Sunday, June 15, 2008

Daddy's Day


My father, Kenneth P. Eardley, was born Thursday, September 27, 1906, one-hundred-one years, eight months and nineteen days ago. He was the second child and first son of Edward and Olive Eardley. His grandparents were all from England and came to America as converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

His maternal grandfather was in the Mormon Battalion, enlisting at the age of twenty-seven to fight in the war against Mexico in 1846. His paternal grandfather crossed the plains to Utah in the McArthur Handcart Company at the age of twenty-four, arriving in Utah in 1856 and becoming the proprietor of Deseret Pottery.

My father never knew either grandfather, both died before he was born. His maternal grandmother died when Ken was only ten, but his paternal grandmother lived until he was thirty-four. I asked my father if his grandma E. spoke with an English accent, but he said no. I wish I could have heard all my great grandparents talk.

As a child, my dad was called Kenny, but in later life he was known as Ken. His family consisted of an older sister Leanore, a younger brother Edward and twin brothers Paul and Gene born in 1915.

Eardley Family 1914 - Kenny, age eight, on the left

The Eardley family lived near downtown Salt Lake. Kenneth and his siblings walked to Grant Elementary School, West Junior High and West High School. He was a bright child and did well in his studies. He learned to play the trumpet in Junior High and was Drum Majorette in the West High Marching Band. He had a beautiful singing voice and participated in various choirs in school.

School Days in Knickers

Of course, as a growing boy, he was also full of mischief. The neighborhood kids would play sandlot football and baseball and they'd shoot basketballs through a peachbasket nailed on a pole. The brothers would sleep on the porch in the summer and sometimes they'd sneak off in the middle of the night to the Jordan River where they'd swim and be home before their mother knew they were gone.

Dad served a Mexican mission for the LDS Church. At the time, missionaries were not allowed into Mexico, so the missionaries lived in the border towns of Laredo and El Paso, Texas and they'd make day trips over the border to teach the Mexicans. Kenneth grew a moutache while on his mission and with his dark hair and command of the Spanish language, many folks thought he was Mexican. When he came home from his mission, dad was the President of the Mexican LDS Branch in Salt Lake.

Ken wanted to be a lawyer. He attended the University of Utah before and after his mission, but money was tight during those depression years, so he didn't graduate, much to his chagrin. He made sure all of his children graduated from college. He worked with his father as an electrician which became his trade for life.

He was a good provider and an excellant father. Ken and Vi liked to bowl and play golf. They also enjoyed playing bridge. Looking back, life with dad was far too short.

The Ken Eardley Family 1954

I still dream about my parents all the time. In one dream, my whole family including siblings, spouses plus all the nieces and nephews were together in a large room. We were laughing and having a good time. I looked around, but couldn't find my dad. There was door, slightly ajar, a bright light coming from the crack. I went into the room and there was my father looking young, happy, fit and trim, I recognized him, but had never seen him look like that as he was forty-three when I was born. "Dad, where have you been?" I cried! "I've been waiting right here for you," he replied.

It gave me chills when I woke myself up to see if I was still breathing! I know he is waiting for me. Happy Daddy's Dad. I love you, Pops.

1 comment:

TravelinOma said...

It's weird that I'm so fascinated by stories of YOUR ancestors! I love your photos!