I finally organized the spare room closet. Yikes! For shelving, I put a small bookcase the same width of the closet at one end, perpendicular to closet door. This photo was taken facing the open closet and looking left.
I am ready, apparently, to wrap a present of any size, any shape, any color, or any dimension at any time.
Resting on top of the bookcase is a lifetime supply of tissue wrap (not visible in photo). Congregating on the top shelf are raffia, twine, jute?, tulle, wire-edged ribbon, and thirteen colors of crimped curling ribbon. Ah, how jubilant I was sometime in the 1980s when I snagged all the curling ribbon at a going-out-of-business sale! Does anyone recall a gadget that you ran the ribbon through to not only curl the ribbon but divide it into tiny strands? The result matched an 80’s perm.
In one basket I have bows, in the other plugs of ribbon remnants. My reputation for gathering up silk ribbon at the end of Christmas to re-roll and re-use is as eye-rolling as an exasperated teen. What can I say? My parents both lived through The Depression.
Gift bags are stuffed into the space to the right. On the floor is a jumbo roll of black chalkboard paper and a tall box of assorted rolls of wrapping paper.
And my favorite gift to give? A gift card to recipient’s favorite store!
I’ve returned after a long absence from blogging. [Is blogging to podcasts what CDs are to Spotify?] In brief, I retired from my accounting job, my mother-in-law died in May of 2021, the grandchild count is at nine, the garden is green, and raspberries are on. Wonder of wonders, I find myself wanting to write.
Always ten years behind the times, my new joy is clearing out space, beginning with my kitchen sink. I’m certainly not minimalist, but midway between slob and minimal. For years this photo would have shown a mug filled with brushes and magic erasers, various drinking vessels, and two quarts of kefir “brewing”.
I filled the empty soap dispenser, found homes for the rest, and now revel in the serenity of the suburbs of my sink.
Last night, we were prepping for a family dinner to celebrate my father-in-law’s 86th birthday. My husband placed a dirty dish on the counter. No! I barked. Nothing left unwashed!! That’s why I bought that dish wand!!!
He looked at me in surprise, a smile developing in his eyes. Have I died and gone to heaven?
It was good to get your letter yesterday — and I should have had one in the mail to you, but I didn’t. Listening to Paul Harvey ruins my letter writing time. I used to do it as soon as Jimmy left on the bus and would have time to finish before the carrier came. Incidentally, I don’t think Paul Harvey sounds as good on these broadcasts. The commercials are evidently taped and it gives an unnatural ring to them, a change of quality in voice.
The radio has been on the fritz today. I managed to hear most of Tozier’s message by staying right there to punch the buttons or do otherwise to get the contortion out of it – not on the line, but in the radio. Danny is good at tuning it in. He has also been a good dish wiper this week. His cold isn’t any better – just get some improvement when he plays in the water or runs outside without a jacket.
The mailman just came and brought the part for the washing machine. I don’t know whether to try it out by myself or not. I’d hate to ruin something or get water all over the place. Later I’ll go down and see how things go. I want to finish this and then go to town to mail it, as well as spend some money. Since I have been so pokey about getting some money sent to you, why don’t you just put in the overseas Lit. money that you get on this coming Sunday. I’ll still set aside $25 for the Lord’s work: put part in here on Sunday and send some to the Fields for B. McDowell as we have mentioned before.
I’ll pay the telephone bill today (that is nearly $8 – several long distance calls on it). And then the rest will get some gas, baby food [Similac, see below], eggs, and groceries. Sort of hard to figure out just what are the most important things on the list.
You asked about bills. Besides the car insurance, your insurance notice came yesterday. Two months of milk bills, the gas bill make up the most important. Dentist, rent, etc. will come next. We will have to get some winter clothes for Dorothy and John. I don’t know about overshoes yet – we haven’t tried them on to see who has outgrown what or if they have grown into any!
It would be nice to get some meat in the freezer. It has really been going down when we are eating out of it instead of buying much. Mr. Milliman took the 24 chickens out that he had in, so that left a gap, too.
Had a card from Mother – guess I’ll just send it to you instead of trying to tell you what it says.
The youngsters are out of school next Monday and Tuesday for Institute. [?? who knows what that means?] I’m just itching to take off to visit you Tuesday – but of course I won’t. If wishes were horses, you know — or in this case an airplane! I did ask Marion if she would consider going then so Chuck could visit the school, but she said he has to stay for football practice. Game is canceled for tonight because of Flu. It is on the increase in the school here. Each day more out, and our youngsters have all been exposed now with someone in their room coming down with it during school and being sent home with a temp of 103° or so. I refuse to worry – I could get sick just thinking about what would happen if we all got it. I have been trying to see that we all get the necessary rest and been using plenty of orange juice and vitamins to keep their resistance up. It is in the Lord’s hands and He gives strength when needed. You cause me more concern by your irregular living, if you should get it.
Now I must close – surely do miss you. Guess I didn’t write partly because I was just too lonesome and didn’t want to sound sad. Those spells come when I feel as though I just have to see you and anticipating a weekend without you seems too much. I just must not think ahead to weekends but take each day as it comes. And the thought of you using so much time and energy and losing out on your studies just to come home doesn’t cheer me either. All in all it is not the most satisfactory situation, but it is the best one for us now or else the Lord would change it, of that I’m sure.
Now I must close. Danny has been dialing around on the radio and is quite amused at some of the programs. Jimmy has learned how to do something new. I said I would write you about it, but he suggested I write about something else so he could tell you himself when you get home…so you will have to wait to find out.
Carol continues to be good. One night and one day she was fussy, not from losing sleep, but the day I did the washing myself seemed to be what caused it. Dorothy said she would do the washing tonight so that wouldn’t happen again but I’ll get some Similac to help me out or help Carol out, as the work piles up too high when I have to wait on the children for all such jobs. Her nose is still stuffy too. She broke out with prickly heat on Monday from being too hot so much of the time. This has cleared up now.
For the third time, I must close; I love you honey, we all do, and we are praying for you daily.
I’ve been reading my instruction book on the washer and I guess I’ll give it a try tonight.
Oh, it was good to hear your voice and so unexpected. Lots of times when I pick up the phone I hope it will be you, but last night it took me by surprise and you sounded so close that I could hardly believe you were still in Oak Park.
If you got my letter of Monday on Tuesday than the mails are improving. [!!] You should get these letters before you leave. I’m sorry that you will miss the meeting on Saturday night. I know how you enjoy them and how comparatively few support much missionary endeavors.
Cloudy today – looks more like winter is around the corner. We went out to the garden this morning just to look around. I did bring in a cabbage head and two rutabagas. In case your folks come in they will be ready to fix — but can’t you hear the family yell clear down there! I fixed squash on Sunday, like we had at Bad Axe [a city on the “thumb” of Michigan]. They ate their spoonful when I put it in their mouths. Johnny and Jimmy, that is. So yesterday I put the rest into pies. Johnny tasted it and was sure that it was pumpkin pie and enjoyed it. Jimmy wasn’t sure and wouldn’t eat it. But then Jimmy never has liked spicy things like pie or spice cake.
Our rat [??!!!??] still evades us, but we do know that there is some way for it to get on the back porch from the basement, and perhaps from outdoors by way of a tunnel under the porch. We saw it on the back porch and it acted slightly sick then [??!!!??] but it disappeared and we don’t know how or where.
I’m feeling better each day which is encouraging. The youngsters have been doing very well in helping out. David is going to make a good fireman – he has done it all this week and the house has been just fine all the time.
The baby is waking up for her feeding so I’ll close and get this out to the box. She has certainly been good — we’ll have to get the scales down this week to see how well she is gaining. I’m sure she is.
Though there is not much in the way of news, I do want to get a note to you, so that you will know that all is going well — and that we are wondering how you are making out. I did hate to see you leave when you weren’t feeling a bit good, but I felt that you wouldn’t get much better around here. So hard to keep down.
The baby continues to eat and sleep — imagine, not one crying period yet. She even slept through the night feeding on Saturday night. Her cold is a little worse, but really not bad.
David is home today with whatever you had. No temp, just a sore stomach. He was fine when he got up, was helping me with breakfast, when all of a sudden he turned white and said he didn’t feel good. He was on the davenport, but when the bus came he said he felt OK then and went to school. But at 9:30 he called me up and I had to go after him. I asked the Lord to make the gas last for that trip as I had no money with me and it registered zero yesterday when I took the children to Sunday School. I don’t know how long it has been there. David is sleeping now. His teacher said he didn’t look well, and he admitted that he didn’t feel too good!
[postnatal symptoms] that started Friday was worse yesterday and my abdomen felt sore, so I asked the youngsters to come home and do the washing. It does seem better today, and I want it to continue that way.
Hesper took the three older youngsters to the chapel on Saturday and Sunday nights. She certainly has been good to us and willing to do all that she could. They enjoyed the meetings with Shufelt and I guess that the crowds have been good.
Mrs. Bunce and Mrs. Wolcott came out on Saturday evening for a while.
Danny came in from seeing Jimmy off on the bus and, grinning, said that the driver said he was cute! He sits for periods of time on the footstool by the baby’s bed and watches and waits for her to wake up.
Don’t feel you have to leave the Homecoming to get home this weekend. I would love to have you here, but I feel that I have had more than my share of your time so far this school year. And I have certainly appreciated having you home and helping out. But if you can stay and get a little done on your classes for Monday you had better do that, as preaching here will make you a very short night’s sleep. Mrs. Bunce said she thought Dick would like to come home if he can do that.
I wondered if you could have taken anyone along with you to Davenport to help drive when you felt badly – or maybe you didn’t even go if you felt worse.
Going to sign off now, don’t want to miss the mail carrier. I miss you here — really seems lonesome without you — just a few weeks like we had in September spoils me. But since I love you so much I know that it will always be that way. I don’t get used to you being away. I just wait for you to come home.
All my love, Nellie
[I messed up and misread the date of the letter I posted yesterday as 10-5, when it was really 10-8. So *this* letter is the first letter Mom wrote after I was born.]
I wrote a poem using the Golden Shovel form that I learned from the poet Nikki Grimes. This form uses the words from one poem to create a new poem, using the original as the last words of each line. I was looking for a Mother’s Day poem, and happened across the words my son Carson once wrote to me. Thank you, Sonny! I honor you for the hard work, blood, sweat, and tears that you poured into me as a child; and want you to know that these have been small seeds planted in my life, but they have reaped a bounty of blessings on me.
To Nellie Harper (3/23/1920 – 5/7/1968)
Your letters to Dad came to mind as I longed for a way to love and honor your memory, your rich legacy. You never imagined that strangers would look for your quotidian news with pleasure. The grace with which you accepted the hard reality of separation and leaned into your work kindles my affection and warms my blood. You were never one to sweat the small stuff, nor did you melt when things got tough. And
though you confess to getting depressed, tears on your face are no memory that your children hold. You made tuna sandwiches and poured milk with good cheer, not going into a dither when money ran out. For me, I wish I had studied these letters as a young mother. They are a fount of wisdom in child nourishing. And
though we lacked funds, there was no want in faith, in affection, in friendship. You took your youngsters to Sunday School, taught them to know God, their Heavenly Father, and trust that He would provide all of these needs. What wealth we have!
Your story has been full of love for people, both great and small. You scattered seeds of kindness and planted strength, courage and truth in my siblings and into my beautiful and blessed life. I miss you fiercely, but
I am grateful for your letters. They remind me again of all we have been given. Your investment in lives has reaped a harvest whose yield continues, a compounding bounty. You sang a song of the faithfulness of God, of morning’s new mercies, of blessings all mine, of bright hope for tomorrow. On this Mother’s Day I thank you for loving me.