I, Marian, having been born of goodly parents therefore I was taught….. Just not in St. Johns, AZ. Clair Riley Cutler married Merlene “Mickey” Gilbert in the Salt Lake Temple and started a family of four children of which I am the second born and oldest daughter. I was born during the educational period of my father so as a wee babe I lived in Salt Lake City, Chicago, and Phoenix before finally settling in Preston, Idaho, the hometown of both of my parents, for the eight years of my primary education. What a gift it was to live in this small town in southeastern Idaho, not because of the beauty of Cache Valley or greatness of the state of Idaho but because our move there brought me to the belly of both the Cutler and the Gilbert families. My families. Goodly families. Therefore I was taught.
The Cutlers, Orvid and Lavinia, lived just around the corner from our first house in Preston, right next to the Preston Hospital where both Grandpa Cutler and Dad spent much time as they were 2 of the 4 town doctors. The Gilberts, Hazen and Naomi, lived 5 miles south in the farming community of Fairview, where Grandpa Gilbert’s father and several brothers settled straight from England, scarcely making a living as a dry/dairy farmer. This was dichotomy I didn’t understand until adulthood but what a wonderful gift to love and be loved by both country folk and “city slickers” (I know Preston isn’t a city but….). Grandpa Cutler would take me to see the babies in the hospital nursery, for the ride when he went to visit a sick person in their home and for walks around the block talking, teasing and singing always a part of these activities. Grandpa Gilbert loved the “help” of grandkids moving sprinkler pipes in the alfalfa, trying to get me to let the baby calves to suck on my fingers which I never did (Grandpa had lost several finger tips to farming accidents but I thought…) and telling the story of how he lost his hair (some unnamed grandchild got a comb tangled in what were beautiful locks prior to the incident). Grandma Cutler took me for rides to places so we could just sit for a while and enjoy the “view”, had our family over for dinners on china plates in a formal dining room and rolled down the hill of the Logan Temple with me. Grandma Gilbert gave me my first Book of Mormon one Christmas, let me help make the Sloppy Joes when more family was coming for dinner, and made me help dry dishes in a kitchen already filled with women (that era’s version on Facebooking or blogging). Family.
Living in the “belly” of the family had drawbacks if you were the adult being asked, “Are they here yet?” over and over when cousins were coming for a visit. Mom would say, “Don’t call Grandma again! She’ll call when they get here.” But I did anyway. When I finally made contact with the visitors life was wonderful until Mom said it was time to go. Peace could be restored if a cousin or two went home with us. Mom had 6 sisters and a brother all having no less than four children and rarely did just one family show up so on the farm chaos reigned in the tiny little farmhouse when the cousins came. Dad had a sister and a brother both with 2 children so things were a little more “controllable” with the “city” side. Okay, I remember being taught to play Mahjong, checkers and shuffle board which never happen in Fairview. Dad’s family came to visit a couple of times a year but Mom’s sisters gathered with the ripening of different crops and we did “help” amidst the play. I was cussed, shooed, cajoled, lectured and barely tolerated I’m sure but all I remember is that I was beloved. Family.
I say all this to perhaps help all the tired households that have been filled to the brimming of late to look forward to the next holiday, school break or 24thcelebration excited about the lives we will impact just gathering as families. Goodly families. Therefore we will teach. We will love. Family.