Saturday, October 4, 2014

Going My Way--72 Years Later

USS Lexington exploding, May 8, 1942
May 1942...

A year not to be forgotten in the annals of American History: The U. S. had been fighting in the Second World War for less than a year, FDR was president during these troubled times, and newspaper headlines were reporting the overseas action on a regular basis. Many families were impacted, my own included--young men responded to the draft and their women left to pray for their safe return...

In the state of Utah, residents were also affected by the impending war...Headlines on May 8, 1942 reported U. S. Navy action with the Japanese, finances tied to military funding, Japanese atrocities in the Philippines, British troops in Madagascar, and many other stories about the war. As the newspaper progresses past world and national news, the reader finally jumps into local happenings. Towards the back of the newspaper is the event nearest and dearest to my heart: the obituary for my 3rd great grandmother, Harriet Lovinia Bowen Leavitt. 

Why would one obituary matter over others in my vast collection of obituaries? Because Grandma Harriet died where I now consider home. Although I did not grow up here, it has been home for six years now; it is here I went to school, found a job, dated, and started building my own life. What makes it most special is it's the city where she spent most of her life and where I first discovered my love of genealogy. 
Grandma came from Iowa, the daughter of prominent Mormon pioneers. After crossing the plains, they settled in my present area. Her husband, who was more than 20 years her senior, preceded her in death by almost 40 years. When Grandma Harriet died, she was currently the oldest women in town, passing away at the age of 97. Rest in peace, sweet lady, I am proud to live in your hometown and walk where you walked. 

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