I received an email today from Jeannie Bassett who wrote the music and I wrote the words to our musical composition "The Lives That They Lived" that was chosen to be printed in a special ISDUP song book last summer. Jeannie wrote: "The ISDUP sent us a letter requesting some 'background information, inspiration or motivation behind the lyrics/music, or a family relative for which the song was composed. For this, we need your help in writing such a description about your song in the collection.' They want to include a written background for the contest songs so when it is used in a DUP Camp Lesson, there will be a handy description of the history of the song. Cool, huh?"
In response, I wrote the following to Jeannie:
I wrote my original poem for Paul's grandmother Carrie Hansen Crockett (May 25, 1889 - March 9, 1980) who lived in Idaho her entire life. She slowly wasted away before death finally took her. Being so aware that this tiny frail lady was living her last, I began to remember the stories that she had told us of her life. The thought came and I was quite sure that she would want us to remember her when she was active and healthy and strong. Who wants to be remembered as being frail and helpless? As she approached her last hours on earth, the words to a poem began to form in my mind and I decided to write them down.
Carrie was not a member of the church but she was a pioneer in her own right. She used to tell us stories. She was about 5 feet tall but was very proud of the fact that though shortest on the girls' basketball team, she was the "jumping center" at the Albion Normal School. She said her team mates on her basketball team gave her credit for causing the San Francisco earthquake in 1906 because it happened when she came down with a rebound. Carrie told us of how the neighbors depended greatly on one another during their hard times and how much they looked forward to getting together to dance and have a good time whenever they could. In fact she met her husband, George Crockett, at one of those dances. After their marriage, she told us of sitting on the back of a wagon counting turns of the wheel marking the miles helping her husband who was a land surveyor. She worked along side of her husband and family to homestead acreage up Rock Creek Canyon a few miles from Twin Falls. George died accidentally when their family of three boys and one girl were still young. Carrie continued to live on the ranch and kept it going and reared her family into very industrious men and women who provided her with much joy and pride.
When the ISDUP song contest was announced, somehow that poem written 33 years before came to mind and I leaned over to Jeannie Bassett and said "if I provide the words for a song, will you write the music?" She said she would be delighted. Working together and thinking of the LDS pioneers and their struggles, we adapted the words of the original poem to emphasize the gospel and faith in God.