Thursday, August 4, 2005

A History of Elaine Smith Pitts As Written by Her Mother.

My mother was named Elaine. Actually, she was named Jessie Elanie but was called only Elanie. Because she was such a young woman when she died, not many of my children know much about her. 

(The following was written for Myrna by Vivian Christene Pritchett Smith, Myrna’s grandmother, when Myrna was in the seventh grade. It was a school project. Myrna added a few things as she and her grandmother talked. Myrna still has the original in Grandma Smith’s writing.)

Jessie Elaine Smith, born Jan. 2, 1920, in Huntington, Emery, Utah. She was blessed March 7, 1920, in Huntington, and was baptized in the Huntington River on July 1, 1928 by Arly Marshall and was confirmed by Lar Black. She was sealed to her parents, along with her sister, Renee, following her father’s death of cancer. He was baptized on 14 July 1935, a short time before he died. He died 4 Aug 1935. The sealing took place on 3 Aug 1936 in Salt Lake Temple.

She was married on 3 Dec 1939 to Howard Thomas Pitts. They had one daughter, Myrna Rae Pitts, born on Dec. 24, 1940 in Price. Elaine was killed as the result of an automobile accident, which occurred on Carbon Avenue in Price. She died Nov. 24, 1941. (The 11-month birthday of Myrna.) Elaine was endowed the 14 of Nov 1945.

Elaine was the daughter of Raymond James and Vivian Christene Pritchett Smith. She has one older sister, Vivian Renee Smith Childs, who was born Oct. 26, 1918.

Elaine was born about 4 o’clock in the morning after a big fire that burned down almost all of the Huntington business district. Her mother and father, Vivian and Ray, were visiting at Elaine's Grandfather John Pritchett’s home (father of Vivan Christene). A great fire on New Year’s Eve burned Grandfather’s drugstore, home, an apartment, a barbershop, a pool hall, a feed and grain store and a hotel.

After all of that Myrna’s mother, Elaine, was born. Everything burned but the clothes her folks had on so it was a bad time for a baby to come, but things straightened out after a time. Her grandfather’s store stayed in Huntington and her father opened up a meat and grocery store.

Elaine went to school there. Her best friends were Verna Robbins, Belle Gunderson, Lilas Green and Madaline Grange. She graduated from high school in 1939. She graduated with honors, receiving a block H. She was a member of the girl’s trio, Pep Club and the Mask Club (speech and drama). She was leading lady in the Junior and Senior plays and also entered meets for the speech class for those two years. She was rated superior in the region speech meet for Dramatic Reading and Excellent in oration. She also was a member of a ballet dance group that gave several exhibitions. She and her partner, Roland Gardner, did exhibition dancing for the Green and Gold Balls all through the county. The dances were original waltzes and the ones sent out by the state and church.

Elaine was a beautiful girl and was well liked. She had lots of dark hair, eyes that were so brown they were almost black and a fair skin. She was Miss North Emery High and won several other beauty and talent awards. She graduated from LDS Seminary the same year and gave several short speeches at stake conferences. She was very active in Sunday school and Mutual. She received her patriarchal blessing.

Howard, Myrna’s father, and Elaine, her mother, met at a dance in Emery County. Elaine sang with a trio of girls that night but she also liked dancing. Howard saw her standing on the sidelines and asked her to dance. After that, they had eyes only for each other. Elaine had told her mother, earlier, when she had seen Howard dancing, "That is the man I am going to marry." [As an aside, Howard had also told one of his friends at the dance, "That is the girl I am going to marry."] That is just what happened.

Elaine loved singing. Howard also enjoyed singing. Elaine sang many times with other girls and after meeting Howard, the two of them sang at various events in Carbon and Emery Counties. Two of their favorite songs were: “When Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” and “Stardust.” Their voices were compatible and they sounded very good together.

After she married Thomas Howard Pitts, she went to Price to live. Myrna was born the night her father had come down with pneumonia. He was sent to his folk’s home to get better because Elaine was so close to giving birth to Myrna. That night, Elaine had to call her brother-in law, Morgan, to drive her to the hospital in Price. He took her in a dump truck.

Myrna was, basically, a baby when her mother died. Elaine was buried on her mother’s, birthday, Nov. 26. Myrna has lived with her grandmother (her mother’s mother), Vivian Smith, ever since.

(As young as she was, Myrna really missed her mother and would not go to sleep. For days, at bedtime, she would cry and fuss. Finally, in desperation, her Grandmother Smith took her to bed with her and then they both slept. She would not drink from her bottle either and weaned herself to a cup.)

Her father enlisted in World War II and served as a Sea Bee in the Navy in the Pacific islands.

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