December 29, 1922—September 7, 2019
Ardith L. Crystal, 96, of Rupert, passed away Saturday, September 7, 2019 at Valley Vista Care Center in Rupert. The obituary was written by Ardith herself. I was born on December 29, 1922 at home, ten miles north of Salt Lake City, Utah. I was born to Orval Alberta Randall and Mary Lenora Hansen on a farm that was taken out of sagebrush by my grandfather. There are 3rd and 4th generation relatives still living on the farm.
The first five years of my life were quite eventful even though I don’t remember anything about it. My mother bundled me up in October with a stocking cap and all and let me out in the back yard. (I was three years old) not knowing my father had let the work horses out to come past our back yard to get a drink of water from the ditch. Mother said the horses know something was behind their feet and one kicked me in the head. The doctor who lived two doors down from us told mother the cap saved my life.
My sister, two years my senior, took me around the back of our house and cut all my hair off leaving very little. Back then, sibling rivalry wasn’t mentioned in the dictionary.
School is really the place where children really start making headway on imprinting in their mind that memory is going to be lifelong commitment to life. We had this country schoolhouse with three classrooms. First and second grade in one room; third, fourth and fifth in one room and sixth, seventh and 8th in another. Our principal lived in an apartment in one end of the schoolhouse. I rode in a bus, or a truck covered with a frame and canvas stretched over the frame and two long benches down each side; no heat and very dreaded by all in the winter.
Our area where we lived was all farmers. We were all very poor farm families, but we were all happy family units. It was all daylight to dark, father, mother and children growing animals, gardens, fruit orchards to put food back for the long winter months. The children didn’t mind the hard work because they were an important part of the cycle. Parents were highly respected by their children knowing what a struggle it was to maintain a home with a lot of adversity along the way.
At eleven years old, I was my dad’s daily help in the field. Piling peas, grain, herding pigs and cows, moving canvas dams up and down the ditches, and milking cows were just some of my jobs helping my dad.
Recreation in the community was mutual parties overseen by our church. A lot of slumber parties at my friend’s house or at my place. Swimming in a canal that ran through our farm; it drew a lot of kids to our place. Every Saturday morning, my mother would take a tall cream can full of separated milk and four or five dozen eggs to Idaho Falls to sell and that money was used for groceries. She would give my sister and I each a dime to go see Gene Autry’s cowboy show at the theater and five cents each for an ice cream cone. That was our highlight for the week.
When I reached twelve years old, I did a lot of babysitting in our area for 25 cents a night. About the same age, I started picking potatoes every fall to buy wool clothes. None of the kids in the farm area had a bicycle. One or two were fortunate to have a horse to ride. Our home didn’t have indoor plumbing and no telephone so walking from the home to church and school was normal. I enjoyed high school and to this day, we still have reunions; the last in May 1995 was 24 classmates that attended.
I left my home after graduation and moved to an aunt’s home in Salt Lake City where work was plentiful. I found a job at the Arms Plant, making .30 and .50 caliber aircraft ammunition for the war effort. When the plant closed, my friend and I and her small daughter moved to Glendal, California and I worked at Lockheed aircraft for two years. When the war ended, because I didn’t have much seniority, I got one of the first pink slips. My friend’s husband came back from the South Pacific, so I came back to Idaho in September of 1945.
I married Wayne R. Crystal in January of 1946 and moved to Rupert to farm with Wayne’s brother Reed. Six children, two boys and four girls, were raised in this union. My daughter Lanae passed away in 1990 of a brain tumor (had her 41st birthday six days before).
My children all live in Southern Idaho, so I feel very blessed that they are all successful and well.
Ardith is survived by her children, Julie (Darold) Staker, Danny Crystal, Susan (Tom) Haynes, Ken (Lori) Crystal and Joanne Conner; 48 grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren and 8 great-great grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her daughter, Lanae Maxwell and her daughter-in-law, Jennifer Crystal.
There will be a viewing from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Friday, September 13, 2019 at the Hansen Mortuary in Rupert. A graveside service will be held at 3:00 p.m. also on Friday at the Grant Cemetery in Grant, Idaho. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Joel Heward Hansen Mortuary.
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