Story

Merle Alice Rees Call

Merle Alice Rees Call
Born July 2, 1911

  • Born in Coalville, Utah in a white house, the third daughter of Joseph and Blanche Rees
  • Lived before refrigerators or ice-boxes, and she remembers getting big blocks of ice from the river and storing them in the attic and covering them with sawdust.
  • Moved to Devils Slide, Utah, when she was four. Her father worked in a general merchandise store and later managed the store.
  • “Tomboy” (her word) as a girl.
  • Left-handed.
  • Moved to Croydon as a girl to the original Howard Thackeray home
  • Liked to go to weekly movies. Paid eggs for admission and “they usually had a continued show that left someone falling out of a building, over a cliff, or drowning.”
  • Had cows to milk, a horse to ride, pigs to feed, and chickens to hatch. Fished in irrigation ditch.
  • Started school when she was five years old. First teacher was Miss Ethelyn Barns.
  • Thin and sickly when she started school and had St. Vitus dance, a disease that made her twitch and jerk.
  • Chosen for one the leads in the 8th grade operetta
  • When to the senior banquet and dance in 8th grade. Only girl to do so. Said she was “embarrassed and timid” and would run and hide whenever her date tried to talk to her. Spilled on her dress she made for the occasion.
  • Loved to sing.
  • Graduated from Morgan High with a class of 13 people.
  • Worked in the summer for her uncle cooking for hay men in high school. Made $4 a week.
  • Later worked in a pea factor for the summer.
  • Went to the Agriculture College in Logan. Waited tables to pay for room and board.
  • Enjoyed studying art, design, interior decoration, and figure drawing.
  • Went to Salt Lake and attended Utah High School of Beauty Culture.
  • Married on February 10, 1932 to Helaman Call in the Salt Lake Temple. George F. Richards married her.
  • Children: Marlene, Neil, Linda, Sylvia, Alan, Blaine
  • Took care of four children when her husband was drafted into WWII
  • Taught spiritual living, social science, political science, and literature (Shakespeare) at week day Relief Society
  • Counselor in Relief Society, served as ward librarian, in primary, as a teacher trainer. Taught early morning seminary.
  • Regularly attended Sunday school and sacrament meetings
  • Exercised her testimony
  • On her death bed she claimed and held on to the belief that she didn’t have arthritis after doctors examined her and said she did
  • Loved to shop and buy nice things on sale and then give them as gifts. Always had good supply of gifts
  • Beautician–did hair for the ladies in the neighborhood and for her children
  • Artist–charcoal, pastels, oils, acrylics. Gave art lessons to kids in the neighborhood on still life. Painted dancing dolls, flowers, animal, and landscapes
  • Served others–took care of people, comforted them.
  • Enjoyed reading.
  • Enjoyed cooking, canning, and collected recipes. Made dinner rolls most Sundays.
  • Very particular about her laundry–she got white things white and kept her clothes neat and mended. Also sewed.
  • Enjoyed flowers and the beauties of nature.
  • Could handle hard situations with a calming influence.
  • She made her children clean windows one on each side when they were fighting. Marlene states: “You can’t stay mad when you have to look at the other person through the glass you are cleaning.”
  • Was in some serious car accidents. In one of them, three people in the other car were killed. Face was cut to bits so she wasn’t recognizable. Right leg was cut to the bone. Nerve running through the hipbone was almost severed and she had to stay in bed for a while.
  • Met her husband at a Halloween party in Salt Lake. Went to the movie Just Imagine, a futuristic film, for their first date.
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