A FEW THINGS I REMEMBER OF MOTHER SESSIONS
"In the Autumn they built a Stockade Fort." Page two and three in Keplar Sessions life in Arizona.
Mother told me how they lived in a wagon box, as their own private room, that women divided in groups to do the cooking and washing and regardless of how they felt, they were expected to be on hand when their turn came in the kitchen.
She was a small person, only eighteen years old, she told me many different times, of mixing a batch of bread in a pan almost as large across as a washtub. She had it sitting on a box or bench, to make it easier for her to work. When she had finished, she would try to lift it to the table, to do so she rested the pan against her body, the weight pressing her right side caused an injury which gave her trouble throughout her life. She finally died of an operation for appendicitis.
She was especially happy and thankful when the fort was completed, then she could have a room of her own. She was preparing for her baby, who was born 12 January 1877 of the following year. She was working on his little clothes and making curtains for the windows and for her furniture made of dry goods boxes. She had plenty to do when her shift was over in the kitchen.
Among the curtains she made was one made of white muslin or bleach two yards wide, on which she crocheted an insertion about on and one half inches wide. She hemmed each edge of the material and stitched the insertion in and put about five or six little pin tucks on either side, all by hand. This was put around a box with shelves built in. A hand made scarf was placed on the top of the box.
She has told me of the excruciating pain she endured giving birth to her baby. Her husband Keplar drove a team of horses forty miles each way to bring a midwife from Flagstaff, Arizona. This was another group of Latter-Day-Saints who were colonizing in Arizona. This lady was successful in bringing relief and nursed her back to health. Life in this primitive condition was hard and she was a pioneer most of her life.
When her health was restored, she went back into the kitchen to work. One day when her little blue eyed curly headed blonde was strong enough to hold himself up, she spread a blanket over a horse collar and put him down in it. She glanced over at him, only to see a big rattlesnake curled up all too close to her baby. She screamed, and one of the women ran outside and got Lot Smith who came in, picked the baby up and killed the snake. I was always very much interested in the stories she told, you see this baby is my husband.
She was very methodical in her work and an immaculate housekeeper. I remember she used to make rag carpets and homemade quilts. On the first of March without fail, unless it fell on the weekend or Sunday, she would bring the rags out of the closets and make quilt blocks out of the best ones, and tear up the others into carpet rags. By the time March was gone, the blocks were pieced and the carpet rags were sewn.
She always had some knitting for pick up work, laying around in a handy place, as she knitted stockings for the entire family.
I remember one Saturday morning we all went into Bancroft, before we got the Saturday work done, thinking we would easily be back by noon and could clean the house in the afternoon. But we had car trouble just before we arrived in town but were able to get the car into town under its own power, took it to the garage. It was late in the afternoon when we got our car out of the garage. Mother was deathly tired when we reached home. Some of us went at the chores, and some at getting dinner, after which we were just too tired to begin the cleaning. I was really interested in seeing just how Mother would meet the situation as she was such a good housekeeper and truly religious. Mother believed the "Spirit of God could not dwell in an unclean tabernacle", which applied to a home as much as to one's physical body. She also believed that if the "Oxen was in the mire" we were to lift him out. Poor ox. We compromised by getting up early and tidying up the house a little, all going to church, and eating a bit sparingly that day than usual, then by tearing into the washing early Monday morning. Within hours the old Ford car and the household was back in good running order.
Mother was a good cook and always had material enough on hand for a good balanced meal.
When the girls were getting ready to go out she always went into their room and watched them get ready. I have heard her tell them many times, "Now of you behave as well as you look you will be all right."
She was so reserved and so quiet that she nearly froze her timid, inexperienced daughter-in-law to death, and I was years getting to where I really felt easy in her presence, but I eventually found that her saying, "Well that is nice." Was equivalent to most people raving for an hour. When I finally came to the point of understanding her I loved her dearly.
Mother was truly religious, but so reticent that I donít ever remember hearing her pray, or of hearing her bear her testimony in public, but some of the most beautiful testimonies I have ever listened to were borne by her when we have been talking together.
Mother knew that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and Joseph Smith was and is a Prophet, who re-established Godís work on the earth in our day. It was certainly faith promoting to hear her talk on the Gospel.
She was a born genealogist, could trace the families of the General Authorities and tell the relationship of one to the other by memory. I am sure she had never seen a relationship chart; she never needed one.
Lovingly dedicated to Ann Call Sessions by Evelyn A. Sessions.