the Memories of Don Carlos Pierce: My mother, Flora Jennette Lerwill Pierce, was
a large woman. At times in her life she weighed 180 pounds. She was about five feet six
inches tall, of rather stocky build, a very active woman for her size. She did not
procrastinate. If she had work to do she started now, and she worked with a vengeance
until she finished.
|My father, Isaac Riley Pierce Jr., was about an inch taller, five feet
seven. He was not a very large man, about 155 pounds, but was agile and active. He played
basketball on the Brigham Young Academy team of 1902. All his life he took a great
interest in baseball, basketball, or any other sport that was available. Hunting, fishing,
swimming, travel and practical joking were of great interest to him.
My father was a great tease. He enjoyed a good joke, and I don't think
there was a happier man in the county than he. My mother enjoyed a good sense of humor,
but her temper rose faster than my father's.
When things happened that excited or alarmed mother, my father would be
calm. Even under stress he would not become excited or act without reason.
||He loved all sports. When the Salem Farm Bureau League baseball team won the Utah Farm
Bureau League Title in 1931, both he and I played on the team. He played second base and I
played third base.
Dad was an excellent swimmer. He was not a fast swimmer, but was at
home in the water, He had good endurance and stayed calm under stress. He lived across the
road from the swimming hole in the Salem Pond.
On several occasions he was summoned to help when a swimmer was not
doing well in the water. At least three people can thank him for saving their lives.
Without him they would have surely drowned. This was not from his account of the incident
because he never once told me he had saved or helped anyone in danger. I found it out from
people who were there, or the ones who were saved, and volunteered the information. Two
names I remember, Wayne Samuels, and a Mrs. Maycock, both at various times stopped at our
home to thank him again for saving them from drowning.
We lived on a farm where we grew watermelons, tomatoes
and cantaloupes. Watermelons, cantaloupes and tomatoes were produced in abundance.
For about six weeks in August and September, during the harvest, we worked really hard.
Our attendance at church suffered during those periods. The crops were sold from the front
lawn. At various times father would prepare some structure or bench to display the produce
Sunday was the day most people came to buy produce. For this reason
most of the produce was gathered on Saturday and Sunday. Father wanted it to be fresh and
of the best quality. Early Sunday morning Father would be in the field to pick watermelon
and cantaloupe. The tomatoes were picked and sorted on Saturday. As he picked the
watermelons he would make small piles close by where the melons lay, and we kids would
gather them up and haul them in a one horse rig to the display area. A one horse rig was a
sort of buggy that could haul about a ton. As father picked, he would select watermelon
and cantaloupe for seed. These were the ones the family ate and the seed was saved and
dried for the next season.
Isaac Riley Pierce, Jr. was an exceptional penman and kept beautiful
records. He had a good singing voice and sang in a quartet that consisted of
"Short" Alma Christensen, Dave Hanks, Art Briggs, Ray Sabin, and various others.
For many years this quartet would sing at most funerals, programs and celebrations. They
were well known throughout the County and at one time or another sang in just about every
city or town in Utah County.
My father died in his 58th year, March 7, 1942. I really missed him a
great deal. We both were very fond of sports. He was always ready to give me advice about
how I should prepare or practice to become a better competitor.
My mother was a very good cook and took good care of our large family.
She made six big loaves of bread each time she baked.
And she baked about three times a week. I cannot remember ever having a
loaf of store bread in our home. She made butter from the cream produced by our cows and
usually had several pounds to sell each week.
Each year we would raise one or two pigs. This would be meat for the
family during the winter. When the pig or pigs were killed in the fall, she would prepare
the meat to last all winter without spoilage. She would cure the hams, shoulders and side
meat, render the lard, make head cheese of the head and other parts that were not
otherwise used. She would save the residue from rendering of the lard and use this and
other fat to make soap for washing the clothes. This was before refrigerators or freezers
were common. She would dry corn, put up many quarts of fruit and jam each year. When we
had chicken, dad would kill the chicken, usually by chopping off its head. Mother would
take it from there. She would scald and pick the feathers, cut it up and prepare it along
with other good things for dinner. I was about to say that chicken was my favorite kind of
dinner, but my favorite meal must have been just about what ever she fixed that day. It
was always so very good. I never left her table hungry.
Any job was done with vigor and pursued with full purpose of heart
until she finished it. As the children grew older she worked in the relief society and
sang in the choir. She worked with the quilting part of the Relief Society for many years,
and then was called to be the counselor to Minnie Hanks in the presidency. They enjoyed
each other in their work in the Relief Society and also in their life long association.
My mother was very healthy. Except for a serious operation when I was in the mission
field, I don't think she was in the hospital again until she broke her hip at age 84.
After she broke her hip the first time, she could not care for herself and was confined to
the convalescent center when she left the hospital. She seemed to make some improvement.
After a short time she broke her other hip. Each case required surgery. She got along well
but was never able to return to her home. She was in a convalescent center for about seven
years. She was ninety years old when she passed away, December 21, 1975.