Like a Deflated Balloon

January 9, 1958

Dearest John,

Uncle Sam really outdid himself and got your letter here on Thursday. And it was so very good to get it. I was wrapping books [it’s a thing we did – cover books in plastic to protect the covers] when the mail came, so I went downstairs and got the one that you wanted and wrapped it. I sent Betty [my Dad’s sister in South Africa] her books and am returning the one to Gene Bollinger that Daddy sent ot me.

When your check came I went to town as soon as the youngsters came home to get a vaporizer. Carol’s cold has been worse since Saturday night when we were at Damer’s. Today she was coughing and choking some which means that she is not any better. I hate to spend the money, but still it will be used plenty in our size family. Dorothy has a cold too, so she is sleeping downstairs with Carol tonight. Or with the vaporizer, I should say. I bought a $9.00 one and now am wondering if I was penny-wise and pound-foolish. It has a glass container for the water and the $14.00 had a metal container. With care it should not break, but so many accidents seem to happen in our household. I also got another case of Similac. I have been using the Olac that Jennie gave me and Carol does not spit up with that at all. I am going to ask the Dr. about that. It is certainly nicer to not have her spitting up all the time.

I haven’t received the money from the Chapel. But I won’t need it this week at least since you sent this. However, I’m not counting it until it is here. While they have never failed to send it, I still am looking to the Lord for our needs and not human sources.

The information about a house interests me. I was quite surprised about what you had to say about the apartment house. I have been praying that the school could get it so we could live there! And here you told them to count you out! And the house you looked at — did you mean 6 room house or 6 bedroom house as you wrote of? We can get along in that size house if there is some place for storage and a basement or place for the washing. As far as repair and redecorations are concerned: every place we have lived in has needed that and we seem to manage without getting it done. So that shouldn’t hinder us. Not that we wouldn’t like to have it done, but we just don’t do it. When I think that we have lived over two years here and have done nothing about the wall at the foot of the stairs…I think we overlook a lot of dirt and it doesn’t worry us.

I started cleaning the basement today. But I hardly know where to stop and start. I want to clean it enough so I can put what is left of the linoleum in the girls’ room down there and put that new roll in their room. By using the sweeper on the floor in the basement occasionally I think the boys could play down there with their trucks, etc. when others come. I know they would be happier some place where they didn’t get pushed around by all the big kids and grownups. And we all would be happier with their things out from underfoot. It is O.K. when I’m here by myself, but when more come it gets congested. The basement is warmer than their room. I did get the plastic up in their room and it helps to keep the drafts out.

After this vacation I can better understand some of the problems your folks have had. Remember several years ago when we talked about their adjustments, or I guess we called them maladjustments? I find that after just this long of running things myself here, it is hard to adjust to doing things smoothly when we are both home. Hard on us and hard on the children, for they feel they have two masters so to speak. Of course, the root of it goes deeper. Keeping our hearts in constant tune with the Lord, so whatever happens we can take it in stride. But with the situation now, there is the waiting and anticipation, building emotions for you to come home and the let-down when you leave with a lot of frustration in between. I’m not satisfied to have you home only occasional weekends, but it is too wearing on both of us the way things are now. I wonder if it is worth your coming home so often. You can’t get your work done and that gets me upset. And you see all the work here that needs to be done and you get upset. Personally, I always end up feeling like a deflated balloon: a mess of a housekeeper and Mother. I’m not asking for sympathy, nor do I expect you to even be able to understand. Just chalk it up to me being a woman. I can only imagine what you feel like – but is it much better? It must not be, or you would not talk about leaving school unless things improved.

I hadn’t meant to write all that, but perhaps it will help to clear the air. I’ve been trying to keep up on the daily Bible reading on the calendar. Reading it carefully and spending time in prayer. Dr. Culbertson this morning asked Does the Lord Jesus feel at home in your heart? That is the core of the matter. And by more time in the Word and in prayer, I’m trusting to get the heart cleaned up so He will feel at home there and perhaps He can then show me how to keep the house cleaned up. [Handwritten addition: Don’t expect any change – I always fail.]

Now I must close. It is drawing near the midnight hour and that is too late for me. Six comes early and I usually have to get up then to fix the fire and the baby and the lunches. I love you dearly, and pray that our circumstances will not draw us apart but closer together. And I’m not sure in my own heart which it is now. Last year I was sure. Perhaps I’m still tired and depressed from the vacation activities, but I wonder about it all now. I think that is one of your troubles, too. Tiredness, I mean. The Lord can give us what we need for this next semester and perhaps your teaching will be easier in another year. I know you have a heavy load now. Don’t try to come home for just a Saturday. That is too hard. We pray for you several times a day here and know that He will help you with your work there.

All my love,
Nellie

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