Nine-year-old Edna ran through the orchard with her straight brown hair flapping in the summer air. “Hey Myrtle!” She called back to her ten-year-old sister. “Watch this.” Edna jumped on to a pig, patted his side, and held on. “We’re supposed to be feeding them,” Myrtle pretended to object. “not riding them.” Myrtle looked back toward the house, then dropped her apple bag and with bouncing curls chased down another pig. Both girls laughed, squealed, and finally fell on the orchard grass, giggling, trying to keep their hair out of the rotting summer apples. ‘Emily Myrtle’ and ‘Edna’ Elton were the youngest of eight. The children were taught to be honest, to mind, and to respect and care for others. For chores they packed wood and coal, gathered grain, hauled hay, white-washed walls, pressed apples, thinned beets, and herded sheep. They found fun in many chores as they wove plant stems into chains, made up songs, played school, and ate lunch in the fields with dad. In the winter they rode sleigh, fashioned snowmen, and laid on their backs making snow fairies. Christmas gifts were few, but given with love, then cherished. On Sunday they had a bath in a number three metal tub and wore their treasured Summer dress to church. Forever young and beautiful on the outside, they were playful, loving, and devoted on the inside. Myrtle and Edna loved life, not wishing for things they didn’t have. Their simple dreams fed their imaginations and added spice to their lives and all who knew them.
(by Kenneth R. Hardman. Ref. Sidney Lehi Hardman & Myrtle Emily Elton: Their Life, Their Love and Their Family, 1900-1991 compiled by Dorothy Hardman) #AncestorClips
Inherited traits – Myrtle Elton Hardman is my grandmother. In this story, I can see the influence grandma had on her son, my father who has many of her qualities. Dad often said, “When we work, we work hard; and when we play, we play hard.” I also inherited this tendency. When I work, I put my heart into it; and when I play, I strive to make it fun, as do my siblings. I notice that Myrtle and Edna often combined work and play, finding fun in the labor. Like them, when I am working, I look for joy or satisfaction in the task.
Patterns for my life – There are a few more things I can learn from grandma, and her sister, Edna. In the story, I feel devotion, a sense of companionship beyond friendship. In my life, I can be more devoted in my relationships, especially with family members. Also, even though life was hard back then (from my present perspective), grandma seemed satisfied with what she had, found joy in the moment, and didn’t expect more of what the world might offer. I too can exercise more focus on my present blessings with less envy for what I could have. With more devotion and contentment, I will be happier, like grandma. Thanks Myrtle and Edna for helping me build a happy and useful life.
When I read about Edna and Myrtle tending the pigs in the field, I feel nostalgic and long for a simpler time. But then after reading all of the chores they had to do and really thinking about it, I realize, things can’t have been simpler. I live surrounded by comfort and convenience. No one has ever asked me to heard sheep or paint a fense. This story is a good reminder to me that joy and gratitude don’t necessarily come out of ease and convenience–rather, I think when you have to work together with others, it brings you closer, and you can find joy in your companionship, while working hard. I love enjoyed this little sneak peak in to my great grandmother Myrtle’s life, and the reminder from my grandfather, to work hard and play hard!
I love reading about these women when they were younger. I only knew them as older women in my lifetime, and it is fun to imagine them riding pigs, giggling, and having fun doing their farm chores. Thanks, Ken.
This account is a wonderful tribute to my grandma and her sister. They found joy in the journey. I want to follow their example. As I read of their stories, I begin to feel closer to them.
I’ve always attributed some of my very curly hair to this grandma, Myrtle. And having grown up with sisters, I love this story of her and her sister playing/working together. For me, this story really paints a picture of what life was like in Cedar Fort, where many of our family members were from. I, like you, admire these sisters for their creative ability to add joy and fun to their work. I’ve never hopped on the back of a pig, but if I had a pig, I might try it in memory of these ladies.
The phrase that comes to my mind as I read about my grandma and her sister is “joy in the journey”. After reading this account, I will try to smile and be grateful for the simple blessings of life. That would make grandma happy.
When I was at work today, I got a video on my phone of my two-year-old boy sitting by the sink, with the water faucet running, spraying water on the floor. He smiled and was having the time of his life. The same boy regularly climbs on counters to find candy, dumps out clothes from the hamper, and generally wreaks havoc. But he also runs to me when I come in from work and wraps his arms around my legs, and he loves to play and be outside. We don’t have pigs around the house, but this story about Myrtle and Edna helps me remember that kids need to be kids so they can learn and grow like me and my parents and grandparents.
Even though their lifestyle was different from our modern lifestyles today, in this story I feel that I can emotional connect with them as young women. The story brings to life the emotions behind farm tasks we have read about in history books, allowing us not only to know but to feel what it was like to be them. As a descendant, it makes me feel that perhaps we were very alike. They inspire me to be hardworking, fun, and faithfully devoted to my beliefs.
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Ken who is your father. I’m aunt Jens daughter Jenny. I love your amazing findings.
Hi Jenette, my pedigree on my father’s line is.
Sidney Glenn Hardman and Dorothy Mae Griffin
Sidney Lehi Hardman and Myrtle Elton
Jenette, I’m glad you enjoy the stories. How are we related?