Margaret at about age 12, age 15, and probably about 20 (with her friend Blanche).

Margaret Carter

by her sister Mildred Whipple,
at Margaret's funeral,
November 1993.

  It isn't often that you find a person as special as Margaret Richardson Carter and perhaps we can tell you some of the things that made her that way.

  We know that before we came to this earth we lived with our Father in Heaven as spirit children, but we needed to come here to obtain an earthly body to prove to ourselves and live so we could return to His presence.

Before God sent His children to earth
He gave each of them
A very carefully selected package of problems.
"These," he promised, smiling,

"Are yours alone.  No one
else may have the blessings
these problems will bring you.

And only you
Have the special talents and abilities
That will be needed
To make these problems
Your servants.

"Now go down to your birth
And to your forgetfulness.  Know that
I love you beyond measure.
These problems that I give you
Are a symbol of that love.

"The monument you make of your life
With the help of your problems
Will be a symbol of your love for me
Your Father."

  So Margaret, one of his choicest daughters came to earth.  As Nephi of old in the Book of Mormon, she was born of goodly parents.

  She was a very special blessing to Mom and Dad, for after having two boys, and seven years had gone by, Mother didn't think she'd get any more children.  Then the following year a little girl arrived and over a period of a few years three other girls came.  We didn't get to know Dad as he was called home when the youngest was 4 months old.  Mother gave us a home that was full of love.  Love for our Heavenly Father and for each other.  Our worldly possessions were few, for those were the Depression years.  We grew up rather poor in material things, but we didn't realize it as most everyone else was in the same situation.  Our younger years were ordinary to us.

  A while back, Kristi Carter, one of Margaret's special granddaughters had an interview with her grandmother for a paper in school and it's interesting to note what she found.  She said: 

  "I interviewed my grandma Margaret Carter.  The reason I cholse to interview her was because I was very interested in hearing about her childhood and how she was raised.  She frew up in Spanish Fork where she lived all her life until she was married to my grandpa.

  "My grandma was raised in a family of six.  Her mother was a widow and raised my grandma with her five brothers and sisters alone.  My grandma's sisters were Eunice, Carol, and Mildred.  Her brothers were Milt and Vernon.

  "She told of the holidays:  Christmas celebrated a lot like we do now.  They would open their presents in the morning and later that day would go to their grandma's for dinner.  Thanksgiving, very traditional with all the relatives going to their Aunt May's for a turkey dinner.  Her favorite was 4th of July, because it was a big celebration for each town, where the park was the center of the activities.

  "She said, "Rules were never real strict in my grandma's home.  She had a nice mother so they were never given a set of strict rules, just as long as they did what they were supposed to.

  "Water then was a lot harder to get then than now.  My grandma did have water piped into the house to the sink, but other than that, they had to bathe and wash their clothes in a big wooden tub.

  "Electricity was something my grandma always had, but there were no switches until my grandma was in high school.  She remembers a cord hanging down from the light bulb and having to reach up to turn it on and off.

  "Most everyone heated their homes the same.  They had a large coal stove in the kitchen and a heaterola in the living room.  My grandma never had a heated bedroom, so they slept with heavy quilts.

  "The chores they did inside the home weren't much different.  They were to make their beds and keep their rooms straight.  They also helped their mom by mopping the kitchen floor and sweeping the carpet in the living room with a broom.

  "The outside chores were a little different.  My grandma remembers gathering coal and wood and feeding the chickens and pigs.  One of my grandma's favorite things was to work in their flower garden.
  "While my grandma was growing up there were only two doctors in Spanish Fork.  Most medical or things pertaining to health were either treated in the home or at the doctor's office.  Babies were had at home, and my grandma remembers getting her tonsils taken out in the doctor's office.

  "There wasn't much medicine.  Most of it was home-made cough syrups and medicines that tasted bad.

  "Most everyone raised their food at home like, eggs, milk, meat, and they baked their own bread.  But when they did go to the store they would sometimes buy a loaf of Wonder Bread for 10 cents.  It was always a treat to get baker's bread.  Meat, when you bought it, was weighed and cut right there for you.  Hamburger was 25 cents a pound and a pot roast was 50 cents.

  "There weren't a lot of sweets back then but my grandma does remember buying her favorite candy bar Baby Ruth for a nickel.

  "My grandma enjoyed going to the movies on Saturday.  She would bring a dime to get in and fifteen cents for candy.  They watched cowboy movies with Tom Mix.  Before each feature was a serial (to be continued next week), and a cartoon.

  "She remembers playing paper dolls with her friends, being that there weren't many toys.  They used to cut people and dresses out of old catalogs.  There was a feature in the newspaper called Dolly Dimple that had a paper doll and dresses you could cut out.  They always tried to get ahold of the newspapers.

  "In high school she enjoyed going to dances and being in plays for entertainment. 

  "My grandma's family never owned a car.  Having a nice car wasn't as important back then as it is now. 

  "Kids didn't have many ways of getting around.  They either walked or rode their bikes.

  "Hairstyles were very different.  She wore her hair down being that she had natural curls.  In about the 8th grade she got a perm to get the frizzy look that was in at the time.  The perm took her natural curl out.

  "Education was very important back then, since not everyone was able to go to school.  She enjoyed school a lot, but she enjoyed English the most.

  Thank you, Kristi, for sharing this insight into the good old days with us.  Although I'm glad you didn't ask her as one of our children asked me . . . "Were the dinosaurs here when you were young?", or "Tell us about the chariot races."

  In our home we were taught the principle of work.  If we wanted something we had to earn it.  Mother didn't have it to give, so we did the best we could with what we had.  We picked berries and seasonal fruit to earn money and picked on shares at the end of the season so we could have fruit to bottle.  Then we would help Mother bottle it.  As we grew older we have benefited from these experiences and Margaret was able to use it in her life.

  Our motto might have been, Make it over . . . make it do . . . Do without.  And Margaret had a talent for making it over.  Between Aunt Daisy Fail and Aunt Mildred Ream we were the recipients of many hand-me-downs.  Margaret would cut them, sew them, and make them look better than new.  She also sewed for us and the results were outstanding for style and workmanship.

  We were always so proud of her.  She was beautiful with her dark hair and hazel eyes.  I remember she was chosen Queen of the Gold and Green Ball and she was the prettiest one there.  If anyone said that we looked like Margaret, it was the greatest complement we could get.

  She had an outstanding talent for art.  I will never forget sitting at the kitchen table in Spanish Fork and she did a water color sketch of an orchid in full bloom.  It was as if you were right there in the midst of it.

  Her school grades were always high and she was an incredible speller, and had a pretty singing voice.  There didn't seem to be anything she couldn't do and do it well.

  She and Kenny married young and they moved to Provo.  With transportation as it was we didn't see a lot of them.  Then World War II began.  Mother and we three girls moved to Salt Lake City.  Kenny went into the Navy and we had Margaret living with us again, only this time we received two additional bonuses, Ronnie and Sandy. 

  Ronnie, with his long golden curls.  That was a real sad day for Margaret when those curls "had to go."  He was just learning to talk and he'd heard so many times, "What a cute little girl!" that he'd speak out when anyone looked at him and announced "I'm not a girl, I'm a boy!", so the curls went.

  These were happy times, yet sad ones.  Margaret lived for those V-Mail letters from Kenny, and then the war was won and Kenny came home safely and they moved to Spanish Fork and later to Springville.  There they took on the responsibility of caring for Kenny's aged uncle Jerd Smith.  this was not an easy job, but there never was a complaint from Margaret.

  Cheryl, Milt, and Julie were added to their family.  Life was not always easy, nor were we promised it would be when we came down here.  But Margaret made the best of everything.  I'm sure there were times of discouragement, but one would never know it from her attitude.

  Another sadness came when Kenny suffered a heart attack and now she was a widow, with children still at home and with a lot of debt.  If that had happened to some of us, we'd perhaps say, "I just can't do it!", but not Margaret.  She picked up the pieces, returned to school, and obtained a job with Springville City, which she held until 1987, when she retired.

  Margaret was always a pleasant person to be around, quiet, humble, and sincere.  She kept her problems to herself and never gossiped about others.

  She took her package of problems, lived with them, solved them, grew from them, and was ready to return to her Father in Heaven.

  Her monument is one of love for her Heavenly Father and her children, and now her grandchildren, and how proud she is of them and their accomplishments, which are many.

  Added to her monument is patience and faith, how she faced this past 2 1/2 years without complaint, and never gave up.

  Her concern for others and her service to them will always be remembered, and the influence for good she had on all of us.  She has touched our lives in so many ways. 

  And now to her family:  You've a great heritage to live up to.  The past is gone, we can't change it, but the present is the time to build for the future.  The things we can do is live our lives so the growth we add to our own monuments are for good.

  In closing, I don't know of a more fitting tribute that I could give to Margaret and the effect she has had on all who knew here:

There's a comforting thought at the close of the day
When I'm weary and lonely and sad,
That sort of grips hold of my crusty old heart
And bids it be merry and glad.

It gets in my soul and it drives out the blues,
And finally thrills through and through
It is just a sweet memory that chants the refrain
I'm glad I touched shoulders with you.

Did you know you were brave, did you know you were strong?
Did you know there was one leaning hard?
Did you know that I waited and listened and prayed,
And was cheered by your simplest word?

Did you know that I longed for the smile on your face,
For the sound of your voice ringing true?
Did you know I grew stronger and better because
I had merely touched shoulders with you.

I am glad that I live, that I battle and strive
For the place that I know I must fill;
I am thankful for sorrows I'll meet with a grin
What fortune may send, good or ill.

I may not have wealth, I may not be great,
But I know I shall always be true.
For I have in my life that courage you gave
For I have touched shoulders with you.

  May we always hold her memory in our hearts until we meet again is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

To return to Eunice's autobiography, click here.
To go to the Richardson Family index page, click here.