Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Flora Fallis - from an interview with Flora in the summer of 2004
Flora Dean Fallis 5 Mar 1924 – 18 Jul 2007
Flora was born in Escalante, Utah on 5 March 1924 to Lawrence Dewey Fallis and Josie (Susannah) Allen. She was the first of eleven children. She always went to church – even when she was little – Grandma Fannie took her. Mama just had to tend the little babies. They lived with Grandma Fannie in a two story house. Mother and dad slept upstairs. She remembers her daddy playing with her as a little girl. He put her fist in his mouth. It didn’t bother her – he was just playing.
She left Escalante when she was five years old. They moved to Basalt, Idaho. She remembered riding on a big truck on the bed with horses pulling the truck – going with her uncles. Her first truck ride was from Escalante to Shelley. There was more than her family in the truck. Grandma Fannie was worried that Flora would fall off the truck. She was envious of her brother Ermond’s hair– he had the pretty curly hair and Flora’s was straight. She was really close to her brothers and sisters. When she was real small she got them washed up and clean and then they went shopping - her and her two little brothers. She was a big help for her mom. She was her mama’s girl. Her dad loved the boys. Josie worried about them – living close to the Snake River. She had to watch the children carefully.
Flora went to elementary school at Basalt. She missed the first class so her father helped her catch up with the other students. She did well in school. She still remembered her first grade teacher and really loved her.
Summers were spent playing outside – her and her two brothers. She remembered Grandma Fallis taking her to a movie, a silent movie. She liked the little girl that kneeled by the side of the bed and said her prayers in the movie. Flora was a little mother to her siblings. One time they decided they were going to make fudge – there was maybe four of them. They got stuff to make the fudge with, went down the side of the railroad track and made a little fire and cooked the fudge. It wasn’t good….it was chocolate but it wasn’t fudge. When she was older, Ermond and Flora went and got the Christmas in Idaho Falls because Josie was expecting another baby and was in bed. Lawrence had given them some money and they had fun finding all the things to get for all those children. Lawrence got a big black dog for Christmas.
She said, “I know what poor is! I knew we didn’t have any money – but we had food. My parents planted a big garden. They had a big patch of corn. Mom and dad fixed a platform to the side of the house where we cut the kernels off. I remember doing the corn late in the evening. My mother got sleepy and tired. Dad went to bed. I set with my mother for hours that night while she cut the corn and kept me awake. If she saw me going to sleep she’d say – “Flora, Flora!”
Mom put sheets over the top of the corn and kept it covered until it got dry. Then we would cook it to eat it. We had a lot of tomatoes too. I had a happy childhood. Where we lived at that time, by the river, it was a lot of bare area around us and we played together – and in the back. We had a swing in an old building that was there. We took turns on that swing. We would wind it up and go around and around. “
Flora attended Firth High School while living in an old house. High school friends included: Fama Olsen who was blonde and bigger than Flora was; Vern Thompson who lived next door; Marjorie Cradle who lived a bit father away and Anita Johnson. They used to get together and make cakes and stuff. We went to the pharmacy and buy some candy. I didn’t always have money but the girls made sure I got candy as well. We went to church too. She was happy there and got good grades – in the middle on her grades she would say.
She took care of a lady who had her leg cut off during high school. She had two grandchildren there too – her daughter worked to support them all. One was a boy as big as Flora – loved to torment and do mean things. The little girl would get into cereal and string it all over the house and make the biggest messes. She stayed there at night for about 4 months. She babysat often through these years. They went to Victor for a vacation – Dad loved to fish. He taught her how to fish. She caught a fish and that was the end of the teaching. She threw the fish back over her head on the other side of the road.
She took typing and enjoyed that although forgot after not using it for years. One teacher she mentioned was Mrs. Hawks – she was cranky. She wished she had nicer clothes in high school. She took a class and learned to sew. She made a blouse and a skirt to go with it in that class - bright red. During her class, Flora got sick in class, hurried out and fainted (in high school). She graduated from High School. She wished she could have gone to school longer – but there was no money.
Edward and Flora went to the dances once a week – at a place called Wandamere – halfway between Shelley and Idaho Falls. Edward and his brothers all went to the dance. The first time she saw Edward was when he asked her to dance and she danced with him from then on – he didn’t want her dancing with anyone else. “He had a real good-looking brother who came over by me but Edward said – She’s mine. He never did get to dance with me.” Edward was real nice to her and was the first boy she first seriously kissed. She was 17. The first place they went was to Lava Hot Springs. On the way back he wanted to kiss her but she didn’t want to kiss him. Time passed before she would kiss him. He was willing to wait. She said she wasn’t the kind to be mushy.
When they got married they had no money and stayed with her parents for 3 months. Her dad was really ornery about it so they finally got a place of their own a couple of blocks away. They lived here before he was drafted.
When she was expecting Danny, Edward was working on a big farm. She went and stayed with her mother before the baby came. Her father took her and her mother to the hospital in Idaho Falls. He drove really slow as he didn’t want to hurt her. – They got there just in time. She had just been in bed a short time when the nurse came in and ran as fast as she could out – “Footling, Footling!” They got there in time to save my baby.
Edward was gone for 2 years after Danny was born. Her high school friends all came to visit her – at different times while she lived there. She remembers going to the hospital to see her mother when she had a baby. She had babies along with her mom. The only time she didn’t depend on her mother was when her grandmother cared for her.
She relates, “When Edward went to the army I was living in this old house with Danny and I was lonesome and decided I wanted to see Edward. I got on a train or a bus and went to Texas. Edward was there at that time. He wasn’t supposed to have lady friends. When I got there, first place I was at was where there was a bunch of men who were watching out to see that Edward didn’t get into trouble for bringing me there. That’s one thing I shouldn’t have done but it was nice. He was so happy. Danny stayed with my mother. I got covered with smoke and my clothes got awful. I was sitting in the back and the men would smoke. When I got there I wasn’t too neat looking. They sent us to a place with a private bedroom. I stayed 3 days and then came back home. It was a nice visit.”
Sometime later the family moved into a boxcar. Flora worked to earn enough money to fix it up. She painted, wallpapered it and fixed it up real nice – even having linoleum on the floor. They lived there a few years. Edward’s family lived in a boxcar near enough that she could throw a rock and hit it. They had a farm while they lived there. It was hard work during that time. It was a distance from the town.
Over the years she had six children of her own, two girls – one adopted - and four boys. She remembered having a baby girl was a big deal. She was such a pretty baby! She took the minutes for Relief Society during the time she had 2 little girls. When asked how she came to adopt, she replied, “We had one little girl and she wanted a sister. That’s how we ended up with 2 little girls.”
About high school age, a couple of the boys decided to run away to California. That was terrible for Flora. Running away from home was the thing to do…they ended up at the seashore in California and didn’t have any food and got hungry. There was one man who came to get his son and he gave Marvin a trip home. He rode home with his boys. And Terry went the other way and went with some older boys. When he decided to come home he didn’t want to stay – he wanted to go to reform school so he did. Flora said it broke her heart. She was so glad that they had all turned out well as they grew older.
She always loved children and in addition to raising her own she babysat other children. She enjoyed going fishing with Edward over the years and spending time raising her children. They built two new homes…one they had a big farm at. They bought a house in Arizona. Then after she sold it she stayed with Marvin and Deanna, with time spent at Dan and Kaye’s as well.
Her advice for her posterity was as follows. “Go to school and study hard. Be happy. Love your parents. It’s nice to have some money on hand and not splurge it. Be sure that you love each other and you’ll have a good life. Be kind to your children. I love the Lord and these people who are helping me.”
She worked on genealogy in her later years. She was happy and satisfied with her life. The last couple of years were very difficult as the Alzheimer’s continued to confuse and trouble her. She still enjoyed playing with the great-grandbabies. She spent the last few months of her life in a special care facility where she had friends and help at all times. Following a fracture of her hip, she was hospitalized and spent her last days medicated for pain, but preparing for her next life. It was a very special time for the members of her family who were privileged to be with her. She died on 18th July 2007.
This was compiled from an interview with Flora – summer of 2004. She was beginning to show signs of Alzheimer’s that would progress and continue to frustrate her. If there are errors it is due to this.
Posted by Shersy at 1:05 PM