Raymond is in the hospital with a second blood clot in his leg.
More information coming soon.
The descendants of Richard Elton and Edith Roberts Maxfield...
MAXFIELD FAMILY REUNION
Bridging the Generations
-Marilyn Maxfield Brown
It has been said that unless something is written down about a person, within two generations that person is forgotten. As members of the Richard Elton and Edith Roberts Maxfield family, it is important to share some memories so that they might be remembered.
As one of the oldest grandchildren, I am attempting to put to paper some of the early memories of the family in a attempt to give a broader picture of our grandparents and their children.
Grandfather, Richard Elton or "Mack" as he was known, and Grandmother, Edith, were married in the "roaring 20's" era. They loved to dance and have a good time. Grandfather looked stunning in his clothing and was charming. It was said that he could "sell freezers to the Eskimos" he was such a good salesman. Grandfather had a sweet smile and wonderful manners. He did not like to hear anyone gossip. He would stop them by saying, "If you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all."
Grandmother spoke about "putting a mark" on her baby if she did, read, or saw something--for good or for bad, while pregnant. When she was pregnant, she talked to her unborn and read to her unborn in an attempt to put a "positive mark" on the child.
Shortly before my father was born, she saw a show performed by African Americans. When her firstborn son was born prematurely and breech, the birth was a very difficult one. Grandfather Maxfield was asked by the doctor which one to save, his wife or his baby. Grandmother heard that her baby was "dark." She thought she had "marked" her baby by watching the show. Later she realized that Richard Lamar Maxfield had been bruised and dusky from prematurity not from anything she had seen or read!
Grandfather and Grandmother Maxfield had seven children. Richard Lamar was the oldest child. Next came twins, Maurice and Maurine. Maurice weighed 2 pounds 2 ounces and lived only a few hours. Maurine weighed only 1 pound 14 ounces. How amazing to care for such a tiny baby without all of the high-tech advances of our day, but Grandmother did
lovingly. Aunt Maurine looked like a baby doll. Again, twins blessed their family with Janyce and Joyce weighing a bit more than Aunt Maurine had--3 1/2 pounds apiece. (My father, Richard, said that his twin sisters slept in shoe boxes lined with
quilt batting and placed behind the stove to keep them warm. He helped care for them. Grandmother said no one was more gentle or caring than Richard was for his precious baby sisters.) Flora Lee then Carol Ann joined the family and were best friends
Grandfather Maxfield suffered from bleeding ulcers. When he had to have surgery and rest, he went to Salt Lake City to stay with his parents. That left Grandmother with the six children to care for and to raise without his assistance. Grandmother rose to the occasion and carefully trained and instructed her children. She presided over the family in a "united order" manner. Whatever one earned went to the good of all. They worked together to achieve their goals. Grandmother was a woman of faith. She prayed often for guidance and spoke of the feelings that she had when her prayers were answered.
She taught that "your word was your bond." Just prior to her death, while very ill and weak from cancer, she asked her son, Richard, to take her to Spanish Fork to pay a bill that she owed to a man. She was unable give an address but could direct him as he drove her to the man's home. She had told the man that she would pay him on that day and insisted on meeting that promise. She dressed, was driven to pay the bill, then returned home and to her sick bed. Her integrity made a strong impression on her son.
Grandmother, Edith, loved nice things and took care of her property. She had a home built on property she had received from her father, next door to her brothers, Elmer and Charles. She was a hard worker. She raised a nice garden, flower beds, plants, orchard, and also had chickens. I remember the nicely mowed lawn, the trimmed bushes, and the pansies planted under the tree in her front yard. She had beautiful roses and a row of beautiful maroon crysanthamums and white sweet williams on the north side of the front lawn, and lilac bushes, irises, golden rod, and peonies in the back yard with an
arbor covered with wild roses between the north side yard and the back yard. She had a brick, free-standing barbeque in the back yard. Her home was neat, clean, and orderly.
Grandmother told about an experience she had while picking raspberries from her garden one day. She felt something slithering up her leg. She carefully unbuttoned her slacks, held onto the snake in her pant leg with her other hand, and removed her slacks. She said she swung her slacks over her head like a lasso and threw those slacks as far away from
her as she could, then ran to the house!
Grandmother liked to look nice. She said that she had a "nice" slip and an "everyday" slip. Whenever her "everyday" slip wore out, she would purchase a new slip and her old "nice" slip would then become her "everyday" slip. As a child, I watched as she would return from Church to remove her black, polished, high-top, lace-up shoes to be replaced with an identical pair of black, high-top, lace-up shoes--her best shoes and her everyday shoes. She wore white gloves to Church. Pill box hats with netting or other small hats were worn to Church and special occasions. Watching her get ready was fascinating as
she used witch hazel as a tonic then applied moisturizer then rouge (now called blush). She lined her lips then applied a deep red lipstick. She penciled her brows and put on mascara from a small rectangular box with a small brush and a drop or two of water. She finished her look with a dusting of face powder and a touch of perfume to her wrists and behind both ears. Her hair was short and permed into curls.
One day we went to visit only to fiind Grandmother with a bandage on the center/tip and midline of her nose She was quite embarassed to talk about what had happened to her. Finallly she confessed that she had been cutting something with a (?) sharp knife. Her knife slipped and cut her nose almost into half midline. She reminded us to always cut away from the body not toward as she had done.
Nothing was wasted at Grandmother Maxfield's home. Turkey dinners meant a delicious, slightly sweet flavored, turkey soup in the days to follow. (The soup was made from the carcas of the turkey with finely ground celery and carrots.) Her meals were tasty. She said that her mother was a good cook and that she, Edith, had the responsibility to cook for her family at the early death of her mother from Bright's disease--a kidney
Grandmother enjoyed poetry and literature. For many years, she taught the cultural refinement classes for Relief Society. She fought for the underdog; she challenged the underachiever to do better, and she encouraged her family to seek higher
education. She had a neice (her sister, Hazel's daughter, Doris) who was fairly well-to-do, living in California. Doris' husband work in the movie industry. Doris would send her no longer wanted clothing to Grandmother who would stay up late, carefully taking the garmentapart and learning fabric construction techniques as she went. She would then cut out
clothing for her daughters from the material and reconstruct outfits using the newly learned techniques. People thought the family was "well-off" because of her expert seamstress skills and use of expensive fabrics. Her ability to recycle items
was very appreciated by her family and saved a great deal of money.
Grandmother had allergies and was often heard clearing her throat. She chuckled one day remembering a visit to Aunt Maurine's home in 1963. She had cleared her throat, spat into the toilet, then flushed the toilet. As she washed her hands at the sink, she heard Jeffrey make the same noise then flush the toilet. She was impressed at how smart her grandchildren were.
Later in life, Grandfather Maxfield, who had been working in Salt Lake City with his brother, Albert, in their upholstery shop, became ill and returned to Grandmother. Grandfather Maxfield had a bald head. He needed some assistance from Grandmother in washing his hair as he suffered from Parkinson's Disease. Grandmother took some shampoo and massaged it onto his scalp anticipating a rich lather. When no lather appeared, she took another scoop of the shampoo and repeated the process; but again there was no lather. Complaining loudly about the inadequacy of the shampoo, she gathered a greater scoop of the shampoo as Grandfather asked to see the container. They both laughed as they realized she was using cold cream on his head instead of shampoo. Grandmother said he had the "shiniest head" in town!
Grandfather Maxfield loved to make pancakes with hot maple syrup. His pancakes were extremely light and flavorful. (His daughter-in-law said they were so light, you had to put maple syrup on them to keep them from floating off the plate!) He often put buckwheats into the mix for a really delicious breakfast. Grandfather and Grandmother drank Postum and/or Ovaltine with their breakfasts. Grandfather was an excellent gardner. They had fresh fruits from their garden and orchard. The cantelope from their garden were some of the best I have ever eaten. Grandfather often helped his son, Richard, with his
farming by driving the tractor to plow the ground or mow the hay.
Sunday dinners at our home in Charleston were often shared by Grandfather and Grandmother Maxfield and any of the aunts living at home. Grandfather would lovingly hold his grandchildren. He had long fingers with very distinguished large
fingernails. His hands were soft and smooth and beautiful. He would tell stories or gently tease his grandchildren. I fondly remember my little brother, Brett, who was just 2 1/2 years old to 3 years old, sitting on Grandfather's lap in the rocking chair. Brett would snap his fingernail on Grandfather's thumbnail and ask, "Grandpa, how you spell kitchen?" Grandfather would reel off some crazy letters. Brett would say, "No, Grandpa." Grandfather would then spell the word correctly, at which Brett would say, "Yup!" We would laugh and laugh at their interchange. Grandfather was very patient, gentle, and loving. Everyone would pitch in to make the meal, laughing and talking as they worked. The peeling of the onions was a big deal! One would place wood-stick matches in her lips (the preventative of watering eyes when peeling onions) and begin peeling onions until her eyes were so filled with tears that she could no longer see and another would take over.
Aunt Maurine eventually won the role of "chief onion peeler." With a cheerful laugh, she said it didn't bother her to peel the onions.
Grandmother loved to have her feet massaged. She would "ooh" and "ah" as I rubbed her feet with lotion. She made me feel that I could do the best and was the best. She allowed Carole, the oldest grandchild, to curl and style her hair. As she would tease and style it, Grandmother would ask, "How does it look in the back?" Imagine a 13 or 14 year old styling your hair!?!? She made you want to do your best.
While serving in the Dominican Republic, Grandmother came to visit. She had visited us in Virginia in 1962, touring historical sites. This was different. This third world country was different than the United States. She was a trooper! She was more relaxed with us than I could ever remember. She listened to our radio station until the language barrier became too much for her to bear. She faced the speaker and said, "Bla-bla-bla-bla-bla!" We all laughed.
Grandmother said that she had the best sons-in-law that any woman could ever have. She appreciated each one for his individual strengths and talents and for his love and care for her precious daughter. Indeed, each one was very caring and loving to her as was her daughter-in-law. Each of her children graduated from college. Her son continued his education to become a lawyer as she envisioned and encouraged--a lawyer to help the poor and the widows.
Grandmother spoke lovingly of her immediate family--her sisters and brothers. Both sisters had died of cancer. She missed them. Her brothers helped and supported her when she needed a man's help. Uncle Elmer would often visit with her and share something from his extended garden or from his goats or cows.
As I look at my aunts and father, I see a reflection of the goodness and strengths taught by their mother, Edith Roberts Maxfield. The Lord commanded, "Honor thy father and thy mother." Indeed, her family obeys that commandment as each lives the Gospel in their daily lives, tries to do their best, and loves and helps others.