Reflections of Father: Calvin Hutchings

“Let’s go see Mr. Whiskers,” Dad said. My brother Clark and I followed him outside to the back of our white house. There in a rabbit hutch was our large white bunny, Mr. Whiskers.

Dad, Calvin Hutchings, had grown up on a farm in South Jordan, Utah. His parents were Joseph Nephi and Elizabeth Annie Bird Hutchings. Cal was born 12 September 1923, the youngest of six boys, and two twin sisters who passed away soon after birth. Being a farm boy, Dad loved animals and had wonderful stories about his furry and feathered farm friends. Dad had a way of mesmerizing us kids with his tall tales. Let me tell you, he was a master story teller! I recall many nights sitting at the table after dinner begging Dad to tell us a story. They were usually about the made-up characters he had fabricated out of his little boy imagination. We would push the plates out of our way, and then get comfortable, putting our elbows on the table to rest our head in our hands. We were a captive audience for Dad. His stories seemed to revolve around the animals he had encountered growing up on the farm. One of our favorites involved the adventures of a tiny character named “Honey Bee.” Our imaginations would soar as the sound of Dad’s voice carried us into another world.

“Do you want to hear about the time, Honey Bee traveled to Egypt and visited the pyramids traveling in the ear of a camel?”

And then there were the adventures of “Snowflake the Wild Stallion.” His stories often included vivid accounts of his own boyhood adventures. He liked to imagine himself as Robin Hood with his homemade bow and arrows. His best friend was the boy next door, Dez Shields. The two of them would concoct some interesting schemes. One time these two archers decided they would send messages back and forth to one another’s yard via arrows. This went on until Dez shot an arrow that narrowly missed Nephi, Cal’s father. He immediately put an end to such shenanigans. Cal also liked to pretend he was Tarzan as he swung from ropes tied in the trees over the canal and jumped into the murky water below.

I don’t recall all of the stories, but I do remember the sound of my father’s voice as it rose and fell with excitement or sadness as the story developed. I remember his demeanor, his animated facial expressions, how he raised eyebrows and widened his eyes during the suspenseful parts. He pulled us in and made it seem so real, as if it were actually transpiring. Once he brought home the Call of the Wild and read it to us each night after dinner. I felt like I was really there. In his own way he taught us to love literature.

I remember very clearly when Dad arrived home at night. There was a distinct medicinal smell from the dentist office that wafted through the house. I grew to love that aroma because it was tied to my dad. When we were very little, Dad let us “climb the mountain,” as he called it. Facing Dad and holding his hands, we would climb up his legs and when we could go no higher, he would swing us back down. I was disappointed when I grew too big to do it any longer.

cal-c-children-torrey-pines-2
Kenny, Calvin, Karen, and Clark at Torrey Pines, California in 1952

I recall our days in San Diego when Dad was finishing up his Naval tour.  We made regular trips to the beach. It was one of our favorite spots to play. Dad would take Clark and I by the hand, and lead us out into the small breakers, as the waves became higher, he would lift us up by our arms over the water.  Playing on the beach, I recall the squishy feel of sand beneath my feet as I stood in the water. Little ripples swirled in and out around me, the sand washing out from under my toes and heels causing me to sink deeper into the wet stuff. The bright sun glared off the water and caused me to squint my eyes. The only part of the beach I dreaded was the rub down Mom gave us with the towel. It scratched and hurt so because of the sand and salt on our bodies. Regardless, it was great fun. Some days we would pack a lunch and head to Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo. This was another favorite spot. It was a large beautiful park with a number of museums on the grounds. The zoo was such a large place that we often rode the touring bus around. I recall the driver always stopped to throw bread to the bears. Dad especially loved watching these furry critters with their amazingly long tongues. He told us they used their tongues to get inside a beehive and lick out all the sweet honey. Then he would tell us to stick out our tongues to see if they were any where near as long as those bears. My dad was always a fun-loving, character. He liked to kid around and tease us. He could tell you a fictional incident so soberly that you weren’t sure if it were true or if he were only “pulling your leg.” I was so gullible that I always believed him. He got quite a kick out of his own antics. I can hear my mother now,

“Oh Cal, why do you do that?” she would say shaking her head. He would only smile at us and raise his eyebrows. Sometimes he would come up behind her in a playful way and try to hug or kiss her, but Mom would seldom let him get away with it.

A glimpse of his fun-loving personality is shown in a short note he wrote to us just before Christmas one year, it begins —

“Dear Weber Family,

Ho, Ho, Ho, Santa here,

Newsflash – Unable to make trip to Merino, Colorado this season.

Team trouble – Donder has a tech of arthritis in his antlers and Blitsen says he’s too old “to mount up” and fly over the Rockies. Dain govt won’t give me enough gas for my old “gas guzzling plane” — So to be sure you hear from the Utah bunch – uncle Samy promised he would deliver early — Mom and Dad,

Thank you Love Santa”

That was my dad, always a character.

 

Memories of Mother: Margaret Clark, Part 2

Mom taught us how to work!

When it came to discipline Mom wasn’t one to wait for Dad to come home. She took things into her own hands. I recall several spankings, the ones given with a willow stick hurt the most. I know Mother must have felt overwhelmed by all of her responsibilities, and especially when Clark, Kenny and I would fight with one another. Sometimes it made her cry and then we felt awful. We were exasperating kids at times, Mom would call to us, absently we would continue with what we were doing until she finally yelled to get our attention.

Mother insisted that her children learn how to perform household chores. We were taught to fold the laundry, vacuum, dust, clean the bathrooms, make a proper bed, do the dishes, clean the kitchen, mop the floors, and on occasion we even washed walls. When I finished a task, mom would check it out. It seemed that no matter how hard I tried, she always found something I could improve upon.

We had a large family of nine so there was always plenty that needed to be done. Each of us had Saturday chores we were expected to do. She would often repeat, “A job worth doing, is worth doing well.”

Occasionally, in the summer Dad would pile all of us in the station wagon and take us over to Grandpa Hutchings farm where we would help weed the huge vegetable garden. That was back breaking work. I remember my brother Kenny complaining about all the jobs he had to do. Once he told Mom the only reason she had kids was to do her work. That comment didn’t go over too well!

When we were older, our parents determined to expand our responsibilities. I guess they thought we were too lazy. They decided we could all clean Dad’s office on the weekends, instead of hiring someone. Oh my, did we groan and complain. I remember scrubbing those old tile floors on our hands and knees, Mom and Dad working right along side us.

Mom always liked it when we worked together to clean and didn’t complain. She often said that was the best gift we could give her.

I know I took for granted the fact that Mother was always there when I came home from school. I would call to her as I came in the front door, “I’m home Mom.”

She would answer back, “How was school today?” It was comforting to know she was close by.

Mother was a tireless worker; she insisted that we all help her in the kitchen with the cooking. We also had a weekly dish night. I usually helped prepare dinner if I didn’t have too much homework. I think I peeled a pan full of potatoes every night. My Dad was a “meat and potato” guy, no casseroles for him. It took me awhile to catch on to the peeling process. In the meantime, I cut the skin on my thumb more than once. I recall how it stung and bled all over the potatoes. I have the scars to prove it.

Oh how well, we all remember the days of canning peaches and pears. All hands were enlisted to help prepare the six bushels of peaches and later six bushels of pears. We spent long, tedious days in the kitchen peeling, cutting and filling jars until the last quart was processed and stored on the shelf. Of course, we loved eating the delicious fruit.

Mom taught me how to make an angel-food cake, first whipping the egg whites into stiff peaks and then gently folding in the dry ingredients. Under Mother’s tutelage I learned to make different kinds of salads, cakes, cookies, and candy. She taught me the art of making perfect gravy and white sauce.

Mom made her wonderful cinnamon rolls for trips and outings to lagoon. She covered the kitchen table with the delicate rolls, their aroma filling the house. I can taste them now, so soft and delicious with cinnamon sugar, raisins, and icing. I would pull them apart and plop chunks into my mouth. How I wish I had one right now. Umm!

When tacos became popular that became one of our favorite meals. Eventually we converted Dad too. Always diligent and concerned about our health, Mom prepared three meals a day. She adamantly insisted, even when we were in high school, that we eat breakfast before we left for school. At dinnertime we always sat down together as a family I remember it being a special time of the day. But even then Mom was always up and down from the table seeing to our needs.

I don’t recall doing a lot of yard work. Occasionally we weeded the flower beds for Mom, but no matter how often she tried to teach us, we continually pulled up flowers with the weeds, I think she finally decided against our help. When my brothers got big enough they started to mow the lawn for Dad. We also swept the large patio and driveway. During the summertime Mom was up early in the morning watering her flowerbeds. Once in awhile we would sneak up and squirt her with our water pistols. She would return fire with the hose, then we would run to the front yard and get the other hose. War was on. We always enjoyed it when Mom would play with us. She was always so busy taking care of her house and big family.

It seemed to me that Mom never stopped. When it was evening and we were all on the couch relaxing, she was still going. I asked her once if she ever got tired? She said, “Sure, but it needs to be done.” I didn’t understand at the time, but I do now.

One of the few times I remember seeing her relax was when we went on vacation.

Vacations

Getting ready for a vacation was an exciting time. I always enjoyed going on these wonderful jaunts, even when I was older and in high school. Of course, Mom bore the brunt of the preparations. First, there were clothes for nine people to wash and pack, often a quick trip to Salt Lake to purchase a couple of new outfits for each of us. At the same time mother was preparing food to take. When every last item on Mom’s list was finally packed and ready, we squeezed into the car, body to body, with nary an inch to spare. With our luggage stacked and tied on top of the car, we were quite a site. We made many a trip to California and Disneyland in the wagon.

I have vivid memories of traveling down the road, while Mom, in the front seat passed out the tiny boxes of cold cereal for our breakfast or put together sandwiches and snacks for us to nibble on.

In later years, on boating trips, she would make us huge Hoagy sandwiches with lots of meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato and mustard. They were the best. Of course we were hungry teenagers then. I have never seen Mom so happy as when she was away from home on a trip and she could finally relax.

After we bought the camper, Mom was in heaven! Mother would stock the cubbies so full of can goods, that Dad was afraid we would have a flat tire from the weight, and we did on occasion.

To a kid, eager to go on a trip, it seemed to take Mom forever to get everything in readiness. The only thing I can compare it with, is waiting for Christmas Day. I was the oldest and so I tried to help Mother as much as I could, but no matter how much I did, there was always twenty things more that needed doing. The evening before we left, Mom was up most of the night packing and finishing up last minute details. We all breathed a sigh of relief as, jam-packed, we finally backed out of the driveway and off to our adventure destination.

 

Memories of Mother: Margaret Clark

By Karen Hutchings Weber

“Why do I have to wear leggings?” I asked sourly.

“So your legs will stay warm in this cold weather I don’t want you getting sick.” My mother retorted.

“They take too much time to get on and off. Did your mom make you wear leggings to school?” I continued.

“Yes, she did and long stockings too just like yours.” Mom answered.

I hated to wear leggings, but when it came to discussing how we should dress when going out of doors, Mom always won. There was no sense fighting it, she persisted until you gave in. Mom had an over active sense of what it took to keep us healthy. She was positive that if you didn’t dress warm enough you were destined to be sick. Maybe that came from having a father who was a doctor or maybe her mother was the same way. Whatever, it really bugged us kids. I can still hear her say:

“You had better put a scarf on your head, the wind is blowing and you don’t want to get an earache.” She would chime.

The funny thing was Mom was usually right. Once when I didn’t wear a scarf, I did get an earache and had to go to bed.

The winter boot ordeal went right along with the rest. No matter how hard I pushed and pulled I couldn’t get my heel to go down into the boot. It was frustrating. Mom’s answer was to use plastic bread sacks. I put a bag on each foot. It worked wonderfully, holding the back of my boot and giving a little push, my foot slipped right in.

Now I was ready to head out the door dressed in long socks, leggings, plastic bread sacks, boots, sweater, coat, hat and mittens. I was a sight to behold. At school I had to struggle in and out of this cumbersome winter paraphernalia at recess time. Most of the other school kids were in the same boat I was, but not all of them had to wear leggings. I let Mom hear about that too, but it did no good. She stuck stubbornly to her guns. Mom didn’t relent even when I was older. It was always,

“If you’re going outside put on your coat, hat, and gloves!” She called from the other room. I swear she had eyes in the back of her head.

One night I was heading out the door to attend Mutual. There was a dance that night and I was anxious to be on my way.   She took one look at me and said, “You’re not going anywhere, you have the measles!” She exclaimed.

“What!” I retorted in shock. I ran to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. Sure enough, I had red spots all over my face. I was miserably disappointed.

Regardless of how well Mom cared for us, we had the normal number of colds and childhood illnesses. When we were ill, Mom always knew the right thing to do. If we had a cough or cold, she rubbed a healthy layer of Bengay on our chest. Whew, it had a strong smell and a burning, tingling sensation. Depending on the severity of our cold, Mom might even set up the hot steam vaporizer and add a strong smelling medicine. She said the steam would break up our cough and help us to breathe easier.

Mother insisted we stay under the covers even if we were burning up with a fevor, but as soon as she was out of sight, I would throw back the covers. That didn’t work for long because she was always running in to check on us.

If we had a prolonged illness, Mom made a bed for us on the couch in the living room or down the basement, where we could watch television. When we suffered from tummy ailments, Mom prepared ample amounts of gelatin and applesauce for us to eat.

There were times when our illnesses required a visit from Dr. Wright. When Mom announced his visit, we children went into a panic of tears and fussing; this of course didn’t help our cause. A visit always meant a shot from the doctor or Aunt Velma who was a nurse.

At our home when one of us children came down with a bug, it wasn’t long before we all had it, and poor Mom, here she was home with a bunch of sick kids. I’m sure she felt like pulling her hair out some days. She was a devoted nurse and always took such good care of us.

Shadows of War

Pretty girl, Maggie Clark
Margaret Clark

Mary Margaret Clark was a lovely, brown-eyed brunette, barely sixteen and a sophomore in high school. She was good natured, easy going and dependable. Her mother had come to rely heavily on her following her father’s death four years earlier. Besides Margaret, their were five older brothers, DaCosta, RG, Kyle, Albert and Grant, and three sisters, Cecile, Edith and Bobby. DaCosta, RG, and Cecile were married.

Normally Margaret took the day to day happenings of life in stride, but this was to be a day that would change their lives. It was December 7, 1941, when the small city of Provo came alive with news that the naval base, Pearl Harbor had been bombed by the Japanese. So far the United States had managed to stay out of the war begun two years earlier.   What would happen now, would the President declare war? And how would it affect their lives if he did? There was fear and anxiety in every heart.

America’s response was immediate, war came and so did the need for soldiers. Margaret’s brothers R.G., Kyle, Albert, Grant, her brother-in-law, Harry, and her sister Edith’s boyfriend were all drafted. In a matter of weeks everything changed

at home, her brothers left for war, and her older sister, Cecile, moved back in with the family. The household consisted of five women, like many others of the time, they were forced to fend for themselves without male support.

Grant age 18
Grant Clark in his naval uniform

Margaret became the household handy-man. It was her job to keep the huge coal burning furnace operating during the long, winter months; repair broken appliances, faucets etc., along with attending school and working.

The war period was a time of ration books and shortages in almost everything, from tires to gelatin dessert. Every person learned how to make do or do without. Common food at the Clark home included tomato soup, bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, and sometimes bread and milk. A beef roast was purchased once a week and was made to last several days. Not a crust of bread was wasted!

The one constant, they all shared, was the nagging worry for family members overseas. It was especially burdensome for her mother. An activity that helped raise their spirits was preparing packages to be sent to the boys. This was a significant event as candies, steamed puddings and fruit cakes were lovingly created, packed in tin cans and sealed to stay fresh for the long journey.

The Clark family was blessed, with the eventual safe return of all four sons and their son-in-law. Her sister Edith’s boyfriend did not make it back. This had a major impact on her life.

Mother’s memories of circumstances surrounding World War II are some of the first family stories she shared with me as a child. They touched me deeply and I have never forgotten them.

Read about Margaret’s future husband, Calvin’s, memories of World War II.

Basic Clark Family History for Dummies

Discover the basic background of the Clark family.

LAURA CLARK

Lorenzo Clark was born in 1806 in New Hampshire, the son of Francis and Abigail Kimball Clark. The Clark family moved to Upper Canada or Ontario. Lorenzo met Beulah Rogers, whom he married in 1830. While there he met the missionary John E. Page. They were baptized in 1837 and emigrated about a year later to Far West, Missouri where they landed themselves in the middle of the mob persecutions. Lorenzo was a member of the Nauvoo Legion and The Mormon Battalion. In 1849, they came west with the saints to Utah. In 1856, Lorenzo took a second wife, Mary Ann Hunt, a new convert from England. This is where our line begins. In 1861 they were called with 300 other families to help establish the Cotton Mission in St. George. They had eleven children.

Their son, Albert D. married Mary Ann Brown, daughter of John Brown, their children were: Amy, Nellie, Laura (my grandmother), Zella, Albert and Vera. They moved from St. George to Panguitch, where Laura Clark met James Cecil Clark. They were married September 27, 1905. At this point the two Clark lines converge. J.C. and Laura had nine children: DaCosta, Riley Garner, Kyle, Cecile, Albert, Edith, Grant, Margaret (my mother) and Barbara Clark.

JAMES CECIL CLARK

The Samuel Clark family has deep roots in America. The earliest Clark’s came from Suffolk, England about 1660 to New York. Over the generations the family was centered in New Jersey where Samuel was born in 1798. The Garner family, also early arrivers, was living in the Virginia Colonies by 1650; they emigrated from Shropshire, England.

Samuel and Rebecca Garner Clark, who were of the Quaker faith, moved to Cincinnati County, Ohio, where Riley Garner, Sr., was born July 29, 1829. His family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Martinsville, Ohio in 1832 and emigrated to Nauvoo, Illinois in 1843 where the family endured the hardships that the saints were subject to at that time. The persecution became so violent that the leaders of the church decided there was no other course than to evacuate the city, this was in the early spring of 1846. The family moved west with the saints and settled in Council Bluffs. It was here that their sons Joseph and Riley Garner Clark joined the Mormon Battalion.

After the family arrived in the Salt Lake valley Riley Garner Clark married Amanda Williams they were the parents of sixteen children. Their son, Riley Garner Clark Jr., married Margaret Houston. Margaret and her family being converts from Scotland. There were thirteen children born to this couple. Their son, James Cecil, was my grandfather. He married Laura Clark in 1905.