I Remember OUR SMALL STUCCO HOUSE
It was a glorious day for the 4th of July celebration in 1924. My mother Iva Lords was enjoying the festivities on the arm of a young man. They happened upon another young couple and introductions were made. Iva couldn’t help but take a second look at this handsome dark wavy haired young man, Irvin. However, when returning to her home in Arco, she couldn’t get the image of the handsome young man, she just met, out of her mind.
Summer slipped into fall and a note arrived in the mail from Irvin Stallings. “Would you take the train down and meet me at the Eagle’s Dance in Idaho Falls on Saturday Night.” Of course she did and they danced all night. A beautiful romance was born. A year later they married.
My father purchased an 80 acre farm of the 160 acres that were homesteaded by my great grandmother Elizabeth when she was forced to leave her polygamy family and start life on her own. My family was growing. They had three other children, and lived in a small log cabin with a dirt ceiling while my father was building our small stucco house. Can you image that this home cost just a little over $700. I was born on November 30, 1937 in this new house
From what I have been told, my father had big plans to enlarge the home, farm the land, and raise a big herd of cattle. But disaster struck our family. I was just barely 2 years old when my father became very ill. He was taken to the Idaho Falls Hospital, where he passed away with a burst appendices after a 9 day stay. This left my Mother a widow with four children, living in a small two room stucco house.
This home had a kitchen living room combination, a coat closet (which I think was supposed to become a bathroom) and one bedroom. There was a screened in porch with stairs leading down to a really nice cement cellar. Back then a cellar was an important part of a home on the farm to store all the harvested canned fruits and vegetables.
One whole side of the kitchen was lined with white cupboards, and a farm size sink with cold running water, but no hot water yet. My mother was extremely proud of the kitchen cabinets that my father had built for her. There was a top of the line stunning cook stove in the kitchen that was used to heat the house as well as cook our meals. Across the room was a beautiful round pedestal table and a daybed. We had no bathroom in the house just a path to the outhouse.
In the bedroom there were two regular sized beds. My mother, my sister Myrna, and I slept in one bed, and my brothers, Boyd and Sherril slept in the other one. There was a small heating stove, which we very seldom used, because of the cost of coal.
The house was built with the idea that my father would be adding onto it as time permitted. My mother was now the sole support of 4 small children. There was a small income off the farm itself however, mother had to supplement with low paying season type work. Such as, picking raspberries for a local farmer (being paid with raspberries) and in a cold cellar, cutting up potatoes for planting.
Maybe our life in this small stucco house sounds a little dismal, but my memories are full of lots of love and happy times. a loving and industrious mother, many adventures and plenty of food. After all we lived on a farm, grew a garden, raised chickens, pigs, and two milk cows. Plus my mother was a very good cook.
My earliest memory of our front yard was that it was full of big old redroot pigweeds with clinging roots. One day my mother stood on the top of the front steps and firmly stated “This yard looks terrible. We are going to get rid of these weeds and plant a lawn.” When she made up her mind about something we knew it was going to happen.
First we watered and watered the weeds because we couldn’t pull them if they weren’t wet. Pulling weeds was back breaking job. The tops of the weeds scratched our arms. By the end of the day, our arms were itching, stinging and hurt. Even with mom worked right along with us, it took a long time but finally we got the job done. A neighbor came over, prepared the ground and planted the seed. The next spring we had a lawn growing in front of our house. I remember sitting out on our newly planted lawn in the warm summer air reminiscing about our father.
Mother said, “I think I fell in love with your dad the first time I laid eyes on him. He loved people, loved talking with them. One time when we were at the gas station, he talked too long, so I drove off and left him.” She remembered him as a very good speaker. People loved to hear him speak at church. She remember him being very kind.
My sister Myrna said “ He loved us all so much.” She remember that he would juggle oranges and eggs. He would make us think he threw the oranges outside and he tossed them backwards onto the bed. He teased us a lot, She had a friend named Wright and he called her the little wrong girl, another friend was named Rock and he called her the boulder girl.
Boyd chimed in, “I remember he loved his team of horses. His favorite work horse was named Nancy. He was so proud of them.
He loved feeding his cattle. He bought little ones in spring. He raised and fed them all summer. Then sold them in the fall for a profit. One time he took the cattle on the train to Los Angeles, California and sold them for a bigger profit.”
“Hey” Sherril said, “I remember Dad coming home with a wagon full of beet Pulp to feed to the cows. He hooked my sleigh on the back of the Big Wagon and pulled me into the corral where he was feeding them. I got so scared and he just laughed and said ‘they won’t hurt you just stay on your sled.’ ”
Mother added, “I believe we would have been well off if he had lived because he had a good head for business. He was my sweetheart.”
I loved times like these because I didn’t have any memories of my own, just the stories I heard from my mother and my brothers and sister.
Notes about me:
Jylene Morgan is a retired educator. She is passionate about the importance of reading aloud to children from top quality children’s books. Writing about her life experiences she captivates her audience by telling the tales of her family’s adventures. The first several books are written about funny exchanges that occur when human and wild animal’s lives come together.
To read more about me, my passion for reading aloud to children and my books go to www.jylenemorgan.com. Make sure you join our mailing list so you receive Jylene's "Most Treasured Books List". So you can also be the first to know when Jylene's next book, BUMMER and the Nanny Goat, is available.