Never get used to it 1-29-57

[handwritten]

Dearest John,

Just a note today as I send along this letter. I wrote them today in ans. They enclosed $15 too.

The car wouldn’t start yesterday – even when it got up in the 20’s. I had to cancel my dentist appointment and he gave me one for this afternoon. Mary Dillon pushed me when she brought the children home from C.E.F. class. This morning it started.

More snow and now a cold wave warning.

Been thinking of you and praying for you. Set my alarm early – want to read a chapter from Whyte each morning and spend extra time praying for you during this semester.

Danny’s newest accomplishment is working Jimmy’s plastic zoo puzzle. He can get all the pieces in place and loves it.

You must have been tuckered when you got back – I was, without taking such a trip.

Meryle is taking care of the youngsters today while I go to the dentist. I’ll take records along to them.

On my diet again — you take your vitamins and stay on your diet — you’ll feel better.

Now I’ll sign off for this time – nothing new happening, except we’ll never get used to your being away. It was so good to have you here and to hear your messages.

Lovingly, Nellie

[Explanatory notes: My dad was teaching at a Bible College, but didn’t get a regular income. My folks relied on random gifts from various individuals. I’m not sure what Whyte my mom was reading. Alexander Whyte?]

Bring Some Student Home 1-23-57

Wed.
1-23-57

Dearest John,

Two letters came from you today and so I’ll try to dash off a letter to you and mail it on the way to prayer meeting. You should get it then before you leave on Friday. If you have time to shop it would be fine for you to get a few things. Some tuna would be good if they should have a special on that. I have bought just a few things since you left, and it still doesn’t seem that we have used much. I am trying to use some hot cereal these days. We are out of the cold and the family doesn’t eat the hot if there is cold around.

The report cards came home today and they have permission to keep them home until you get home next weekend. Pretty good this time. David got a letter from Mrs. Gage in La Grande and it made him very happy.

The weather stayed nice for about 24 hours and then zoom it was down cold again. Lots of wind and snow last night. But it was sunshiny today.

Well, I will close and get going. Bring Ruth or some student home this weekend if you wish. I’ll be prepared. It will be oh so good to see you again.

Nellie

A Siege of Diarrhea 1-21-1957

Margaret, David, and Dorothy a few years before this letter

1-21-57

My Dearest,

Monday’s wash is done and the noon news is on, so I should have time to dash off a note before the mailman comes.

You are probably wondering about David’s note. He begged me for a pencil when down at the Gospel Book Store and I refused him, because he has several now, and I had already bought him a new Sugar Creek Story. Mrs. Gage gave him a liquid lead pencil to try out and he just kept it. I didn’t know anything about it until somehow he came out on Saturday. One of the other youngsters mentioned it and he finally admitted that he had one and first told me that he thought she meant for him to keep it. But after a while he told me he knew better and had just kept it. So I asked him to write Mrs. Gage and tell her and send the money for it and also to write you and tell you what he had done. He really hated to do that.

But after they were in the mail box and he sat on my lap and talked to me about it, he was so happy to have it out in the open and taken care of. Several times during the day he told me he was glad about that. I do believe he gets his love of pencils from you. It always amazed me how many different kinds you kept around and ready for use. He said he was really tempted to take an eversharp that he saw down there but he didn’t and now is glad that he didn’t.

We have been having a siege of diarrhea around here. Dorothy was seized with it last night just before time for church so we didn’t go. Jack Dillon and Dottie Mann were here for the day so I took them to church and then came home. But while I was there Dave came up to me and said that the Men’s Meeting that afternoon had decided to offer us the Bollman house to live in, and rent free, and the men would move us. It is up to us to decide what to do. Now what? I’ve started praying, but I surely don’t know what the Lord’s will is in this matter. They still would like to sell it, but would not as long as we are in it.

Danny took sick with the diarrhea during the night and doesn’t feel good now. Funny how it hits all at once – the stuff just poured out of him for about two hours. Just kept changing him. He didn’t complain or cry, but Dorothy was in pain last night.

Millers are leaving tomorrow. I’ll keep Mike and Bobby all day until they are ready to leave. Their address is on the bulletin.

Mrs. Goodpaster’s mother is worse so she took the two boys and went up to be with her. The girls are going to get off the bus here and stay until Roy gets off work at 6:30. Edith and her husband are going to move in and stay until Hesper gets back. It may be two or three weeks.

Judy Johnson and Jack Krontz were to be married yesterday. I was talking to Karen Smith a while. I believe she is doing fine. Says she feels sure now the Lord wants her to be a nurse. She said she couldn’t see how the above couple if they were saved could stop school and get married like that.

Well. I will close and get my boys down for a nap. Danny really needs one after last night. Much love from all of us – pray for us and we have to decide about the Bollman house right away.

All my love,
Nellie

Life in Community 1-20-1957

Sun. (1/20/1957) [a handwritten postscript to the previous letter]

Can’t seem to get this mailed. Came home from Kings – had 40 winks and now Unshackled is on. Here come the first steps down the stairs (Jimmy). Bill M. and Arnie B. were at Kings for dinner too. Dorothy and Johnny were invited to Millers for dinner. Margaret was at Gertrude’s (De Groot) for dinner. Mrs. Griff (?) has taken a week off to go visit Uncle Charlie. So Gertrude asked Dorothy and Margaret to stay overnight. Nothing was said about dinner today. But when Margaret went after her suitcase Gertrude was fixing dinner for them. So Margaret stayed. David and Arnie built a house out of Lincoln Logs.

I asked W. Warner if he knew of a place in a town where wooden desk chairs could be fixed. He said he could do that for us!! So he has the chair now. Maybe you can think of something to do to thank them for this. Ward just found out that he has an ulcer and has to be on a special diet. He told me he thought his job has something to do with it.

Cold again – but this “hardy pioneer” still sleeps in her upstairs bed!! Millers plan on moving a week from Tuesday – the house I mentioned. How I hate to see them leave – I’ve enjoyed Joyce so much.

Well, I’ll close and try to mail this tonight. How I miss you and still I have a peace about staying here till school is out. Perhaps that sounds strange. Jimmy’s on my lap – and sends his love.

All my love,
Nellie

Shoveling coal like mad – 1/18/57

January 18, 1957

My dearest John,

Just a note today and will enclose some letters that have come. I meant to write yesterday but got busy running the sweeper and didn’t get it done. Really got cold Wed. night. I couldn’t get the car started and so called Dillons, and they came after us. David wanted to run to Milliman’s [a neighboring farm] but it was so terribly cold, I didn’t want to get them out, when I knew that some of the folks at the chapel would be out anyway. 2 below zero at supper time with a good wind blowing. The boys’ room is closed up and they are on the davenport. That helps to keep the other two rooms upstairs warm. It got to 10 below that night and, while not that cold, it hasn’t been above 15 above zero since. Shoveling coal like mad (16 tons).

Yesterday Milliman’s went up and down the road starting the neighbors’ cars with the Jeep. The bus wouldn’t even start so Heitchers down the road picked up the kids and took them to school. Herb McLaughlin brought them home in the old greyhound the school owns.

We have been way off schedule this week since the youngsters are home every afternoon. Seems like another vacation. And it has been nice not packing lunches. We get a decent breakfast this way. Guess I should start earlier in the morning, but it is so cold. I have to get up though now in order to have a fire. I put 4 big shovelfuls of coal on last night at 11 and at six this morning there was just enough fire left to start some coal burning. And the house wasn’t above 65.

I delivered your message to Ralph. I think that he will write Mr. Little. At the farewell the young people gave Millers two beautiful lamps. The chapel gave them one of those pictures of Christ that have a bulb to light or plug in to put a light behind the picture, and a nice electric skillet. For such a cold night and such short notice, quite a few people turned out. Not as many however as if it would be on Sunday night. They would have had it then, but word got out that they were moving on Sat.; in reality it will be Tuesday. (if they can get a van – that hadn’t been arranged yet yesterday) Margaret Snook suggested that Harpers move in the house – if they do consider that, what shall I say? Since it is on sale perhaps they will not consider it.

Danny has an imagination. He calls that little peg thing that the rings fit on his “this I know”. He puts the rings (records) on and twirls it around! How about that?

Now I’ll close – . Oh, about the money, don’t bother to send any now. I have plenty for a while. Damers gave me 10, Moores handed me 10, and the check from Cathers was signed to me, so there is plenty. I have acknowledged all of those already. I don’t know if it was impulse or the Lord bidding – but all day Sunday I felt I should give Arnie $10, so just before I left on Sunday evening I saw Ralph and asked him to give it to Arnie anonymously. I was going to skip it thinking it was probably impulse but as I drove out of the yard and nearly bumped into Ralph, I had the thought to handing it to him to give – now how do you know?

I went to the book store in La Grange yesterday to get a little more material for Wed. nights and bought the youngsters a few more books. Wanted to get Milnot [evaporated milk] but forgot. Did get some day old bread and gas at Howe. Gas goes sooner when you have to run the car a while to get it warmed up each time.

W.S.T.R. has already sent your income things here. Mike Strong is taking your place at night. Dick Bunce won his ninth match last Wed. night. Sturgis plays East Lansing tonight – they are tied for first place so it is a big game. Millers invited the girls to go and David is about dying he wants to go so badly. They might ask him if he and Pat weren’t so goofy about each other. But I can’t take him, so he is mad and says he won’t even listen on the radio! But I’m going to!

Now I will close – Loads of love from all of us. We sorta have our hopes up that you’ll get home the 27th. But don’t do it if you are to preach someplace else – Unless you have the whole weekend it is too much. It is almost too much to come so far to preach and get back. Would you consider the train to Elkhart – I’d come meet you there. It would be so much easier traveling that way. Could study while riding.

As I said before, I must close. The chicken backs and necks for soup must be overdone by now.

Lovingly, Nellie

Get them to do their best – 1/15/57

Wed. noon 1-15-57

Dearest John,

Your letter came yesterday just as I was on my way to the schools to visit the teachers. So I mailed the card back to the bank right away.

It was good to hear from you, and I know that if I was up until 12:30 after a busy day I would not get any letters written. Thanks so much for all that effort when I know that you were tired.

The teachers had favorable reports for the youngsters. Dorothy’s grades are good but the teacher said they are not up to what they could be. She has a tendency to spend too much time reading and not on her lessons, but what she does is quite quickly done, and she is no problem as far as discipline is concerned. David’s work is fine. Mrs. Rerick says she is so happy that he was put ahead last year, while he is not the top one of his class he is among the top. She wondered if he didn’t bring too much of his work home to do as he seemed to have lots of spare time during the school hours. She was surprised when I told her that he only brought work home once a week at most. Spelling is his lowest subject. Margaret is all roses as usual. Just can’t say enough about her. Has a disposition that will wear well all through life! While she is doing excellent work, she keeps busy and is happily adjusted, so the teacher thought she should stay where she is. I said that Margaret takes the attitude that school is one big lark and nothing is hard – I wondered if she was getting lazy habits like David was doing. Johnny is another story. He seems capable, although the class nor Mrs. Lewis are able to understand him in his speech. But he fights (literally) to be first in line for everything. But she says when he is corrected – he is a gentleman and does not sass though she is sure he bites his tongue some times! So I don’t what we can do to help him. Last night we tried making ‘s’s’ sound. But Johnny just can’t seem to do it. I wonder if we should seek trained help for that defect.

All in all we have nothing to really worry about, but we should try to get them to do their best and not be satisfied with just good. I asked about David’s play time and getting along with others. She said she hadn’t noticed any agitation, but that she wasn’t with them much of that time. She said that he likes to do a good job on his work.

In the Metropolitan I.Q. test given each year about this time all of the youngsters were a couple of years ahead of schedule. Dorothy had the average that is required at the end of 7th grade. etc. But that doesn’t indicate too much, certainly not that she could step into 7th grade work.

The sun is shining again today, but it was down to zero this morning. Really uses the coal. This hard pioneer has now shoveled 3 tons of coal this winter, and I still sleep between sheets upstairs! ahem! don’t you dare chuckle.

How’s the diet and the vitamins. Please take them, esp. if you are cutting out meals.

Oh, Yes, the Plymouth has been starting just fine. No trouble at all. I told you about the brakes going out, and getting fluid put in. And the thermostat on the furnace continues to work, and no smoke at all since you cleaned it. I’m so glad for all of that.

I have a dozen letters to write yet, and when I do that the housework goes to pot. So I guess that I will close not and give the kids pancakes for dinner. I splurged and bought some smoked herring and an avocado yesterday so we eat cheap for a couple of days. To discipline us.

Lovingly, Nellie

Wish you were here, 1-11-57

From left: Margaret, David, John, Dorothy, Mom holding Jimmy

[On the day before my husband was born in Minnesota, my mom wrote this letter in Michigan.]

Fri January 11, 1957

Dearest John,

Just finished a washing and my lunch of bacon and eggs and toast, so while it is digesting I will try to get a note off to you. Danny is up on the stool watching and every once in a while poking a finger into something to see how it works. Last Sunday night we were all in the car and no Daniel. Dorothy went in to see where he was and he had escaped us to run back up front to watch Bill and tape recorder. Sunday morning he dashed up there too when I let go for a minute to pick up my things to go down and do my turn in the nursery.

The temp was really down this morning – ten below zero, but the house was nice and warm – no wind and that makes the difference in this place. The night before when it was storming we could feel the cold and it was just in the twenties. The youngsters bundled up last night and played outside in the drifts. They thought it was fun, but I had trouble looking over all the mess it made. They want to do it again tonight! (handwritten: They did.)

Marv came in the morning with two rabbits for us to eat. All cleaned. They caught one out under the shed here yesterday and the other one down in the woods. He and Mr. Hawkins seem to enjoy going hunting together.

I’m going to get David and Margaret some shoes this weekend. (added: I did. 1 pr. David 2 pr. Margaret) They are having sales now and they both need them. David can still wear his to school, but Margaret doesn’t have any for school or Sunday. She is growing taller too. The purple jumper that looked so nice last fall is way too small now. So I’m trying to fix another skirt over for her now.

I called Louise this morning to see if I could help her with any entertaining this week end. Someone said that Dan Ball was coming with the young people and that Bill McDonald was to speak, but no one seems to know anything definite. She looks for word today or a telephone call. At any rate they are planning to have some of the camp y.p. that know Bill in on Sat. night for a little get together. I said that it was so near exam time that I doubted if many young people would be able to get away for as long and as hard a week end trip as this one is to Sturgis. People are always asking if you are coming home. I hate to explain about you speaking on week ends to everyone and still I don’t want them to think that you didn’t come home because you can’t afford the time, energy, or money.

Danny has brought me one of his doggies so I guess I’ll cart it and him up to bed for a nap. I am ambitious and want to empty my wash water and do another wash this afternoon and perhaps get caught up for the first time in weeks. He bumped his chin where he shaved last week this morning and it really bled. It must have been deeper than we thought as it has taken a long time to heal. Jimmy is good – likes to tease Danny with his toys, but most of the time a sweet helper.

Did you see where Donald Gray Barnhouse spoke a word of approval of Adventist on the radio. Sword of the Lord had a word about it, Natch.

A Mike Strong is on at W.S.T.R. now. Working with Ray Wells this morning. I wonder if he is quitting. I’ll soon know I guess as I tune in mornings to get time and temp. Ray Smith is going to be on again at 5:45 – probably a reason for that time, so he can’t spoil the sports cast for the station! He hasn’t been on all fall. Kinda missed him. Now I’ll sign off for this time. All our love, Sweetheart. It sure seems more than a week since you have been away. Jimmy was telling me know good you are at fixing things today. Whenever I give him an “I don’t know” answer he tells me that you would know! Next Tuesday I to to have conf with all the teachers. Wish you were here

Lovingly, Nellie