My Personal Remembrances
of my Grandmother, Leah Ann Lovell Ririe
By David Ririe
I was always
treated like a privileged character in Grandma Ririe's house, not
that I deserved the status,
but because I was her eldest
grandson and was fortunate enough to be named David after grandfather.
It was a pleasure to be in the large and beautiful home where I was
born. I loved its spacious rooms and the nice bathroom and the kitchen
from which delicious food was served. One thing I particularly liked
was her victor phonograph. I remember that she played some of the
instrumental records over and over for me because I preferred the
instrumentals over the vocalists’ recordings. She also had
some seashells from which you could hear the ocean surf when they
were placed next to the ear. Grandma told me that Grandpa obtained
the shells when he visited in San Francisco. There was also a bookcase
which intrigued me. As soon as I could read she pointed to one book
in particular and showed me the writeup about grandpa in Volume 2
of "The History of Idaho." This book is now in my possession
and I am thankful for it.
At six years of age I started grade school. Since the grain wasn't
harvested by the time school started the folks placed me with Grandma
until they could finish the work on the Granite farm and move to
the valley. Grandma was very nice to me during that period which
was a hard time for me because I was very bashful and didn't do well
Grandma was a great story teller. She laughed heartily as she related
stories about our Dad to Max and me. He was apparently quite mischievous
for she told of his pulling a little girl's hair who passed them
on the street on one of their visits to town. She also told of Dad's
greasing the buggy for Grandpa - the seats and all other parts. It
was obvious to me that she had enjoyed her children, although with
seven of them she must have been very busy. Her sense of humor was
I believe the first money I ever earned may have been from mowing
her lawn. The lawns and grounds of the home were spacious and well
designed. Mowing the lawn with a push mower was anything but easy,
but she paid me well, so I didn't mind doing it. She also bragged
about the good job I did and seemed to have an endless supply of
silver dollars, one of which she put in my hand each time I finished
the work. In those days that was good pay for a mere boy.
One day she told me that a politician came
to her home and offered to take her to the polls. When he asked
her how she voted she replied, "By
secret ballot." Then she looked at me and said she hadn't voted
for him, although he probably thought she would feel indebted to
him and do so.
I remember laughing and laughing some more as Uncle Eldon described
his efforts to teach her to drive the new family car she had purchased.
As I recall she took a turn around the orchard, barely missing trees
and hitting lower limbs, to the east of the house, and came near
demolishing the car as well as objects that stood in the way. Uncle
Eldon and Aunt Sylvia drove her to and from Church, town, and visits.
As far as I am aware, she never learned to drive, although she did
Grandma liked good food. One of her favorite things was a family
picnic. At a Ririe family picnic on occasions such as the Fourth
of July, there was food enough to feed far more people than were
in attendance. It was my job to go on several trips with her. At
the first town she would suggest we stop for ice cream, candy, or
soda pop. No wonder we liked it when she was with us. She canned
many quarts of apples, jams, apple butter, and we even made cider
with the apples. Hers was a wonderful house to visit.
I regret that one time I hurt her feelings.
She had brought a bottle of her plums to a Church affair. No one
partook of them and she said, "Here's
David, he will eat my plums." But I opted for some peaches that
someone else had brought. Grandma was hurt and I wish I could have
a chance to make that decision over again.
Grandmother was very independent, but at the same time she was not
averse to calling upon her sons to help her in times of need. She
rightfully expected respect and a quick response and she could scold
when the need arose.
To illustrate her independence, I relate this incident. Our Father
was the Bishop and in caring for the widows of the Ward he sent Max
and me to deliver wood to each of them. We delivered the wood from
the Church wood pile to the widows on our list and at the end of
the assignment still had part of the load. One of us suggested that
we take the rest to Grandma. We drove up alongside her woodbox near
the back of the house and started to fill it up. Grandma came out
of the house. The conversation went something like this:
"What are you doing?"
"We are delivering wood as the Bishopric
asked us to do to the Ward widows and we brought some to you.”
"You go back and tell your Dad, the
Bishop, that when I need charity I'll let him know.”
We knew then why her name was not on the list.
Grandma worked hard to support herself and her children when she
was left a widow. As far as I know they had as good an education
as most other families provided for their children and she sent Uncle
Eldon on a mission to England. Long before her death she divided
up her farm properties and gave each child a part of the land.
In her later years she took renters into part of the house. Stanley
M. Boyle, the high school principal and his family once lived under
her roof as well as several family members including the newly married,
such as Aunt Lizzie and Uncle Ivin, my parents, and Uncle Parley
and Aunt Edna. They lived in the home with her until they could establish
places for themselves.
She truly did many generous things for others. On one occasion her
generosity peeved Uncle Eldon. She gave Grandfather's double-barreled
shot gun to me which angered him. He tried to get her to reneg on
the gift, but she would not budge.
She loved me and I loved her!
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