“I Remember When” – Memories of Arnon A. Chidester by his daughter-in-law, Rocena Platt Chidester


Written for his  102nd Birthday
By Rocena Platt Chidester,
November 6, 1993

I remember when:  I remember the very first time I met Reeve’s mom and dad.  Reeve called and said that he was bringing “Rosa” home for them to meet.  All his mother could think of was the “Big fat Rosa” on the “I love Luigi” radio program, “well” they treated me great.  I also met Lois that day, as she was there taking care of her mother because she had a stroke just prior to our coming.

I remember when we came and got them, so they could go to the St. George Temple with us when we were married.  Reeve had his 41 Plymouth Coupe and the four of us rode to and from St. George in it.  The temperature in St. George that day was 105, it was cooler with the windows up than having them rolled down.  The wind was so hot that it burned.  “Cozy wouldn’t you say, that’s when we became close.”  ha! ha!.

I remembered when he blessed Randy, he never talked so loud, he had to talk over Randy’s crying.  The harder Randy cried, the louder he talked.

I remember when we went to Richfield, and how our boys loved going down there, they loved their grandma and grandpa Chidester.  It seemed like we went home almost every other week.

I remember when we’d go fishing and set in the boat all day.  I wouldn’t fish, I’d sew or something else and he couldn’t understand why I didn’t fish’ and I remember when I asked for a large tackle box for Christmas.  He thought he had me, then he found out what I wanted it for, he couldn’t believe that I’d waste it on a First Aid Kit.

I remember when we’d go fishing and take our dog “Fritz” with us, we could sit all day and never get a bite and still have fun.  Fritz would fight over the corn they chummed with, he loved corn and didn’t want to share.

I remember when Randy caught his 4lb. fish.  Grandpa was afraid that he’d loose it before he could get it to the boat, and  the time the kids caught a big Carp, fishing in the  river.  They brought it back to Grandpa’s and put it in the water trough, out in the corral and how, “FLASH” was so frightened by it and tipped the trough over.

I remember when he would bring me bushel basket’s full of frozen fish wrapped in newspaper for me to can for him.  He loved his fish no matter how it was fixed.

I remember when Dennis went to Richfield and took his driver’s license test because he liked his Grandpa’s Chrysler and the automatic shift.  Grandpa would say “Come on Chiffonnier,”  I’ve got to go to town and throw him the keys and he felt so big.

I remember when the boys got big enough to drive the Jeep and they thought they were so big and Grandpa was so proud of them too.

I remember when he came to Kanarraville to my Dad’s funeral.  He was so impressed with that type of funeral and he told me that was the kind he wanted also and said, “You make sure that’s the kind I get, my family doing it all.  Well I tried.”

I remember when he came to Salt Lake for a visit and he had to go into town for something, he wanted me to go with him and do the driving, he said he had, had enough driving just coming up here, so I would go with him.

I remember when he was ready to go home and always commented that how easy his car was on gas, because the tank was always full.  Reeve always went over and filled it up.  Reeve always did this when we went to Richfield too.

I remember how they loved to travel on the airplane.  We let them go whenever they wanted, but  I remember how frightened she was at first.  I remember, on one trip to California and to the Chidester Reunion there, how Reeve went with them and rented them a car and then got back on the plane and flew back home, leaving them there.  Grandpa and Grandma felt like millionaires that time.  She learned to love traveling as did he.

I remember when he talked about the Deer hunt.  Six months before, he talked about what they were going to do and six months after, he talked about what they did.  He lived for Deer hunting and only missed one hunt and that was when he was in the hospital in Intensive care for his Prostrate Operation in his 70’s.

I remember when he’d leave his Car keys with me and insist that I drive his car instead of mine.  I loved his Chrysler but the blue Ford was not half as nice a car.

I remember when Dora  would call over  each year when we were down for the Hunt and ask “Who’s over there?”, and I would say “Just Me” and she’d say “just you, nobody else?”.  She talked just a minute and then would just hang up, no goodbye’s or anything else, just hang up.

I remember, how I went completely through and cleaned his house while we were down there.  He never bothered me, he knew that I wouldn’t touch his important papers.  Sometimes I had the Incinerator completely full of old papers and junk mail though.  While they were hunting, I’d clean all day and he just couldn’t believe that I moved the Piano by myself.

I remember when the kids couldn’t wait to get down off the mountain and see what I would have for dinner.  I don’t think it would have mattered what it was because they were cold and tired and hungry.  Chuck said he wouldn’t go anymore if I wasn’t going to be there to cook his  “Liver and Onions” which was Grandpa’s favorite also.  If they got a Deer on Saturday and then went back up hunting on Monday, it was  “Liver and Onions”  they got for dinner when they came down, no matter what time it was. Liver and Onions in milk gravy.

It was fun being there when they came home, even though it was late at night, I never expected them until after 9:00 P.M.

I remember the year they all got their Deer before noon and it was a beautiful warm day and they didn’t want to quit and come home so early and wanted to hunt some more.  They sent Reeve down to get me and he made me go buy a license and go back up with him.  As soon as I got there, they shot mine too, so they had to quit anyway and come home.

I remember when Kenneth and Gene came down and went hunting with them one year and when it was time for all to go to bed, they were going to sleep out back in the camper and had retired there.  One half hour after they had gone to bed, Roger and Reeve went out and told them that it was time to get up.  They got up and dressed and came inside, they didn’t know any different, Kenneth thought that his watch had stopped.  Grandpa sure got a kick out of that.

I remember when we went after wood with him.  The places he took us– and when it got rough going, “he’d say, you drive Reeve and I’ll get out and guide you.”  Down sideling shale hills, over boulders and trees.  I know he thought his Jeep could go anywhere, and it almost did.  We didn’t want him to go after wood by himself, so we went down and went with him.  I could never believe how big the trees were he found the trees for us to cut, I don’t think he thought the smaller ones would even burn.

I remember how he liked his Ball games on TV and Radio and how he made them bring into his Intensive Care room a TV so he wouldn’t miss his World Series Baseball Games.

I remember when he found out that I was making Carrot Pudding for my Dad’s Birthday which was the 5 Nov., (one day before his.)  Each year after that, I made Carrot Pudding for both of them.  No matter what I canned for him, he always labeled my bottles so carefully and made sure I got them back, he also did the same with Betty’s bottles.

I remember when Dora thought that his “Pacemaker” wouldn’t let him die when it was his time to go.  I remember when we went down right after he got his Pacemaker, and found him out splitting logs.  He told Portia later that he couldn’t do anything without Reeve and Rocena catching him, Reeve tried to keep it split up for him.

I remember when we were down there, He and I had this thing between us, I had to always keep his tin can on the shelf over the sink, he said the water always tasted better in a tin can.  He had his straight peeler and I had my kind, he always kept the knives sharp for me and where I could find them, he said it was so I wouldn’t cut myself and I have his two paring knives today.

I remember what a Craftsman he was.  When he made little rocking chairs for each family for Christmas.  And how, when he made ours, he made it big enough for me to sit in and I love and use it all the time.  He was always making something, and just think what he could have done if only he had, had the proper tools.

I remember when he’d come into my kitchen when I was cooking or baking and just sit around the table and talk and watch, he said he wanted to be there when the hot stuff came out of the oven.

I remember the Apricot tree out behind the house that he said had thorns on it.  He said he was tired of hitting his on it and cut it down.

I remember when his team won the Pool tournament at the Senior Citizens.  He loved to go down there and play pool with the guys.

I remember when Randy got permission to call his Grandpa on his 80th. Birthday Openhouse, Randy was on his mission in Northern California at the time.

I remember the Penny Jar which they kept on the Piano all the time.  They kept it there for their grandkids when they came to see them.  He gave them pennies to go to Riddles store for candy and all the kids loved this treat and the very first thing they did after getting there was get their pennies and head for Riddles, this was when you could buy penny candy and you could buy a lot of candy for 10 pennies.  He used the Penny Jar for other things too, like the Primary Penny Parade.

I remember how gentle and kind he was to all his grandchildren, I never ever heard him raise his voice or get upset with any of them.

I remember when he went fishing with some of his buddies, one of them, Roy Chidester,  was always telling stories said there was a tree on the hillside which he said looked like a horses head every time they passed it.  Arnon and the others got so tired of hearing about it that one day when Roy wasn’t with them, they went and cut a limb off the tree.

I remember when Grandma got sick with “Lupus”, he really worried about her.  After a while it kind of affected her mind and she knew that someone was breaking into their home while they slept and taking things.  She insisted that he put flour on the floor or tie string to the door knob, so as to have proof.  He thought it silly but after awhile he did it so as to have some peace.  He worried about her home alone while he was gone from home working.

I remember how bad he felt when he couldn’t take care of her anymore and had to bring her up here for help.  She stayed with us for a while and he’d come up every weekend to see how she was doing.  She was glad to see him each time that he came but was also so mean to him, she would just pound on him and swear at him, not knowing what she was doing.  He just took it, he knew that this was not the gentle woman that she was and that she never swore or would not let anyone else do it either.  Dennis just moved in with Randy and gave her his bedroom.  My boys understood, I also remember how hard it was getting her in and out of the bathtub and making her eat.

I remember when he had to put her into the Provo hospital, he just couldn’t do by himself so Max and Reeve went with him to make the arrangements.  I remember when they came home , it was late.  Clista and I had to dress her and get her ready.  She wanted to know where we were going and we told her for a ride but she kept asking, “Where are you taking me?”  I really think she knew.

I remember when we went each week on Thursday to see her.  She loved us to come and visit her and she looked forward the great big Orange drink that we took for her each time.  She said, she knew we were coming because we always did.

I remember when Grandpa would come to me and want to talk.  We had many good talks, we talked about her many times and what he was going through.  He understood that it was her illness, because ordinarily she was so gentle and kind.

I remember, through our many talks, we became real good friends.  It was at this time, he really needed a sounding board and I was glad I was there for him, to listen to his problems, his hopes and his desires.  I have laughed with him and I have cried with him, I have seen him so upset when his hearing aid failed.

I remember how lonely he would be, so he would jump in the car and head for Cedar City and down to see Roger and family and couldn’t stand being away from home so back he went.  He couldn’t stand it there so he would come up here to Salt Lake because he couldn’t stand being home alone.  It was after her death that our friendship grew.  He was feeling sad one day because this would be his first Thanksgiving alone and wondered what he would do for dinner and where he would go.  It was then that I decided to have his Thanksgiving on his Birthday, which was Nov. 6.  This was the year we were going with my family for Thanksgiving and I told him he could go with us also, which he did.

This is why we have his Birthday Dinner every  other year on the Saturday, closest to the Nov. 6, day which is his birthday.

” We still celebrate, even now.”

I remember when Kory came to dinner one year, he wanted to know where the guest of honor was and I told him that he was here, because he had been pushing me all day.

I remember that fateful morning at 5:00 A.M. when Neil Magelby called and I answered the phone and he said Grandpa had been killed in a car accident.  Reeve and I have talked about this many times, we knew that his car would take him.  This is why we tried to go with him as much as we could, we knew if we didn’t he would go alone.

He is here today —– he always is, he was a great person, lovable father and grandfather and a special friend.  I am proud to have been part of his life.




















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