Ruth Gardner Adair Palmer

We have gathered here to celebrate and honor the long, productive life of our Mother and Grandmother.

Ruth Gardner Adair Palmer, passed from this mortal existence on Sunday at 11:30 p.m.,14 November 1999. She was ninety-two years old.

She was born Ruth Gardner on 30 May 1907 in Colonia Moreles in the state of Sonora, Mexico, a colony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As if to set the tone of her life, she came into this world in the middle of an earthquake. Ruth saw the world go from horses and buggies to men walking on the moon. The Twentieth Century has been called the American Century; it was also her century.

As a little girl, she led a happy, sheltered life in Colonia Morelos. Except for mistakenly drinking a glass of lye, (she was saved from an early death by a wise neighbor lady) and nearly being eaten by a large dog, her life in Mexico was a child's paradise. She was the apple of her father's eye, and spoiled by a several older half-brothers.

This all changed dramatically when she was forced to immigrate along with her family to the United States because of the Mexican Revolution led by Pancho Villa in 1912. She remembers seeing Pancho Villa. She vividly remembered him sitting on his big, white horse wearing a black sombero. He had stopped in front of their house with his men and told them they had 24 hours to leave if they didn't want to be caught in the middle of the expected fighting.

They hurriedly loaded up their wagons with what they had to have. Mother had to leave all her baby dolls behind. Ever the mother to everyone, she dressed them all up and put them to bed before leaving. She remembers camping out on the trail the first night. Her mother gave her and her brother a large wash tub and forks, and sent them to pick prickly pear apples. The adults roasted the apples to remove the stickers and improve their taste, then passed them out to everyone but our mother. She was feeling dejected, since after all, she had picked them, until one of the older men noticed and gave her one.

At the border it took nearly a full day to cross because the border guards were very slow and thorough about inspecting and inventorying their belongings. This memory stood out in her mind because the ordeal made her Mother cry. After they crossed the border, U.S. officials sent them to "Tent City," near Douglas, Arizona.

Tent City is where Ruth saw her first automobile, a Model T Ford, which was stuck in the mud. One of her most exciting memories of Tent City is wandering along the railroad tracks and noticing a rope hanging down from the water tower that supplied the train and encampment with water. It looked so enticing, she couldn't resist grabbing hold of it and having a good swing, in the process showering the entire area with all the water in the tower.

After about a month in the tents, her father found a one-room cabin for them to stay in until he could take them to El Paso to catch the train north to Aztec. At the train depot in El Paso, she saw her first electric light. On the trip north, she also saw snow and sheep, a herd of about 500, for the first time. She, her mother, and her brothers were taken to their grandfather Almer's home in Hammond, where he lived in a small two-story house, one room on the ground floor where they ate and slept, and one room on the second floor where he stored corn and other produce. Thus began the next 12 years of her life in Hammond. Her father, Charles F Gardner, joined them in Hammond four years later. One of her stories about life in Hammond, which was not easy, tells about how they preserved food for the winter. They would slice it into small thin pieces and spread it out on a blanket to dry. In order to keep animals out of it, they had the blanket on a high framework. It was her job to stand on a ladder and shoo off the flies. It was a hot, sweaty job and she HATED it! She also told us stories of trips to the river to get water for domestic use, and saving thread from worn-out clothing to stretch their very limited budget. Ruth was still a young girl during the years of "The Great War" now called WWI. She remembers helping the war effort by rolling bandages and knitting socks for the soldiers. She was particularly proud of the fact that she was the one who taught the older women how to knit.

Life in Hammond was not all work. Their little community held dances periodically. Attendance at these dances was usually an all night affair because of the distances they had to travel. Ruth loved these dances, and was always "the belle of the ball." Dancing was a life-long passion for Ruth; she could dances the legs off many a younger woman.

She completed the eighth grade in Hammond, and due to boredom and nothing else to do, she took the eighth grade for a second time. After that she was allowed to assist the teacher in her teaching duties. Her youngest sister, Ruby, was born 4 May 1920. Her father delivered Ruby, then handed her to Ruth to bathe and dress, and told her she was her little mother. Ruby weighed only four pounds, and her mother was in poor health. To this day, Ruby still calls her "Mv Little Mother." At 13, Ruth fell madly in love for the first time, with all the missionaries that came to visit their little branch. Her mother finally had to let her know that falling in love with a missionary was not the right sort of thing to do.