Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Donna Lee Blackett Atchison O'Brien 1935-2007

My mother, Donna Lee Blackett, was born March 3rd, 1935 in Bingham Utah to William Edwards Blackett and Violet Velma Morris.  Violet had problems with her pregnancy and after Donna was born, Dr. Paul Richards who had helped her carry Donna to term, told her she could never have any more children.  Bill and Violet were thrilled to have a daughter after loosing their 1st child Max in 1933.
                                    1935 Violet and Baby Donna Lee and below in Bingham near the mine


1936 Donna and puppies                                                                            1936 Donna on Ormonds car

Donna's parents were hard workers but times were tough.  Donna was born in Bingham while her father worked in the mines there.  From a very young age, she learned the value of hard work and how important it was to help out.  Donna and her family were constantly moving.  She remembered living in Greenville when she was a small child and she would ride her trike to her Grandmother Emily E. Morris' home where she would braid Donna's hair.  She had so much hair that she had 28 raven black ringlets surrounding her head when Grandma Emmy finished!  My daughter Shantel Trunnell Walters looks so much like her Grandma Donna and has that thick hair too!
                  Donna is 1st on the left with Morris cousins in Grandpa's Wagon in Greenville, Utah

Donna wrote about when electricity came to Greenville, Utah in 1941 and it was quite a big day to actually have electric lights.  Before this, all her reading was done by a coal oil lamp.  Sunday night, they went to the pink rock school house and filled buckets from the Artesian well that still runs to this day in the front yard of the school.  They used the water for washing clothes and to drink.  I remember that every Memorial Day when we went to Greenville it was a custom to stop and fill our water jug with that cold clear water and we would take it home to savor.
                                                         1941  Donna Lee Blackett

When Violet would do the wash, Donna would follow her out to the clothesline and stand on a box next to her helping to "scrub doze garmuts" as she called it.    Seems though she was always on a table or chair to help with the chores.  She really wanted to help with the cooking but Violet was afraid of her getting hurt so she would promptly take Donna off her chair and put her down.  She would cry "I onts to be a cookie too!"
One day, they were in the kitchen and Violet saw a mouse run across the floor.  Being deathly afraid of mice, she screamed and jumped on the nearest chair.  This scared Donna who was still on the floor with the killer vermin.  Violet cried out "It's okay, don't cry, it's just a little mouse"...Brave words from atop a chair.  Violet was teased for years over that one.
                                                          1947 Donna in 5th Grade

The days of working at the mine camps were hard on Donna but she never complained.  In her mothers history Violet wrote of how proud she was of Donna.  She would be up at dawn with her mother and father who cooked all the meals for the miners.  Donna would wash all the breakfast dishes, usually finishing just about the time lunch was served.  She started again and finished about the time dinner was served and then washed dishes into the night.  This all started over the next day.   This explains why my mother was so excited when I was old enough to finally help do the dishes.

                                                  1952                                                       1953                                                             1954          

Donna never went to the same school 2 years in a row.  This was difficult for her.  She was a rather shy girl and had a hard time making friends.  She usually had cousins to play with but it was a solitary time when they were working away from their extended family.  Violet was extremely protective of her only child.  So much so that Donna never got to drive until she was 18.   Donna graduated from Lincoln High in 1953.  In 1956, Bill and Violet finally bought their first new home.  159 West 850 South, Orem, Utah.  This was always Donna's home.  It served as my home and also for a time for my children as we lived there at times in our life.

                                                     1962 Charles and Donna B Atchison
Donna married my father, Charles Scoville Atchison, September 8th, 1962 in Orem.  They were married in the church on 900 south right by Bill and Violet's home.  This is also the church where I married in 1983 and where Shantel got married in 2003.

 Donna had put herself through nursing school and she worked as an LPN.  She had a lot of back and neck problems which forced her to stop working as a regular nurse and to get further education and work as a respiratory therapist.   She divorced my dad shortly after I was born and we lived with Grandma Violet. 

Donna married Larry O'Brien in 1973 and divorced him in 1979.  Those were some of the most difficult years for my mother.  After the divorce, she moved in with my grandmother and we had a pretty good life.  Donna worked for a time at Deseret Industries and she was always a light in the lives of the people she worked with.  

                                                       Lexie and Grandma Donna 3/3/2007
Donna became a grandma on December 7, 1984 with the birth of Chalyce.  She was so proud of all her grandchildren, Chalyce, Shantel, Skylar and Lexie.   She even got to be a great grandma to our sweet Brynn.  Donna was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease in 1999.  We had to sell the home and move her to a care facility.  Donna remained there and looked forward to seeing her family every time they came to visit.  Chalyce got her CNA license and went to work at Donna's care center.  Chalyce took great pride in caring for her sweet grandma.   Donna passed away on May 27th, 2007.  We miss her and are gratefull for all the lessons she taught us in this life.


Anonymous said...

I love you Grama!!!
Thanks for writing this, Mama!!!

Anonymous said...

One of the most important things in this life is to know who you are and where you come from. You are welcome.