Biography of Ida Roxana Bushman by Elden LaVern Stewart
Ida is his great aunt. Elden is the son of Nancy Charlotte Bushman Stewart and Angus Lamoni Stewart (stepson of Evan J. Ruesch or Rousch.)
When Elden was asked to participate in a sacrament meeting for some rest home residents, he “wondered what I would talk about.” “Then,” he says, “I remembered some events at the rest home and things that had happened in my life. I thought about Aunt Ida when she was old and told me when I was on the Lord’s errand I could do whatever was needed. Things just popped into my mind and it wasn’t long until those old ladies all had tears in their eyes. I didn’t hesitate once and put all the emphasis in the right place like that of the old rocker in the story.” It wasn’t long before he was requested to tell his story in different settings.
“My Aunt Ida somewhat raised me,” says Elden, “and always made sure I had money and went to school. She gave me odd jobs to earn the money and always met me at her gate as I came home from school. She always told me to make something of myself. So you see, it was easy to write a poem and story about her.”
by Elden L. Stewart
In the glider we sat facing each other
Talking envisioned future dreams she inspired
“Be a somebody,” she said, “a somebody”
Like the flowers about her she blossomed
Her wisdom gave she freely, eagerly I listened
“Be a somebody, a somebody,” she said
A sheep man’s woman was her lot
Wash the bedding, cook for hungry shearers
Prepare the victuals shepherds eat
Eggs from her poultry prepared she sent
Husband sustained in all his doings
Love, Love, home a haven enthroned
No one loves a nobody, be a somebody.
She taught this truth and example lived
Like her flowers, all beauty she radiates
Simple she prepares her meals: cheese, sandwich, cold milk
Conversation is her dessert, oh so sweet her voice
Reward for my wages, a smile and a thank you
Tasks completed, chop the wood, beautiful her yard
Pick the apples, harvest cache in cellar cool
Awaiting winter’s first bite, crunching oh so sweet
A pocket full for eating and one for teacher’s desk
At her gate she awaits my coming home from school
“What have you learned today, tell me?” she’d say
In her rocker back porch she rocks away
I envision her still today as if yesterday
Rocking away with a neighborly hello friends pass by
Transit and poor, hungered gave them drink and eat
To the least of these also ye have done it unto me
Aware she praised my progress, scholarly and deeds
Be a somebody, she reminds me, a somebody
Stills the air a small voice her presence yet I feel
Wrinkled and deplete her body wore away
Aged we spoke of each other one more time
I love you in tears we embraced, spoke not a word
It’s been so long, so long, I’ve missed you
A sandwich, cold milk and cookie treat
We talked, reminisced, treasured hours gone by
A sweet goodbye she stands still in doorway waves
Gone sweet dreams, she sleeps, lights out, now she rests.
I see her still her voice ever so clear
“Be a somebody, be a somebody,” then gone
She lays there in bier a shamble of what was
Beautiful yet I see her clear, Cinderella she appears
Just rocking away smiling she says “Be a somebody?”
Still, stills the air, reminisces “Where does it fly?”
“Be a somebody young man, be a somebody.”
Eating lunch and conversation just Aunt Ida and I.
In the Jacob Bushman Family photos below, Ida is the sister in the middle.
IDA ROXANNA BUSHMAN ANDERSON
14 Sep 1879 – 28 Apr 1970
In 1884 great grandfather [Jacob Bushman ] was called on a mission to colonize St. John’s, Arizona. He sold his property in Lehi and headed out for Arizona with his family. Aunt Ida Roxanna (Anderson) was five years old at that time. Aunt Ida remembers helping her father drive the cattle all the way to Arizona. A. J. Anderson (Aunt Ida’s son) informed me that his grandfather lost most of their cattle to marauding Indians who stole them for food. Jacob tried to make friends with the Indians, but when they were hungry they drove off his livestock. After several years of such harsh living and having lost almost all his stock Jacob gathered up his little family, disheartened by failure and headed back to Utah. This time Aunt Ida rode a horse most of the way.
In conversation with Uncle A.J., I learned the story of the courtship of his father and mother. It seems his father, Archibald Robert Anderson, herded sheep in the area of the Anderson farm some distance to the west of great grandfather’s farm. It was the policy to take the sheep down the Brady Ditch for a drink now and then. It was on one of these watering trips that he spied the beautiful Ida Bushman. Ida was cooling off with her feet in the water and playing in the ditch with her homemade boat. As Uncle Archie looked down from his horse at young Ida it was Love at first sight and his heart jumped a few extra beats. I am sure that Ida also wondered who this handsome young knight in sheepherder clothing could be. At first the conversation was just a ‘hi’ and a ‘hello’ for the shy couple, but as time went on, watering the sheep became a daily routine and the conversations increased. Ida could hardly wait each day for the wise herder, Archie, to resume the conversation. It wasn’t long until the two were well acquainted, knowing each other’s likes and dislikes. It was what you might call a sheepherder and country gal courtship. At any rate the courtship continued and the two soon became united as husband and wife.
From that time on Ida became a sheepman’s lady. She was an excellent cook and knew just how to prepare a good brown mutton roast with mashed potatoes smothered with brown gravy made with the drippings from the roast, together with all the other fixins.
In his later years, Uncle Archie liked a little rest after he had eaten such a good meal and would take a small nap on the rest bed by the window. The bed was not exactly a sofa bed, but rather a leather stuffed one-man-bed with a little rise on the one end. After his rest, he would go outside and take care of his chores or visit the sheepherd to the east in the nearby hills. I remember Aunt Ida telling me it was on such a bed on which her father had passed away. He, too, had eaten a good dinner and felt a little tired. “I want to rest for awhile as I am tired now after such a good meal,” he said. He just passed away there calmly sleeping. I am glad I remembered this about my great grandfather.
Early in the spring the sheep would be brought in from the desert to shear. There is a little house in the back yard now used as a granary. This house used to sit on the old farm. It was here that Aunt Ida used to cook for the sheep shearers. In those days they used shears much like the ones used to trim grass only with big long spring blades. Today they use electric shears which are much faster. Uncle A.J. grew up with the job of shearing. His job was bag tromping. Bags about ten or twelve feet long and three or four feet in diameter were stuffed with wool fleeces that had to be tromped down. The bags were taken up to the railroad to be shipped to wool factories for further processing. Spring time was working time for the Andersons, there was wool to be sheared, men to be fed, clothes to be cleaned, bedding to be washed for summer camps and young lambs to be docked. Sheep were separated into herds (the drys or those that didn’t produce lambs from the mother ewes).
There wasn’t much time for play or recreation. The sheep were herded to the summer range where coyotes were a constant threat to the young lambs, then in the fall they were brought to Bear Flat where the bears loved to eat lush choke cherries and elder berries. Uncle Archie has told me several stories about bears that molested the sheep and the herders. There never was a dull moment in the sheep business. There were the good parts too, however, with a meal of sour dough bread smothered with Aunt Ida’s jam or butter and honey, fried mutton that melted in your mouth, fresh cold spring water, a bottle of Aunt Ida’s fruit and the smell of the mountain pine, elders and brush in your nostrils, herding was no longer a chore but an aroma of mountain lush all bottled up as perfume. I experienced many of these trips with Uncle Archie and Uncle A.J. up in the mountains.
As a boy, the Andersons kept me quite busy, especially Aunt Ida. After school and on weekends, I worked in her vegetable garden and especially her flower beds which she took great pride in. On one project she had me make her a trellis for her climbing roses. It was a three piece project, big enough to walk under as the old one had rotted away. This one gave the roses plenty of room to climb over sort of like a bridge. I got an ‘A’ in shop that quarter for the project. She also needed a wheelbarrow to haul her trash in. This, too, I made in shop and got another ‘A.’ It was wooden gates and other projects from then on to keep the ‘A’s’ coming. Aunt Ida was concerned about my education and was always waiting on the porch or by the front gate when I came home from school, just to see how things were going for me. When I needed a little extra money for a date or Junior Prom, she had a job for me to do to earn that extra money. She asked me one time what I wanted to become in life and without thinking I said, “anything but a sheepherder.” I thought she was going to blow her top and I got a good lecture on the advantages of the sheep business. She knew all of them and didn’t miss an item. Well, the fact was that my high school teacher, Mr. Madsen, had taught all us boys to raise our heights and ambitions least of all not to be a sheepherder as anyone could do that. Well, I had heard this brain washing so many times that out it came. It was the biggest mistake I ever made around Aunt Ida and was never to speak a word of it again. The fact is that I did herd sheep one spring and in the year book it noted Elden Stewart sheepherder future objective. Aunt Ida did have higher Hopes for me than this however and helped me in my first year at Snow College with the usual jobs for extra cash. She provided the way for me to get my new dress clothes for the Junior Prom and many other events. She always wanted me to go on and achieve my best, which I tried to do using her as an example.
As I said, Aunt Ida was a sheepman’s woman. She supported her husband in everything he did. Uncle Archie held many positions in the church and as a result when the general authorities came to town, Aunt Ida housed them. It was nothing but the best for the Church leaders. She used to tell me the stories about each of these authorities and what they taught in conference. I suppose this is partly where she got so much of her wisdom from in life. If ever there was a problem, she had an answer for it. Once she told me she wanted to raise me as a baby because my father rejected me saying I wasn’t his. She gave father a good tongue lashing and that was the end of it. She was willing to raise me if dad still persisted, but mother would have none of it. The beauty of it all was that I spent half my time at her home anyway, which I shall never regret.
Mealtimes were something special at Aunt Ida’s. Just before lunch time she would send me down to the Fairview Merc to get a slab or two of cheese, a little lunch meat, milk, and some goodies. When I got back she had the table set for the two of us with a small bouquet of flowers as a center piece. Some sandwiches were quickly made with a glass of cold milk. We ate and talked, had a short rest and went back to work. She had a few chickens in the back yard that needed constant cleaning and care for the coop. “Got to have some eggs for breakfast and the herders,” she used to say.
She loved her vegetable garden and when it got to the point she could no longer take care of it with its night time watering and all she made a small garden in front of that old apple tree. She had a small row of everything with four tomato plants. One day she sent mother out to bring in some fresh carrots to make a mutton stew. As she was cleaning off one extra big carrot there was her wedding ring grown around the carrot. She had lost it many years ago while working in her flower garden. Uncle Archie had bought her a new one so she gave the old one to mother. When times got hard for mother after father died she sold it (as it was pure gold) to get a little extra money. I wish she had kept it as a keepsake now.
I remember one special incident when I was about twelve years old. Aunt Ida gave me a call one early winter morning. The bucks had to be moved to the desert to mate with the mother ewes. The roads were all snowed in and the graders hadn’t opened the Round Knolls road yet. Uncle A.J. needed some help and she called upon me knowing I could be depended upon. She had an old wool sweater, a cap and some warm gloves prepared for me. She buttoned me up in one of Uncle Archie’s old coats and said, “Don’t want you to catch cold and get your death of pneumonia.” I slipped on some of her old rubber boots that were a little large and she ushered us out the door. It wasn’t long until I was glad of the extra warmth as we trudged through the deep snow of about sixteen inches. Ice seemed to form around our nostrils at every breath as we walked about two miles to the back pasture. Uncle A.J. kept me busy listening to stories about sheepherding up east and taking supplies to the camp with the team of horses. He reiterated stories about moving the sheep to the west desert in which he drove the old Conestoga wagon which had been housed in the back shed for twenty years or more. I enjoyed his short sermons to keep my mind off the cold. It wasn’t long until we had the bucks headed towards Fairview and just as we rounded the last bend, here came the grader. When we got home with the sheep about noon, Aunt Ida was waiting with a hot meal and some hot chocolate to wash it down as we sat around her old Majestic stove that she had fired up to warm ourselves. That day I received warmth in more than one way that I shall never forget. Aunt Ida sent me home with her special smile which was a little extra besides the money it was a smile of ‘thank you’ that I shall never forget.
In the fall Uncle A.J. brought Aunt Ida her winter supply of wood for her Majestic. In earlier days he brought her a load of quaking aspen from Bear Flat down the old sheep trail that four-wheel trucks now use to get up the face of the east mountain. It was Uncle Marion’s chore to saw the wood up into blocks with his model T saw jigger. My chore was to chop the blocks into kindling. She could have had one of the latest electric stoves, but she would have none of it. She knew just the right temperature for baking bread by touching the oven door with her wet finger.
Just east of her home was a big apple tree with a broken down glider swing that we often sat in and talked. With a little effort the swing would give a little action, but it was mainly used for soft talk resting. This we did many times as she loved company. In the fall I would climb the tree and pick the apples on shares. For lunch she often split open one of these huge apples and sprinkled some brown sugar, cinnamon and a dab of sauce to bake in the oven. It made a great feast with a scoop of ice cream. Some of them were dried and stored in brown paper bags in her cold cellar beneath the house. In the winter the dried apples came out to make apple pie and sweet pudding with raisins, prunes, and a delicious sauce. In the back of the root cellar were the winter apples that I picked and stored for her. Here we also stored some of her carrots, potatoes, turnips and squash. After school I always stopped to pick an apple off her tree to eat on the way home. In the winter the cellar was always open to me to take a pocket full to eat that night while listening to Amos ‘n Andy on the radio.
When Uncle Archie was taken sick with cancer, Aunt Ida had her hands full as a full time nurse. She had gallon cans of Clorox to wash his bedding and clothes in. Her Wards ABC washer and her clothes lines were constantly loaded. She didn’t have much time for me except an occasional dropin to see how Uncle was doing. Mother helped with her house cleaning and such. After Uncle Archie passed away it was a great relief and yet sad for the loss of her eternal partner, but she had the pioneer spirit and wasn’t one to easily give up. She kept herself busy so that she didn’t have time to think of her troubles. She was always looking for ways to help others. Uncle A.J. more or less took over her affairs and the sheep business; however, she continued to keep the sheep camps going.
She now had more time to renew our acquaintances and there was work to be done to keep the place up. The old wood sidewalk leading back to the farm yard needed replacing. She made arrangements with the lumber yard to deliver some planking for the job. She supervised as I tore out the old rotted planks and laid the new ones. During the process we found five of Uncle Archie’s pocket knives, numerous coins, buttons and whatnots that had been lost. All but the money were in sad shape. Uncle Archie loved to whittle about his work and I suppose it was on these whittling times that he lost his pocket knives. She also had me replace the old wooden bridge leading to Uncle Archie’s garage. I might add that it was here that he parked his old chev sedan. When he backed out and went down the street he would rev the engine at a high speed and let out the clutch a habit he never overcame. With a jerk the car sped down the street. Needless to say the clutch was worked on more than any other part of his car.
One day while I was mowing her lawn, old man Ottesen came up the sidewalk carrying a gunny sack full of groceries. He lived up the lane about another half mile. He looked all tuckered out as he passed the Anderson home. Aunt Ida motioned him to stop for a rest and insisted I help him carry his load home. I wasn’t back for another hour, but she still paid me for that hour of work. That’s the way she was, always looking after others.
She had one gripe in life that was her neighbor’s unkept barnyard. At times the north wind brought the most horrible smells to her open kitchen window. When it came irrigation time the ditch that came through the corral had to be rebuilt. The animals leaned over the fence and it was in constant need of repair and all her friendly urging just didn’t work. It was a constant harassing to keep things going. “Good fences make good neighbors.” Yet in her heart she forgave the neighbor and just lived with it hoping the problem might go away. She told me a story about Abe Lincoln and an old stump he had that was a problem. It seems he tried to move it with everything he had. After breaking all his single trees and making the males all balky, he just plowed around the stump and let it rot away. That was the solution to her problem. She used to say, “just plow around the stump and let the problem rot away if you can’t do anything else.” That was my Aunt Ida always trying to look at something positive rather than negative.
As the years passed by, hard work began to take a toll on my dear aunt. I had gone off to work, to school and was later married. The visits hadn’t been as frequent as they should have been. At any rate every chance I got I tried to pay her a short visit and tell her how things were going. She was still concerned about my future. One day she asked my mother if I might come down next weekend and she would have lunch prepared. She wanted to meet my wife as she wasn’t able to get to our wedding. The next week I prepared to visit Aunt Ida. She waited for me all day and hoped I hadn’t forgotten. She had prepared the usual simple but delicious lunch that we had eaten in our earlier years. We both knew it might be one of our last times together. We talked about my younger days, but most of all she was concerned how I was doing. I now had my teacher’s credentials and I was teaching school. She also wanted to know what I was doing in serving the Lord. I was proud to answer all her questions in the positive. She said she was proud of me and knew I could succeed if I kept close to the Lord.
As I left I took a picture of Aunt Ida on the front porch which I still have. It wasn’t long until she moved to Salt Lake to be with her daughter Helena. One Sunday I had a strong impression to visit her. My wife and I drove up to the east of Salt Lake to Helena’s home and rang the door bell. Helena opened the door and recognizing me said, “Mother, it’s Elden.” We embraced for a moment with tears in each of our eyes. “I knew you would come and see me,” she said. She would have nothing more than to hurry and fix us something to eat just plain graham crackers with a cold glass of milk; it was the conversation that made it all worthwhile. Since it was getting late, we embraced again and said goodbye, not knowing that this was the final goodbye we would have. From there Aunt Ida was taken to a rest home where she passed away. I like to remember her smiling at our last parting rather than as a tired, weak, weary vegetable in bed unable to do what the mind wanted to do. She is resting now away from life’s chores with her husband, never to be parted in eternal joy. She lives yet.