While cleaning out some old boxes, we came across an old cassette. On the cassette, it said: Brooks Interview, written in my father's hand. My brother in-law, Lee Ray, transferred the cassette to a music file and cleaned it up a bit. Here is the interview.

I thought I'd try to put some of the family lore about my Grandma Marjorie here ... mostly so I won't forget it.

Marjorie Hawkins was born Feb. 23, 1910 in Bountiful Utah. She was born to a family descendent of Salt Lake City Mormon pioneers.

Her grandfather, Samuel Harris Hawkins was president of the forty-fifth company of emigrants bound for the Mormon community, sailing on the ship Zeitland in 1849. Unfortunately, Samuel Hawkins would never see the promised land. They'd over-packed for the arduous journey and were forced to stay behind in St. Louis while the rest of their company set out for Salt Lake. The Hawkins family was finally able to make way, late that season, only to arrive in in Cainsville (Now Council Bluffs), too late in the season to find suitable winter quarters. The closest place the family could find was called "twelve mile grove," maybe about 20 miles north-east of Cainsville. There Mr. Harris found an old cabin and fixed it up for the family to live, for the winter. Tragically, he died January 22 of 1852, leaving his wife Miriam to care for their six children. Once might only imagine the bleak outlook Miriam had during those cold winter months. Thousands of miles from their comfortable life in England, committing her husband into god's hands, still facing a difficult crossing of the continental divide before setting eyes on the destination of their religious pilgrimage.

Instead of turning around, Miriam continues on with the journey and arrives in Salt Lake City, late summer of 1852. They make a frugal life working the few jobs available helping to build the surrounding community. Miriam's son, Creighton, marries Charlotte Savage in Salt Lake, in 1869 and they start their own family. Leo Chase Hawkins being their only son, of the four children. Leo Hawkins married Miriam Chase. Together they have four children. Miriam passes away in the summer of the following year, possibly of appendicitis and their youngest, Loretta died a month later. The summer of of 1878 must have been a trying time for Creighton Hawkins and his family.

Marjorie was born to Leo Chase Hawkins and Emma Devine. Emma had come from Oregon. They met at the Utah school for the deaf. Emma lost her hearing as a result of a childhood illness .. Either Scarlett Fever, or Measles. She was the second daughter of four children.

Marjorie attended regular school in Bountiful Utah. Late in high school, her parents told her to move to the Los Angeles area. I believe she initially worked in a laundry shop -- I think owned by a relative. While there, she met Edward Bratt, who had recently moved west from his family's long-time home in the Albany New York region. They were married July 29, 1929.

Marjorie and Edward had two children: Shirley born in 1930, and my father Gerrit, born in 1933. Edward died of a heart attack in 1948, not long after Shirley had started college at BYU. Shirley returned home to help raise Gerrit, even though Gerrit, by then has already started high school. Marjorie had taken a job with the telephone company and remained employed there until she retired. Gerrit went to UCLA in 1950 and Shirley married Bill Mitchell in 1951.

Marjorie married Sidney Earl McClaugherty in 1959. He was my Grandpa Mac. I recall visiting their house in El Segundo, near a park with a Rocket-ship slide that I was very fond of playing on. She and Grandpa Mac retired to Seodona Arizona in the early 1970's. They lived the remainder of their lives together amongst the beautiful red rock scenery of northern Arizona. I recall them talking about journeys to far away places booking passage aboard cargo-ships (this was before the days of the massive container ships we have today). The to of them loved to travel and frequently related their trip stories at family gatherings. Grandpa Mac died in 1986. Marjorie remained in their Sedona home until illness prevented her from living alone just around the dawn of the 21st century, at which time she returned to southern California.  After living for a time with her daughter Shirley, she passed away in 2006, at an age of 96 years.

 I recall asking her, from time to time about her life. She repeatedly said that she hadn't done anything special and there was nothing noteworthy that happened in her life. She was always a frugal person. I always presumed that had to do with her living through the Great Depression of the 1930's. When I was young, she made clothing items and gave them to us for Christmas. I recall a few shirts, while I was probably not terribly appreciative to her, I'd wear until they were just a bunch of threads. Once might imagine that, by comparing ones 20th century life to that of Samuel Hawkins -- who'd given up life of means in London -- and lost everything in an effort  to forge out a new life and build the final homeland for the Mormon community -- that Marjorie might have felt that her life wasn't that interesting.

After I'd started investigating our family history, she asked me why I was so interested in all these dead people. I told her that I felt this helped me understand more about where I'd come from. I don't think she had much for the history of her life. I never learned why that might be. Her brother, Edward Hawkins was quite an avid family history devotee. In fact much of what makes up the Hawkins ancestry comes from his research.

I've been spending the last several weeks rebuilding my family history database / site. I've had numerous unexplained issues with it and I thought, maybe it was time for a refresh.

The new incantation is pretty much the same as the old one, but I added a few new features...

  1. I put in a widget that rotates between images on the front page. While I'll forever love that picture of my great grandma Lenore Speidel, it seemed that other family ancestors ought to have a place there, as well. Next, I want to find a better version that lets me include a link to whomever happens to be on display at the moment.
  2. I added (back) several cemetery records, which I'd somehow omitted in a prior update or two
  3. I've put in more photos of family members. I'll try to continue adding more as time goes on.

I'm sure there will be new bits coming. Sometime soon, I hope to more completely integrate the family history with this site management tool. For example, I'd like to be able to, easily drop in a link between articles here and new information in the family tree. All these things will come ... maybe.