Long life together brings happiness to Price couple
Wardella and Lamar Edwards like to sit on their from porch swing in the cool of the evening and watch the sun go down. They both have spent almost 92 years on this Earth watching sunsets and sunrises.
Wardella is quick to tell you that her name is one of a kind. She was going to be named Priscilla, but then her father was off fighting in the war and her grandfather thought it would be a good tribute if it had the word war in it. Her mother settled on Della and her father added the War to the front and she became Wardella. Her sister got the name Priscilla.
That happened in November of 1918 in Richfield. Over on the other side of the mountain in Sanpete County, there was a little baby that had been born on October 6 of that same year in Sterling. That baby was Lamar and he was destined to head to Price and finally meet little Wardella and fall in love.
Wardella was known as Wardie or blondie to all that knew her. Much of her early years have faded into the distant part of her memories, but she can remember the kitchen floor in their house sloped down and she and her sister used to roller skate in there. She thinks her mom was okay with it because they did it a lot.
Her family had one of the only cars in town and they loved to drive it loudly past the neighbors houses. They also had the first telephone around and spent a lot of time running to get their neighbors and friends when phone calls came in for them.
Lamar's family did not have a car or phone. He spent his days helping around the house. They had family in Emery County and it took two days by wagon to go down through Manti and Salina and then up Salina Canyon to Moore. Lamar remembers sleeping in the wagon in one of the two tunnels along the way.
Those tunnels still exist today off I-70 and can be seen driving west on the highway. They act as passage for the frontage road.
Lemar spent his summers in Moore herding cows. He had a horse drop dead from right under him once. He got his own little race horse and loved to let it run across the open lands as fast as it could go.
His family moved to Carbon County when he was about four. His father was a coal miner and went to work at the mines in Hiawatha.
Wardella's family headed to Price when she was in the third grade. They spent a lot of time traveling back and forth between Richfield and Price for much of the time she was growing up. They used to stop and eat lunch at the top of the canyon before heading down the long unpaved road.
She also liked to swim and did whatever she could to raise enough money so she could buy a season pass to the local pool each summer. Her blond hair was almost white from the sun by the end of the each season.
By the time Lamar was older, his family had moved to Kenilworth. After high school, he began working in the mine. He likes to say that he worked in the mines, but never mined coal. That's because he worked as an electrician and a mechanic.
Right around the time of Pearl Harbor, he and one of his brothers were facing the draft. So they joined the Navy. He spent much of World War II in the Navy. His mother had all five of her sons in the military during that conflict. One was in the Army Air Force and the rest chose the Navy.
Lamar served on four different ships including an aircraft carrier, a cruiser and a battleship. He spent much of his time in the Pacific, but did also see some action in the Atlantic. While others did not return from the war, he did not have even one injury to show for his time in the service.
He returned to Price and was ready to settle down. He hung around with a group that included Wardella's sister Priscilla. Through her he met and fell in love with Wardella.
Her friend Lola said it wouldn't work. How wrong she was. They have now been married for 62 years now.
He went back to work for Horse Canyon Coal Company until he retired for first time. Wardella found work with the telephone company when calls had to patched through. When people called in with a fire or other disaster, she first had to call the firemen and then pull the cord to sound the alarm. She giggled as she recounted the time she pulled so hard the rope broke and they could not shut the alarm off.
For a while she worked for a doctor as a nurses aid. She recalls that he used to take tonsils out right there in his office and she would be right by his side assisting as he wielded the scalpel. Things at the doctors office were much different than they are today.When the doctor she worked for headed off to California, she went to work at JC Penney's. She really loved that job and the interaction with everyone in the community.
The couple raised two boys. Larry is the oldest and then there was Allen. They now have five grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren to light up their lives. They both delight in hearing the screen door open and a young voice hollering "Hey grandma, where are you?"
Lamar went to work for the College of Eastern Utah as the supervisor of buildings and grounds after his retirement from Horse Canyon. He enjoyed the job and felt like he had the "world by the tail" because he got to hang around with the elite crowd. He finally quit for good and says he has been truly retired longer than all the time he actually worked in his life.
Both have thoroughly enjoyed their life here in Price. But one thing that they miss is some of the grand old buildings that used to grace the town. There was the old high school and the tabernacle. Wardella smiles as she thinks about sitting in the balcony of the grand old building and reveling in its beauty.
The family spent a lot of time hunting, fishing and camping until it became to difficult for them to do it. They also traveled a lot after they quit working, with Quartzsite, Ariz. being a favorite destination. But they don't go since many of their friends are no longer alive to visit with anymore.
Fond memories of their son Larry standing in the back yard with his arms stretched out for the pigeons to land on remind them of a simpler time. Both of their boys liked to lay on their stomachs on a small wooden bridge across one of the many canals that crisscrossed the town and catch water skeeters in mason jars. Wardella's mother even saved Larry once when he wandered out to the canal when he shouldn't have. She actually gabbed his hair as he was going under and pulled him back to the side.
Wardella says she can't remember much about her life before she met Lamar. Lamar says his life with Wardella has been good and complete. They each talk about the fact that even though they may not have lead exciting lives, they have been happy.
Tomorrow they plan to once again sit on the porch swing and watch another sunset as the day draws to an end.