Wednesday, September 14, 2016

My Mother-Leona Linford Bunderson Clement--Born 100 Years Ago Today

Leona Linford Bunderson  was born on Sept 14, 1916 in Brigham City, Utah to Hervin Bunderson and Francis Leona Linford Bunderson.  Her parents were from the Bear Lake country--a high mountain lake on the border of Utah and Idaho. Her father obtained a degree from Utah State Agricultural College in Logan and they came to Brigham City where he was a teacher at Box Elder High School. The photo below was taken in Brigham City and shows the house where she was born, her two sisters, and her mother. She is the youngest and smallest of the sisters.

The photo below shows my mother as a little girl trying to operate a washing machine at one of the relative's houses in Bear Lake.

As a child my mother was very tomboyish. She was a good athlete and did sports until she went into puberty when her parents put a stop to it(the sports that is). She became a good scholar in high school and was chosen as the Snow Queen, shown below. She was also the Brigham City Peach Days Queen. She said she didn't know why her parents allowed her to be these queens, but anyway they did.

After graduating from high school she attended Utah State where she majored in English literature. She also took every class she could in making clothes and clothes design. While at Utah State she met my Father, Erwin Clement, who was from a mining town, Eureka, Utah. They were married in 1936. The photo below I think is from college days.

After graduation my father got a job as the Alumni Secretary for Utah State. They bought a house in Logan and a car. I was born in 1939. My father had a Reserve Army commission through ROTC. He was called to active duty Jan 1 1941 allegedly for one year. Of course after Dec 7 1941 he was in for the duration. He first went to California and then Texas for training and then to New Jersey, from where he shipped out and landed in North Africa on D-Day of the North Africa invasion, November 1942. He then made D- Day landings on Sicily and Southern France, fought his way up the Italian peninsula and ended the war at the Eagle's Nest in southern Germany.

My Mother and I returned to her parents' house in Brigham City. We lived there from about August 1942 until September 1945, when my Dad returned. During that time she sold the house in Logan, sold the car and did whatever with furniture, etc. She went to work for the American Red Cross at Bushnell General hospital, a large Army hospital built at the beginning of WWII in Brigham City. I think this was to keep her busy and not wondering every minute where Dad was. The photo below is of her taken in Brigham City in 1943. It is hard for me to imagine how difficult this time was for her. She was able to not project her fear on me for which I am grateful.

After the war we lived in Nampa and Twin Falls, Idaho and moved to Phoenix in 1951 and to Tucson in 1952. In Tucson she worked in education and retired as the principal of a grade school. After she retired my folks moved to Mesa, where I was living and where her other son, Tyler, moved. The photo below was taken in Tucson in 1974.

My mother contracted lymphoma and died far too early, 6 Jan 1992.

I am eternally grateful for having her as my mother. She loved me and made my life tolerable during the war and always had my best interests at heart. Thanks, Mom, I love you.