ANNIE LAURA RICHARDSON ATWOOD
by Gwen Atwood George
Annie Laura Richardson was born October 3, 1906, in Raymond, Alberta, Canada. She was the seventh daughter, eighth child, of David and Eliza Jane Betts Richardson. She was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on the 8th of July, 1918 in Raymond, Alberta. Because they were living a fair distance from the church at the time she had to wait until she was almost twelve. She had started school in Raymond but soon after they moved to the Manyberries district, where Grandpa Richardson farmed, from 1913 until 1918. Four of her sisters married Flexhaug boys and she almost became the fifth, but a young man named Arthur Eugene Atwood came to Raymond, and stole her heart away. They were married eight weeks later (!) on January 12th, 1925 in Lethbridge, Alberta. They had been married two short months when Mom's sister Luella became very sick, she had cancer and it was hard for her too look after the younger children. so Lavina came to live with them and a short time later Jim also came to live with them. On December 14, 1925 Mom gave birth to their first son, Arthur Eugene Atwood Jr. His life was a very short one, he passed away from double pneumonia on April 14, 1926. It was a very sad time for them but fortunately they had two other children too keep them busy.
Early in 1927 they moved to Elko, British Columbia, where Dad became a lumber jack. They were happy there and on 28 of December 1927 a daughter was born to them, Annie Laura Jr. Dad's youngest sister was also named Laura and in later years when she came to visit, it was big Laura, little Laura, and sister Laura! The next year Grandpa and Grandma Richardson, who had taken Luella's youngest child Earl to live with them, decided that Jim should live with them and be raised with Earl. Mom and Dad said that was one of the hardest things they ever did, giving Jim up. They loved him like their own and forever after that they always had a special spot in their heart for 'our Jim'.
They stayed in Elko until 1929, at which time a log fell on Dad and broke his leg, that ended his days as a lumber jack. They moved back to Raymond and onto a farm owned by Clarence Allred. It was there that another two sons were born, Richard Gail, born May 7, 1930, and Larry Duwayne, born July 10th, 1933. They remained on the farm until July of 1936, that's when I arrived on the scene, Arta Gwen, born 15 July 1936. I was born in Aunt Leah and Uncle Melvin Flexhaug's home and it was then that Dad moved the rest of the family into town and purchased a home here. Our home was located near the canal and Mom always had a big garden. She bottled all kinds of vegetables and placed them in a root cellar that was located just out back of the house. She bottled root beer every year and also put that in the root cellar. Our home was a gathering place for everyone. Mom spent hours cooking for the groups of people who arrived and on July 1st, our towns "Stampede", Mom would cook for an army, and usually that's about what showed up. Every Saturday family and friends gathered at our house, played softball in the afternoon, went for a swim in the canal in the late afternoon, and a bonfire was built in the evening and we had a wiener roast. Run sheep run was the game that ended the evening, and then they would sit around the campfire, sing, and tell stories, and Dad always recited his poem 'The Skunk - Polecat".
Mom loved flowers, she always had flowers growing at both of the homes we lived at in Raymond. She always had pink and yellow roses, which I grow today from a start that originally came from her plants. She was a very hard worker and many times worked along side Dad in the beet fields. Each summer she would work with a group of women who would scrub the schools. This always gave her a little money to buy something for the house and it always made her so proud to know that she contributed.
Mom and Dad had never been active in the church although Mom always made sure we attended Primary, Sunday School and later, Mutual. When Gail got married December 7th, 1950, Mom and Dad went through the Temple and were sealed for eternity. Arthur Jr.., Gail, Duwayne and myself were sealed to them at that time, and a few years later Laura was also sealed to them. Mom loved going to the Temple, teaching Primary, and being a Relief Society teacher. She did beautiful hand work, crochet and embroidery, and the Temple apron that I have was one of the last ones she made. In 1953 Duwayne was called to serve a mission in France. Although dad worked at the Sugar Factory as Lead Mechanic, money was sometimes tight. The Bishop promised Dad and Mom if they would support Duwayne on his mission, they would never want, and they never did.
Mom always baked many loaves of bread each week. I don't remember eating store bought bread until my mid teens. I can remember her saying at times, when she got too much liquid in the dough, "Darn, I drowned the miller!" You know, I never saw her take that miller out, but the bread was so delicious that you never thought about it again! She was an excellent cook, a trait that was passed to each of the Richardson girls. Our home always smelled like hot baked bread, cookies and cake, and in the fall the aroma of different kinds of pickles, relish, bread and butter pickles, etc., always welcomed us home from school.
There was always much love and laughter in our home, I can close my eyes and still hear Mom and Dad. They passed on to each of us the love of family and friends. Mom passed away June 3, 1974 and Dad followed 5 March 1984. Mom never had expensive jewelry and such, but what she did have couldn't be purchased at any price. She had love, compassion, and the willingness to help others in need. Annie Laura Richardson Atwood was not only my mother, but also my best friend. Mom and Dad were shinning examples to us all, such wonderful parents and grandparents, and how lucky we were to have them as ours.............
Arthur Eugene - born 14 December 1925 - died 14 April 1926
Annie Laura - born 28 December 1927. She married Grover Critchfield Nelson and they had two children. Grover passed away from cancer on 2 May 1956. Laura resides in Raymond, Alberta.
Richard Gail - born 7 May 1930 - died 7 April 1993 from bone cancer. Gail married Lilith Rae Nelson (Grover's sister) and they had nine children. Gail and Rae moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1965 and Rae still resides there with her children and grandchildren.
Larry Duwayne - born 10 July 1933. Duwayne married Mauricette Henriett Mani, a French girl he met while on his mission, they have three children and they reside in Calgary, Alberta.
Arta Gwen - born 15 July 1936. Married #1 - Lawrence August Steffen , 2 June 1954(Div.) and we had three children. I married #2 - Mathew John George, 17 July 1995, and he passed away from bone cancer, 21 July 1996. Mat had four children. I still reside in Raymond, Alberta.
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