Making a household name
Ida Bennett is a household name in at least 1600 homes because the 97-year-old Preston woman has crocheted for those homes, the names of their owners. Today, because she can’t see the tiny stitches required for the names any more, Bennett keeps her hands busy making dishrags and hot pads - she’s made over 1200 of those - to give away.
She started doing so decades ago. Her sister, Bertha Court in Magna, Utah, was making them, and Ida thought, “Well, I can do them,” and she did. She’d learned how to crochet from her mother.
Ida got to where she could make one in a couple of days. Actually, she’s made dozens more, because she only started keeping track of who she made them for after she retired from Franklin County Medical Center in 1997, at the age of 75. She had worked there 30 years, first as a nurses’ aid then in the hospital’s central supply department.
“She’d get a wedding announcement in the mail and she’d start making one,” said Ida’s daughter, LaDawn Geddes, with whom Ida now lives. “She makes me tired. She can’t just sit and not do anything. She’s from the school that idle hands aren’t good.”
But that attitude has brought Ida lots of joy, as well. “I didn’t get her any (yarn) for a couple of weeks and she went crazy,” said LaDawn.
Ida was born in 1921 in Pleasant View, Idaho - a “suburb of Malad,” she said. She remembers a time when horses and buggies where the only mode of transportation and no one had indoor plumbing - outhouses were the norm. In fact, her favorite invention of the modern age replaced that smelly edifice.
“The best thing was when we finally got a bathroom in the house - but that was after I left,” she said. She also has enjoyed the ease of traveling and visited a variety of far-off locations - Australia, Hawaii, Alaska - after her husband passed away at the age of 58.
She met Howard Bennett during World War II - only seeing him twice before he shipped out. He called from San Diego, where he was in training and wanted her to come there to marry him.
She didn’t think so. But she did keep writing him. They have boxes and boxes of letters,” said LaDawn. While he was at war, she lived in Centerville, Utah and worked for Remington Arms and the Clearfield naval base.
After the war, the couple married and they became the parents of six. Today she has 21 grandchildren and 65 great grand children and five great, great grandchildren. Each of them have something she has made because if she wasn’t crocheting a name, she was crocheting a Christmas ornament, a doily or an afghan for them.
“I like doing things for others. I hope it makes them happy,” she said.