Friday, December 12, 2008

Beula Grame's Youth

Written by Kimberly Eden, Heath's Row: A History of Herman and Beula Heath

On a "dark and dreary day" Beula Grames was the fourth child born to Arthur Joseph Grames and Christina Martina Christensen Grames. She was born in her Grandfather Frames' log cabin in Price, Utah on October 17, 1930 at 12:15 pm, but "I made as much noise as any two healthy children I am told." She changed as she grew-in the years afterwards her determination turned and came forward in a different manner; "She was quiet, but tenacious and very defensive of younger siblings." She would attain everything she wanted but did it all in a quiet manner. Her health didn't always hold either. At age seven Beula had her tonsils removed but that hemorrhaged and she had to have her throat clamped. Only a few years later, age 11, she had rheumatic fever and was confined to her bed for one year; the following year she develop[ed St. Vitus Dance. The doctors did not know a cure' having expected her to die from the fever; they had no advice. St. Vitus Dance is formally called Sydenham's Chorea coming from the Greco-Latin word for choreography of dance and was used to describe religious fanatics' form of worship during the middle ages and who traveled to the dealing shrine of St. Vitus. The disease is characterized by involuntary muscle contractions in the face and extremities. Beula's hands would shake so much that she couldn't feed herself. The central nervous system is attacked as a by-product of rheumatic fever and is often found in children and females from ages 7 to 14. The symptoms last for two to three months and there is no specific treatments. Christina heard of a nerve specialist, a chiropractor, in Provo and after three treatments, Beula was healed. After those two years, Beula was never really well again. She did remark that after surviving these two illnesses, she felt life was worth living.

When Beula was five months old, her family moved to a farm four miles east of Price. They lived there during the Great Depression, but Beula said, "I lived a happy farm life for those times, which was during the depression and World War one ;sic'. So I grew up watching my mother and father worry over farm and financial problems." The farm was flat and dry, but they managed to grow sugar beets. The farm allowed them to sustain the family but not enough to raise the family well.

Beula was seven when her family moved back to Price where her father took another job. That December he died of a heart attack, the third one he endured. He had heart problems his entire life; at age 16 he had his first heart attack, believed to be caused by the whooping cough he had at age two. Arthur married at age 19 to Christina Martina Christensen, a woman two months older than he. They lived at and kept the grounds at city hall. Three years later, age 22, Arthur had another heart attack; the third one killed him at age 38.

Christina was left a widow with six children and worked cleaning offices, cooking in a cafe, and doing laundry. She married again four years later to Leonard Gorley. Beula grew up with Leonard as her father and didn't remember much of her biological father. On January 29, 1942 "my mother married again. Our new father, Leonard Gorley, was a cousin to our father; he was a wonderful man and we were all very happy to have a father again."

Lillian, Beula's older sister, claimed that Beula was Leonard's favorite and he pampered her. The year after the marriage, Christina gave birth to Floyd, the last sibling. Leonard had been drafted before Floyd was born and was not there to help his wife, who had complications during the birth and children at home who needed care. Lillian, who was married, returned home to help take care of her mother, Floyd and Beula, who had rheumatic fever. Leonard returned home soon after and Lillian offered to take Beula, but the doctors said the travel would certainly kill her. So Beula remained at home with her mother for the next five years. Beula started back to school in the eighth grade in 1944. They moved to a farm four miles northwest of Price. "Shortly after we moved the kids who lived next to our home in Price set it afire. It burned everything but our clothes and the few furnishings we had in the two small rooms of the farmhouse."

Television wasn't an option for entertainment, but there were radios and radio programs. Unfortunately, the Grames family couldn't afford a radio, but they were able to compensate for that. Uncle Charlie lived with them for a time and he brought with him an old Edison Phonograph with tube records, which they listened to during the evening hours. When they didn't listen to the phonograph Arthur and Christina would read to the family form library books. The Grames found other forms of entertainment in their surroundings. They had picnics in the meadows where they picked wildflowers. The canal near the farm was a perfect place for swimming.

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