Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dancing to Heaven: Lucy Elzada Hardy

Here are some excerpts from the life of Lucy Elzada Hardy Cheney, pioneer. The story I have been most inspired by since I've had children of my own is that she had her first baby in the back of a wagon on a pile of flour sacks. I wish I had her picture, but I think her imagined face is the one I have in mind when I sit serenely on my crisp hospital bed, receiving my epidural. I think she's saying, "Oh honey! Take the drugs! Take 'em for me!"

I also remember Grandma Pearl talking about her Grandma Cheney dancing to death, and thought, what a happy way to go, surrounded by your granddaughters in your best dress and dancing on into heaven.
(Me-->Dad-->Grandpa-->Pearl Drake-->Mary Jane Cheney-->Lucy Elzada Hardy)

From an interview of Pearl Drake Haynes, written by her niece Ortell Drake Wilson.

…My Grandmother Cheney [Lucy Elzada Hardy Cheney] lived with us a lot. My mother is Mary Jane Cheney. That’s where you get the Marys. (This to Mary Kaye, Pearl’s daughter.)
My mother never lived polygamy, she said that is one thing she couldn’t do. Grandpa Cheney died young and my Grandma never remarried. She had her first child on the plains. The pioneers had hard times, I’ll tell you. When she had the baby she was laying on barrels of flour. The captain said they should put the flour in bags to make a softer bed, which they did. I was about fourteen or fifteen years old when she came to visit and she told me this....
Here is a picture someone shared of Lucy.
Now I’ll tell you a little bit about my Grandmother Cheney. The night that Grandma Cheney died, that day she got all her nice blouses out and ironed them all up. She used to have some beautiful blouses and she loved to iron them. Her granddaughter asked why she was ironing her blouses and she said, “I’m going to a wedding tonight. You’ll see.” My grandmother was a great dancer and she loved to dance. That evening she told her grandchildren or great-grandchildren, I guess, to all line up on the over-stuffed and she would dance for them because she was going to this wedding and she would dance before she left. So she did and she said, “Well, I’m getting kind of tired. Move over some of you, and let me sit down.” She sat down and passed away on the sofa. She was a great entertainer. At a ward old folks’ party, they had my grandmother and her oldest daughter dance for them. They gave a dance recital. She was honored for being the oldest at this party."
Also, from the "Life Story of Ezekial Wells Cheney and Lucy Elizada Hardy Cheney", by Arlene Ellis Melis.
Lucy was born February 24, 1829, at Bellfast, Waldo County, Maine. She was the daughter of Zachariah Hardy and Eliza Philbrook Hardy. This family also journeyed to Nauvoo and shared with the Saints in the persecutions of the mobs. Lucy's mother was a seamstress and during the family's stay at Nauvoo she made clothes for the Prophet's family. Lucy, being seventeen years of age at this time, worked for the Prophet's mother, showing mummy exhibits to people who paid to see them. When the family left Nauvoo, Lucy's father died of exposure as a result of battling the icy waters of the Mississippi while helping the Saints to cross. When the saints were burying Zachariah Hardy they were molested by the mob and had to leave him at the graveside and return later to bury him secretly at night. Many of the Saints were forced to leave Nauvoo with only those belongings that they could carry in their arms. Lucy's mother, Eliza had seven children when she fled from Nauvoo and was carrying the youngest in her arms.

Ezekial and Lucy were married at North Mt. Pisgah in March 1848. They had met at Winter Quarters where they had gathered with the Saints after being driven from Nauvoo. They were married when Ezekial was twenty years old and Lucy was nineteen. A year after their marriage, in 1849 they left Winter Quarters, with Ezekial's father Aaron, and traveled to Utah in what was known as George A. Smith's Company. Brother Smith was a cousin of the Prophet. On the way they suffered many hardships but fortunately were not molested by Indians. Three weeks after they left Winter Quarters, their first child was born near Elkhorn, Nebraska. They named the baby Eliza Ann.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

If you have to be a "holic": Charles Aaron Samuel Heagy

More from Grandpa Heagy's memories of his Dad today.
(Me-->Mom-->Grandpa Heagy-->Charles Aaron Samuel Heagy)
"At the age of 39 he married my mother Cleora Elizabeth Schlomer, age 26, at Fort Benton, Choteau county, Montana. He then worked for the Great Falls Brewery, two blocks from their home at 734 14th St. SW, Great Falls.
His later years with the brewery were spent at the Malt Plant. The Malt Plant was a brewery also at one time. It is now replaced with the new Federal Building in Great Falls. It is my feeling Dad took the job at the Malt Plant to get away from the temptation of the free beer at the Brewery and the opportunity to work alone. Seldom was there any one but himself working in the building. He still had an alcohol problem as did his father before him.
As he was returning home from work early one morning, he had a head on with two boys on a motorcycle. The accident occurred on the old wooden viaduct over the Great Northern Railroad. Both boys died. I never knew Dad to take a drink after. As the boys had been drinking also, an out of court settlement was reached."

I asked Mom a little bit more about this. She said that her Grandpa had pointed out to her Dad that alcoholism ran in his blood from both sides of the family and that "if he was going to be a "-holic", be a WORK-aholic". Luckily, our Grandpa has heeded this advice. It's a blessing in disguise, I think, that C.A.S.H. was in that car accident. If he hadn't been, maybe my own grandfather would have been inclined to drink, would not have been interested in joining the LDS church where you don't drink a drop, would not have married my Grandma, and we wouldn't be here today.

I also vaguely remember this story being told to me as a very young child, before Kindergarten because we were still living our first house. I think I had asked Mom why we don't drink, and one of the answers I remember was her explanation of alcoholism and the threat that if I ever took a drink, I would become addicted very easily because that runs in the family. Not that I was ever tempted to, but to remember this from that young of an age means it still made a serious impression on me.
PS. Hey Jake, now we know why you are such a workaholic. That bad gene had to find a positive outlet!!!

A lovely "rest of the story" to this post.  After writing this I talked to Grandpa a little more and asked him if he knew anything about the two teenagers that died.  I suggested that it might be nice to do his temple work.  At the time, the temple work policy included "a close, personal relationship".  (I read that to Grandpa and he quipped, "Like someone ya killed!)  Well, it touched a nerve and he and Grandma went to the courthouse to find out more about these boys.  They did do the temple work for them and I feel like it is a gift Grandpa Charlie Heagy would have wanted his victims to have, as a bit of recompense.