Tribute to Addie May
As a little boy, you tend to have certain constants in your life. Grandma
was one of those for me. I always knew where to find her. So even though my
conscious mind knew of her mortality, my spirit didn't want to accept this.
In this way, the expected news of her passing was quite unexpected.
The message arrived to me at work, and under those circumstances, I wanted to
be alone with my thoughts. So I made a cup of tea … a sweet blend that
reminded me of her love of a cup of honey with a little spot of Brigham tea in
it. Ah, but I needed something more … one of Grandma's cookies would be just
perfect, but of course, she had not be up to making cookies for many years, and
while my sister Kim often imitates her recipe around Christmas time, her cookies
were too good to last that long.
But Joseph Smith taught me that the substance of a ritual is not as
important as the meaning behind it, so I popped off to the vending machine
and found an oatmeal cookie that claimed to be Grandma's. With these in
hand, I went down to my computer lab.
Now being alone in a room that sounded like a beehive, I began to muse upon
my life with my Grandma…
You see, my life with Grandma began with my first inklings of sentience.
When I was less than a toddler, my parents won a vacation to Hawaii. Those
of you with children know that the last thing you want with you on a trip
of that nature is a cranky year-old with a cold. So they did what most
young parents do, they drop-kicked me over to Grandma's. She was so good
to me. She would rock me to sleep in her oversized rocker, and sing nursery
rhymes that she learned when she was a year old.
But this little Edenic Garden had a bit of a storm cloud. You see, I would
cry every time I saw Grandpa.
But I was wearing Grandma's arm out, and so she pushed me into Grandpa's arms
and said, "Take care of the boy, I can't hold him anymore." So howling like a
wolf, he took me outside and showed me the sheep, the cows, and the chickens.
And then we popped over to the raspberry bushes to sample a bit of the crop.
Grandpa and I became good friends after that.
When my parents finally returned they made a small wager as to whom I would
go to first, so when they came into the room, they got on either side of me
and started calling. Well, I thumbed my nose at both of them and went to
Grandma. I was Grandma's boy, and had been ever since.
Each year I would come down and spend most of the summer on the farm,
jumping on the haystacks and scaring the chickens … oh yeah, and picking
raspberries. Often I crossed the street where a little stream flowed
through a small grove of trees. I know what you are all thinking and you're
right, it was heaven for a little boy. I made little boats out of twigs and
leaves and watched the dragonflies buzz around. One day I found a frog, and
not just any frog. This was the largest frog in the world. It was nearly
the size of me. Of course, I must say that the frog grew every year that
Grandma told me this story. Well, it took me some time, but I finally
caught it. It was beautiful. Smooth brownish green skin on one side and
pale yellow on the other.
I was pretty proud of myself for catching the frog too, so I thought I'd
bring him over so Grandma could admire him. As he had a bit of mud stuck on
the top of his head, I carefully washed him off. I didn't want to show
Grandma a dirty frog. Then I hefted this alien creature across the street,
and at the bottom of the steps I started calling out for Grandma to come
and see what I had. By the time she came to the door, I was up to the top
of the steps with my last remaining strength hoisted him up for her to get
a better view. I believe that most of you can imagine the joy that Grandma
felt coming around the corner to see this foot-long frog. She
screamed. Now I was surprised, so much so, I dropped the frog. When I
finally got my composure and somewhat over my shock at Grandma's reaction,
I started to cry and said, "Now look what you've done, you got him all
Well, each night I would sleep in Grandma's bed and we would talk most of the
night. She would tell me stories about her childhood in Price, and what Leona
said to Fern, and what Ernie did--usually telling me the same things every
night. But that sort of thing doesn't matter to a young boy, what was so
incredible was that she would just talk to me and give me her attention. That
was more joy than any toy could give.
One summer I asked her to read me one of the books in her library. I had
heard about a movie called Bambi (although I hadn't seen it), and found a
book of the same title. It still surprises me that everyone knows of
Disney's version, but no one knows of the book that it was based on. It was
a 300 page novel that took all summer to read. It wasn't really a story of
a deer and how his mother got shot, it was a story of the forest and of
life. The story begins with Bambi born in the spring and walks him through
his life until his death … in the winter. This story that illustrates the
cycle of nature mirrors the journey that we all go through, for we are all
players in this drama of life. It isn't Grandma that we cry for, it is for
us. For we will miss her and her spunky character. And we will miss that
part of us that goes with her.
Many, many years later, Grandma had a series of strokes, so we moved
Grandma into my dad's house and I dropped out of school to help take care
of her--no, it wasn't that noble, I hated school, and I actually wanted
a chance to repay her for her kindness to me as a child. I never realized
it, but it was that bonding with me for so many years that actually gave me
a greater self-esteem that helped me over the traumas of my life.
Well, it was during this time that she continued to tell me the stories
that she used to tell me on the farm. Most of these stories I had quite
forgotten. And just about every night after a dinner of tomato and cheese
on a bit of toast … yes, most people would call that a sandwich, but
since Grandma hated sandwiches, we had to remove the top slice of bread and
call it tomato and cheese on a slice of toast. Anyway, after dinner
Grandma would begin to tell me her stories, most of which she had already
told me at breakfast. But it didn't matter, as the stories would change a
little bit every time she told them. Especially the frog, it just kept
getting bigger and bigger.
Addie May Simons
|Born:||1 May 1904|
|Died:||2 Jan 1997|
|Place:||Salt Lake City, Utah|
||Curtis Barton Abrams|
30 Oct 1923
21 Aug 1955
||Jack Abrams |
Clyde "Buddy" Abrams
Howard Abrams, Sr.
Seeing her in that state where she could barely walk (and for many months
she couldn't even do that), I began to see this day. The day that she couldn't
tell me those stories. So I set up a video camera in the corner of the room
and began getting our sessions on tape. Of course, I had heard these
stories so many times that I could often recite them better than she could,
but if I didn't laugh on queue, she would think that I wasn't listening.
So, if you watch our tapes, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain
with the forced laugh.
While sitting alone in my lab sipping my tea, Grandma stopped by for a
"What's all that on your face?"
"Oh hi, Grandma. It's a beard."
"What, do you want to look like Old Joe Bush?" she
would always say.
"Don't worry, I'll shave before I get down to Utah. By
the way, who is Joe Bush and why do I not want to look like
I never did get a good answer to that question, but it was good to talk to
"Honey," she would often say, "I'm going to let you in on a
little secret. I don't want to die and get stuck down there in the
"To tell you the truth Grandma, I really don't think
you'll notice. However, if you want, after you're dead, stop by my place
and live with me, and haunt me all you want."
"Oh honey, I wouldn't want to scare you."
"Grandma, you couldn't scare anyone … even if you
Grandma, please come by and let's talk like we use to. For I have so many
stories I want to hear and so much I want to say … but most of all, I
want to say thanks. I love you and I miss you.
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Published Obituary for Addie May Simons
Addie May (Jo) Simons, beloved wife and wonderful mother, grandmother,
aunt, sister and friend passed away peacefully from natural causes in Salt
Lake City at 1:44 PM on Jan. 2, 1997. She was 92 years old and lived a
truly exemplary life. She was an active life long member of the LDS Church
and had many important callings in the Relief Society, Primary and Sunday
She was born in Moroni, San Pete County, Utah on May 1, 1904 to Celestia
and Andrew Oman. She was born into a large family of twelve children - six
boys and six girls. She married Curtis Barton Abrams on Oct. 30, 1923 in
Castle Dale, Utah. Shortly afterward, they moved to southern California
where they lived for many years. They moved back and forth between
California and Utah several times during their marriage, they finally moved
back to Utah for good in 1950. One year after their return, her husband of
32 years passed away from a sudden heart attack on Oct. 28, 1951. After
four years, she married Keith Simons on August 21, 1955. Together, they
spent 30 wonderful years in the peaceful city of Salem, Utah. They loved
every minute that they were together. He passed away on May 29, 1986.
She was preceded in death by two sons, one great grandson and her two
husbands. She is survived by two sons, Jack Abrams of Price, Utah and
Howard Abrams of Salt Lake City, Utah, one brother, Dorse Oman of Sandy,
Utah, 13 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren and 3 great, great
She was not only a model mother to her sons, each a shining example of the
principles she taught them, but her legacy lives on in the lives of her
posterity. In addition, she touched many more lives than just those in her
own family. Everyone who knew her, knew of her love and caring. She always
had kind and encouraging words to say and shouldered the burdens of others,
as if they were her own. Whatever she possessed, she always shared
generously with both her family and her friends.
Heaven also blessed her with many talents and she worked hard to develop
them. Some of her well known talents included a wonderful singing voice and
a natural ability in designing and making various types of arts and crafts.
She was also well known for her talents in cooking and homemaking. She was
especially loved for her hospitality. No one could ever visit her home
without being offered something to eat - either a full fledge meal or at
the very least a special desert or other treat. She would never allow her
guests to refuse her food offerings.
With her beautiful alto singing voice she never passed up an opportunity to
share it with others. She studied under BYU Professor, Dr. Robert Madsen
and was a member of many outstanding choirs. She performed in hundreds of
concerts and cantatas throughout the West, including many in the LDS
Tabernacle on Temple Square. With her brother, they shared their talents at
hundreds of funerals and church services, bringing much joy and comfort
with their songs. She truly touched the lives of all who knew her.
It fitting that her funeral should be held in this beautiful Stake Center,
because she and her late husband Keith donated the property upon which this
building now stands.
For now and in the future, we will always remember her and love her and
remember the principles that she stood for. And even though we are grateful
that she has been released from the pain and suffering of old age and we
draw comfort in the knowledge that she will now be with her loved ones who
preceded her to the Spirit World, we will still miss her sweet spirit, her
wonderful sense of humor, her quick wit and her never ending love. Oh how
very much we will miss her.
A viewing was held at the Walker Mortuary, 187 South Main St., Spanish
Fork, Utah on Sunday, January 5, 1997 between 6-8 PM. Funeral Services were
held in the Salem Stake Center.