s family. Gene the boy was 11 years older than Lucille, Edna about three year older, Tess one year older, and Hazel one year younger. Aunt Em’s husband, Uncle August, was a policeman at Liberty Park. He would get rides on all the concessions and tickets at eating places for free. Did everyone ever have a good time!

Sometimes these visits lasted 3 or 4 weeks. Then Lucille and one of the cousins, usually Tess, boarded the train for Pleasant Grove. Just before her High School (Junior High) years her Dad sold his farm and moved to a home/farm in Pleasant Grove–right next to the school. (This later became the Third Ward meeting house). It was here she met Calvin Walker.

Theirs was a fruit farm with raspberries planted among the apple, apricot, and peach trees (especially one called Uncle Jim hale peaches) around the home in Pleasant Grove . She became a very proficient berry picker. She would put on a large brim straw hat, a cover up apron over her dress (heaven forbid that a lady wore pants) tie a lard bucket with old stockings around her waist, and go out early in the morning and stay until the two acres were finished. Her folks planted roses and peonies around the edge of the vegetable garden near the house. Her father liked crossing different varieties of roses. (When Calvin and Lucille later sold this place to the school district, she would insist these roses go with her to the new home they had built.) The side lawn had purple and white lilac trees, and a forsythia bush perfect for a play house.

Her father bought her a piano and she took lessons from A. R. Overlaid, who lived just a few blocks away. She became quite proficient and accompanied different groups and people. When she finished High School, Lucille immediately started at the Brigham Young Academy, desiring to receive her normal degree and teach elementary school. After finishing her first year, she couldn’t find a job where she wanted to, so she went back for one more year. She then found a teaching position in Lehi and rode the Leaping Lena–OOPS–the Suburban back and forth to work. All this time she corresponded with Calvin and he made sure that she had a date for all the big events, if he couldn’t be there. When Calvin graduated from USAC with a teaching degree, they immediately decided to get married before he moved to Duchesne to teach. Lucille had been considered the family old maid at age 23 and still single.

They were married in the Salt Lake temple and honeymooned on their way to Duchesne. While in Duchesne they spent a lot of time with the Madison family from Pleasant Grove. Lucille soon was pregnant with her first child and discovered that fish didn’t agree with her. She never could stand fish, again.

They moved to Lehi and then to Pleasant Grove. Lucille’s father passed away in early 1937. A short time later, Calvin and Lucille bought her folks home. Once again she was back to the fruit picking and canning all summer. Summer canning was always a big deal and she organized her family to help her as soon as possible. The older ones pealing vegies and fruit, the younger ones rinsing the food off and carrying their small bowls of produce to the peelers. By the time it got to peaches and pears everyone was sick of it and everyone got silly. Lucille would end up with side aches laughing with her children at nothing. But it got the work done in a good mood.

She tolerated and enjoyed a good clean joke among the family (April Fools day was always a big deal), but the minute it got out of hand she immediately put a stop to it. “Enough is enough “, she would say. She was a mother who believed in bribery. “If you will clean up the kitchen, I will talk your Dad into a picnic on the west side of the lake”, she would say. Or maybe it was a trip with their Dad to the junkyard, going fast over the bump on the hill. It was a treat so everyone pitched in. Picnic’s were a family tradition. They went places like the Big Springs Farm, Aunt Josie’s, Uncle Tom’s house in American Fork Canyon, Battle Creek, Granite Flat, Pittsburgh Lake, Tibble Fork, Mutual Dell, and Timpanogos Divide. This list could go on. Frequently friends and cousins were along, so everyone sat two deep, “What difference can a few extra make with this crowd”, was her answer to her children.

Every fall when Calvin attended the UEA convention, she took her daughters and went shopping. Usually there was only $10.00 in her pocket and she went home with $5.00 (lunch was bought), but every hat, coat, dress and shoe anyone wanted to try, on was tried on. It was always a day to remember.

She felt she needed to teach all her girls to sew, clean a house, can and cook. The funny mistakes made, like greasing a pie pan and putting a left sleeve in the right armhole, were laughed at by both and corrected. Even the boys could cook a meal and clean a house if they ever needed to do so.

During the years, as her family was growing up, she was active in her church. She served in the Primary, Sunday School, Relief Society and YWMIA as a teacher and in the Presidencies. When her husband was Bishop she was one of the very first Cub Scout Den Leaders of the ward.

As the years moved on the children started to marry and leave home, each one was hard for her and also a joy. Many moved away and that meant trips to parts of the country she had never seen. She was able to see the historic church sites and attend many of the church pageants. They even went to Israel. Now she and Calvin were back at the beginning, just the two of them at home. They worked in the Prove temple, which they loved. They also bought a Volkswagen Bus and went fishing. She still didn’t like fish, but she would take her tatting or crocheting along to keep her busy. She always had a book along, just in case. No one ever knew what “just in case” meant.

When Calvin died in 1980 she stayed in the home they Built for quite so time. She died on December 15, 2001.

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Author: Heather Hoyt

I'm a stay-at-home mom living in Wyoming and I like to write, take photographs, and play with my kids.

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