It’s About Honor… - April 27, 2012
I found myself on a business sponsored pilgrimage to my birthplace, Salt Lake City, UT this week. My mom was also born there, and my 5 year old is her namesake. If heart disease did not take her in 1979 at the young age of 59, she would be 92 years old. Salt Lake Hardware was a big employer in SLC. It was ironically founded by men whose origins are Eden, NY where my husband was born and raised, and where my mother-in-law’s family is from for many generations. In 1909 the founders built a Georgian inspired brick headquarters in the shadow of the State Capital and what is now Temple Square.
My mom was an amazing woman. A very successful student, fluent in Spanish as a second language, she was unable to attend college due to family finances, and her amazing brother paid for her to go to secretarial school. She was a record setting stenographer and typist, and was hired at Salt Lake Hardware likely sometime in the early 1940’s. She worked for the VP of Sales, John Doubry until 1954. One of my treasures I recently received from my parents is the porcelain ballerina that John gave her for Christmas. A pretty impressive position for a woman in WWII-era Utah. I hear from my dad and other relatives that she was successful in her own right, and she supported my dad as he attended University of Utah and worked in the mail-room at Uniroyal (where he later thrived for 28 years with multiple relocations landing in Connecticut where he remains today!).
I went to see her place of employment and was pleased to find out that it has been refurbished into office space, with many authentic renderings remaining. I found an ad for tires dated June 13, 1949. She likely had her hand in creating this ad in some way. Very cathartic.
Then I was off to locate the home my mom lived in with her parents until her mom’s death (also at age 59.) It is a tiny stucco 2 bedroom bungalow in the outskirts of the city. While some of the homes were not kept up over the years, you can tell people take pride in their area, and it was still pretty cute. Just picturing her taking care of the grandmother I never knew who suffered from multiple strokes…she was 31 when she met my dad. Sort of borderline old maid back in 1950, but she was the youngest, and the European tradition was that she takes care of the parents.
Next I was off to Hill Airforce Base where my parents actually met. A great story. My mom was visiting her injured nephew at the hospital there where my dad was an orderly.
My dad is a handsome devil and my mom was tall, thin, svelte, fit and stylish in her tailored Pendleton suit. Their eyes met, and they started chatting. She asked my dad if he skied and if he wanted to go. My dad is suave guy, and a wonderful athlete, so he decided to take a few runs on Wild Cat Mountain to practice up and impress my mom, an avid skier. Well, it did not work out too well.
My mom was visiting the hospital to see her nephew she walked by and my dad was laid up with torn ligaments! One thing led to another and they started dating. An 8 month courtship culminated in a fabulous trip to Las Vegas and a ceremony at the Little Church of the West. I LOVE THIS!!
Twelve years later they decide they wanted to adopt a baby. In comes me! She was 43 and 5 months when 6 week old Lori Dee Evans landed in their arms. And as fate would have it, I was 43 and 5 months when I adopted her namesake Kate. You can’t make this stuff up!
I am honored to be learning more about my mom. What a hard life she led, and also what an exciting life she experienced. She was a dedicated mom and wife. And if I can be a fraction of who she was Kate will be a fine woman when she grows up.
Even though I am adopted, and my mom has been gone for 32 years, I have never felt more connected to her. I share this because at my age (48) we unfortunately are dealing with loss, aging parents, or already have lost parents. Yes, it is painful. And also healing energy can result from reflecting, honoring, and walking the steps of those who raised us.
Kathryn LaRue Hammond Evans – I am so grateful for you. God put me exactly in the right place. And Kate is in the right place with me. And you showed me the path to motherhood I had no idea I could walk. And you made it look so easy. Thank you.
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