Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

This Friday, December 5th is my mother's birthday. I would like to tell you a bit about her and why I love her so much! Helen Hamblin was born in the year 1922 in Nutrioso, Arizona. If you do not is way out in the middle of somewhere that may not be "nowhere" to those who live there...but it is still a very small place!(in the White Mts. near the NM border) She was born in the little log house that was home to Don Carlos and Ida Lee Hamblin. She was #11 of 13 children.

As you can see...she was a little dolly! That's her in the hat!She remembers at age 4 moving with her family to Farmington, New Mexico. Even though the automobile was around back then her family used horses and wagons for the move. Honestly, how would you fit that many kids into one of those little cars back then?! She grew up on the banks of the Animas River in a wonderful, big house that still stands today.

For all of you youngsters out there...when Great-Grandma was baptized they were still doing it in rivers or ponds when there was no font built in the area. Because of this little Helen had to wait to be baptized because her birthday was in December! Can you imagine how cold that would be?! She was baptized in Lucas's Pond on the 4th of July!

One of her favorite Christmas memories was the time her father had been away working and was coming home on Christmas Eve. The children were all so anxious for their Daddy to get there. Soon he came inside all covered in snow and carrying a giant candy cane. He told the children he had seen an old man in a red suit outside and had wrestled him for some candy for his children! That simple candy was the best gift ever (especially because their father had taken down Santa for it!). She remembers bundling up under quilts and starry skies and riding into the church in town for the Christmas Eve parties. It was the only time all year that they would see Santa.

She graduated from Farmington High School (go Scorpions!) and then went to Mesa, AZ to live with her older sister Klea and find a job. Her father was also in the valley working at Luke Air Force Base. She landed a job at a Johnson's Drive-in as a car hop. Her uniform, according to a very interested young man, included "very tight white satin pants!" One day this newly returned missionary came by with one of his friends. He was all dressed up in his suit and "very handsome" He came back later and asked if he might drive her home after work. After that he made sure to drive her home every night he could. Sometimes it would be on his bicycle if he couldn't get the family car. One night she brought him his order and as she was fastening his tray to the car door she dumped it right onto his lap...hamburger, fries, ice-cold root beer and all!! He left immediately and she was so sad! She figured she had really blown it and would never see him again. In reality he was hurrying home, changing clothes, and rushing right back to place his order again. George Dean Ellsworth placed his order & the rest is history! They were married in the Mesa Temple on June 5, 1942.
During their courtship her father was killed in an accident at the air force base. This was a very sad time for her; and my father had yet to be able to meet him. Her mother and siblings left at home moved to Mesa soon after.

During the war years she lived with Dad while he was stationed in Las Vegas, NM but went home to Mesa to give birth to their first child, a daughter named Sharon. After Dad was shipped overseas they wrote to each other every day. Sometimes the letters would come in bunches but she never failed to write daily. Her love and devotion to him has always been a wonderful example to me. She plainly adored Dad and I love her for that!

The years that followed brought more children to the family and much joy! There was Dean in 1948, Richard in 1950, Marianne in 1957, and Georgena in 1962. There was a little son, George Jr. who died at birth in 1960 and a daughter, Mary who was stillborn in 1964 . These times were hard on my mother. I remember and admire her for her faith and perseverance through those trials.

Mom was always there for her children. I remember cookies for school parties, hand-made costumes for Halloween, fun birthday parities at home, and driving endless hours to piano lessons etc... Mom would make every holiday fun. Sugar cookies at Christmas is one of my favorite traditions. To roll out the dough and cut those cookies with her was the best time ever. She didn't even mind if we licked our fingers while we frosted them! She makes those cookies to this very day and sends them to us in the mail even thought we make them with our own families now. It's just not the same if we don't get Grandma's Christmas box of goodies! (no pressure there Mom!) She could make a Sunday dinner to die for!!! They all seemed like State dinners in the White House. We always had a table cloth and put out the china and silverware. She is most well known for her Butterhorn rolls and her fried chicken dinners although my favorite is always her pot roast. It took me about 20 years of marriage before I felt I was coming close to her cooking skills!

When I say she was always there for us I truly mean it. She went to work for Motorola in Mesa to help pay for the boy's missions. In the early years she had to work swing shift so she was not there when we got home from school. This was very hard on her but she did her best to make it work. She left notes for us to remind us to do our chores and practice our instruments. She also recorded bedtime stories for Gena and I. We would cuddle up together in bed and hold the book while our mother's sweet voice read to us. I will never forget that! I felt so special that she would take the time to do that for us. I also have fun memories of driving with Dad and Gena, and sometimes Richard to Motorola on Friday nights to eat dinner with Mom. We would stop off at Jack-in-the-Box or Taco Bell and take dinner to her. She would come out to the car and we would enjoy her company. What an adventure to eat dinner in the car! (kids are so easy to please!)
Most of us have been the recipients of many a hand made gift from Grandma. She has made countless baby afghans, Christmas stockings, newlywed quilts, stuffed animals, & Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls. She can also make just about anything out of plastic canvas and yarn! We have boxes full of Barbie furniture, baby blocks, fridge magnets, calenders, etc... I know some little boys in the family who have some pretty nice little villages for the trucks and cars to drive through too!

Visiting Grandma and Grandpa's house in the summers was the best vacation my kids could think of! I can't imagine why! What kid would want an endless supply of Otter Pops, ice cream, and soda pop in the fridge out back? Lunch on a quilt under those shady trees in the back yard was heavenly, and helping Grandma sort peaches, snap green beans and pick blackberries was so fun! Sleeping arrangements were casual. You could have a foam pad on the front room floor or sleep in a tent in the back fun there!

Now we have the joy of having Mom come and stay in our homes for long visits. She always brings little gifts and fun things to work on. She is ALWAYS up for a game of Farkle or cards too! All you have to do is mention it and she is there baby! If it is way past her bedtime but there is even one person who wants to play...well, she can always take a nap tomorrow!

I suppose the most important thing Mom gives us all is unconditional love. We know she loves us no matter what we do. No one is perfect and she is not one to base her love on deeds or misdeeds. I know she loves and prays for us all. So, from one who has benefited infinitely from her love and generosity, her faith and teaching...HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! I pray you will celebrate many more with us!

This photo was taken in downtown Salt Lake City in May 2004. It's one of my favorites!


URFAVE5 said...

I love this post! There will never be another lady like Grandma Helen. I love her so very much and I am so thankful for her and her love that she has always shown to me and her wonderful example!
Happy Birthday Grandma!
Love You, JoLynn
P.S. Did you know that Conner and Brilynn still play with the little mat and village that she made Blake and Conner about 10 years ago. In fact they were just playing with it yesterday afternoon after church.

cougarnana said...

This was such a great post and a wonderful tribute to a lovely lady. Happy Birthday Grandma Helen! I hope we get to meet again. I surely did love looking at all the pictures and learning about your life and example. I wish you a very happy day on Friday.

Bryan and Lyndsey said...

I loved this post. It brought back great memories of the house in New Mexico. She is a great Woman and will always be known for that in this house. I love my phone by the way. i don't know how to text with the regular phones. I couldn't do it on my razor so I just never texted. Now I can text like crazy because I know how to type and the keyboard on the Blitz is just like a computer keyboard.

Ellsworth Party of Four said...

How fun it will be to have Grandma on her Birthday! I just love her to death...and feel as if I have known her and been her grandchild forever!
It was so fun to get to spend Thanksgiving with if we can just get the rest of the family all in one place at the same time...that would be perfect!

Edwin & Tamara said...



Helen Ellsworth said...

What can I say? Whoever you were writing about sounds almost perfect, so it can't be me. You don't know how many times I have worried because I didn't do
"this or that" for my children. But thank you anyhow for your sweet words. I feel so blessed to have such a sweet bunch of kids and grandkids who make me feel important and loved. I just found your post this morning. I was so busy my last two days at Richard's I didn't have time to check. Yesterday I was busy getting settled. So here it is, Dec 5 and I just read it. Thanks again so much. "I love you more today than yesterday". But not as much as tomorrow.
ps Gena just called from school and said to tell you "Thanks. Now the family won't have to come up with a eulogy, if and when it is needed. Ha Ha

Marianne said...

Oh...that's just great! This is a Memory blog NOT a eulogy!!

tami said...

happy birthday grandma i didnt forget how could i its the same day as mine i just didnt know which blog to put it on lol
love ya
tami andrew ryan and riley