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.

The Meeting: Cal and Margaret

Calvin Hutchings was attending BYU, majoring in pre-dent when he met Margaret Clark. He was living with the Hansen family in Pleasant View; this was close to where the BYU stadium stands today. Three young men had lived with the Hansens, but they liked Cal the best. Brother Hansen was a geology professor at the university. He had a daughter named Carol who was a good friend of Margaret’s younger sister, Bobby.

One evening Bobby went to stay overnight with Carol; together they plotted how to get Cal and Margaret together. Carol had a crush on Cal and was always sneaking friends in to see this good-looking guy. The girls told Cal that Bobby had a cute older sister and he should consider taking her out. Cal seemed willing, but wondered how to go about meeting her. They told him Margaret was a clerk at Firmage’s department store in downtown Provo, and set him up to go there. In the meantime, Bobby and Carol had been telling Margaret about this cute guy staying at the Hansen’s house. They kept encouraging her to meet him and Margaret was interested.

Calvin went to Firmages to check out this girl he had heard so much about. He followed Margaret around for a while and then finally introduced himself. Cal asked her to go out with him. Margaret was a junior in high school at the time. When her Mother found out she said, “You can’t go out with him, you don’t know anything about him.”   Margaret replied, “He’s staying at the Hansen’s house, you can call and ask Mrs. Hansen all about him.”   Her Mother did just that and was given a beaming report on Calvin.

Cal and Margaret dated for two years. Calvin had previously enlisted in the V-1 Naval program in 1942 following graduation from High School. This program allowed him to continue his education without being drafted. After he finished his pre-dental courses at BYU, he was called up to report for duty to the naval base in Seattle, Washington. While there, he met Margaret’s brother, Grant, also in the navy, and they became good friends.

During this time, Margaret graduated from high school and went to work at the telephone company. Cal was in Washington at the naval hospital for nine months waiting to get into dental school. During this time, he and Margaret corresponded frequently. When fall came, he was sent to the University of Iowa.

It was a lonely time for Calvin who was far away from home and his girl. Just before Christmas, he called and proposed to Margaret over the telephone. Margaret hesitated, she wanted to wait until spring, but Cal said, “Now or never!” So she said, “Yes.”Calvin & Margaret

Calvin flew into Salt Lake the day before Christmas, his parents picked him up at the airport and took him home. On Christmas day he drove to Margaret’s home in Provo and they immediately began making wedding plans. They decided to be married on Thursday December 28th, that day the Salt Lake temple was having a special session for servicemen home on leave. Margaret recalls it being a busy, but exciting time. The day after Christmas they rushed around, first they went to get their blood tests and then a marriage license. This was followed by an interview with the bishop for a temple recommend. With so little time to prepare, Margaret’s Mother, Laura, called the Dixon-Taylor department store and arranged for someone to open up that evening just for Margaret and her mother. That night the two of them went shopping for some of the necessary items Margaret would need to set up housekeeping.

The big day arrived: December 28, 1944, Calvin and Margaret were married in the Salt Lake temple surrounded by loved ones from the Clark and the Hutchings families.

The ceremony was beautiful. Margaret wore a white skirt and blouse she had purchased for the temple. She recalls that the sleeves were short, so the sisters at the temple put something over her arms. She tells how her dear sister, Cecil, had stayed up the night before, sewing her a burgundy skirt and top for the wedding breakfast that would follow the temple ceremony, and then she drove to Salt Lake the next day.

DaCosta, the only one of her brothers home at the time, arranged for a wedding luncheon at Hotel Utah for the two families. Mother remembers the lunch being very lovely. She said, the wedding cake, which was made in the hotel bakery, was beautiful and had a lovely taffy candy ribbon around it.

That evening, Calvin and Margaret returned to Provo and stayed at the Clark home. Margaret recalls, “We had just fallen to sleep when the furnace started smoking. The snow had been falling all day and water seeped into the coal causing it to stick together. I had to get out of bed, go down to the basement and stoke the furnace to get it going again.”

Their was no time for a honeymoon for the very next day Margaret and Calvin took a train back to Iowa City. The cars were packed full of servicemen traveling to the east coast where they would be shipped overseas to the war front. Margaret was the only woman onboard and even though she had paid for a ticket, the train conductor said all the seats were for servicemen. During the trip, Dad or one of the other men would let her take their seat for a time, but when the conductor came around she had to sit on her suitcase. The trip took two days and a night. There were no sleeping cars open so they sat up all night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Hutchings Family History for Dummies

Find out more about the history and background of Calvin and Margaret Hutchings.

CALVIN HUTCHINGS

Calvin was the youngest of six boys born to Joseph Nephi and Elizabeth Hutchings. Cal had a wonderful childhood growing up on the family farm with his brothers. He was taught early the value of hard work and laboring with his family for a common goal.

Cal was a senior when Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941. Knowing that he was prime for the draft, he enlisted in the V-1 Naval program, which permitted him to continue his education. His parents strongly encouraged and sacrificed for their sons that they might have college educations. Calvin graduated from Jordan High School in May 1942 and entered Brigham Young University in June. He chose to study pre-med which would qualify him for entrance into dental school. It was while he was in Provo that he met Margaret Clark. Cal and Maggie fell in love and were married December 28, 1944, during the turbulent years of WW2. They spent 4 years in Iowa City where Cal attended dental school. He graduated in 1948. They had two children at the time, Karen and Clark. They moved back to Utah and Calvin set up a dental practice in Riverton, they lived at 11917 Redwood Road not far from Grandpa and Grandma Hutchings.  Kenny joined the family June 4, 1950.

That same year Cal received a letter calling him up for active duty, due to the Korean conflict. Calvin reported to the naval base in San Diego,  February 1951. The family loved the 2 years they spent in California. By the time they returned to Utah, Margaret was pregnant. They didn’t find out until a few months later, that she was having twins. Jeff and Jenny were born in April 1953. Back in Utah Calvin and his brother, Stanley decided to go into practice together; they set up their office in Midvale at 80th and State Street. In 1955 Margaret and Calvin moved to Cornell Drive. Joseph joined the family two years later in 1957 and Julie in 1965.

MARGARET CLARK

Margaret was the daughter of James Cecil and Laura Clark; her entrance into the Clark family was a rather dramatic one. She was born on Sunday October 11. Her brother, DaCosta’s was having his missionary farewell that day. If that wasn’t enough, the house caught on fire and the fire department came on the scene. But despite all Margaret arrived safe, sound and healthy.

Margaret was raised in a large household with eight siblings. Her Father, whom she dearly loved, was a doctor, overworked and seldom at home. James Cecil passed away in 1938 when he suffered a major heart attack, Margaret was only 12 years old; J.C.’s death was a great blow to the family, Margaret took it especially hard.

The next great shock to the family occurred three years later when the United States declared war on Japan following Pearl Harbor. With the dawning of World War II, a major change took place in the Clark household. Margaret’s four brothers -R.G., Kyle, Albert, Grant  and her brother-in-law, Harry joined the military. These were difficult years. This situation left the Clark women alone to fend for themselves.

Margaret, who was 16 and in high school, took on additional responsibilities at home.  She also found a job at a department store in town. Margaret met Calvin in 1942, while he was attending Brigham Young University in the Pre-med program and Margaret was in high school. They courted for 18 months before they were married.

San Diego: The Farmer’s Market and Point Loma

While fulfilling his time in the Navy, Calvin Hutchings took this video recording when the family briefly lived in San Diego, California between 1950 and 1952. Karen, Clark, and Kenny were the only children at the time.

In the first half of the video, the family is spending the day at the Farmer’s Market. Once upon a time, these markets actually had rides for the kids. Later, the family spent time at Point Loma, a scenic outlook on the coast.