Our dear Grandma Dottie LaVerne Nelson Higginson passed away on Good Friday, April 15, 2017, in her home in Spanish Fork. We knew she was going and everyone had the chance to go to her house in the days leading up to her passing and tell her goodbye.
Aunt Diane made it up from California and grandma had a her, Jill and several grandkids there while she peacefully went.
We had her funeral on the following Wednesday, April 19th.
Grandma was so ready to be back in Heaven with her loved ones who had already passed on. She was THE LAST of her siblings and their spouses - cousins - friends - everyone! The very last one. She had already buried her grandparents, her parents, her husband, a daughter, two sons in law and three granddaughters.
She saw SOO much history take place in her 97 years. She was raised in the small town of Salem, Utah. Her father, Chris Nelson was a peddler for lack of better words and sold goods all up and down to Soldier Summit. It was a mining town back in the day and he would deliver food and house hold items. He had a large garden that he would grow to get the food from. When the Great Depression hit, Chris continued to haul goods up and down to the summit. There were many times that the people had no money to pay him and great grandpa Chris always told them that it was just fine for them to pay him later, when they could - - and they all did. Every single person. They said that if it weren't for Chris Nelson, their families would have starved to death. I think thats a great tribute to our great grandfather. Grandma had a horse that she would ride but then her daddy bought a car! They always had food on the table, a doll for Christmas and a car to drive. Grandma doesn't remember the depression. She didn't even know that it happened. Her father was lucky enough to be sustained through it.
They had the first and only telephone in Salem. When someone far away needed to reach someone who lived in town, they would call the Nelson's house. The message was taken down and grandma Higgy would get on her horse and carry out the message to the person's house.
Summers were spent swimming in Salem Pond and winters were spent ice skating on it.
One of my favorite stories of grandma's was when she was a young teenage girl on Halloween. She and her friends were out "Halloweening" and there was an old woman who lived in town and she had a pointy nose and was mean according to grandma. She had an iron fence that surrounded her house. Grandma shook her fence and the old woman took after her and her friends with a beet knife! They all scattered and one of her friends ran into her parents house screaming, "She's got LaVerne! She's going to kill LaVerne!" As you can imagine, her parents came running out, saw the lady with the large, curved beet knife and yelled at the lady. Her father Chris gave the old woman the verbal scolding of her life and she never bothered LaVerne again.
She and grandpa Ralph were in the same grade and went to Spanish Fork High School together, graduating in 1940.
She saw music go from a wind up gramophone, you know the old timey record players with the giant horns, to record players, to 8 tracks, to tapes, to CD's, to just downloading music onto your phone or whatever device.
She saw the day where almost everyone owns a car
She saw the invention of television
She saw man land on the moon
She saw airplanes go from small Wright Brother type planes to passenger airplanes that will carry 200 people or more overseas.
She saw telephones go from the big wooden wall mounts or candlestick kind to tiny, wireless, handheld devices or even on a watch - an iWatch or Gizmo for example.
She saw the invention of: computers
and SOO much more! All of these things I take for granted and don't think twice about them because to me, its just part of life. I can't even imagine life without them - but she LIVED in life without them.
I remember her telling me how she used to hate to use the outhouse --- especially in the winter and especially at night. She was so happy when she got indoor plumbing!
She never wanted to hear you complain about doing laundry. She would say, "Whats so hard about that!? All you do now-a-days is stick the clothes in a machine, pour in soap and push a button. IT does all the work!"
I learned to never complain about laundry in front of grandma, ha ha!
She loved rides, especially up the canyon in the fall.
She loved fish and chips from Glades Drive In
She thought that Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton had a bad rap and they shouldn't have been ridiculed to harshly.
She believed that OJ Simpson was innocent of murdering his estranged wife Nicole Brown Simpson
(HA! I think he was guilty as hell!)
She LOVED Christmas
She loved Memorial Day
She loved Pioneer Day (or as she would say, "Juu-ly the twenty fourth!")
She loved the shows: The Love Boat & Magnum PI & The Golden Girls
She had a crush on the actor Tom Selleck
She loved snowmobiling - but didn't like the cold and winter
She loved serving her husband, her children and grandchildren
She lost her husband when they were both 46 to a massive heart attack. She was a widow for 51 years. She never dated and didn't even want to. She actually went out on exactly ONE date and wouldn't say a single word about it! She never dated again. She said, "when you've already had the very best, no one else is worth the time." In all the years I knew her, I never heard her mention Ralph's name without tearing up. She really loved him her whole life.
She worked at Will's Food Land grocery store for many years. She then worked at Natures Sunshine and retired at the age of 80. She also volunteered as a "Grandma" at Park and Canyon Elementary schools for 18 years and would help kindergarteners read. She loved it and retired from that when she was 92! And she mostly had to quit because she had shrunk so short that she could barely see over her steering wheel to drive. So she voluntarily gave up driving.
Her family was everything in the world to her and my life was blessed and my world was a better place with her in it. I was fortunate to have known her for the last 22 years.
She blessed the lives of so many. I still can't believe how many people were at her viewing and funeral. The line seemed to never end. Family, friends and well wishers came non stop. What a tribute and beautiful farewell to a beautiful life!