Monday, July 27, 2009

Afton took great pride in everything she did. There were times when she would can more than 2000 quart and two-quart jars of fruit, vegetables and juice in a summer. She insisted that it look beautiful in the jars. Afton was famous for her sewing as well. She made clothes for her children, knitted, crocheted and spent hours with her embroidery and tatting. She made hairpin lace, knitted lace, pieced and sewed quilts, and taught her daughters many of these skills. She was a perfectionist. Afton won several blue ribbons at the Utah State Fair for her quilts, and quilted professionally for 25 years. From time to time, neighbors would come and quilt with her, but if their stitches weren't perfect, after they left, Afton would unpick them and do them over. When I was young, I wanted more than anything to quilt with my grandma. She took a large hoop and set it up just like a quilt, with fabric scraps and batting, and then drew a pattern on it for me to follow. I would quilt it the way she showed me and then she would inspect my stitches. After going through this process over and over, year after year, I finally passed. I was a teenager by then, but still so honored to be able to sit at a quilt with Grandma. She died 4 Sep 1995 from congestive heart failure at the age of 89. She had been a widow for 31 years. I have so many memories of her- I'll work on posting them off and on throughout this blog.

Monday, July 20, 2009

This picture is (L-R) Billie Darleen Clark Facer (my mother), Afton Madsen Clark (my mom's mother), Shirley Clark Bona (Afton's step-daughter), and LuDean Clark Payne (my mom's sister). I'm guessing that this was taken about 1980.
Now a little more about Afton: In Springville, from 1930 to 1950, Afton taught Mutual, Primary, was co-ordinator of the Junior Sunday School, taught homemaking in Relief Society, and was the Relief Society secretary. She and Frank also served on the stake geneology committee from 1953 to 1956.
Just after the beginning of World War II (summer 1942) Eddington's Cannery needed help. All the boys had gone to war, and there was no one to help with tomatoes. The Relief Society stepped in and asked women for help. Anyone who could spare any time at all was urged to help out at the cannery and do their part for the war effort. Afton responded, as did many of her neighbors. As a result, she worked there for 8 summers. Then in 1950 she went to work for Champ Allen at Allen's Dry Cleaners, and from 1954 to 1962 she sewed draperies for Dixon Taylor Russell Company in Provo.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

This post is about Afton Madsen Clark, my mother's mother. Most of the following was written by my mom's older sister, LuDean, and read by me at Afton's funeral.
Afton Madsen was born in Summit, Iron County, Utah on 30 Mar 1906. Her parents were Nels Christian Madsen and Norah Dean Hulet. Two years later twin boys were born on her birthday, Ardell and Bernell, and 7 years after that her youngest brother Elmer was born. The picture posted here is Afton at 6 months. Summit, located 12 miles north of Cedar City, only had an elementary school, so when it was time for high school, Afton moved to Cedar City and lived there with several of her friends as was the custom in those days. She went on to college and graduated from the branch of the Agricultural College in Cedar City in 1925. She was planning to be a teacher like her mother and three aunts, but after substituting for her cousin for 6 weeks, she decided very quickly this was not for her.
In 1924, while at Zion's National Park, Afton rode across the canyon (from Angel's Landing to the bottom) on a load of logs used for the construction of the lodge.
The Escalante Hotel in Cedar City was hosting a special banquet, and called the school in search of girls to help out. Afton was recommended, worked at the banquet, and was immediately offered a job. She worked in the hotel business until she met her husband, Frank.
Southern Utah was a popular place for the movie industry during the 20s, and in 1926 when the movie "Stagecoach of '76" with Tom Mix was filmed in the area Afton went to Zion's again with a group of girls to work in the dining room for the crew. In 1927 when "Ramona" with Dolores del Rio and "Shepherd of the Hills" with Molly Malone were filmed all the stars stayed in the Escalante Hotel where Afton worked.
After this, Afton went to Delta, Utah, where the Pavant Hotel was being opened. There she met Frank Huntington Clark, a widower with 2 small children- Jack Owen and Shirley. They were married on 6 May 1929. A year later they moved to Springville, Utah to take care of Frank's father, John Lafayette Clark ( see earlier post on John and his trek to Utah from Iowa).