Waits for Baby to Wake Up

10-07-1957

My Dearest,

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.]

We’ll Get There Yet

Tuesday, 5-28-1957

My Dearest,

You will not likely get this until you get back from the retreat on Friday. At first I wasn’t going to write and then I thought you would probably like some mail when you got back and would be wondering what I am going to do.

As far as I know I will try to come down for commencement. Wolcotts want to go out to Arlene’s for supper, or to get cleaned up before the meeting. However, if we get there a little ahead of time, I would rather stop at the school and eat supper with you. But this far ahead, I can only plan and wait until the last minute to see if anything else turns up. More scarletina, etc. Snyders have planned for so long and now they are sick with some of this, either measles or scarletina and don’t think that they will get down for commencement.

The car problem [dropped tail pipe and muffler, oil leak?] didn’t seem right and I asked Ralph yesterday if such a job would be one that you could do. I know that you like to tinker with the car and to save some money if possible. He said that he had tried it once, but had to end up taking it to the garage to finish it. With older cars some of the nuts get so rusted that it is hard to work with, and unless you have a place to drive it up on, it is really hard. The money problem was holding me up, too.

Then a letter came from Fields [a missionary organization]. I glanced inside and thought they had made a mistake and sent Bob Harper’s [My dad’s brother] receipt to us. So I laid it aside and later my curiosity got the best of me, wondering how they could make such a mistake. Behind the paper which is the same size as their receipts was a check of $25 from Bob and Jennie. So with that I called up Arnold and Don’s and they said they could take it today—so they have it now. He said he thought there was exhaust trouble too, and estimated the cost at $20, and I asked him to grease it while he had it.

By the time I paid insurance, sent out some Lord’s money, and had to get David some shoes on Saturday, I was glad to see that check. Wonderful how the Lord times the needs and the supply of them. So I hope that this meets with your approval – I figured that you would have plenty to do here in the next couple weeks, and if possible I know they would be able to use you at camp helping to get ready to open up. Beds, etc. all have to be set up. All of us could go up some days. Wash woodwork, etc. in readiness for this.

Frosted last night, but today is lovely. The two boys are outside playing. The last day of school for the others. David is going to work in the garden this afternoon. So I hope that I get to see you on Friday night. I just finished typing the programs for the recital. Now I must get to a huge washing.

Danny made me laugh this week. He pointed to your navy picture on the dresser: “Daddy’s picture” — then he chuckled. “In a dress!” Danny also had another milestone — he asked me to take him to the bathroom yesterday! But the next time he forgot. We’ll get there yet.

Love from all of us. We do love you, and are looking forward to summer. You would enjoy a big croquet game going on outside the window here – Danny and Jimmy. Nothing like it on record!

Always yours,
Nellie

I wrote Bob & Jennie a thank you for the gift

Clothes Conundrum

Nellie’s great-granddaughter, Aria, modeling in 2014

Saturday, May 25, 1957

My Dearest,

Johnny brought home this story yesterday. Mrs. Lewis told them to write what they wanted and sound out the words they didn’t know how to spell. Not bad, eh? [I wish I could read it]

Haven’t been to town all week so I must go today in time to get to the bank. I started cleaning out drawers, etc. yesterday and today feel swamped with work. Keeping this size family’s clothes in shape is a huge task. If we only lived in the mountains where jeans were proper for everything.

Windy and cool today – I may have to start another fire. Except for colds, the family seems about back to normal. Jimmy has the worst cold now.

I asked Gertrude if there was anything I could do for the recital and got the job of writing out the invitations and typing the programs. So I must get that done today.

I expect you feel swamped right now too with all that is coming up. In a way I’m sorry you have to speak on the second [6-2-57], but there wasn’t much you could do about that. It will rush you. We’ll try to be good and let you sleep a lot the next week!!! That’s a hard assignment for us!

Now I’d better close and get to town. David is with Marvin but the rest are going with me, which really taxes my patience in town. They haven’t gone for a long time and in the long run I feel better taking them than leaving them home alone.

This seems hasty to send, my sweetheart, but the only reason I’m writing is that I do love you. Anyone else could wait. And I miss you so very much.

Always yours,
Nellie

It Amazes Me

Monday 4-23-57

My Dearest,

Time for another epistle to my beloved. I like to write to you, but sometimes I have trouble taking time to write so that it doesn’t sound like a hasty afterthought.

Your phone call Sat. night was a real treat, although I nearly broke my back to get to the phone. I was in the tub again! My feet were wet and I slipped on the floor. Dorothy was awake and I should have called for her to answer, but I thought I could get there just as soon. Funny, I can think of reams of talk when going around the house during the day, but I almost feel like I can’t think of anything worth saying when a long-distance call comes. I do hope that you are feeling better now. Much of it must be from being tired and burning the candle at both ends. We are praying for you and hope that you’ll feel better so that the last six weeks of this [school] year might be enjoyable ones for you.

Today Johnny’s temp dropped and his measles are a little lighter. He had the full dose — awful cough, eyes matted shut, and some earache. I expect that I’ll keep him home from school all this week. Dr. Fiegel said that it is contagious as long as there are any spots at all.

While Johnny was asleep yesterday I ran the youngsters into Sunday School and asked Roger Damer to bring them home, which he did. Then we didn’t go in the evening. Today because of school vacation, Dillon came out after the youngsters for Good News Club and then Mary Lou brought them home. I could have left Dorothy here with him, but they offered and I felt a little better. It seems that I have to leave them a lot more than I anticipated doing this year, as it is.

Those capsules the Dr. gave me for my appetite may help a little, although without self-control I could eat everything in sight. But they have certainly helped that dragged out feeling I’ve had for the last two or three months. I have been able to do an honest day’s work for a change. I’m so thankful because the work was getting so far behind that it seemed impossible. Ironing to do by the bushel, etc. You’ll have to try one when you get home!

We have had some sun and showers by turn today. it was cold this morning and because of Johnny I tried to make a fire. The thing didn’t really catch until later in the morning and now we are really warm in the house. We’ll have such changeable temperatures for a few weeks.

Did you see the Sword of the Lord recently – Rice’s ultimatum to Plymouth Brethren and Pete Fleming’s book? [Peter Fleming was one of the 5 missionaries killed in Ecuador a year before in 1956.] Also McClain had an article in that. I had already read it in the Missionary Herald.

The youngsters have really been playing on their Monopoly set – I bought it for them with the money that the folks sent.

David has been out with Marv again this morning — plowing and moving some fence posts. He lives for that and his main object to leaving here is Marvin. The other day, however, he voiced a real desire to have a boy his own age to play with. I with that could be so, but I don’t know who it would be around here.

I wanted to get this in the mail this morning, but when I thought I had time between washing and lunch, Johnny demanded some attention, it was for some lunch, and I was so glad to see him hungry that I hastened to prepare it. In those few seconds he dropped off to sleep and wouldn’t eat then! I know that he is feeling better because he wants so much more attention – “What can I do?” is the question.

I’ll close for now and perhaps get more written before mail time tomorrow morning. Je t’aime (tres) beaucoup. On the week before you get home, we really count the days off until your day. We say Friday to make it sound shorter although we all know it will be nearer Saturday when we will likely see you. It amazes me, when everything seems to count to that, only Danny seems to be able to show the love and affection he feels when you get here. I can’t quite figure out why, or the remedy. Self-conscious, I guess.

[to be continued the next day]

Miscarriage Scare 2-11-57

2-11-57

My Dearest,

Again it is Monday morning and as usual I hate to settle down to real work on Monday, so I’m doing things I like to do. Fixed up my Jungle Doctor story for next Wed. night and listened to Back to the Bible. Now I’ll write and will probably be here until Dr. Culbertson’s message. Brought the typewriter to the kitchen. Don’t tell anyone but the desk is piled up like I said I wouldn’t let it get. But Karen is coming tomorrow night to babysit so I’ll have to get cleaned up.

Mrs. Wolcott called me shortly after she got home on Thursday night to tell me about their visit at school. She had lots of nice things to say about the trip. She would like to get there some time when she could visit classes.

Saturday we really worked, did a washing, went to town and the youngsters started to scrub down the bathroom. They did a lot of it, but it was supper time, so I went in to finish, and it took more than I had anticipated. Dressers to move, floor mop up and a little of the walls to finish. I noticed that my back was hurting and didn’t pay too much attention to it until I came out to get supper, and down low I seemed to have spasms of pain. It dawned on me the possibility of miscarriage. I hurriedly flattened myself out on the davenport and let the youngsters take over. I started to chill and didn’t get warmed up until the night sometime. The youngsters can take over in emergency – they got their own supper, took baths and Dorothy helped a lot. I couldn’t eat and in the morning still felt badly – had the most terrible night’s sleep that I ever remember.

But by S.S. time I got dressed and took them in and stayed in the nursery myself. Winnie invited Dorothy and David to their place for dinner and Manns had invited Margaret over. So I fed the little boys, put them to bed and lay down myself. Then Mrs. Wolcott and Mrs. Bunce came over. I just told them I had a back ache, but they wanted to bring out a lamp of some kind and were so concerned that I told them what I was afraid of and why the caution on my part. I wasn’t going to tell folks that I was pregnant because so many are concerned about me staying here now and that would just add to their concern; but sometimes it gets complicated to try to evade the real trouble. They’ll know sooner or later anyhow.

David made another good chocolate cake and Dorothy tried her hand at pies and they came out very good. I guess that I should go to an orchard and try to get a bushel of apples again. I’ve been buying some in the store for their lunches, but they cost so much that way. If you can shop on the way home, vegetables would be the best thing to look for. I have a good supply of shelf goods, but the veg. are really good.

Goodpasters gave me some carrots from the garden and potatoes. Ours are getting low. I bought some smelt Sat. Time for that again.

Judy and Jack have an apartment on Jefferson Street and the chapel is considering a shower for them. They never come to the chapel now, but we would like some way to show an interest in them. Oh me – young people. Someday we will have six or seven, or eight if it is twins after all these years. Think we’ll be able to cope with all the questions and problems that so many young people will bring with them?

I well know that these years of perhaps harder physical work are by for the easiest. Little Danny so busily engaged with a jig saw puzzle and Jimmy sitting here waiting for a turn at the typewriter (to type Vickie a letter — they start early these days) are really a pleasure at this age.

About the music lessons. Dorothy and Margaret take them on alternate weeks. David has not started in again. Mrs. Bunce asked if Gertrude was patient with the youngsters. She said that at the Baptist church she has quite a rep. for her impatience.

Mr. Irvine is quite a person – I guess all Scotchmen are. The youngsters sat up and listened to him and enjoyed it too. A good message and livened up with the Scotch sense of humor and keen way of expressing themselves.

Well, I had better close now. Only five days until you’ll be home. Oh yes, there is a chapel fellowship meeting Saturday night – potluck supper and they gave us a special invitation to come. They are working hard to make it a family affair again – for all the chapel and not the clickish – note the new way of spelling that – way it was started. Wouldn’t that be a good time for you to get with the people to visit with some of them? Potluck supper. I know they would very much appreciate having you there. They seem to sincerely miss you and your influence around here.

Chuck Monroe was laid off work – might remember that in prayer. Barbara expects the last of March and will keep on working until the first of March.

All my love,
Nellie

Taking Notes

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We honored our friend’s dad’s life today…and I took notes. I believe a memorial service can be one of the best seminars on living. It is satisfying to see the end product of a life well-lived: friends and family whose lives are forever changed by the love, faithfulness,  care and kindness of an ordinary man.

Although I’ll pass on Bob’s favorite sandwich: peanut butter, lettuce, and mayonnaise.

During the eulogy, all fourteen great-grandchildren were named. You could see each one sit up straighter when named. Individual names are so much more personal and potent than a collective number.

I had shared with the family a nice touch from the last memorial service we attended in February, and they incorporated it into today’s service.  The moderator asked groups of people to stand (and then sit). Grandchildren, great-grandchildren, in-laws, fellow church members; the greatest rising was in response to “if you have ever hunted or fished with Bob.”

A well-worn and scuffy truth was on display today: the highest way to love your children is to love your spouse. Eleven years ago, my husband and I wrote about Averil, Bob’s wife:

This Repeated Wedding Procession

And Grace Will Lead Me Home

Reading and Lambing in Advent

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Wednesday was a glorious day watching twin lambs born. These girls above left the pasture, curious to know who was having a get together and why they weren’t invited to the party. And if there was any food for poor wandering circus performers.
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It used to be daunting to be the adult-in-charge (an honorary title) during lambing season. But my Farmer Boy grandson has three seasons under his belt. Here he is checking progress.

While I was watching everything, I was also listening. Gavin patted the ewe, assuring her that she was doing a good job.  Thirteen years old, and a powerful combination of compassion and capability.

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The view to the south from the barn door.

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The maternity ward. Two more sets of twins were born yesterday.

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This is the number 1 assistant. His face lit up when he realized that the lamb born might be his first stock show lamb.

Let’s shift a moment to reading. In the fall of 2016 I started reading the first book of a young adult fantasy,  The Wingfeather Saga. I read a 2-7 chapters aloud once a week. It’s a very interactive time. When some characters listen to troll poetry, pretending to like it, I ask, “Show me pretending to like it.”

Andrew Peterson’s books have engendered meaningful conversations with each episode. This week we read a chapter called The Pain of Remembrance.  Monsters who used to be humans see something that makes them remember what life used to be like. Ouch! It hurts! is their response.

Preston (pictured above) explained: “I think it doesn’t feel like [physical] pain for them. But it hurts in a different way because they can’t go back.”

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There’s always onlookers

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Ethan (face not shown) warming up one of the barn cats.

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Gavin collects the colostrum to give to the newborn before he/she can stand up.

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One latched on and one being licked by mom.

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The smile of a successful start of lambing season.

Extreme Dot to Dot

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I work to cultivate a kid-welcoming home.  As my grandkids get older, it’s not as simple as having a box of blocks and a few dolls. While I was at our fantastic local store, The Hobby Habit, I discovered something I didn’t even know was ‘a thing.’ Extreme Dot to Dot The pages are fun and challenging and time-consuming (<-in a good way).

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I have the Eiffel Tower going for myself. And I’m claiming dibs on Westminster Abbey.
It’s another analog activity that doesn’t require a screen.

And on May 4th this seems appropriate:

There are many fun Extreme Dot to Dot books (aff link) here. What a great activity (in addition to drawing, clay, paint, paper-cutting) kids can do during read-alouds.

 

Take Me Down

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My grandson, reading a Harry Potter book, came across this: “A shout rent the still air.”

Me: Do you know what rent means?

Him: Like rent a house?

Me: That’s one definition. But that’s not what this ‘rent’ means. Oh, hey, I have a story for you.

He’s an accommodating kid. I like him a lot. This is my story.

In my family, when I was growing up, we read a chapter of the Bible every night right after dinner. We each read two verses aloud until we finished the chapter. We read about people in extreme grief ripping their clothes and putting ashes on their head. The word our translation used was ‘rent’.  

In second grade, we were spelling ‘rent’. My teacher started to say that there was another meaning. My hand shot up and waved. I didn’t need to wave it, because no one else’s hand was up. “To rip or tear,” I cheerfully informed the class. “Very good, Carol!” the teacher said. 

The memory still makes me glow inside. And smile.

There was a small silence.

He glances at me, a smile starting to form on his mouth.

You were in second grade?

I nodded.

Wow, Nana, you’ve been holding on to this a long time.

I get a glimpse of what this is looking like.

Yeah, well, that’s kind of pathetic, eh? I loved knowing the right answer, I guess.

The smile has taken up residence in his eyes. He shakes his head.

No, Nana. You loved being the only one who knew the answer.

Boom! Busted! Sliced and diced!