Patience and Perseverance

Monday 4-8-57

My Dearest:

It was just this morning that we said good-bye but I’m going to start out a little better than last time and get at least a little note off to you. I just finished a letter to my folks. I hadn’t written since they called me, so I did that.

I can’t imagine how tired you must feel – I’m weary and you must be just so much more so. I did listen to the radio and it sounded as though the most snow you had was here and that it got less going west. Bill M. said that it was about two inches there, and I know it was all of four inches on the car this morning.

David went off to school without his books, his gym shorts, and called to ask me to bring them in. I refused at first, but he called again and I guess Mrs. Rerick had scolded him and he seemed about in tears, so I broke down and took them in.

Most of the snow is off the trees now, but it is not melting as quickly as I thought it would. It is staying down around freezing.

Jimmy asked if he could buy a record player, so he could listen to the children’s stories record. Danny crawled out of his bed, looked for you, then hustled down to look for the record player and for your car. He concluded that you had really gone to Oak Park this time. Yesterday afternoon he wasn’t sure, but really cried his heart out that you were gone. [Our family had one portable record player. Evidently my dad took it with him at his teaching job, but brought it home on weekend visits.]

Did you find your Mother there or had she gone to St. Louis? With that she could come up here now, but I know that is impossible.

And was Dean ready, have you heard more from him, and did you get to school on time? ‘Nuff asked. I expect that you would answer all those things when you write, even if I didn’t ask — but, being me, I ask the questions and wait for the answers.

We will be praying as a family, and I will try to set aside time to pray for the work of the summer. Whichever, or whatever, if we know that it is His place, we know that He will help us to do the work required.

Jimmy is out fixing a sandwich for his lunch and I had better go help him out a little. He’ll get enough but Danny won’t fare so well. However, he doesn’t look underfed!

Thanks so much for taking care of the checkbook. And I feel awful about the income tax being thrown in your lap. As a help-meet I seem to leave all the work to you. But though I don’t do my share, I do love you, and your patience and perseverance does inspire me to work harder and more carefully. Take care of yourself and I hope you can get more rest these next few weeks. Now I must close.

All my love,
Nellie

[All Nellie’s letters to John can be found by searching Mom’s Letters.]

Depressed and even bitter

Thursday 4-4-57

Dearest John:

Just a note – you may not even get this before you leave. In case you do, why don’t you stay over until Saturday a.m. in case your folks do get in on Friday. They might, for a rehearsal. We’ve been praying for them in this stormy weather.

About groceries – some of the usual things: oleo, cereal, etc. Nothing special that I’m out of that I can remember. Clothes starch.

If you have a spare minute (!) stop at Millers and tell them I’m getting a dinner ready, something quick since there is a rally in the afternoon. Already have rolls made and in the freezer. Making apple sauce, etc. They need not bring anything.

So glad to hear from you yesterday — I’ve been sorta down all week, physically, which makes me depressed…and even bitter, I’m ashamed to say, for the first time this winter.

If you must make a decision concerning this summer now, then go ahead and do it. The Lord will work things out and I’m praying here. Psalm 48:14 [For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.]

So glad Dean is coming. Banquet is 6:30. I sent a card to him.

Now I’ll close – all our love, it is so good to count on seeing you again soon. Lots of hugs and kisses saved us to deliver then.

Nellie

A Whale of a Lot of Ironing Done

Monday
April 1, 1957

My Dearest John,

How do you like the new ribbon? [VERY MUCH!] Really makes a difference, eh? And how about the way your wife has been treating you this past week? I’m really sorry for neglecting you so, and I should have taken time to write, but I have really kept busy during the day and I’m not much good at night. It was so good to get your letter last Friday – you are so much busier than I am; I surely appreciate the time you take to write.

Last Monday I started right in ironing in order to get your shirts in the mail – they are still on the ironing board. the electricity went off for about an hour and when it came on the furnace draft would not work at all. Mr. Hawkins was out working on the shed, so I told him about it. Then, before he got to work on it, it did start working again – like it had been. But I didn’t stop him from working on it because it was inconvenient to not have the check draft working. Mr. Blanchard worked with him trying to put one of the second hand ones on. But by night time they had not gotten anywhere, and by the end of Tuesday they decided they would have to buy a new one. On Thursday they put in a new one, but by Friday I decided that it was not working at all, so I reported that. They went in town again, and discovered that they had it wired wrong, and now it is working. Having them in and out all that time slowed me down as far as getting things done. I did get a pair of pajamas made for Dorothy and a whale of a lot of ironing and mending done, but I am not yet caught up.

Mrs. Bogen called and asked me to come to a Stanley party [a direct sales company connected with Fuller Brush], so Friday afternoon was gone in that fashion. They always want you to have a party at your house, but I draw the line there. [Good call, Mom!]

And by Saturday they moved the shed, and it has taken time to try to get our stuff squared away that was in there. A lot of that must still be done and I don’t know what we will do with all of it.

Jimmy and Danny are sitting here making sure that I tell you about the shed. We cut four heads of hair on Saturday. I told Margaret to take hers down and brush it good before washing it. Well, she did and wandered out to the kitchen where David was making some frosting and offered to hold the beater for him … and somehow got her hair caught in the electric beater. David had the presence of mind to shut the beater off. It pulled a lot of hair out – leaving a strip like a wide part that is bald on her head. The beaters pushed into her head right by the scar she has and made a good egg. All I could think of was the story in the newspaper of a women getting her hair caught in a washing machine wringer and dying from it.

Dave said he talked to you about camp this summer – but he didn’t say whether for or against, although his manner indicated that they wanted us. Is that right? Any decisions? I’ve been so curious. Good for me to have to wait and learn a little patience.

Danny’s cold isn’t any better. I don’t know what to do about the meetings this week. The older ones want to go, but I know that I shouldn’t take the younger ones out.

Our income tax presents a problem. It looks as if we will have to pay about $80. We wouldn’t have to pay any if we had kept track of where the Lord’s money went. But if you claim more than 10% deduction, you have to itemize where it goes. We didn’t keep any track until you went to Emmaus. And a lot went to individuals that can’t be deducted unless going through the right channels. Unless they accept commended persons [e.g. missionaries] as eligible. Our medical deductions don’t come much above 3% of our income. I talked to Leland and he said unless a person uses checks there is no way of verifying what is even given to the Chapel in case they want to check up. We have to get this in soon.

If you haven’t ordered the waffle iron yet, maybe you hadn’t better do it. I’ve had $22 given me for my birthday, each one specifying that I was to get something for myself. I don’t know what I want. Nothing actually. but I’ve about decided that I’d like to save it towards a washing machine when we get moved. I can’t think of anything that would help me more next fall with a lot of baby wash added to the present load. I know that this is only a drop in the bucket towards that, but it won’t hurt to start saving.

Now I’ll sing off – I mean sign. If you come home you will miss seeing your folks on Saturday. I sent them a letter but I’m sure that they didn’t get it before leaving.

April 1st — only two more months of school. It seems like it has been a long year in lots of respects, and then again I’m surprised at how quickly the time has gone by. At any rate it will be wonderful to have you home again. I surely have missed you and it is hard to keep the right balance in the home when they all look to me for everything, and we’ll probably have some stormy times for awhile when we start living together again. But even though the children storm sometimes, they like to know what you want and expect when their feelings are really known.

Danny says, “Let’s eat.” So I will stop and take care of my boys. We all love you and continue to pray for you and your work.

Nellie

Blinking Lights in Farewell

Wednesday a.m.
March 20, 1957

My dearest John,

Your big long letter was such a treat on Monday. After Joyce called and I could relax more, I sat down and read it several times.

Before I forget it – your Dad’s birthday is next Tuesday. I’m going to leave the gift-sending up to you and if you’ve not written do it. Let my letter go and write him. I’m going to have the youngsters send cards. We don’t know how many more times we can remember his birthday. [He died in 1963]

Oh — spring is here — with snow on the ground. Rather chilly, too.

I’ve got flannelgraph spread out before me in preparation for prayer meeting tonight. I enjoy this, but it becomes more of a chore since I’m always tired now. Feel OK, just the draggy feeling, which goes with all my pregnancies. I feel guilty sleeping 8 and 9 hours a night when you get so little. I thought of you last night and wondered what time you got home from Champaign.

I watched last time you left and was sure I saw you get on the toll road and blink your lights. I could get confused, so many cars and lights. Glad you mentioned it.

My cold is hanging on and so is Danny’s and Jimmy’s. The older ones did not seem to get it.

Made some yeast rolls Monday – they were good this time and I’m nearly proud with all the nice things the children said!!

Time to close – wish you were here to talk to instead of writing. Take care of yourself these busy days. We love you and your name is mentioned umpteen times a day. I’m learning that when you really love a person you never get used to having him gone – it gets worse instead of easier. Hurry up, summer!

All my love,
Nellie

The Oil Gage Flopped Down

March 18, 1957
Monday a.m.

Dearest John,

The bus has come and gone and breakfast is over. Jimmy has even had his little sit on my lap which is almost routine every morning.

Before I get to rushing around today I want to get a little letter off to you. Saturday was a nice, although a little cold, day. I decided that we would go down to see the Millers in the afternoon. I knew that we have been promising that we would come some afternoon, probably Sunday, and it was almost two months since they had moved, so we took off. Had no trouble finding them and it was like a family reunion. Bill has to come up early tonight for his glasses, so they may all come up here for supper. It is an effort [for them] to do that on a school night.

I’ve been watching that oil gage like a hawk because I can’t understand how that [?] happened. But something is drastically wrong with our oil consumption. All of a sudden just as I got to Elkhart the gage flopped down, so I stopped and bought a quart. But that barely kept the gage where it is supposed to be. And when we got home the thing showed only about a half inch of oil and it took about four or five quarts to fill it. And that all in one week. I noticed that whenever I slowed down it really put out a smoke screen. So yesterday I kept my speed down to about 30 or 35 all the time and the smoke screen was not as bad. The man in the station at Elkhart said he could see no leak and I haven’t either. So is it rings that we need? The floor has rusted out — we can see the ground from the inside — I almost feel that we should look for a trade-in in better condition. Or get moved where one car is all we need.

We had a nice time with Damers yesterday. My admiration of those folks goes up each time I meet them. The youngsters really had a good time and didn’t want to come home. And Becky cried because we had tea!

Sturgis was beaten on Friday night by Greenville. And Dick didn’t get the title because the coach would not let him continue wrestling on Friday and he had to forfeit a match. He had been quite sick and it was too much for him. They were all pretty disappointed, but I think they accepted it as from the Lord. I did not get to talk to any of them.

Dorothy has to have some cupcakes for a school party today and i want to get ready for Millers, besides doing some washing, so I had better sign off. I think I have covered the news. Except to let you know again that we surely do miss you and look forward to seeing you. We thought of you a lot yesterday out at Wheaton. I do wish that telephone calls weren’t as expensive. I love you and I just can’t get used to having you gone so much — howbeit the Lord has given joy and peace just to know that you are busy for Him.

All my love,
Nellie

[In honor of my Mom’s 100th birthday on March 23, 2020, I dug out her letters to my dad and started reading. In 1956 my dad took a job teaching at Emmaus Bible School in Oak Park, IL. The college was young and didn’t have funds to pay a regular wage. So there wasn’t money to move the family from Sturgis, Michigan to the Chicago suburbs. So Mom stayed at a drafty farm house with six kids: Dorothy 10, David 9, Margaret 8, Johnny 6, Jimmy 4, and Danny 2. She was pregnant with me.]

Spring Right In the House



March 15, 1957

My dearest John,

Time flies on and my letter writing is neglected. A few interesting things have happened. The weather is one – spring yesterday, and so windy and cold today. The house feels so drafty even though I spent some time stopping up cracks this evening.

I took Margaret to the eye doctor last night. He made quite a thorough examination, it seemed to me. She seems to have a farsightedness that is not too serious – often comes in the first three grades of school and can be corrected. If let go, though, it can develop into more serious trouble. So, $29.50 for glasses. Nothing can do but take their word for it. I watched her testing in reading and identifying things and she did miss a lot. He said that eye trouble follows certain patterns in growing children: the first three grades, the seventh grade, and the last two years of high school.

Sturgis won the game on Wednesday night, and now must win one tonight over Greenville in order to play tomorrow night for the regional title. They are handicapped because Steve Boyle had to leave the game Wednesday night with a bad knee and is out for the season, and two other have the flu. Dick Bunce has been sick, but the Dr. last night said he could wrestle this Saturday for the state championship.

Dave wasn’t there Wed. night to keep prayer meeting rolling according to schedule. They got involved in some business about the Belman house, etc. and it lasted until 8:25 – which makes problems downstairs [where the younger children are]. We managed to keep them reasonably quiet, but it is hard.

Damers asked us to come over for dinner on Sunday. They said that they would like a time when you were home, but that seemed impossible, so they asked us to come. So hurry home and you can come along!

There is one beautiful daffodil now and buds for six more – spring right in the house. I’m surprised how the youngsters enjoy it.

I’m really out of news so I’m going to close now. As usual it seems like a month since you have been home. I’m really looking forward to summer and trust that we’ll have more time together. The camp suggestion sounds good, but I sometimes wonder how effective our help would be. If it is a caretaker they need, our lives are not along that, judging from how we have cared for any place we’ve lived in. I’m glad we can pray and trust the Lord to work it all out for us.

Now, all my love darling. We miss you. The children have been good this week. Danny has a huge goose egg above his left eye. The wind blew the door knob into his head. Jimmy and Danny were like young colts the two days they could play outdoors.

Lovingly,
Nellie

Danny has graduated – you are now in Oooooook Park – not Chicago!!

Talking Crooked 3-12-57

John and Nellie, circa 1944? Dad was in the Navy.

Tuesday, 3-22-57

My Dearest,

If your cold got any worse, I can’t imagine how you felt by Monday a.m. Thought of you so much.

Here’s the tract with Dean’s address and some clippings from the paper. Ray Smith paid a real tribute to Dick [Bunce, a high school wrestler friend and hero of the kids] on last night’s program. They had the drawing for the regionals last night and I believe Sturgis got Albion for the first game on Wednesday night. Accordig to Ray it was the least favorable drawing.

Jimmy has a cold now — pretty soon we’ll all be talking crooked!! Kids think I sound funny with my cold.

Lots of rain yesterday, but very warm sunshine today and the birds are really swelling today on trees.

Margaret’s appointment for her eyes is Thursday at 4:00 p.m.

Now I’ll close and let Jimmy put this in the box. It was so good to have you home — be nice when summer comes. But the trip takes so much that you better not come until April 6th. The time gets long for all of us, but summer seems closer now.

All my love,
Nellie