MEMORIES OF MY MOTHER by Erma Funk Lundquist

The following was written by my grandma, Erma Funk Lundquist:

To most of you here, she was Grandmother … to me she was Mother (Naomi). She lived to be 84 years of age.

My Great Grandmother, Naomi Roxana Holman

These are a few of the wonderful memories I have of my childhood with her. She was a proud lady in every respect.

I can remember first living in the Toomb’s house in Benson. A lot happened there. One year the pigs were to be killed for winter meat. I remember the big barrels with liquid in them and they put the pigs in the barrel and swished them back and forth to clean them. My Dad wanted to help so he took the pigs tail and pulled it right out. We all had to hide our faces to laugh.

I remember my brother – he was a dear. They all went to Trenton each week to farm. Then they would come home on the weekend. A good time was had by all – especially me. My brother, Bill, always teased me with gum. I had to kiss his one-week of whiskers in order to get the gum. My mother always had lots of goodies – pies, cakes and fresh bread for all.

Can you imagine being cooped up in one room for three weeks with a brat like me? Yes, I had scarlet fever, which at that time was bad news. The keyhole and around the door had to be taped. We had an outside door to that bedroom. Our meals were brought and left on the door step. We ate our meals and put the dishes in the pan. They brought boiling water to put on them before they were washed. My mother held me in her arms. She furnished tons of Sears catalogs to fill shoe boxes full of paper dolls. Dr. Merrill was a dear and he and Mom would visit while they gave me 3 tablespoon of caster oil every morning. Fortunately no one else got scarlet fever.

I remember the meetings my Dad used to have and invite the men in. They all had boots on and were covered with ice and snow. I embarrassed my mother for as it melted it bothered me so I got the mop and cleaned it up right under their feet. Good teachings – cleanliness!

One day in early Spring, Inid and I were playing in the kitchen on the floor. We looked up and a big Indian Chief had his nose flattened on the screen door looking in. My mother instantly took us out into another room out a door and told us to go to one of the outer buildings and gave us instructions what to do. We did exactly what she said and a little more. We locked her out there with the Indian. However, we did pray for her safety. She was left out there to do battle with him, but instead, she made friends. They camped down by the river every Spring and every Spring my mother had visitors. She gave them a loaf of bread or whatever she had.

My Grand Aunt, Inid Funk (1905-2002)

I remember the big round table she used to feed many people on. No electric lights in those days – wood alcohol ones. She kept the liquid in a quart jar to fill the lamps, then sat the jar by my plate. Inid and I was out in the leaves and I got thirsty so I went in and took a drink of alcohol. After I had done it, I ran outside to Inid. She, of course, ran and told Mom. Needless to say, everyone got busy. Jerome called Dr. Reese and Bill called Dr. Merrill and both got there at the same time. Fortunately I had disobeyed for I had gone to the orchard and eaten green apples. They absorbed the poison in the alcohol and it helped me – it saved my life.

Well, of course, Mother probably had bad breaks and good things happen to her. I don’t remember. But I do remember when Bill went away to war. She was not too happy about it. He was in Camp Kearny. I remember the parade down Center Street, bands playing and a train waiting at the end of the street. Some kind man picked me up and put me on his shoulders. The last time I saw Bill alive was on the back of the train waving a white hanky. He got sick. We fasted and prayed a lot but he had double pneumonia. My mother use to say, “If I could get to him I could make him better.” She was a great nurse. His funeral was held in our new home which was not completed. It was pretty hard on my Mom, too. She insisted on his casket being opened and that he be redressed to her satisfaction. I remember I sat on her lap on the way to the cemetery, kicked her legs and screamed all the way. Mother understood though. I wanted to be with Bill. He was special.

My Grand Uncle, William (Bill) Orlando Funk (1891-1918) in His Uniform

Moving across the street to the new place waiting for its completion was something else. We lived in a big tent and when wash day came, I wanted to leave. It took a lot of muscles to push the agitator back and forth. We had a huge boiler on the top of the stove. The clothes were put in boiling water before they were clean enough for my Mom.

One day my Dad fell down our hill. My Mom and I stood at the top and laughed. It made Dad angry when we laughed and he said, “You damn fools, you’d laugh if a guy got killed!”

In the living room and dining room Mom had hard wood floors and Benny Lundquist was the painter. She watched him work and got exactly what she wanted. She was a good supervisor for Benny.

She took great pride in her garden and flowers. She always let the neighbors know when she was digging potatoes. Her screams were heard far and wide when she would get a toad instead of a potato.

She also sounded the alarm when Rex would push a cat towards her. To keep things running smoothly and keep me out of trouble, she used to send me to the fields to herd the cows. She always knew what to do.

I’m sure she was a fun loving young woman. For many Saturday nights my wonderful Dad would come home from work and ask, “Do you have a date for the dance?” If the answer was NO, he would say, “Get your mother ready and I’ll take you.” We would stop in Smithfield and pick up Afton Greene and we were on our way. Dad knew how much I loved to dance – and Mother enjoyed watching the young people. It was great fun. When Mother went to Salt Lake to see her Mother, Dad and I were at home alone. He loved a fire in the fireplace, so when Mom went away, we had one. She didn’t like a fire because she said it was too messy. We cleaned it up good before she got home. My Dad would sit in his chair reading the newspaper. I couldn’t see his face, but I had the most wonderful feeling – contented and secure.

When I was left alone with a six-week old baby boy, my Dad and Mother took me in. At that time I felt it an imposition, but since then I feel it was good for all. My Mom marveled at the attention my Dad gave him. She had seven children and he had never changed a diaper. He did Eddie’s. There was a relationship that grew there that was an inspiration – love for all.

Unfortunately in 1936 I moved to California. I didn’t get to see Mother much after that, maybe every two to three years. Whenever I did, there was always welcome and plenty of love. She didn’t ever have much money but was always willing to share. In days past, I always remember her getting her check cashed and 10% went to one side for tithing. That never failed. She was faithful in her religion. She was kind and devoted to her family.

Mom, if you are listening, I must thank you for all the things you did for me. I had a wonderful childhood and always help when I needed it. It’s sad when one gets to be 80 and just realizes a few things, but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately and now I know how lucky I was to have a Mother and Dad, brothers and a sister, like you.

I love you all, but most of all I love you, Mom and Dad.

Do you want to hear more?! In the past few months I have written many books in my mind (between 3 AM and 5 AM in the morning) – rehearsing and remembering all the good things that have happened. I’m sure that Inid has all the details and statistics.

(Note: These memories were recorded for the grandchildren of William and Naomi Funk who meet together each year for a “Cousin’s Reunion” on the Saturday evening before Memorial Day.)

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