Many of our recollections of Lyle and Joyce are brief but still provide a great picture of life in the Miller home. I think it’s worthwhile for me to share these as I receive them from the siblings and grandchildren. Perhaps the vignettes will awaken more memories and grow into a full-blown “Tall Tale.” Please keep them coming!
Caring for Parents
Joyce was always concerned with her parents and their welfare. A few years after Grandpa Reynolds death, Grandma Theresa Reynolds suffered a debilitating stroke. Lyle and Joyce brought Grandma Reynolds to our home and set up the downstairs bedroom for her. Joyce was very attentive, greatly assisting in Grandma’s eventual recovery and we enjoyed having Grandma in our home.
As Lyle’s parents aged, he and Joyce again set a tremendous example of love and service. (Marianne Miller, April 2015)
During the first 15 years or so of marriage, Joyce kept a meticulous house. Dana and Marianne remember scrubbing table and chair legs with a toothbrush and not being able to play outdoors on Saturdays “until we have our work done.” For a number of years, Joyce had Laura James (“the cleaning lady”) come in to help keep the place tidy and do routine deep cleaning. Marianne never understood why we had to spend hours and hours getting the house clean before Laura arrived!
As the years passed, especially after baby Sammy’s death, Joyce seemed to lose her desire to keep the house looking ship shape. However, even though the house was a mess, drawers and closets were always well-organized and often times even labeled. Whenever Marianne would pitch in to help Joyce with cleaning, Joyce would instruct Marianne just to “put clutter in a box”. The box would eventually get dumped out again when Joyce was looking for something.
In these days before strict child labor laws and OSHA safety protections, Joyce’s cleaning frenzies were not without their hazards. Pressed into servitude one Saturday morning, Joyce insisted that Marianne and Dana assist her with dusting. As Joyce cleaned the glass on a heavy floor lamp, the glass dropped on Marianne’s head as she cleaned the lamp’s base. It took several stitches to close the wound. Looking back, Marianne suggests that the kids should have found better hiding places as chore time rolled around. (Marianne Miller, March 2015)
Crazy Bat Lady
For some reason, occasionally a wayward bat would find its way into the Miller house. Like most kids, we were scared of these “flying mice” and legends of their thirst for blood. Joyce usually lead the hunting expedition, which was always filled with much excitement, accompanied by screaming.
Marianne (March 2015) remembers a bat being discovered in the house. During the chase, the bat landed baby Sammy’s bassinet while he was in it. You can imagine how Joyce attacked that bat with a vengeance to protect her baby. Score at the end of the day: Joyce – 1; Bat – 0.
Rinda (April 2015) vividly remembers Joyce chasing a bat in the upstairs playroom one night. Sprinting around the upstairs clad only in her underwear but armed with a broom, Joyce eventually knocked the bat the floor where it was caught and thrown back out the window.
Joyce Goes Back to School
In the late 1960’s, Lyle’s health was not good. The combination of numerous back surgeries and severe headaches raised the possibility that he would would not be able to work full-time again and Joyce would need to be the primary breadwinner in the family. As it turned out, Joyce qualified for JTPA (Job Training Partnership Act) “Manpower” training. This program allowed her to attend Stevens Henegar College in Ogden. She graduated from Stevens Henegar’s program even though she still didn’t have her high school diploma (which she eventually earned at age 65). The training she received served her well in her future positions with Thiokol-TrackMasterand Schrieber Foods. (Marianne and Dana Miller, April 2015)
Joyce the 4-H Leader
One summer, Joyce took on the role of 4-H leader. Joyce never did anything half-way. She taught be basics of sewing and cooking to these were young teenage girls. One evening she took the girls roller skating at the old “Roller Rink” on the corner of Center and 1st East in Logan. All went well until Joyce, ever the child, fell hard and injured her tailbone. She ended up needing to recuperate with the aid of an inflatable doughnut. (Marianne Miller, April 2015)
The Miller clan didn’t go on many family vacations. One of the few was a trip to Yellowstone National Park in 1964 or 1965. The family traveled in the boat-like 1964 Pontiac Bonneville. We saw Old Faithful, bears and even the destruction that was left after the severe 19XX earthquake. Dana remembers Gordon getting sick in the back seat on the way home, throwing up on the car floor before Lyle could get pulled over. (Marianne and Dana Miller, April 2015)
Old Wringer Washer
During the 1950’s, the family’s washing machine was one of those old style’s with an upright “wringer” that clothes had to go through to wring out most of the water before they were hung up on the outside clothesline. Once, while holding Marianne, Joyce was busy wringing out a load of clothes and somehow Marianne’s arm got pulled into the wringer. Joyce panicked and pulled Marianne’s arm back out of the turning wringer (rather than releasing the top roller). Joyce rushed Marianne down to Dr. Burgess’ office. Dr. Burgess checked her out carefully and, thanks to Marianne’s soft, still developing bones, found nothing broken. (Marianne Miller, April 2015)
Rocks – The Family Jewels
Mother’s rocks and their placement gas become family legend. The year after Dad died I used a hand truck to move her rocks around the yard. I gained a new respect for Dad’s efforts and patience !!
One of the smaller rocks went with me when I moved to ND and NV. One day my manager came to see me and was amazed that a rock had a place of honor in my home.
Since then, I have developed a fondness for rocks, too. I’ve hauled them from Gordon’s house, the Mohave desert and Area 51. Each acquisition makes me think of Mother and Dad and for a moment memories of the house in Hyrum and it’s Crown Jewels come flooding back. (Marianne Miller, April 2016)
At last count, Dana has 25 of Joyce’s rocks in his yard! If anyone would like to adopt one, please let him know. There’s a good chance he’ll even deliver and plant it.
Lyle Pulls a Fast One – Marianne Escapes 2nd Date
For many years, while the boys were playing Little and Pony league baseball, Dad coached the teams and helped out however possible. Things could get hectic at times, such as the time when they no umpire for a game. Dad got busy and started making phone calls. Finally Byron Rawlins from Paradise said he’d do it if Dad would let me go out with him. It doesn’t sound too bad except there was at least a 12 year age difference! The game and first date went well. When Byron called for a 2nd date, Dad told her he was too old!! Too bad…Byron might have been a good candidate to join Mother’s “find a husband for Marianne” endless endeavor. (Marianne Miller, April 2016)