Written by Her Own Hand

Here's a few of perhaps hundreds

of her creative works.




by Mary Jane McBride Cunningham
(written by her own hand.)

Great happiness comes to me in studying about myself who I am and from what lineage I came- What joy to believe I am a spirit begotten by our Father in Heaven and that this truth was revealed to man by God-1 marvel to know that my spirit was in a pre-existant state with such noble spirits as Adam, Abraham and other great spirits, and took part in the great plan before the Earth was created. Many of those choice spirits were chosen to high positions of trust, through their faithfulness, being tried and proven, before they were born - on this earth, and great blessings were promised their posterity.

Through my Patriarchal Blessing, I learn that I am a daughter of Ephriam and, through my faithfulness, am intitled to a continuation of the blessings of Sarah of old.

I must have kept my first estate to have been permitted to come forth in this, the dispensation of the fullness of times - to become a Mother in Israel and, in the due time of the Lord, to labor in His vineyard for me salvation of the souls of men. How thankful I am that I have been permitted, in a small way, to work in His vineyard.


I am very thankful for my Parentage (Gr. Parents); - that the blood of Israel was in their veins so that when they heard the Gospels message in foreign lands, they accepted its truths as the revealed word of God, predicted by Prophets of old, to come in these last days. They received the Priesthood, giving unto me me blessing of being born of the "New and Everlasting Covenant11 of Celestial marriage, being sealed to them for time and for all eternity. My grand parents, through this faith in revelation, had strength and courage to indure hardships,
privations and sacrifices in giving up all their earthly possessions, their home, friends and relatives to join with the body of the church, where they could live the truths planted in their hearts through obedience to the Priesthood of God and those placed in authority over them. My Grandfather Robert McBride 111, gave his life in this great cause, while crossing the plains.

My parents and Grandparents taught me to be prayerful, honest and obedient to those in authority over me. Blessings which come through lineage to me are - Being a co-worker with the Priesthood in doing service for the living and the dead. Having faith to have my sons and daughters sealed for time and eternity and to have my sons hold the Priesthood of God, which is truly a Pearl of Great Price worth more than any other earthly posession. To feel I know that God lives - that in happiness or sorrow, I can receive comfort and help , that He will hear and answer my prayers if I will obey and keep His commandments, for all truth is founded on law both on earth and in heaven.

In this life I am seeking no greater prize, or reward, than that of Eternal Life for myself and my posterity after me. No greater pleasure can come to me here on Earth than to see my sons and daughters be true to the principles of the Gospel - to honor the Holy Priesthood they hold and magnify its callings and really taste the joy of service in the Lord's work.

I feel I must not fail but ever strive and live for more wisdom, more strength and faith to keep His commandments so I can be worthy, of again, entering into our Heavenly Fathers kingdom.

I continually hope and pray that my two sons who have not been sealed will, in the near future, be moved upon to have this sacred ordinance perfomed, that the family chain will not be broken and.........

(The writing ends here. It seems she never wrote any more to finish.)

What a challenge we have to live up to Grandma's hopes and expectations for all of us.


The prevailing subject of our last Sunday School lesson and testimony meeting, was that our individual acts and our individual reaction to circumstances surrounding us, determine what we are and what kind of influence we have on other people- I have thought on this subject a lot during the week and when asked to give the 2 1/2 minute talk this morning this thought seemed to prevail in my mind.

A short time ago I read a lecture by Dr. Frank Crane, it was entitled "Yourself." I should like to pass on to you some of the thoughts I gained from it, along with some of by own. Sometimes it is easier to follow a line of thought given by someone else, than to collect and try to follow your own subject thoughts.

Dr. Crane says in part - -You must make your own decisions whether you will be great or small; whether the life you lead will be clean or otherwise. The only person who can drag you down into uncleanliness, thievery, or vice is yourself.

This habit of self-pity, of blaming heredity, environment and your fellow creatures for the evils that befall you, is mere cowardice.

No real calamity ever crushed you, that did not enter the door you, yourself, unlocked.

All hell could not make you despair except yourself joined in.

Every stone, in the edifice of your character, was laid by your own hands.

Fate, malicious people, and other factions may threaten, harm and wound you but nothing and nobody, can put you down, but yourself.

You, are your greatest enemy, if you are a coward; but if you are brave, you are your greatest friend.

The world is a mirror of yourself. If you are clean, you will see clean men and women about you and will reflect cleanliness. Be cheerful and all mankind smiles at you. Be unafraid of events or men and thereby stars in their courses will fight for you.

Regardless of who, or what, you may be, if you will fall back on yourself, believe in yourself and be loyal to yourself, you will succeed.

Whatever the past may have been, begin right now to stand for yourself, your best self, the finest, and highest and greatest self that you know you are, away deep in the recesses of your heart.

Yield not an inch when tempted. Be faithful to yourself! And from that time on, things shall take a turn.

Did you ever do something against your own judgement and experience that criticism ofyourself-none other more just. .. .

In closing I should like to leave this thought with you:

You are the fellow" who has to decide
Whether to do it or cast it aside-
You are the fellow who makes up your mind
Whether you'll lead of linger behind,
Whether you'll try for the goal that's afar
Or just be content to stay where you are-



Written after attending Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Meeting
(It feels like she is talking about her own life)

In housecoat and slippers I snugly sat,
By my firesides cheerful glow.
As the radio broadcasted its music sweet;
And in rhythm I rocked to and fro.

Soon slumber spread o'er me-my fancy was led
To my childhood days on the farm.
I was young then and carefree; light hearted and gay
And I knew not life's trials or harm.

My Grandmother and I were burning pine logs
And collecting the ashes with care;
To put in the "ash leech" out back of the house
Where no harm could come to it there.

Pails of clear water we poured on the top
For the "ash leech' was ever so high
Then a bucket was placed beneath the small trough
Which collected the filtered, strong lye.

From the cellar we brought "cracklings"- washed salt from the rinds
Got the old iron boiler so strong.
O'er a sizzling hot fire it boiled, and it boiled
Seemed to me, it took ever so long!

By tasting, my Grandmother knew when 'twas done
And we poured it to cool, in a wooden tub.
Then we cut it in pieces and put it to dry
Our dirtiest clothing to scrub.

Sack upon sack of this good home-made soap
Hung on large wooden pegs, up so high.
And its odor, so pungent, filtered out on the air
to the nostrils of all passers by.

I was washing my hands with a nice, smelly, bas
When a blast from that radio peeled forth!
Use pure gentle Ivory for lovely, soft hands!
And for babies it's the best soap on earth ! !

I awoke and rejoiced in(at) our comforts today;
That the drudgery of those days, was past.
That science and wisdom had wrought such a change,
And thought-can (all of)these great blessings last?

I pondered and wondered if we are as true,
As industrious and willing as they?
Will our names be honored and reverenced here
When we silently, pass on our way?


April 3, 1928
Written by her hand

I am fifty years old, you tell me, today
This is nineteen thirty, A bright April Day.
How swiftly have floated the years down life's stream
I can scarcely believe it; It seems like a dream.

You think I am old, but my years are rife
With thrilling scenes on the stage of life.
But through all my blunders from first to last,
I have played the part that to me was cast.

Though oft I have tried to pervert the line,
And change the role that was surely mine,
As often the Prompter has sternly said,
"It cannot be changed, your part must be played."

I am fifty years old and what have I done.
That would make a fond Mother be proud, me to own?
Or what have I done in these 50 long years,
That make Mothers heart ache or melt her to tears.

Has my life added honor to Father's proud name
Or brought to my Mother's cheek one blush of shame?
The answer to questions like these can alone
Be told when I look upon you girls, my own.

I am 50 years old, the world, it appears
Has had many a change in the last 50 years.
As I muse on the past, it brings joys to my heart
With those girlhood pleasures I never will part.

Oh, how I appreciate you girls! Be upright and bold.
Your ideals and standards forever uphold.
For the pride and the boast of a young girl should be,
"My parents proud name shall be honored through me."

I cannot complain for it might have been worse,
Though small is my fame, and much smaller my purse.
But my friend sometimes whisper when my ear is turned,
That all I possess I have honestly earned.

This world has not all been a dark one to me.
There are some sunny spots I've been privileged to see.

And I feel that I'm only halfway up lives hill.
That the sun will be warm and will shine brighter still.

My hopes are as bright and my spirit as young,
As in days that are past when mind and tongue
Were molded, carefully guided.
For then we little thought children
could be women and men.

Written for the Ward paper at Christmas

Wouldn't it be a wonderful Christmas if the world were wiped clean from sin?
Every home filled with love and devotion, no discord nor friction within?

If all of the hungry and needy could be filled with the bounties of life, and all of the
leaders of nations cease from greed-and contention and strife?

If those with their ill gotten riches, with the needy be willing to share, and those,
denying God and His power be humbled, and seek him in prayer?

If, on that glad mornings dawning, all sufferers; be released from their pain, and all
crippled, deformed little children be made whole, and be happy again?

Then, the voice of the Heavenly Messenger heard by shepherds, on Judea's plains
would resound in the hearts of all people ringing, "Peace and good will" again.


*A Very Happy Birthday · Dear Doris

So- you wanted me to cheat on Mr Hallmark?
To compete with him in language, art and Rhyme?
His cards are filled with greetings, wit, and humor,
But - had you all of Hallmark's cards together
And read their glowing sentiments - through and through,
They couldn't tell one half of my appreciation
For a thoughtful, loving, unselfish girl like you.

No, Mr Hallmark never was a Mother,
So, how on earth is he supposed to tell,
Or print, in just a few short verses,
The love of daughters, that a Mother knows so well.

Sincerely with my love,


*For Ether

Who ever wrote the enclosed verse
Tried very hard to convey
A Mother's love and appreciation
For a Son on his birthday-
But he left our cherished memories
Dear to a Mothers heart.
Of many thoughtful deeds of love
Of a sons struggles for independence-
May this scribbled sheet of paper......
( This is where it ends)


*For Stella

The enclosed card is beautiful,
The carving is unique,
The flowers, the birds, the painting
Well, I guess you'd call them 'chick'.
But the thing the artist didn't tell
And it's doubtful if he knew
Was a mother's love and appreciation
For a sweet and thoughtful girl like you.

*For Steve Carter

Happy Birthday Steve,
Hallmark didn't have a card that was good enough for you,
Although I hunted, looked, and read.
Yes, thumbed them through and through.
So here's my best of wishes, though, in the rough they're sent.
They're from the bottom of my heart.
With love jammed full and most sincerely meant
Accept them, Steve, and always know my daily prayers for you,
Petition Fathers' guidance,
That, to Him, and to yourself. You'll be true,

Gram. C.


*For Connie Robinson Smith

Doris was always original in her ideas. No copy cat. When planning parties
etc. and the others told of their ideas, Doris would come up with her ideas and they
most always went over unanimously. An Easter party was in the planning stage and
finances were lacking, Doris suggested painting eggs instead of coloring which
would cost ten cents-so they appeared sketched on the eggs of'Bamey Google",
"Krazy Katz", "Little Abner", Mickey Mouse" etc. And all very life like.

And her ideas paid off well when turn came to do the dishes, she sure could
wheedle her sisters into doing them by putting forth some "original" idea to buy
their services OR, if some tune came into her head, she could hurriedly stop
washing dishes, dry her hands and try out that tune on the family organ and stay
well until she had it to her satisfaction, of course the dishes would finally get done
in time for supper. Original hair dos' arranging furniture in the home, styling
dresses for herself and little sisters came in as a big help to Mother and others.
Before they were married, she weedled Sherman into hauling rocks from the
canyon for a rock garden and to line a driveway, and George Robinson never knew
who had used the truck so much. Some of her ideas went big at the Court House.
Her latest idea has been to get Sherman to teach her to drive an auto, what will be
her next inspiration??????


*For Connie
(Grandma gave her a bag of misc. items)

Dear Connie; I have maintained the "Family Dumping Ground" for a number
of years and have salvaged quite a few hidden treasures. Now I am turning it over
to you-Ha! Ha! Don't be offended. I have found that most materials that can't be
used, sure will bum. If this mess only gives you and Rebecca a good laugh and a
box of things for her to play with, then it will be alright with me. No Hard Feelings,

The old pack-rat,
Gram (1960)

Worthy of note, says Connie, "The bag was full of old material, scraps, lace,
ribbons, old crochet collars and cuffs etc.!!! The collars and cuffs were ironed and
starched and laid neatly in the bag. The ribbons were neatly tied in little bundles"


*To Moselle Cunningham Davis
(presented at a church meeting)

My responsibilities to my children that I may be worthy of their love and honor
May 1947

When parents take upon themselves the responsibility of rearing children
they should realize that each child is a choice spirit that has been entrusted to their
care. To give it a healthy body, and direct its' mind, every child that is bom into the
world has a right to be reared and trained properly, and be guided in the right paths.
These are parents most sacred responsibilities-
When our children are young we give them every care and attention, we
shower our love on them continually thus it is natural that they love us- That they
cry for us, and think more of us than of any one else- That they copy our actions,
our talk, and our mannerisms- They want to wear Dads' hat. Mothers' high heeled
shoes and they think we are simply perfect-
But as these children grow up, and begin to think for themselves, then
parents no longer hide their faults and mistakes and misdeeds from their children.
Their minds are alert, and their eyes are quick to see, to reason, for themselves.
They begin to discover. They may continue to love us to a certain degree, and to
forgive us, and to make excuses for our mistakes, from a childs mind, that has been
made by a wrong committed by its' parents or an untruth that has been told.

If we want our children to continue to love and honor us we must live
honorable lives, we must not stoop to dishonest, questionable dealings with our
fellow men, nor the telling of untruths, because sooner or later these things will
come to light and will be dark spots in our lives, which cannot be erased and will
follow us and will be sad remembrances for our children, and will tend to lessen
that love and honor that we would otherwise be worthy of. We can't sew thorns,
and reap nothing but roses.

We have all heard men and women give voice to such sayings as the
following: "If l can only live as good and clean and honest as my Mother and/or
Father, then I will be satisfied" or "If I had only followed the example of my honest
honorable parents, then I would not be in this trouble.


From confessions like these we realize the importance of our responsibilities
to our children and our reward for providing ourselves worthy of their love and honor.


Sung at Sunday School

Oh, Yankee Doodle is the tune we boys and girls delight in
Twill do to whistle, sing or play and best of all, reciting
Five times five are twenty five, five times six are thirty.
Five times seven are thirty five, and five times eight are forty
Five times nine are forty five, five times ten are fifty
Five times eleven are fifty five and five times twelve are sixty.

Sixty seconds make a minute, sixty minutes make an hour
Twenty four hours make a day, a week has seven days in it.
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday Friday, Saturday
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday.

S.U.N. sun, D.A.Y. day, the first of all the seven.
So we must do no work of play, for so the mandate is given.
M.O.N. mon, D.A.Y. day, pronounce this at your pleasure
We'll try no more, the others, four,
Twill yield to thyme or measure.

September gives us thirty days, June, April, and November
The rest have thirty one, always, as we may all remember.
February's twenty eight, the numbers sometimes bigger
One year in four, there's one day more
When twenty nine's the figger.

But since 'tis a divine decree,
We'll try and not forget it.
With heart and hand we'll watchful be
And we shall ne'er regret it.




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