Saturday, January 22, 2011

Violet Velma Morris Blackett 1904-1988

(Personal History as told to her daughter Donna July 26th, 1986)
I was born September 27th, 1904 in Greenville, Utah to Joseph H. and Emily R. Morris.  I was named for my fathers sister, Violet Alice Morris Barton, my name being Violet Velma Morris.

My early years were spent in Greenville Utah.  As we got older, we went to school in Beaver at the Murdock Academy.  It was a busy life on the farm.  Each of us had chores to do like getting in the chips and wood for the stove, gathering the eggs, churning and making butter that Mama sold to the people in Beaver.   We girls were taught to do housework of all kinds.  I remember taking the kitchen chairs out to the ditch and scrubbing them.  It was a chore I hated.  We girls were also taught to cook and we had a great teacher, our mother, Emmie Edwards Morris.

From time to time, there were gypsies camped on the outskirts of Greenville.  We kids were very fearful of being stolen, as was the gypsies custom, when they were around.  Mothers kept their children close to them anytime the Gypsies came to town.  One day, my brother Neal and I were walking along the road taking the cows to the pasture.  We were approached by the gypsies and they offered candy to us if we would come and get it.  Being a young child, I was going to go for the candy but Neal who was 2 years older grabbed me by the hand and we ran to the millrace and across the bridge.  Neal pulled the end of the bridge into the water so they could not follow us.  Everyone joked that if it hadn't been for Neal saving me instead of being a Violet I'd be "gypsy rose".

Our father was the custodian of the school house.  He walked about a mile nite and morning to care for the building.  Ours was a musical home.  Father played the harmonica, chorded on the piano for the dances and he and mama sang.  My sister Nell and I sang.  One night in her sleep she started singing "Little Purple Pansies" and I in my sleep joined in.  Here we were singing a duet and didn't even know it until morning. 

When I was older, I used to wash and do homework for various families in Greenville and I earned a wage of 50 cents a week (on a side note, I remember being told that Violet had been let go by a few families because she scrubbed the clothes so hard in her attempt for perfect cleanliness that she scrubbed holes in the clothes). 

I started corresponding with William Edward Blackett and though he dated quite a few girls when he came to Greenville, I was the one he married.  He would have a date with one girl and then he would take her home and would come and see me and tell me all about the date.  We were married on May 4th, 1925 when I was just 19.  A son William Max Blackett was born to us.  He was a cute little boy with big blue eyes and blonde hair.  He was our whole world.

About this time in our lives we had alot of trouble and bad luck.  We were trying to farm and every cow or horse we  bought died and the townspeople called us jinxed.  Max fell into the well at my parents home on  a day that Bill and some other men in town were  butchering a pig.  When I started screaming, they all came running.  I was down the well holding his feet so he wouldn't go any further.  They got both of us out and he was alright.  when Max turned 8, he was to be baptized.  He died and was buried on the day he would have been baptized.  I got pregnant about this time, we were not to have this baby and I lost it.

Bill and I gave up farming at this time and we moved to Bingham Canyon so we could work in the Copper Mine which is now known as Kennecott.  It was while we were there that I got pregnant with Donna.  I had many problems with the pregnancy and spent much of the time in the hospital under the care of Dr Paul Richards.  I never would have been able to have our daughter Donna if it would not have been for our close location to the Doctors who helped me.  He also counseled us that I never get pregnant again and so we would only have this one child.

My husband Bill lost his eye in a mining accident and had to wear a glass eye.  He also was crippled with arthritis so severe that at times he couldn't walk.  After he was able to work we moved around alot from Mine to Mine.  We were in a mine a little west of Milford and were there for some time.  The manager of the mine lived there also and his wife took the children to Milford to school every day.  From there, we were at Spring Valley mine further west than where we had been.  we were the only family out there so I cooked for the men in the mines.  We cooked for 16 people there.  Three meals a day.  Donna helped a great deal in washing dishes and helping me cook.

In 1943, Bill came to Geneva Steel to work.  We followed him as soon as we were able to.  we bought a trailer house and stayed in Spanish fork with Bill's sister yard with our trailer.  We lived there a short time, moving to Springville for a short time.  We then mvoed to Orem and I got a job at Geneva Steel's main offices washing windows.  We purchased our 1st home at 962 South 400 East in Orem in the Cristeel acres subdivision.  In 1956 we moved to the home I spent the rest of my life in at 159 West 850 South in Orem.  Bill wanted a bigger yard and he loved landscaping it.  Bill continued working at Geneva but my job there stopped.  His job was in the Coke plant and he worked there for most of ten years or so before they knew he had a glass eye.  I have no idea how he passed the eye exam required to work there.  His eye sight was better with one eye than most have with 2 eyes.

We had a beautiful life and enjoyed camping, fishing and hunting.  Bill always got his deer and many times shot deer for others as well.  These years we were not active in the church.  Bill worked shift work and could never sit still in meetings because his legs bothered him with the arthritis. 

About 1950, I became a school lunch worker.  It was a good job and I enjoyed it very much and worked 23 yeras at several schools in Orem.  I retired in 1970.  I lost my darling companion Bill in December of 1966.  Bill had a massive heart attackm and died suddely after shoveling show.  Although the years have been kind to me, I miss my wonderful husband.

In 1984, I fell down my stairs and suffered a concussion.  I had fluid on the brain and had to have a shunt placed in my head.  I get very confused now and I struggle with things more and more.  My daughter and granddaughter take good care of me.  I am truly blessed to have had such a wonderful life.

My grandmother Violet was the best Grandma anyone could ever have wanted.   She was more a mother to me than just a grandma.  My mom Donna worked as a nurse when I was little and Grandma Violet would take care of me while Mom worked.   I remember her telling me stories of her childhood and of her happy childhood in Greenville as the 3rd of 7 children.  Only 5 of them lived to adulthood.  My grandmother was a very nervous and shy person.  She was a perfectionist when it came to being clean.  She took great pride in caring for her home and family.

My grandmother loved her husband Bill more than life itself.  She was heartbroken when he passed away in 1966, leaving her to live a long miserable 22 years alone.  She and Bill were first cousins.  Their mothers were sisters.  When Violet and Bill fell in love, their families forbid them to marry.  They decided that if she were pregnant then they would have to let them marry and so that is exactly what they did.  

My grandmother was afraid of everything.  She had suffered many great losses in her life which made her extremely overprotective of those she loved.  She never learned how to drive and refused to let her daughter Donna learn to drive until she was 18 years old.  I also recently learned a story from Violet's niece Thelma that when she was a little girl, Violet had been babysitting her while Thelma's parents were out of town.  Violet  pinned Thelma's nightgown to her own so that she would not get up in the night without waking her up. 

The best memories of my childhood surround my life with my Grandma Violet.  She would bake me cherry pies and teach me to cook.  We would wash clothes on the glass scrub board before we put the clothes in the washing machine because they just didn't get the clothes clean like she wanted.  Violet was a wonderful quilter.  She made many quilts and some of my fondest memories were playing under the quilt while she spent hours stitching away.   Violet taught me tolerance and unconditional love.  She would make cookies and punch and take it out to the garbage men.  She told me that when people do things for you that you should always show people gratitude for doing things you can't do for yourself.  Even though Violet was Mormon, if someone came to her house that smoked she would bring them an ashtray and serve them coffee if that is what they wanted.  She loved to make others happy.   Violet was diagnosed with Ahlzheimers disease in 1987.  It broke my heart to watch her slip away.   Violet Velma Morris Blackett passed away on February 11th, 1988 at a nursing home in Provo, Utah.  She is buried next to her beloved Bill in the Greenville, Utah Cemetary.

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