Audrey Wood Maynard
Nestled in the foothills of the western mountain range, in a setting of clear streamlets by and profusion of wild flowers, maple, quaking aspen, fir and sagebrush, and skirted with fertile patches of grain, lies the picturesque hamlet and pioneer fort of Mendon, Utah. It was named so by Heber C. Kimball in commemoration of his birthplace, Mendon, New York. It was settled by “chosen” pioneers under Brigham Young’s leadership in 1859— such names as Foster, Sorensen, Richards, Wood, Willie and Shumway. The story is told that when the settlers came to the fork in the road, those who could sing were directed to nearby Wellsville, and those who could not were to travel on to Mendon. Whether true or not, it make for a chuckle or two.
Such was the birthplace of my father, his twin brother and five other brothers and sisters. Into this same setting came I, Audrey Pearl Wood, into the world, and grew up to rich traditions and small community lifestyle. I entered this mortal existence on July 22, 1925, delivered in the home of my parents, one of the last to be so in Mendon. My father in his diary wrote, “another little baby girl came to bless our home. We were so delighted with her— we felt to rejoice and are thankful for the addition to our little family.”
As a daughter of Linden Kimball Wood and Pearl Virginia Jensen, I was lovingly taught of Jesus Christ. These characteristics were deeply ingrained into my soul by the example my parents set. My father was an outstanding man of high character and integrity. He was a handsome, even-tempered, dark complexioned man of medium stature. He fervently lived the gospel and loved it. He served full time in the Western States Mission from 1909-1911. Soon after his return he was called to serve his beloved country in the Army. He was stationed in France, and I believe that it was there that he became acquainted with the name Audrey.
It was my mother from which I inherited most of my physical attributes. She was a tall, slender, attractive woman with dark hair and blue eyes. She had an exceptionally sweet and kind personality. I never saw her angered or heard a curse fall from her lips. As a child in Nephi, and later Murray, Utah, she had attended Sunday school and Primary with school friends. She was a convert to the Church, being baptized just before her marriage.
My parents were married in the Salt Lake Temple by George Albert Smith on September 3, 1919. They made their first home of humble circumstances, near my father’s birthplace. They later purchased a large corner lot across the road from my grandparents, and there my father built a lovely red brick home for his little family. It was there that they lived out the forty-seven years of their earthly marriage, and it was there that the memories of my beginning years blossomed.
I can still hear the music, as we loved to gather around mother’s piano and sing favorite songs and hymns. I can smell mother’s home cooking, which was often shared with a neighbor or a fellow steam engine hobbyist of my father’s. I can see hobos from the train below town who would frequent our gate, as they knew that my mother would never turn one away empty handed. Morning family prayers and dad’s “breakfast stories” were an anxiously awaited daily ritual at our home.
I vividly remember childhood friends and such activities as hunting for bird’s nests, tramping around the hollows and climbing trees. Once we tangled with bees and got stung. Mom came to the rescue with mudpacks. We would also bake real mud pies on a pot-bellied wood stove in my friend’s yard, using bird’s eggs or eggs stolen from the henhouse. On one occasion we accidentally splattered ourselves with rotten eggs and neither mother wanted to claim us! During the winter months we used to sleigh ride on “Morley’s Hill” from daylight until dark.
I was baptized at age eight in the Logan Temple, as was customary at that time. The baptismal font with its twelve silver oxen holding it up, made a lasting impression upon my mind of the awesome beauty of the sacred temple of the Lord.
In Mendon the first Saturday in May brings the annual celebration of May Day. I can visualize beautiful young girls in their flowing dresses dancing and weaving the bright colored ribbons gayfully around the Maypole while the cheerful music played. This was such fun! During my eighth grade year I was a maid of honor and was escorted by my consort and friend, Don Shelton, to all the festivities of the day and the Queen’s Grand Ball at night.
We commuted on the train during my junior and senior high school years. Arriving early at junior high, we danced to the nickelodeon in the gym before school started. I enjoyed roller-skating, playing third base on the girl’s softball team and art class of Friday after recess. I remember standing near the end of spelling bees and dreading arithmetic. My favorite activities were singing second soprano in chorus and attending seminary classes. I once won a highly coveted football for perfect Sunday school attendance, but my celebration was short lived as our dog, Pal, bit a hole in it shortly after I arrived home! Sometimes I would get a special train pass after school and meet my parents in Logan. Father and I would attend a movie while mother shopped. What grand times we had!
I was lucky to have a sister who was only three years older than myself. Virginia was an outstanding sister to whom I looked up to and was never disappointed. She was talented and had a pleasing disposition and friendly manner. She could play the piano beautifully. I loved and enjoyed her until her untimely death in 1941. She was nineteen, had just completed her second year at Utah State University and her first eleven days of summer work as a telephone operator. She was found in the apartment she shared with a girlfriend. She had died peacefully during sleep, of a confirmed heart attack. This tragedy was a tremendous blow to our family.
I graduated from seminary and South Cache High School in 1943. I attended Utah State University and majored in secondary education with a minor in fine arts. I graduated in the upper quarter of my class in June 1948 with a Bachelor of Science degree. In 1948-1949 I taught school in Laketown a small town nestled along the sough end of Bear Lake. I taught one art class, one girl’s P. E. class and four English classes to students from junior high through twelfth grade. This was quite a daunting experience for me— my first job and first time living away from home.
I met my husband Alan in a rather unusual way. His oldest brother, Earl, had a common interest with my dad— that of steam engines. During World War II, when Earl was on leave from the Navy he visited our home and suggested that I write to his two younger brothers who were also in the service. Both answered, but Alan and I kept up our correspondence. He visited me after the end of the war and his summer harvest work in Idaho. He came again at Christmas and for my college graduation.
After my year of teaching, Alan and I were married on June 22, 1949, at my parent’s home by our Hyrum Stake President, Edwin Clawson. We moved to Ogden and lived I an apartment for two years while Alan worked at the Defense Plant. Our first son, Clare Alan, was born at the Logan L. D. S. Hospital on October 27, 1950. When he was a year old we moved near Alan’s family in the Tom Beale country, just east of Lapwai, Idaho. There he resumed working for his former employer, the Meacham Land and Cattle Company and we lived in a dilapidated old farmhouse on their property.
We moved and bought our first real home at 1444 Highland Avenue, Clarkston, Washington in 1953. Our second son, Gary Linden, was born on November 8 that same year at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Lewiston, Idaho. We lived next door to the new Highland Elementary School. I was a room mother in my boy’s kindergarten and grade school classrooms, and a Cub Scout den Mother for five years. We traveled on many family vacations and saw many exciting places. We moved to our present home at 1541 South 10th Street in May 1966.
I have had church callings to serve as a visiting teacher, nursery teacher, Junior Sunday school coordinator, librarian, Seagull teacher, Blazer teacher, counselor in Primary, visiting teaching message leader, Relief Society Cultural Refinement teacher, homemaking lesson leader and family health teacher in the ward and stake. I loved to meet new people, make new friends and had the ultimate goal of doing good unto others. I have had occasion to meet many Prophets of the Church, including a relative Spencer W. Kimball.
After I turned forty, I took swimming lessons with my friend Veretta Helm, progressed to the intermediate level and was diving off the diving board. I also took adult driver’s education class and passed my road test with 99% score. I took an interest in art again and began taking acrylic painting classes at Valley Art Center. I later took oil painting classes. I enjoyed developing this talent. I did quite well, but just ran out of wall space to hang them! I entered many paintings at the local county fairs and won blue and red ribbons. I continued to enjoy my love of gardening, birds, the rain, the classical arts, singing and being with people.