Alice Pearl Halladay Lawton
Written By: Lori Rienhardt
March 17, 2023
My Mom’s name was Alice Pearl Halladay Lawton. She was born May 1 1906 on Arsenal Street in Watertown Ny. She was one of seven kids, although an older brother, Roy, died at age 4 so she only knew five siblings. They were Elsie May, Grace Lulabelle, Jay Payne, Ray Burton and Rose Dale. She had Auburn hair as a girl.
After she got out of school (eighth grade which was common back then) she worked as a nanny on Long Island and once in a while would reminisce about swimming in the ocean. She married Lloyd at age 19. After two miscarriages, they had 13 children. Her youngest sister, Rose, spent a lot of time at her house. Rose never had children of her own and became a favorite of our family. Shortly after Mom and Dad were married, they were staying at my grandparent’s house. Rose, who was about 11 at the time, went running into their room and flopped stomach first onto their bed. The bed gave a creak and a groan and went crashing to the floor. They didn’t want to get Rose in trouble so they didn’t tell on her, but they took a heck of a lot of teasing about being newlyweds and breaking the bed!
Around the early 30’s the family lived right next to Fort Drum. The soldiers would come and drink fresh water from their well and eventually the army had to put a guard on the well or the family would have run out of water. Mom baked donuts and sold them to the soldiers. She liked to tell how one day she had three generals in her kitchen sitting around the table eating donuts.
Eventually the family moved to Ogdensburg so Dad could find work. The y lived in a house on Route 68 near the airport which was said to be haunted and she was told the rocking chair would rock with no one there. Mom said that was okay with her – she would put the baby in it and let it rock to free her up to do something else. But she never saw anything strange while she lived there.
Mom always wore house dresses and aprons. I never saw her with pants on while Dad was alive, except once in a while when she would don a pair of Dad’s overalls to unload hay. Shortly after Dad passed away Mom was given a pair of slacks by my sister, Jane. From that day on, I never saw Mom in a dress again.
Mom loved to sing and sang all the time as she was working around the house. She had a soprano voice and could hit some really high notes. Her favorite song was Mockingbird Hill and she loved to sing the old hymns such as Little Brown Church and The Old Rugged cross. Mom never learned to drive. Mom loved working in her garden. It was one of her escapes away from the kids.
There was also a trailer in our yard that my grandmother lived in. Mom kept it even after my grandmother passed away and would go out there when she wanted peace and quiet.
My Aunt Clara (Dad’s sister) ran a campground at Yellow Lake. My Aunt Rose and Uncle John kept a camper there all summer, as did my brother Lawrence and his wife Pat. Mom liked to visit them so one summer she rented a camper there for two weeks. She enjoyed it so much she rented the trailer for the next few summers and really enjoyed her time there.
At 81 Mom was in good health. She had a little arthritis and very light diabetes. In March she became ill and thought she had the flu and refused to go to the doctor. After several days she became very ill and was taken to hospital by ambulance. It was discovered her appendix had burst. The doctors operated and did what they could but six weeks later Mom gave up the battle shortly after her 82nd birthday, on May 4th, 1988.