May 23, 2011

Step it Up Or Else...

My great, great grandfather David, came from France via Scotland as an indentured servant. He was 7 years old at the time. He grew up, left the family, fought in the Civil War (for the North) then moved West, planting his roots in very small county in Idaho where he married my great, great grandmother. They built a house and popped out my great grandfather, David, and then another son a couple of years later. Due to complications, my great, great grandmother died. The baby died a couple of weeks later.

David Sr. married another woman from Idaho within a few years and they had 5 children together. Once again, his wife died in childbirth and he was a single father of 6 children. He decided to hire help rather than marry again and so he did.  Being married to David LaPray was apparently hazardous to your health.

After 12 years or so, he married one of his hired helpers, a pretty young thing that I will call Martha for lack of remembering her name. She had two or three children and survived both deliveries. She continued to cook, clean, do everybody's laundry, work the land, and take care of children's needs; not only her own couple but the six from the previous women.

David was into his fifties when he had an abscessed tooth. Someone came over and pulled it out with his pliers but, alas, great-great grandfather died from infection reaching his heart. Martha, still being a pretty young thing, did not have the option of expanding her education and getting a job, this being shortly after the Victorian age and the West had not yet been tamed. She made the decisions that she could not care for all of these children and told all but her own that they were on their own. David Jr. was already an adult and out of the house. The other 5 ranged from 17 years to 8 years old. They found a dilapidated shack on the property and made due. The older children went to school then worked to support the family.

Eventually Martha left Franklin County and traveled further north in Idaho. She hooked up some guy and bore another child out of wedlock.  In Idaho. In the 1800's. Fortunately, she did not have to sew a scarlet "A" on her pinafores. She married someone else but it was not a good circumstance and left after bearing another child. A few years later, she was committed to an insane asylum and spent the rest of her life attempting to regain her independence. Her oldest son, by this time, had control over all of her assets and it appeared he was enjoying the checks from the government he received to care for her. He had no desire to give up this free money since she was independent and not living with him.

When I first read this account, I was so very grateful she was not a relative of mine. I couldn't believe she had kicked out 5 children to fend for themselves.

I am rethinking this analysis.


  • 16 year old is giving a talk in church on Sunday
  • 11 year old is giving a talk in Primary on Sunday. He reminds me at 9:45. 
  • 13 year old wants a certain shirt washed and dried by the time church starts at 11:00. It is now 9:30.
  • 6 year old NEEDS batteries for a toy. 
  • I have not showered. There is no warm water because I started a load of laundry for the 13 year old.
  • I planned on crock pot roast
  • Homemade rolls.
  • At 10:00, husband informs me that he and the girls have to be at church at 10:15. Why did I use the precious warm water to wash a shirt that would not be ready in time for church?
  • 16 year old is hogging the computer because, although she had all week to write her talk and swears she needed the computer last night for her talk (READ: EMAIL and FACEBOOK), she needs something else. She yells at me. I yell at her. Now I'm really, really worked up.
  • Start rolls, defrost roast, put in crock pot. Lament to self how ungrateful my children are. Do they think there are fairies that wash and fold their clothes? I wonder how, in good conscience, they can say, "There's nothing to eat around here" after I have just spent $175 at Costco. Do they ever wonder where the toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner, razors, etc. come from? 
  • Finish writing talk for 11 year old. He comes down to check up on me. I ask him to hook up the printer. He says he doesn't know how.
And that is when I started to cry. This, being the boy who is the most helpful and wanting to not cause problems. He quietly left me in peace and entertained his brother until I could pull myself together.

Dear Martha - I get it now.


June Freaking Cleaver said...

Can you go to church and have a single Christian thought in your head after dealing with all of the Sunday morning demands?

I'd tell the family that even God rested on the 7th day - and that any special requests for Sunday activities should be made no later than 6pm on Saturday.

Anne said...

Since our church is at 9:30, we are home in time for lunch. My kids have known, for a very long time, that lunch is "fend for yourself," and that usually we will have dinner around 5. No laundry is done on Sunday, and I have been known to pull out an old copy of the Friend as a "talk". My favorite phrases of "too bad" and "you should have thought of this before" are not appreciated Sunday mornings, but things are lots calmer!

Kaye said...

Sometimes it is all just too much. I think a Sunday cry can be very cathartic. . . I skipped this week, but have been there for the last few before that! My current gripe is the meeting for my 14 year old that begins at 10. They don't let out on time so that we can get the 13 year old to church at 10:30 like he is supposed to be. And sometimes the 14YO gets an assignment for that day's meeting. WHAT??? Give me a break.

M-Cat said...

And I bet you pasted a smile on your face and went to church like nothing had happened at all.

At least that's what I USED to do. Now, if I have a particularly bad morning, I either stay home or go ahead and keep on crying all the way through church but giving people the stare of death so they don't dare approach me and ask what's wrong.

THen I like to get the down low later in the week about the gossip that has begun to circle. And by the time that all happens, I like my kids again.

Live From Mommyville... said...

Sundays stink. I was going to say "suck" but I won't let my 10 year old say that word, so I probably shouldn't use it either. But, they do.