Friday, July 3, 2009

Helen Rex Frazier, 1979 autobiography

Helen Rex Frazier
b. 31 Mar 1913, Randolph, Utah
p. Percy Harold Rex, Bessie Morgan Rex
m. Glenn Frazier, 21 Nov 1937, Oakland, California
d. 26 Jun 1982, Salt Lake City, Utah
b. 29 Jun 1982, Elysian Gardens, Salt Lake City, Utah

Helen Rex was named for her grandmother Helen Melvina Groesbeck Morgan.
I will have to search my memory if I leave my children and grandchildren a history of my life. I’m now 66 years of age.

I was born 31 March 1913 in Randolph, Rich Co., Utah, the first child of Percy Harold Rex and Bessie Morgan. Father was born and raised in Randolph but mother was born in Salt Lake City. She fell in love with father, married him and moved to Randolph. As the time was nearing for my entrance into this mortal life, Mother stayed with Grandpa [William Rex] and Grandma [Mary Elizabeth Brough] Rex, where she would be near the doctor, as she and father lived on part of the Rex brothers ranch 12 miles from Randolph.

The first home I remember our living in was a white frame house on the north side of Canyon Street one half block east of Main Street. Uncle Will and Aunt Agnes Rex lived across the street. Here two more children were born into the family—Harold Morgan on 24th of July, 1915 and Winifred on 23rd of April 1918.

The night Winnie was born Harold and I were sleeping on a cot in the front room. I awakened and started to cry. Father came to quiet me. Dr. [Matthew Simpson] Reay, in a white coat, asked if there was anything he could do. I quickly scooted down into bed as the man in the white coat frightened me.

World War I was being fought in Europe at this time. Grandma Morgan [Helen Melvina Groesbeck Morgan] came from Salt Lake to visit. I remember watching her knit socks and scarves for the Red Cross and watching her and mother save the pits from peaches for use in making gas (I believe). They let Harold and I arrange them in dripper pans as they put them out to dry.
In June of 1920 we moved to the home on Church Street. Our family was growing and this home was much larger as it was two stories. John Morgan was born here on 28 December 1920 and on 9 May 1924 another baby boy arrived—Maeser Morgan.

I started school when we lived in the white frame house on Canyon Street. The two story red brick school on the southwest corner of Main and Canyon Street was used then and my first grade teacher was Miss Hicks. She wore her hair with two round bobs, one on each side of her head, just back of her ears. She claimed she could see out of these bobs, so warned us she could tell who was misbehaving when she had her back turned. This really puzzled me.

My parents were sincerely religious and religious teachings were very much a part of our lives. I was taken to Sunday School as soon as I was three years of age. My Great Aunt Hanna Telford was my kindergarten teacher. I loved her very much and delighted sitting on the little red chairs that she had in a circle. There was a pot-bellied stove on one side of the room as the church had no central heating system.

I especially liked the activity song “Fly Little Bird, fly ‘round the ring. Fly little bird while we all sing. Then fly down to someone’s feet and we’ll sing you a song so soft and sweet.” A child would skip around the circle of chairs using his arms for wings and the one he kneeled in front of was the next bird.

Sister Grace Morris, a good friend of my mother’s, taught me in Sunday School and in Bee Hives; Kenneth Muir was one of my Sunday School teachers in my teen years; we studied the Old Testament.

In Primary I remember Eva Telford as my Seagull Teacher. I especially liked her. She had a party at her home for us and she had paper seagulls hanging from the low branches of an evergreen tree.

Minnie McKinnon and Ina Jackson were my Gleaner Teachers when I started my Treasure of Truth and my genealogy. I am so grateful that these people encouraged me to take advantage of activities in various classes such as becoming an “Honor Bee” in Bee Hive, participating in “Story Telling” when I was a Junior Girl, and public speaking in Gleaners. Because of these activities I have never forgotten the story of “Ester” in the Old Testament, ”The Mansion” by Henry Van Dyke, and “The Moonlight Sonata,” of course Mother was always helping and encouraging me in these activities.

Back now to my education in school. In third grade Mary Herbert was my teacher. She had to work hard as our grade had not been taught phonics and as a result could not read. She drilled us to catch up the two last years. Mother decided that year to take in the school teachers as borders—Pearl Stratford and Mary Herbert. Morgan was a toddler and the young women were very daring, rolling their stockings below their knees. Morgan would pull their dress up and show their knee and then slap it. Miss Stratford laughed and thought it was so cute—of course then he did it some more.

[Editor's note: Each summer the family moved to thier ranch house to work their fields, and stock, and cook for the haymen. They always moved their solid oak upright piano with them. Winnifred Rex Andrus recently described to me how they would run wood planks from the front porch steps out to their wagon bed. The men and boys would then slide the piano down the planks onto the wagon and haul it to the ranch house. They returned it to their home in Randolph at the end of each haying season. According to Aunt Winnie (Winifred Rex Andrus) "It always seemed to be in tune!" She would know for she practiced the piano year round.]

(To be continued.)

Top picture of Helen Rex Frazier about 1937. Rex family Church Street home. Helen, Harold, Winnie, Morgan at the side of their home in about 1921. Randolph, Utah ward house in the 1930s. P.H. Rex children L-R Maeser, Helen, Morgan, Winnie, Harold at their Ranch House.

1 comment:

  1. Truth be known, according to Aunt Winnie [Winifred Rex Andrus] today, the P. H. Rex family moved to the ranch in April (they didn't wait for summer) each year and returned in September. She remembers it as "so much fun."