Mary Heaps Mulliner
A compilation of stories by her children
and other family members.
My mother, Mary Heaps Mulliner, was a very giving person. She always had someone she was taking care of.
I remember my mom for many things, but especially when we were little [in California]. She would make up the back of our old touring car so it was level straight across, then make it into a bed. (Dad milked cows at night for a living), so all five of us kids would get in the back seat ready for bed. Dad would pull up close to the barn so mom could see to read to us. She would read until it was time for us to go to sleep, or we went to sleep. She read almost every good book she could find to us. So, we learned to love to read. I have been an avid reader ever since. Just this last year, I read all eight of the books, “The Work and the Glory”.
The only bad part about going to the dairy was, the wife of the owner always came out and gave us “horehound candy”. It tasted horrible! So, we would thank her, take one bite, and then toss it out when we got home.
After mom passed away, I wrote this poem in her memory:
I HELD MY MOTHER’S HAND
Erma June Mulliner Williamson
I held my mother’s hand.
She, pulling and tugging, saying: “come child,”
I, dragging my feet; for so tired I was
Tramping through crooked streets and rugged paths,
That round in circles went, and seemed to always meet.
She would gently hold my hand saying,
“it’s not far now, try again, just a little way.
As a reassuring smile came across her face.
Now, as I reach the end of life’s rugged
Paths and crooked streets,
How grateful I am for that gentle hand,
Which pulled and tugged, saying,
“Come child, come on, try again.”
With head held high, I can now my Maker meet;
Knowing, I too, had a child, who held my hand
Through rugged paths, and crooked streets.
Donald, a son, tells about how he loved to tease his mother. When he would carry the teasing too far, Aunt Mary would say, “You better behave yourself, or I will sit on you.” Donald would pretend to be scared and would plead with her, “Please, please, anything but that!”
Don said, “One time I had a wild horse I broke. The horse was so attached to me, he would follow me everywhere. One day I saw Ma busy outside sweeping the porch. As she was taking the broom inside, I said, ‘Hey, Ma! Can I bring my horse inside?’ She wasn’t concentrating on what I asked, and said, ‘Oh, do whatever you want’. I proceeded to have the horse follow me into the house. The horse just barely got his nose and chest through the front door when Ma spied the horse, let out a war-whoop, grabbed her broom and chased both me and the horse out the door. I decided I may have gone a little too far with the teasing and felt I better stay clear of Ma for a while until she cooled down”.
Memories of Doris Mulliner Cowan
their oldest child
Ever since I can remember, my mother, Mary Mulliner had loved to cook and she was a good cook. Another thing I learned very early in life about our Mom was that she would like to have been all things to all her family, friends and neighbors. She was always taking something special to someone. We kids were treated to our favorite menu for the family dinner on our birthday. My request was any meat with scallop potatoes, fruit salad and lemon pie.
Mom would sometimes draw pictures for us to color with crayons. we really enjoyed that activity.
Mom was a hard worker and an early riser, but she could always take time to play a game or help us with something. She loved children and cared for many family, friends, and neighbor’s children.
At her funeral someone sent a large beautiful bouquet with an enclosed note that read, “To Grandma Mary, With Love from Her Dozens of Children.” We never knew who sent it.
Even though money and worldly possessions were limited, we were blessed with things more important, namely a caring, loving Mother, and a Dad who loved her and all 5 of us.
Memories by Shirley Ellen Blackmer Tyler
Niece of Aunt Mary and Uncle Victor
My grandparents lived several years at 1224 North Center Street in Pocatello, Idaho. It was while there that I remember that Aunt Mary and Uncle Victor lived in the basement with Doris and Erma. It was during the depression about 1927, 1928, or 1929. Things were hard then, not many jobs, the stock market had crashed in New York. Many people all across the land were out of work.
Uncle Victor and Aunt Mary decided to start their own business. Early every morning they would make doughnuts in an electric doughnut machine that baked them in a triangle shape. The cooking doughnuts would fill the house with that delicious smell. Aunt Mary was a genius of modifying recipes and coming up with several different flavors and colors. She would decorate them with wonderful icing and they looked so good when she was finished. (I secretly thought I could eat the whole bunch of them all by myself.) Then, Uncle Victor would put them in flat boxed and start out selling them. He was always able to sell every one of them. He developed a routs. People were very happy to see him in the mornings.
When they had saved enough money, they moved to California where he worked for a dairy, milking cows. Doris and Erma can fill you in on the rest of their story.
Memories by Eileen Blackmer Quigley
Niece of Aunt Mary and Uncle Victor
Every family needs to have an Aunt Mary, like out Mary Heaps Mulliner.
Aunt Mary was dearly loved by all who knew her. She was always giving her all for the comfort and help of others. I was so blessed to be able to spend many happy hours in her home and in her presence.
I was a sophomore in high school when Aunt Mary and Uncle Victor and their boys moved to Twin Falls. My mother, Eva, was delighted to have her sister Mary live so close again. Mother and Mary had been very close indeed as they were the oldest living sisters in the family. As young girls they had gone to Salt Lake City to work, when they were just out of High School. Together they worked at the Sweet Candy Company and learned to dip chocolates there.
The Mulliner family had lived in California for many years and we were delighted to be able to spend time together with our cousins and other family members, that came to be with the two sisters and visit with the two families.
I was very happy to get to know my cousin Donald, as I had not had the opportunity to know him when we were younger. We formed a good relationship full of fun and lots of activities that were associated with High School and church groups.
Many times after an event we ended up at Aunt Mary’s enjoying some of her wonderful cooking and baking.
When I was a Junior in High School I had a party at my house after a church dance and invited a group over to have refreshments and visit for awhile. It was winter time and cold outside and I wanted to serve something that was not too filling but warm and good to end the evening. Aunt Mary suggested hot chocolate and doughnuts and offered to make the doughnuts for me. I was excited as I had heard about the wonderful doughnuts that she made with her doughnut maker. When she brought them over the day of the party, I was very impressed at the professional job she had done. they were beautifully frosted and decorated with all kinds of toppings. I was so pleased and proud to serve such a wonderful treat to my friends. Thanks to her kindness the evening was a great success.
In the last few years of World War II, Donald decided to join the Navy. I was crushed to think that he would no longer be there to be my ‘date’ for some of the social things that we usually attended together, he was also my friend and confidant, we had become very close as cousins and friends.
By this time Aunt Mary and Uncle Victor had moved out on a farm in Filer, Idaho so I was not going to the same school as Donald and we were not able to spend quite as much time together.
The time drew near when Donald was to report for duty. Aunt Mary knew how hard it was for me to see him leave and invited me to come to Filer to stay the weekend with them. Donald picked me up on Saturday and I stayed overnight and then went to church with them on Sunday. Her own heart was breaking to see him go, but she was always think of others and was so kind and understanding to me.
The summer after Donald left, Aunt Mary was going to travel to California on the bus to visit with Doris and Erma. She was taking Gary with her and also invited me to go along with her to keep her company. I was to visit with Aunt Virgie and her family and Aunt Rachel and her daughter Susan. We had a wonderful trip together. Aunt Mary had a cute sense of humor and we had some very good talks as we made that long trip. It was a growing experience for me as I had never been so far away from home for such a long time without Mother or my sisters.
Time moved along and the War ended. I met and became reacquainted with Wade Quigley and became engaged. My parents had just finished building a new home and family finances were a bit fractured. There was not enough money for all the frills of the upcoming wedding that I was planning. I didn’t not have much in my trousseau. Once again Aunt Mary came to my rescue. She planned and gave a bridal shower for me at her home in Filer, and also on the sly got me to go shopping with her and picked out a new dress for me to wear to the temple when we went to be married. I also was very pleased to have been able to borrow the beautiful wedding gown that Doris had worn at her wedding. I was certainly grateful for all the love and kindness that was given to me at that special time from a very dear Aunt Mary.
Aunt Mary and Uncle Victor
the Dairy Farm in Filer, Idaho
by Claudia Lee Blackmer/Freeman Vance
Niece of Aunt Mary and Uncle Victor
Everyone loved going to Uncle Victor and Aunt Mary’s house. They always made everyone feel special and welcome.
Uncle Victor worked very hard on his farm. He was never idle. He had the dairy cows to care for as well as alfalfa and beans. There may have been other crops; however, I cannot recall what they were. He had two work horses I believe he called, Old Blue, and Roan. They were worked everyday except on Sunday. They hauled the hay wagon and did the plowing, harrowing, and pulled the hay rack. At times they became quite obstinate because they would be tired of working so hard. They were faithful, hardworking beasts of burden. Sometimes we would add to their burden by trying to ride them.
I remember going with Uncle Victor into Filer early on Sunday morning to help sweep out the room above a pool hall, where they little branch of the church met for their meetings. Uncle Victor was the Superintendent of the Sunday School and so he took it upon himself to make sure everything was ready for the services each week. Even though I was quite young, I sensed he took his church service very serious and he faithfully filled every assignment to the best of his ability. He was a quiet man. He was very devoted to his family and church.
I have many fond memories of playing wild games of ‘hide and seek’, ‘kick the can’ and of course, ‘war’, and ‘cowboys and Indians’ with Clyde and Gary.
One day, Clyde and I were having a very intense game of cowboys and Indians, Aunt Mary called to us and asked us to bring in the milk from the barn so it would be cooled down for lunch. We became so absorbed in our world of make-believe that we forgot to do as we were asked. A while later, Aunt Mary called us for lunch. We hurried into the house, we were hungry from all our hard playing. There sitting on the table was a pitcher of milk. Aunt Mary proceeded to pour us large glasses of milk. The sandwich was delicious and I snatched the glass of milk to help wash it down. One gulp reminded me that we had forgotten the instructions to bring in the milk pail - so the milk could cool. It tasted awful! Clyde didn’t say anything, but he hated the taste of warm milk as much as I did. I asked for a chip of ice from the ice box to put in my glass. Aunt Mary reminded me of her instructions about the milk and told me I would have to drink the whole glass without benefit of the ice. Clyde managed somehow to drink his milk. (As I remember, he drank the whole glass without taking a breath.) In my mind, I decided I just would not drink my milk. I quickly ate my sandwich. However, Aunt Mary told me I could not leave the table until I had finished drinking all of my milk. I stubbornly sat there for a while eyeing the hated glass of milk. she then sternly informed me that if i didn’t hurry and drink it she would make me drink tow glasses! I took a deep breath and tried to drink it down fast like Clyde. I started to gag, Aunt Mary told me if I lost any of the milk, I would have to drink another glass. Somehow, I managed to swallow the horrid tasting milk. Needless to say, whenever Aunt Mary told me to do something after that wonderful lesson in obedience - I did it - and as fast as I could!
When I was expecting my daughter, Leeann, Aunt Mary made her a complete layette. I could tell she had made them with a great deal of love. Every article had beautiful embroidery on it. I saved the layette and put them on Leeann just for special occasions. I saved them for years. when Leeann was old enough to play dolls, I bought her a baby doll and she enjoyed dressing her doll in them.
I shall never forget the time we went to visit with Aunt Mary when they lived on Kimberly Road. She had been canning something in her pressure cooker. When we got there she took the steam cap off and allowed the steam to escape and then she took the lid off. She removed the jars and then set the lid onto the pan. the water was so hot, even with the lid ajar, steam again developed. As Aunt Mary went to remove the lid to begin the pressure cooking procedure for the next batch, the lifting of the lid caused the pan to explode and she was severely burned. Much of her face and arms were affected by the burning. I was amazed at her brave demeanor. She suffered many weeks from that accident. I was so worried for her and we all prayed for her recovery.
The greatest sacrifice Aunt Mary made for me was when my husband, Earl, was dying. My mother could not come to be with me because my father was also dying of cancer in Idaho. The only person I felt could take my mother’s place and could comfort me and help me through this extremely difficult time was my Aunt Mary. Even though she was not very well herself, she came and stayed with me until Earl died and my sister Eileen could come down from Idaho to be with me. Words are inadequate to express my love and my gratitude to her for that wonderful act of love and service. I am also very grateful for the devoted, sisterly love she gave my mother in her declining years.
Aunt Mary had a “heart as big as all out doors.” Her warm hugs and big smile helped east the hurts and sorrows for many people from all walks of life. The works “love” and “service” are synonymous with the title of “Aunt Mary.”