Friday, July 12, 2013

Lavona Flake Richardson's life history: My Courtship and Marriage


I finished teaching second grade at Edison School in May 1958 and loaded up my car with all my belongings to go back to Snowflake for the summer.  It was late when I finished taking care of everything that I needed to do so I decided that I would wait until morning to drive up to Snowflake.  I decided that instead of just staying home I would go to the dance at the Mezona, which was a church dance hall where they held dances every Friday evening.  I went by myself and was standing on the sideline when this handsome man came up and asked me to dance.

I remember as Jay and I danced and introduced ourselves we learned that we were both twins and both returned missionaries.  Jay was in town for his Virden High School class reunion held in Mesa where most of the classmates now lived.  Jay, as their senior class president was in charge of the reunion.  He planned to return to Virden the next day and went to the dance.  We both feel that we were meant to be at the dance that evening and meet each other.  We danced several times during the evening.  Jay asked if he could take home.  I was sad that I had my car there so he couldn’t. 

I went up to Snowflake but returned in a few days to find employment for the summer and a place to live for the following school year.  Mother came with me.  We had finished our errands and were about to return again to Snowflake when we stopped by my new home on Broadway and found a note in the door from Jay asking me on a date.  Mother and I both decided to change our plans and stay in town for the evening.  Jay did come by later and we had a fun date.  Our friendship blossomed with more dates.  I remember playing Miniature Golf with him and Jorth and Peggy.  I remember long talks and the love I had for Jay from the time that I first met him.
Jay was working for his brother Erwin to earn money to go to dental school.  Jay lived by himself in a little one room shack where he spent his days cultivating and helping put more land into crops.  He did manage to get to Mesa several times during the summer and we corresponded regularly by letters (no e-mail or Skype in those days). I was sad to learn that Jay was almost to leave for Northwestern Dental School in Chicago.  Before he left I went with him to visit his family in Virden, New Mexico and he went with me to visit my family in Snowflake, Arizona.  

I began teaching my second year at Edison School.  We kept the letters going back and forth.  On September 18, 1959 my twin sister Leona married Max Hayes.  We both knew Max at BYU. We also served together in the Northern Mexican Mission.  I knew Jay’s brother Cecil also in the Northern Mexican Mission so I knew him before his brother.  I remember when I first met Cecil he said that he had a brother also on a mission.  Little did I know then how much his brother would mean to me.  

Jay had not been in Chicago for many weeks before I got a phone call from him.  I remember listening as he put the coins into the pay phone.  Jay asked me over the phone if I would marry him.  I remember how excited I was and telling him “If I can make you happy”.  I knew that he would make me very happy.  

Travel was expensive so we decided that he would not come home for Thanksgiving but instead would come in December the very day that his school let out.  In the meantime we wrote daily letters back and forth.  I still have Jay’s letters to me but sadly enough Jay didn’t keep my letters to him.  At Thanksgiving time I took careful notice of all the preparations and wrote out the recipes for the traditional dishes so that I could fix them for my husband as his new wife.  I kept busy teaching school and sewing my own wedding dress. 
Finally the day came when Jay would be coming home from Chicago.  He rode the train from Chicago to Arizona.  The conductor told Jay that he would stop in Holbrook and let him get off but for some reason maybe they were running behind schedule the train whizzed by and didn’t stop in Holbrook.  I drove from Mesa up to Snowflake and then my Mother and Daddy went with me to meet Jay.  I will always remember Daddy saying we can beat the train as we got in the car and drove to Winslow.  We did get to Winslow before the train did and was there to meet Jay as he got off the train.  I remember he smelled of smoke because of all the smoking on the train when we first met.  I know that didn’t keep me though for wanting to marry him.  I felt that I was the most blessed girl in the whole world to have Jay want to marry me.  I wanted to introduce him to all my friends and let them see what a wonderful man he was.  

On the way back to Snowflake we stopped in Holbrook at the County Court House and got our marriage license.  Jay gave me my engagement ring in my parent’s living room.  I was excited to show it to my parents.    I was so happy.

We had to leave soon after arriving in Snowflake to go back to Mesa.  I had another day to teach before Christmas break.  It was exciting to bring Jay to my classroom and have him meet all of my second graders who I had learned to love so much.  My students were all so excited that Miss Flake was getting married.  Several of them came to an open house my roommates gave us in Mesa. 
We were married on Monday, December 22, 1958 in the Mesa Arizona Temple.  We went to the 7:30 am session and were married right after the session by Henry L. Smith who was a sealer and a friend of Jay’s family.   Our fathers, Bruce Merlin Flake and Ray L Richardson were the witnesses.  Just after our marriage Jay’s brother Cecil was married to Sylvia Smith.  We took pictures and then ate lunch at the temple before driving to Virden for a double reception that night.   My sisters Nena and Leona were neither one with us for our wedding but arrived in Snowflake for our reception there.  

The wedding reception in Virden, New Mexico honored both Jay and me and Cecil and Sylvia.  The Virden Ward gave us a nice silk quilt that they had hand quilted. Mother also quilted us a beautiful silk quilt.  Mother and Daddy met my little brothers Garry and Keith in Globe to ride with them to Virden.  Rey was on his mission and Rolf and Jean were in Florida.  

After the party in Virden we stayed our wedding night in Duncan.  Jay had reservations at a fancy hotel in Safford but we were too tired to go there so just stayed at a motel in Duncan.  We planned to have our trip back to Chicago be our honeymoon so spent the next two days with Jay’s family in New Mexico.  We spent Christmas morning with his family and then drove to Snowflake to spend the rest of Christmas day with my family.  Nena and Leona and Max had arrived by then for the Christmas holiday.  

Jay’s family all came to Snowflake for our reception the following Monday, Dec. 29, 2013.   Erwin and Barbara flew their little plane up which was exciting for Snowflake. Edwin and Virginia, Jorth and Peggy, Cecil and Sylvia, and Chet and Evelyn all came along with Mother and Dad Richardson to our Snowflake Reception.  My family was also there.  Rolf and Jean and their two little girls, LaDawn and Loretta came from Florida, Leona and Max from Logan, Utah, Nena from Texas and Garry and Keith were still living in Snowflake.  We had a nice party.  Also coming to our reception were the Strasburg’s, friends from Provo, Utah and my roommates and friends form Mesa Carol Ray and Kliena Skousen.    My bridesmaids, Leona, Nena and Carol all wore aqua dresses that they made alike.  My wedding cake had a white poinsettia on top.  

We opened our gifts on Tuesday and loaded my car to leave for Chicago.  We had to leave behind many of our wedding gifts because we had no room to take them.  Our car was loaded.  I remember Daddy wired on an ironing board at the end thinking that we would need it in Chicago.  

I remember how happy I was as we left to drive across country with the man that I was excited to spend the rest of my life and eternity with.  We spent one night on the road and arrived at our little home Jay had rented for us.    We were so happy to be together.  Jay was a wonderful companion and so kind and considerate of me.  I loved Jay with all my heart and would do anything to make him happy.  We both loved the Lord and knew that as long as we included Him in our family we would be blessed. 

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