Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Grandmother Ethel Hepworth Tomlinson - Number one person on my mind lately.

Grandmother Tomlinson had five grandchildren.  Only four are in this picture taken at Easter time, 1950, in front of our home in Jerome, Idaho. My younger brother Ted wasn't born until three years later. Gary is the oldest grandchild born in 1936; me born in 1942; Lee born in 1945; sadly Lee died at age forty four in 1990.  Next is Ardyth born in 1943. Ardyth is one of my greatest fans in doing FamilySearch. I always look forward to her comments on each post and appreciate her support.

Ethel Hepworth was born in Salt Lake City on
 9 May 1887 to James Hepworth and Sarah Ann Kidgell.  She married George Wherrett Tomlinson on 2 October 1912. Ethel was twenty five years old and George was twenty seven.  George's true surname is Wherrett but that's another story that will be told on this blog. (Someday)
Grandmother had three children.  My father Vern Wherrett Tomlinson was born in the Salt Lake City Hospital on  2 August 1913 and just thirteen months later Katheryn Wherrett Tomlinson was born 19 November 1914.  She died the same day; a premature baby. Dad was four years old when his sister Louise Wherrett Tomlinson was born on 12 February 1918.
George and Ethel separated when my Dad was about fifteen years old.   (Another tale to be told sometime in the future.)  After the separation Grandmother, Dad and Louise moved to Albion, Idaho and lived with Grandmother's parents Edward and Sarah Hepworth.  Also, living in Albion were Grandmother's brothers.   

Cousin Lee and Ardyth, Aunt Louise and Grandmother pictured on the right were the only family I knew on my dad's side all the while I was growing up. Really, I was an adult with children before I ever met another Hepworth.
It was different with my older brother Gary. He was best friends with one of Grandmother's nephews John Clifford 'Jack' Hepworth. As you can see in the photo below Gary is feeling pretty smug in the company of his first cousin (once removed.)  Jack is nine years older than Gary. Gary told me whenever he visited in Albion he was Jack's "shadow." 

 Grandmother's father Edward died in 1944.  In 1947 her mother Sarah died. I'm not quite clear on what happened but after her mother died Grandmother no longer had contact with her Hepworth relations.
It was near this time (1947) that my Aunt Louise divorced her husband and moved in with my grandmother in the Albion house.  Louise continued her education at the Albion Normal School and Grandmother took over the duties of caring for Lee and Ardyth. 
 Grandmother had a handicap.  Her right knee was stiff and she walked with this stiff leg as if she walked liked normal person.  She never complained and I was so amazed as to how well she got around with only having one normal leg.  It wasn't until I read in Dad's life history that I learned the reason for her handicap.  

Dad writes "Mother had rheumatism for years after I was born.  She went to several doctors without receiving much help.  Dr. Openshaw told her that Utah winters were too harsh for her."

Grandmother, Louise, Dad and Nana spent two winters in Santa Monica for the reason to help with Grandmothers condition with her stiff knee. 
Dad mentions that the treatment did help but, only temporarily.  "Dr. Openshaw came up with an idea of how to treat Mother's rheumatism. He built  an oven which was made of bricks, mortar and electric wires, which covered her knee.  She took treatments with her leg in this oven two times a day with a very hot temperature. After about a month of this type of treatment it was decided the oven was a failure.  What really happened was that the oven dried up the fluid that was in the knee.  Her knee went completely stiff and she had no movement in that knee for the rest of her life"

I have more to write about Grandmother which I will in the coming weeks.The person who knew her best is my cousin Ardyth.  
The following is Ardyth's sentiments about Grandmother.   

It's hard to put my feelings about Grandmother into words.  She was always there in my life.  I simply cannot remember a time when Grandma was not the one running our home front, while mother was either in school or working as a teacher, and at times her teaching was throughout multiple towns in Idaho.  Mother worked hard, often late into the evening, but she could do that because Grandma was always there taking care of my brother and me.  I remember being absolutely sure there was nothing in the world that Grandma couldn't do or explain to me.  She was also a true force for change, as shown by her having worked as a young woman for the telephone company in Salt Lake City.  Grandmother supervised all of the Salt Lake City telephone operators.  Some years later she also did bookkeeping for the Albion State Normal School.  I can still remember, even as a young child of 4 or 5, when the Director of Finance would stop at our home in Albion, Idaho, bringing with him a multitude of documents/books for Grandma to work on.  Years later, when I began working, Grandmother, Mother, and myself would often treat ourselves to a Friday evening shopping excursion in the next town over, which was somewhat larger than the town we lived in.  Grandmother had difficulty walking due to a stiff leg so, when we had to cross streets on those evenings, she would grab my arm and away we'd go at a pretty respectable rate of speed in order to make it across before the light changed.  I still miss my dear Grandma. 

Grandmother died at age 81 on 18 November 1968

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