Autobiography of Lavinia Mitchell Lythgoe
I, Lavinia, take pen in hand to try to write the story of my life.
ĎTwas a crisp day in the fall of the year, Tuesday, 9:00 pm, Sept. 13, 1905, that my spirit finally entered my body, and after having a real hard time to make it, breathed the breath of life. I was born in a little house next to my Grandfather Carlisleís home, Down on the Island, in Logan, Cache County, Utah. My motherís doctor was D.C. Budge, who waited on her when her first child was born, Beatrice. Beatrice was exactly 2 years and 1 week older than I. When it was time for me to be born, Dr. Budge was out of town. He had left a young doctor in his place, so the responsibility fell to this young doctor to bring me into the world. Right away this doctor gave my mother too much cloroform, (which was all they used in those days), putting mother completely out and me also. I was "Instrument born." My head was in an awful shape, and I had received so much of the cloroform that it affected my stomach, causing me to have stomach upsets every two or three weeks until I was ten years old, whence I outgrew them.
My mother wasnít able to nurse me, only the first few days on one side, because just before I was born, she was walking along the street with my father, and passed some boys in the street. One of them threw a rock and hit Mother on one breast, making it swell up and turn black and blue. Mother knew nothing about giving bottles to babies in those days, so all I got at first was graham on soda crackers scalded. As I grew older a little canned milk was added. Does anyone wonder at me being a frail and sickly child? I must have been given an important job to do. Mother and Dad always said they had never expected to raise me to womanhood.
When I was two years old a new doctor came to town by the name of Henry Cambell. He moved in next to us and each day he would take me on his lap and rub my head until it was back in place, having been all out of shape from birth.
The farthest back I can remember was when I was 3 years old. I remember when my sister Margret was born on the 3rd of November 1908. My mother was in bed and I wanted to lay by her, but the nurse wouldnít let me. Her name was Sister ____. She lifted me up to show me the new baby. I remember this plainly. I wouldnít even look at the baby; I didnít like her at all.
I had been used to kneeling at my motherís knee to say my prayers before bed each night. At this time I kneeled at my sisterís knee, Beasie (we called her), and she helped me say them. She was only 5 years old.
The first birthday I remember was when I turned five years. My father came home for lunch and brought me a little pair of scissors. They were real good ones with round points, the first I had ever had anything to do with. I remember how happy I was with those. I kept those scissors until my first child, Mary, was 5 years old, and gave them to her. She took them outside and lost them.
I remember when I turned 7. It was the first day of school and my first day to go. My mother gave me a new apron and put it on me when she was getting me ready for school. She said, "My little seven year old, and her first day at school." My dad took me to school, and left me. I went to school one month and took sick with one of my regular vomiting spells. I was sick for 2 weeks and my mother and father decided to keep me out until the next year. So I began school in the first grade at the age of 8. Miss Eva Jones, who is now Mrs. Lillywhite, was my first teacher. I loved her very much. She was always bragging me up.
When my second year of school began, they put me in the third grade and I had Miss Hilda Johnson for my teacher. I loved her too. She did a lot for me. I also had her in the fourth grade. She gave me a special promotion from 4th B, which was the highest class then, to 5-B, meaning that I was to skip Ĺ grade. But I had scarlet fever at that time and had to stay out of school Ĺ years, so the other kids caught up with me.
When the next school year rolled in I was in the 6th grade at the Wilford school in Logan; the "Flu" broke out so bad (that was at the time of the 1st World War) that they closed the schools for a while and when they started again I was ill with Chloroform (?) and could not attend. The doctor said that I should just rest and take it easy for one or two years. So my parents kept me home for two years. I was over this Chloroform (?) in about two months. I felt good and the whole time I was home from school, and wanted and longed to go. Most of this two years was spent in Portland, Oregon, where we all lived, while father was gaining back his health from the "Flu," which left him with a bad heart. He was advised by the doctor to go to a lower climate. He felt good in Oregon and was able to work.
In 1920 we moved back to Utah, and made our home in Salt Lake. Our first home was on Ninth east near 33rd South. We lived here three years. I attended the Roosevelt School in the 6th grade. Miss Hamilton was my teacher. I loved her too. She promoted me to the 8th grade, which was also held at the Roosevelt school. Then I went to Granite for 1 Ĺ years. Again my health was to blame. This time it was Sinus and low blood count. White cells way outnumbered the red.
In 1918 when Dad was ill and went to Portland to work, he took Alfred, age 7, with him. In June he sent for Beasie and Francis and Clara. Margaret and I were left home with Mother. We moved our things out and Mother sold what she could to get money for us to go on. Then we lived with Grandma Carlisle and Aunt Lilly until Margaret had her tonsils out. We went to Portland in August, two months later. Margaret and I had so much fun playing in Grandmaís great big garden of flowers and trees of different kinds. She was a widow and real old then, and made her living off of these. She worked in the garden on her hands and knees all day as long as she could. Aunt Lilly was never married and took care of Grandma. We went to Portland on the train, and that was a wonderful ride. We sure enjoyed the trip to Portland. We loved Portland, too. But we did get homesick. While there, Mother gave birth to baby boy Still Born. She had a terrible time and nearly died. Dad and all of us children knelt in prayer. We fasted and prayed one day for her. While in the hospital Mother said they thought her dead, covered her all over with a sheet. She said her spirit left her body and she looked down on it. She saw each one of her children pass before her, and when she saw Margaret she knew she couldnít leave, for she didnít know what would become of Margaret without her. So she reentered her body. We moved back to Utah, and this time to Salt Lake. Our first home was on 9th East. There I had a wonderful time. We lived there three years and I enjoyed every hour of it. I had a lot of boy friends: Clarence Myers and Ted Coston (?) and Thomas Kennedy being the best.
At this time I was miraculously cured of my ailment by being administered to by Bro. Yustus, who kept a store down on the corner of Highland Dr. and 27th South. He was the only man around, holding the Priesthood, at that time, which was noon time. I had a terrible pain in my head all over the top, my eyes were red and Mother did everything she could think of to stop the pain, nothing helped. So she tried all over to get someone to administer to me. Finally this good man left his store and came over. As soon as he placed his hands on my head, the pain began to ease. It felt like the hands of Heavenly Father were upon my head. By the time he was through administering to me, the pain was gone, and it never came back, I began feeling better and better. But I never went back to school. My cousin Ed Carlisle came out to see us one day and offered me a job at his garment factory. After a while I had my Dad talked into letting me take the job.. I was seventeen when I began to work for Ed, at the Carlisle Knitting Works.
I didnít get much money on this job, but I enjoyed it. Ed liked me, for I was conscientious and dependable. He taught me to run all the machines he had. I made LDS garments and marked them for the temple. I made button holes and sewed buttons on sweaters and mended any holes that might appear.
When I was about 22 years old I decided I must have a better job and earn some real money. So I applied for work at the Salt Lake Knitting works. The boss, Mr. Noren, put me right on. It was piece work here. I worked here 2 years, and before I quit I was making more money on piece work than Leo was making at the Railroad Shops. I was getting top pay, of $4.00 per day. Thatís because I was real fast. It was told around that I earned more money than anyone else, including the office girls. When I applied for the job, Mr. Noren asked me how long I could work for them. I said two years. I thought it was funny that I should seem to know exactly how long I could work. Thatís the way it turned out.
I had met the man I was to marry, but he married someone else and I was going with no one; had no one in mind. One year after Leoís wife died we began to go out together. We became acquainted on the street car going to and from work, before Leo married the first time. I met him first at my sister, Beatriceís wedding, because he is a first cousin of Marlow White, whom she married. Leo was already engaged then to be married. He married Agnes A. Anderson on the 8th of September, 1926, in the Manti Temple. July 3, 1927 his wife died, at the birth of a still [born] baby. In July of 1928 Leo and I began to go steady. He bought his first car, which was a Chevrolet Coupe, that summer. He said he got it to help him get me. But it wasnít needed for that. I wanted him with or without. But we went together for over a month, almost 2 months, before he got the car, which he sent for, and it was brand new. Little did we think then, that we would have this car for 30 years. It was a wonderful car, never had much trouble with it. We thoroughly enjoyed it.
We had more fun without the car than with it before we were married, because we then went for walks and rode the street cars and went to the park, and well, it just seemed more enjoyable to me.
We were married in the Salt Lake Temple on the 20th of February, 1930. We had a kind of reception at Dad and Motherís home, 1898 Clay???.
I had a pale pink satin wedding dress which Mother made, orange blossoms on my hair, little white satin slippers and a bouquet of flowers. We danced in the attic, which was decorated with hearts and flowers and huge green plants. We ate little sandwiches and cake of different kinds and had red punch to drink. During the evening a bunch of men and girls who worked for my dad at the beauty parlor tried and just about succeeded in getting away with me. They were stopped by Beasie. I had no idea of what was going on.
Leo and I slept at Marlow and Beasieís home that first night. The next morning we moved to our new home, which was just built on some of Leoís ground on 20th East, 3251 So. 20th East. We had when we moved in a coal range, table and four chairs, a bed and dresser, which Leo had bought for his first wife. This was all the furniture we had except a throw rug and a living room chair, which Dad gave us, and an occasional chair, and some dishes which we received for wedding presents. We went for years without much more than that.
I became pregnant right away and Mary, our first child, was born 5 weeks early on Oct. 24, 1930. We got along fine at birth, but Mary took pneumonia at the age of 3 weeks and we nearly lost her. She was turning blue when Bro. John Howick came by the house on this morning, a cold winter morning and a foot of snow under foot. It was like the Lord sent him. We called him in to administer to Mary. Vera Howick, Leoís sister who lived next door, was with me and saw Bro. Howick coming along the street. She asked my permission and called him in. He said he didnít know why he ventured out that morning (Mary later married his sister-in-lawís son). He blessed Mary as she lay on my lap. Heretofore, for the past four days and nights she hadnít taken any food, and hadnít had a bowel movement, even though I had given her castor oil that morning, with the doctorís orders. She hadnít even opened her eyes in that time. Now as Bro. Howick finished blessing her, she opened her eyes and looked at him as much as to say, "I thank you." Then [she] looked at me and I offered her the breast, she took it and in a few minutes the castor oil began to work. A miracle performed right before our eyes.
Two years later, on 15 Sept. 1932, I gave birth to another baby girl, who lived only 5 Ĺ hours under an oxygen tent. She went the full nine months and took 2 days and 2 nights to be born. We named her Beatrice.
In the meantime, Leoís baby sister Elva had left her husband, Willard White, and was living with Myrtle and Parnell Black. Myrtle was her sister. So at the time this baby was born, Elva came and stayed with us a month. We enjoyed having her. Soon after she married Verl Rutherford and had one little girl, born six weeks after my third baby, who was a fine boy, born one year and 2 months after losing the second baby. The second baby, Beatrice, was born on Sept. 15, 1932. Thomas, our third child and first son, was born Nov. 7, 1933. In 1939 another son, Dennis Leo, came to us, born on Jan. 23. Then on Dec. 19, 1946, came Lavinia Gaye, or 5th child and the baby of the family.
When Gaye was 2 years old, I took double pneumonia and almost died. That was in Sept. to Nov. of 1949, just before Gaye turned 3 years old. I was in bed for 11 weeks. Both lungs filled up, and as I went through the crisis one lung gave just enough so I could stay alive. The doctor did everything he could to move the mucus in either lung, but could not. He tried all kinds of drugs available at that time, mostly penicillin and Sulfa Drug. He had to discontinue their use because I became allergic to them and broke out with an awful rash. The doctor consulted other doctors and nothing helped. The next move was to take me to the hospital for them to experiment. At this time I remembered a health lecture I had been to, given by Rose Floyd. I asked Mother, who stayed with me in the daytime and looked after Gaye, to call this woman and ask her what she would do for pneumonia. Mother got busy right then and made onion poulties [?] and put on me. She had the second one on when Leo got home from work. He then went to this woman and bought the vitamins she suggested, Vit. C & A, chlorophil and vitamine G to start with. Then Leo went on with the poulties, one each hour, until midnight. That made 12 poulties. He quit then for the night and put another one on the next morning before work. Rose Floyd said to take 4 buds of garlic, cut them up in a pint of water and boil it 20 minutes, then I was to drink this garlic water during the night. She said to rub the bottoms of my feet with a cut garlic each morning and night for 4 days, and take the vitamins. We did all this and the very next morning the lungs had moved. The doctor came and tested them and said keep up the good work. He came then each day for a while and I kept improving each night and morning Leo put an onion P. on me. I was coughing up phlegm now, real bad. When I was able to get up and go out my blood was below 30, about 22. It took me some time to get well, but I did it with health foods and vitamins. Dr. Wooley, who was our doctor, said he expected me to either be an invalid in a wheelchair or at least to have a bad heart. He said he was surprised to see how well I walked when I first got out of bed. My health now in ten years is better than it ever was, at the age of 54 years. Our son Tom was sickly at this time. He has been made well through the blessings of the Lord and health foods and vitamins. I know the Lord prompted me to go to the health lectures I have been to, so that we could live a better and healthier life.
I had just as much faith when I had pneumonia as I had when I quit school and was administered to for my health, and was cured immediately. I was administered to, time and again by the bishopric of the ward, but nothing happened, except the urge to call Mrs. Rose Floyd, which was our answer. This time we had to help ourselves. I know if we had gone on eating all the white sugar and white flour products that we were eating then, and all the fat pork and Crisco, etc., that we would all be sick or in the Marble Orchard by now, and if we hadnít began taking good vitamins and minerals each day. I have been studying health books and going to health lectures, trying different health diets and cleansing diets now for the past 8 years, and I know the Lord wanted me to. Leo has been real good and went right along with me in this belief.
We have now found a vitamin and mineral capsule which we think is best of any so far. This is called NeoLife, and we have been taking these two a day for one year and nine months. We also take Brewers Yeast and eat the best food we can get these days. We use raw sugar instead of white, bleached sugar and unbleached flour and stone ground w. w. flour. We have quit eating pork and Crisco and margerine. Leo and I very seldom drink milk. We also take extra vit. of calcium and vitamin C and vitamin E. Also protein tablets to help out our protein. At our age we are healthier than anyone else we know at our age. The only member of Leoís or my family who listened to the health ways from us, that have tried to use it too, is Leoís sister Myrtle. She is 62 years old now [and] doesnít look more than 50 and has nothing organically wrong with her, which is very good for these times.
When Dennis was about 18 months old, in Oct. 1940, Leo got a pass from the railroad and sent me to California on a trip to see Alfred and my aunt and uncle Benjamin Carlisle. My cousin Clarence showed me around, and we had a wonderful time. This was my first trip away from home since we went to Portland. The first time to go alone anywhere. Mother came and stayed with the children while I was gone. I was gone about 12 days.
Leoís youngest sister Elva died on Sept. 12, 1941. She was only 36 years old. She died of asthma. She left two children, one boy by Willard White and one girl by Verle Rutherford. These were Ray and Nadine, who is married now to Thomas Nelson and has three children, two girls and one boy. Very fine, these people.
My father died on Oct. 16, 1956. He was 77 years old. He died of hardening of the arteries. He died completely out of debt, and owning nothing [but] a 1950 Chrysler.
World War II began on Dec. 7, 1941. Our brother Francis was in this war from start to finish.
In Nov. of 1955, Francis came home from the army on a furlough. He took Marg., Clara and I with him on a trip in his car. We went to Portland, Ore. and California. Played the slot machines in Nevada for the first time, slept in a hotel and had room service. We had a real good time.
Leoís father died in Lovell, Wyoming, on Dec. 19, 1955. He was 88 years old. We got work he was dying of cancer, to come immediately. We left that night on a plane. Our first plane ride. It was fun riding on a plane. We were there from Thurs. night to Mon. morning, before he died. We were gone a week.
Our daughter Mary got married on Sept. 12, 1957, in the Salt Lake Temple to Charles H. Bradford, a wonderful man. They both taught school at BYU and they lived in Provo until Jan. 1st of 1958, whence they left for Washington, D.C. The following Sept. 2 of 1958 Mary came home on the plane to stay with us until after her baby came. Her husband couldnít get away right then, so he drove his car home in Oct. The baby came on Nov. 20, 1958. A fine boy, weighting around 7 lbs. Mary nursed him as long as she could, about 5 months. When she started him on the bottle she put vitamin C drops in the milk and once a day added Brewers Yeast. Gave him other vitamin drops, too. He just did fine. The first food she gave him on a spoon was yogurt. He thrived on yogurt with fruit, milk and eggs. He is so happy and smart and good. They named him Stephen Lythgoe Bradford. He was born Cesarean. Mary healed nicely. The baby was only 3 weeks old, and Mary went shopping for Christmas, walked all around to the stores.
Mary graduated from the U. of Utah, taught English there, while she studied for her Masters Degree for three years. When she got that she taught at BYU in Provo. That is where she became acquainted with Charles Bradford.
We had a wonderful large wedding reception for Mary and Charles. It was held at the Social Center of the University of Utah. We stood in line four hours straight. But was it wonderful! This was on Sept. 12, 1957. Just six weeks before this, Leo took a slight stroke. He was at home for three weeks. He took sick on July 23, 1957. He got over it nicely. I fed him vitamins and minerals and health foods. The doctor came out the day he took sick and gave him a shot of some drug, and a prescription for some little red pills to take one before meals, but we kept forgetting them and he didnít take many of those.
In 1959 Tom and Dennis were called on a mission for the church. Tom to England and Dennis to New Zealand.
Charles was good-hearted and let Mary and Stephen come home on the plane two weeks before Tom and Dennis left for their missions. Mary gave a talk at Dennisí farewell. Both farewells were wonderful! The house was full and everyone was real generous with their pocketbooks. Tom and Dennis were wonderful! Everyone was wonderful. We all had a good time together! Then in one month we were left alone, just the three of us. Gaye and Dad and me.
Tom left on June 28, on a Sunday night at midnight. Shirley Thomas, his girlfriend, was there to see him off on a very large plane with about 100 other missionaries. Also a lot of friends and relatives were present to see him and Bill Nicholson off.
Dennis left two days later early in the morning between 7 and 8 oíclock. Dennisí girlfriend, Nancy, went with us to see him off, and especially were Gaye, Dad and I lonesome after we say Mary and Stephen off on the plane. They left a week later.
About two weeks after this, it was around the last week of July 1959 that Mother came to live with us. She was very poorly at the time, but picked up soon and feels lots better.
On July 10, 1959, my brother Alfred died of a ruptured appendix. He was on his way home to see Mother when this happened. He was operated on, but died soon after.
In Oct. of 1959 I was asked to help out at the Water System Office, now and then. Now in Jan. of 1960 Iím working steady. Iíve learned to do a lot of things I never did before, and like it real well.
Iíve taken a course in genealogy under Sister Delpha Triptoe and liked it very much. I hope to graduate on Feb. 21, 1960.
Before I was married I taught Sunday School in Highland Park Ward four years, from 1926 to 1930. I was a member of the choir, I think, for six years. In 1944 I taught Primary to 1946 in Grandview Ward. I was a block teacher for the Relief Society for about 22 years. I was made Primary Historian for Kenwood II Ward in 1954.
I was always interested in art from a child. I took two classes of art from Miss Gamette at Granite High School. I didnít get as far as oil painting. I learned water color and made Christmas cards to sell. When I was working at the Salt Lake Knitting Works, Mr. Nils Anderson worked there, who was an artist. He taught me to use oil paints and together we painted a picture. After this I painted three pictures for my trousseau and one for each of my sisters and brothers. After I was married I didnít have time, but I always told myself I would paint again before I died. So one day in 1955, I was going past a paint store in Sugarhouse and saw a sign saying "Art class held on Thurs. nights." So I investigated and found Lynn Fausett was the teacher, so I joined. I only went to class one month of that year, then in 1956 I began again, and having been attending pretty regularly ever since. I just finished painting Mt. Olympus and it hangs in the County Water System Office, at 3011 E. 33rd South.
I painted a picture of the California Redwoods and presented it to our Relief Society of Kenwood Ward. It hangs now in the Relief Society room in the Wilford Stake Center. I have painted a picture for each of my sisters, for Mary and Arleen Haslam. We have several in our home. We thoroughly enjoy them.
I am enjoying life now more than I ever did. At the age of 54 I feel better and look better than I did 30 years ago. And I am much happier. I enjoy what I do, and I have lots to do. I work in the office of the County Water System Inc. I am historian for the Primary of Kenwood II Ward, secretary of the Lynn Fausettís Art League, I am taking a course in genealogy, I have my mother living with us. My husband is well and happy, still loves me, has a good job. Our oldest daughter is happily married, living in Washington, D.C., we have one adorable grandson, and a wonderful son-in-law. Our two sons are on missions and our youngest daughter, Gaye, is 13 years old, in junior high school and getting more beautiful every day.