It was a warm August afternoon. Mother was resting in her room at the back of the house. My brother and cousin John were playing in a tree just outside her window. They were trying to build a tree house. John was up in the tree and Doug was on the ground. Suddenly the small ax John was using fell and hit Doug on the head. OOOOW! “John hit me with the ax”! Doug is running and screaming in the back door, blood running down his head. Mother is roused from her sickbed and meets him at the back door. A run to the emergency room is needed. Mother can not drive. Aunt Wanda is pressed into service. Doug comes home with stitches in his head. A badge of honor. No real damage done. Head wounds bleed profusely. Just another summer day on “Cox Avenue”.
I grew up on a street with Aunts and Uncles and cousins. We could go to any home for comfort or help. None of the Mothers worked when I was young. My Mother started to take part time jobs about the time I was in 5th or 6th grade. Eventually she took a job at the hospital being a cook in the kitchen. So that made a change in our family. sometimes she would be gone in the morning and sometimes she would not get home until evening. In spite of that we always had wonderful meals at home and the added benefit of leftovers from the hospital. No jokes about hospital food in Cedar City, My Mother was the cook. She made everything wonderful.
Mother spent most of her growing up years in Pocatello, Idaho. She came from a large family. Her Father died when she was 17 and she dropped out of High School to work and help support the family. One of her older brothers was killed in an automobile accident also.These events left a mark of sadness in my Mothers life. She had many friends in Pocatello and as we made our regular trips North to visit Grandma and the Idaho Aunts and Uncles, Mothers ‘girlfriends’ would be visited also. We considered them as much a part of the family as anyone else.
Mother would tell me about when she was a young girl and hurrying home from school and going to the neighbors who might have a little baby and begging to take the baby for a walk. I am sure these young Mothers loved having a little break. Mother always loved our little babies.
Mother was beautiful seamstress. There were always new dresses for Easter and Christmas and the start of school. I was a willing learner and anxious to start my own creations. By the time I was in High School I was sewing most of my own dresses. We had to wear dresses to school then. Pants were not allowed.
Mother was a wonderful cook and she could make a wonderful meal out of almost anything. We would wake up to the smell of new baked bread and pancakes for breakfast. Mother would be singing in the kitchen and we were dressed and off to school with warm clean cloths and a full tummy. When I was in grade school we had time to come home for lunch. School lunch was for the bus kids not the city kids. Once in a while I was allowed to stay for school lunch but it was always kind of a disappointment. Nobody could cook as well as my Mother.
What are some of the legacies from my Mother?
Because of my Mother, I too can make a wonderful meal. I can sew. I have learned the sweet peace of a testimony. I had before me the excellent example of how a husband and wife should love and cherish one another. That one took a couple of tries to get right. I am contented that my Mother could know that I had finally achieved that in my own marriage.
There are times I find myself sighing. Each time I heard my Mother and Mothers sisters “sigh”, my sisters and I would joke that we inherited the “Sorensen sigh”.
Mother was several inches shorter than me, my body shape is more like my Fathers, but when I look at my hands sometimes I can see my Mothers hands. Hands that cooked and cleaned, washed and ironed. Comforted and scolded. Played and prayed.
She never had the opportunity to play the piano or any other instrument but she loved music and tried to get us girls to learn the piano or violin. I tried both at different times but both eluded me. At least I can play the piano a little bit and I have a great respect for anyone that can play the violin with proficiency.
I feel Mothers presence when I go to the temple. She and Dad spent many years as temple workers and patrons. I can see in my minds eye as they are participating together, dressed in white, close to the spirit and Heavenly Father.
Other times I hear a soft reproach in my head, Mother is exasperated with me, I had better straighten up. “Oh Barbara!”, “Sigh!”