Diving into the Laundry

Wednesday, January 8, 1958 [first letter of 1958!]

Dearest John,

Time flies by and if I don’t hurry you’ll not get even a note this week. Really, no news. But I suspect you’d like to know that things are normal. Cold out — the house is comfortable when it is calm. Did blow one day, however.

Still haven’t got the Christmas tree down. I dived into the clothes on Monday and yesterday. And today I have had a relapse and can’t get started. After all that work the baskets are still full. I suggest we move south or all wear blue jeans seven days a week.

Carol’s cold is worse, so I cancelled my appointment for Tuesday. I’ll go next Tuesday.

I suppose it takes a long time for answers, but I’d like to know how the auction on that house turned out.

Dorothy made her brownies for 4H. Very good. She’ll make a good cook. [That prediction came true!] She usually does a beautiful job of cleaning the kitchen on her turn at dishes.

Danny just heard one of “your” song’s “record” on radio and is in ecstasy. **

I hope you are catching up on your sleep better than I am; but knowing you, I doubt if you are. The children are getting caught up, but both Jimmy and Danny have turned into bed-wetters.

Mail man is coming so I’ll close.

All our love,
Nellie

** Danny became a tenor who sings professionally. Here on YouTube is a recording of him singing O Holy Night about twenty years after this letter was written.

The Stress of Christmas

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Tuesday, 12-17-1957

My Dearest,

How good it was to hear your voice on Sunday night. I should keep a notebook by the phone so if you call I can refer to it and ask the things I always forget in the excitement of getting a call.

Mrs. Wolcott heard from Daddy [I only know one or two people who call their father-in-law Daddy. Was this a common habit?] that they would probably be through here on Tuesday or Wednesday. So I’m trying to hustle around and get things ready in case they come today. If they don’t, I’ll have to do it all over tomorrow — you know our house. I’m washing. Yesterday I fixed up a Christmas lesson for Mrs. Rose and in the afternoon took the children to the chapel for a combined CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship) class where Miss Beverly Saunders spoke. She is going out to Venezuela soon. Then in the evening I took David into the chapel for basketball and practice for their part in the Christmas program. Randy promised them a malt if they would all come to practice. They got it at Fenners. I took Dorothy to Sunnyfield Road for a 4H meeting or party. Hesper went after the girls then.

Danny has learned the art of using scissors. He sits on the floor and cuts everything available. Have to teach him how to pick it up!

The coal bin is empty and I don’t want to order more when two tons are not paid for as yet. So I’m asking the Lord to send in money for these bills before I make any more. I added it up last night and we need $200 to pay bills and take the Lord’s money out of, i.e. $160 for bills and $40 for the Lord’s portion. That doesn’t include anything but due bills and no groceries. That is the doctor and dentist, too. I haven’t heard from the Red Cross yet so I don’t know if it will be more than $50 or not. I would like to pay it ourselves as the chapel is low on money, too. I think that is one reason that they have been having local brethren do the ministering lately.

I don’t imagine that you have been able to do anything about Christmas gifts for the folks since you haven’t had any money either. Should the Lord see fit to send in some gifts this week, I’ll send down things for Bob and Ruth with Nita when she comes down on Friday. Marion called me last night to see if I would have anything I would like to send down to you with her. I may also send some clothes to the PGM (Pacific Garden Mission) if she doesn’t mind taking them. She could give them to you and you could deliver them on your way home next week.

If we get out any cards this year I’ll be surprised. I don’t think that I can get around to it — at least the way things look now. Part of my trouble is that I’m disappointed about not getting any pictures taken and I just don’t feel like sending out the same old things that I have sent out for two years. And I don’t feel like buying new cards when there are so many of the old ones upstairs yet. Wonder what folks would think if we didn’t send any?

Well, Carol is waking so I’ll close. She isn’t much good as an alarm any more – sleeps too long. I got up at five this morning to check the time and was afraid to go to sleep again as I knew I would oversleep then. It is almost dark when the bus comes now so I can’t wait until it gets light to wake up.

I’m praying for the banquet and for the speaker. I have to ask the Lord to keep me from being jealous of Nita and Ruthie as I would so much like to be there. But I am happy that they can be there. I’d just like to be there, too! May it be more than just a good time: a real blessing to all, the speaker included! Would love to hear you…

Carol is being insistent, so I’ll run.
Love all of us, me especially,
Nellie

Shoe Through the Window

11-29-57

Dearest John,

A snowy Saturday morning — and the house is buzzing with restless children. I guess that we’ll get something done, because some mail came for Granddaddy [my dad’s dad who was a traveling evangelist] and so he must not be far behind. So that gives us all an inspiration to give an extra push.

We also got a package from Aunt Betty [my dad’s sister in South Africa], which reminds me that we haven’t sent her anything for this year. [I think they sent support $$]

The doctor yesterday found most things in good shape. As far as my heart he said that everything seemed good. But for the record and to see if anything had happened, he recommended an electro-cardiogram. I didn’t make any appointment for it: said that I would wait until the holidays when you were home to see about it. I was afraid to ask what it cost. Money is getting to be a touchy subject!

Mrs. Warner was out on Thursday and left the chapel check here with me. Then Friday a.m. Kessler and Emerson came out to put the new control on the dryer. Monday I about called them to check it again as I couldn’t get it to start at all. Then, later in the day, I tried it and it went without any trouble. Well, his bill was $32.08. I debated whether to charge it or pay it, and decided to pay it. Since we don’t have an account there, it didn’t seem good to start one and then have a hard time getting around to paying it. So by the time that was paid, the Lord’s portion taken out and a few groceries bought, I have not much left. Three dollars for eggs and Sunday School offering, and milk money at school.

I guess that it is a good thing that you didn’t come home this weekend just from the point of traveling expense. The Lord must have some purpose in it. Maybe we didn’t prove faithful in using all that He sent us last year. We certainly spent more on ourselves than we would have in secular work. Well, whatever it is, I hope we learn our lesson, so that this will let up. To have so many bills, and right at Christmas time when each time I turn around it is someone needing more money for gifts, etc. Teachers, bus drivers, etc. all around.

Well, I don’t think I’ll write more now. David kicked off one of his black shoes and it went through an upstairs window. [!!!] That is not fixed yet. I should have done it yesterday, but the wind was so strong that I hated to take it out and I was short on time. We had a flat tire one morning when due at the dentist. Dorothy and I were hustling and changing it, when Mr. Milliman drove up and he helped lift the tire on. I had it fixed and David changed it. Dale fixed the clutch and in addition filled the gas tank and put a quart of oil in it. I certainly appreciated that. Clutch works fine now.

Johnny just came to tell me that he and David are going to help now and try to be peacemakers. They are doing the bathroom. Well, I must close. Jimmy says that he has been talking to Carol [awwww!], but she is fussing anyhow. She is tired so I’ll get her to bed. Sure do miss you but we are looking forward to a nice long Christmas holiday. Would like to have a birthday party for Margaret this year [12/28] — she always comes out short on the birthday celebration.

Love from us all,
Nellie

Glad You Could Hear Her Coo

11-22-1957

My Dearest,

Just a note today for Jimmy to take to the box when he meets the school bus. It was good to talk to you last night. Funny about all the things I could think of after we hung up. I couldn’t think of a thing important enough to say on a phone call! I wonder about your clothes. Is Bill responsible for getting them? What color suit, etc. When do you plan to go to Milwaukee? [For a wedding?] And should I call the Hoyts or Millers about Thanksgiving? I think that I’ll go ahead and call Hoyts first. It has been some time since we have been together with them, and it seems easier to be with the Millers. Although I suppose that Dale would be happy if he knew we shared his turkey with the Millers. I’ll see what I shall do.

We may have the Goodpaster girls with us during the holidays as they have to go up north to get Hesper’s mother. She is going to stay with them this winter. They would be very crowded if the girls went; they will bring down all the things that her mother needs to stay the whole winter, which includes her walker. Good of the Goodpasters to just naturally expect to take her as their house is none too big.

I started Carol [not quite two months – yikes!] on cereal yesterday. She doesn’t quite understand about eating from a spoon, but we managed to get it all in. I was glad that you could hear her coo last night. She was happy after being fed.

Rather cool around here, but I’m thankful that the wind is not blowing. It has been so stormy. We want to go to the meeting tonight as it is the last night. We stayed home last night – everyone just gets too crabby when missing even an hour’s sleep every other night.

Not I had better get this in the envelope. Danny wants to go out and see the bus driver and I have to dress him. We just found his shoe. We have trouble keeping track of those shoes — no wonder he has a runny nose again. Love from all of us, especially me. The youngsters miss you heaps, but I think that I miss you more than they do. Maybe it is just my point of view, but I know that we do miss you so very much.

Lovingly,
Nellie

Keeping On In Our Feeble Way

Thursday a.m.
11-21-57

Dearest John,

I certainly am tardy in getting a letter off to you. Something is always getting neglected. I’ve been trying to get the house work in better shape than it has been in the past months, but in doing that I haven’t written a letter for several weeks. And while some of the work is done, no one but me can see any improvement.

We did not go to the service on Sunday night. I had thought that we would, but after you left we all seemed more tired than we thought, because of being out Saturday night. So we stayed home and then we all went on Monday night, stayed home on Tuesday and all went on Wednesday. He spoke on prayer last night. Judging from some of the conversation after the meeting, we all agree it is a good thing, but don’t do it.

Monday morning the mouse trap was gone. And we haven’t been able to locate it. I hope that the mouse got away from it. So I set the other trap that I had and we have been getting a mouse a day. It is getting disgusting to have so many of the animals around the place. And flies, too. Having these pigs eating (and they are feeding them grain right on the cement by the house) right out here must be part of the reason.

The insurance (hospital) was due yesterday, and as you know it didn’t get paid. I didn’t send a check this time; guess my faith is failing. So that is out of effect now. Dorothy is about freezing in her light coat and last night Nita Zollman saw her and said that she had a coat that Dorothy might be able to wear.

We told Danny that you were going on the toll road when you left on Sunday night. So now when something is to be told you he goes to the window and looks towards the toll road and we hear, “Daddy, Daddy, you on the toll road! Jimmy hit me” (or: here’s some dessert for you, or today he decided Marvin was wearing your red winter hat.) But I think that we have persuaded him now that you are off the toll road and at school. This morning he was playing with clay, fixed up a cake of it and put it in the skillet in the oven and told me he had a burger in the oven!

Well, I guess that I had better close. Carol should be waking up and it is time to fix some lunch for Jimmy. So far this morning I haven’t earned my salt, but have eaten much more than that. Unless I quit nursing the baby you folks are going to be way ahead of me in this losing weight business. I have gained several pounds in spite of my efforts to not do so. Hate to think what I’d weigh if I let myself go on eating now.

Oh yes, Gertie King told me that she ate at Patterson’s last Sunday…

We’ll miss you this weekend, but it won’t be long until Thanksgiving vacation. I guess that we’ll be staying home here, although that doesn’t sound very exciting to me. Sounds more like work, unless everyone would be satisfied with wieners. But I suppose when the time comes we’ll get more enthusiastic. We all do love you and are glad we can look forward to you coming home. We’ll be praying for you this weekend, but after reading about Hyde, I wonder if our prayers do much. But we’ll keep on in our feeble way.

Always yours,
Nellie

Going to Chicago

Wednesday 11-8-57

Dearest John,

Lunch time, so I’ll try to get a note off before the mail man comes. I hear Carol, so a little will depend on how insistent she is. She shouldn’t need attention yet. She is back to normal now – at least waking up to know she is fed and stay awake a little while. Monday she scarcely opened her eyes even during feeding.

Last night Danny put his coat and hat on (backwards, of course) and announced that he was going to Chicago to see you. It was bedtime and he wanted to sleep with you. He has no idea how far you are. Just down the road, according to him. David told him you were really West and he had a fit. NO! You went the other way! We all get so tickled at his antics. He stays good natured even when determined that he must see you.

Mended and altered clothes all day yesterday. Doesn’t seem that I get much done when I do that. It takes a lot of time and not much to show for it.

David got a $4.00 check from Grandma Stover to divide with Danny for their birthdays. David has tossed around all the ideas of what he wants for his birthday and I guess that it will be shoes for the gym. Tonight he is going to stay and play the last football game.

My heart still skips beats; it’s a queer sensation. It hasn’t happened as often as it did on Sunday a.m. and there are no other aches and pains, so I’ll let it ride until my check up.

Margaret got her permanent last night. Was she tickled about that! It was really curly this morning and I hope that it does not come out this time. Her hair doesn’t take a permanent very easily.

The service man is here now to look at the machine. Something slipped, he said, and I hope he can fix it. Well, I will close now and try to get a note off to Mom yet. All my love to bestest husband and sweetheart in the world.

Nellie

A Sharp Turn of Events

Monday 11-4-57

Dearest John,

Johnny expressed my sentiments this morning: “I sure wish Daddy could be here every day.” When I suggested that perhaps we had better pray for a house near school [the college where my Dad was teaching], he agreed, adding, “Only one thing is wrong, it is awfully hard to go to new schools.” Which I heartily agree. I changed once in the 5th grade and for weeks I actually felt ill and begged to stay home in the mornings.

A sharp turn of events in our laundry this morning … and after all our rejoicing over it last night. The first load went fine and was in the dryer. I went down to check the second load (diapers) to give a second deep rinse. Water was running all over the floor. I don’t know what happened, but the water did not seem to shut off after filling the deep rinse. That or it kept draining out the suds saver hose as fast as filling up. Anyhow the suds saver tub and washing machine tub were both overflowing. I pulled plugs and drained what I could. No, later I did that. Carol was crying for food so I went upstairs to her and to decide what to do. I also had found that the dryer wasn’t working. Pilot switch wouldn’t go on. “He that thinketh everything is perfect — take heed.”

After Carol was cared for I went down again to analyze the situation. Behold, the dryer started working. “Thank you, Lord,” I said. So I turned to the washer. It is a strange noise and the water all pumps out the suds saver hose. The hole in the floor won’t hold it, so I had to stop experimenting to locate the trouble and wrote to Kendallville [a town in eastern Indiana]. The diapers are done, so I can wait to do more washing until after Wednesday.

Cheer up ………………..!

Carol is sleeping all the time and not eating so much. Her cold may have something to do with that. No new aches for me – but I am going on a fat-free diet, for general principle’s sake. Will close to meet mail man.

All my love,
Nellie

Tonight It Was Just Too Much

Thursday eve. (date illegible)

Dear John,

Tonight when Danny was going to bed he was sobbing on the bed in the living room. I’ve never heard him sound so broken-hearted. I gathered him up and he told me, “I want my Daddy” over and over again. He is feeling so punk and has been my little shadow for a couple of days, but tonight it was just too much. I would have spent the money on a phone call if I was sure it would have helped just to let him hear you. With some loving from me and Carol he settled off to sleep. He is not so sick, but enough to be miserable, hardly enough to keep him down.

Marian Bunce was just here. She brought out some ice cream, books for the children and cough syrup — and some news. All of the Dillons are down with flu, Gladys Lindeman is down, so is Mr. Kribs. Only a handful at prayer meeting last night. At the school the peak seems to have been reached, but still plenty of it.

Carol [about one month old] has been good but wanting to eat about every three hours, and hardly staying awake long enough to eat; on a chance that perhaps she wasn’t getting enough I tried giving her some formula tonight, but she would hardly take any. She may have a light case of the flu now.

Tomorrow morning I go to the dentist. I will have to leave the children here alone while I go. They should get along all right, if they’ll behave.

The service man was here to check the washer yesterday — it worked O.K. for him. He said we must have lost the “prime” somehow and showed me what to do when that happens. He also said that on this model the sudsy water does not get pumped out the drain, but has to go down the drain from the tub we save the suds in, which may cause trouble in the basement with only a hole in the floor. I may be able to get five loads washed before the water is too cool, but more likely only four loads. Did I tell you the new gyrator works fine?

We have had another rat and two mice die since you left. And by the noises we still have some more around.

A lot of wind last night. I’d forgotten how drafty the house is.

Been reading A. Whyte [Alexander Whyte, a Scottish author]. Also some of E. Stanley Jones. Must say that I find Whyte much the more stimulating. “Mastery” may be good – but I don’t always get the point. His magazine [an Intervarsity magazine for college students] just came. You’ll enjoy it this month — the inside cover — article by Ken Pike and two articles about non-professional missionaries that I enjoyed.

Must close for now. I do love you and like Danny I often would like to give up because “I want you.” But because of you, I take heart and strive to do a good job here. Take care of yourself and hurry home next weekend.

All my love,
Nellie

I Believe We’ll Get Along

Wednesday, 10-23-57

Dearest John,

The baby is sleeping past her feeding time, so I’ll grab these few minutes to write a note to you. I felt better after calling you last night, as I didn’t want you wondering what had happened to us. Danny is running a temp today, and has the bad throat and stuffy nose that the others have had with this. But he doesn’t complain of a headache, muscles aching, or chills like they did. Jimmy hasn’t complained about that either, though they both have had pretty good temps.

They have had some rare dreams during this siege. Johnny asked me one morning, “Why did that man give us all that money last night?” A dream. Last night I dreamed (with no temp) that you had gone to Litchfield and they were so happy to see you they were in tears and raised a special flag to let everyone know you were back!

This morning I gave the youngsters baths and clean clothes and am washing up the other pajamas. And I’m also making some cinnamon rolls for lunch.

When Dale was out the other evening to look at the washer, Danny grabbed him and took him in to see the baby.

Well, I had better sign off – lots of things I could chatter about, but time is at a premium these days. I am letting some things go and getting to bed with the children so that the calls during the night aren’t too much for me. So far I feel fine and am thankful for that. Keep praying for us, but don’t worry if you don’t hear much. I’ll call if any trouble develops, but as things are now I believe that we’ll get along all right.

Right now the older ones are not too sick, but sick enough to be touchy and quarrelsome. I’m keeping them in separate beds and rooms upstairs most of the time with different things to do, which eliminates most of the fussing. Glad the weather is mild enough that I can do that.

Love you sweetheart, and it will be so good to have you home for a whole weekend again.

All my love,

Nellie

A Bawl Game

10-19-57

Dearest John:

What a morning!

We are using the automatic, but we can’t get the suds to return to the machine, so we are lifting it with buckets and it is a high lift. Dorothy just suggested that we may have the hose too near the bottom. An idea and we’ll check at the end of the load. I have a letter ready to mail to Sears if that proves wrong. We are using the new gyrator and it works perfectly so far. And what we have washed dries in half the time it did with the wringer. When we get caught up and organized it is certainly going to make wash day easier.

Margaret was so tearful this morning that it finally dawned on my to check her temp and it was over 101°. By that time she told me she was cold. The house was cool because the wind is blowing, but she was definitely chilling. So I guess she is down with the bug. But you know kids. Wanting to play games while down.

If we have the flu, Mother better not come here and get exposed. With sickness we couldn’t can [we canned up to 100 quarts of applesauce every year] much anyhow, and Daddy depends on her too much to risk getting down with it. Besides, as it is now, I don’t see how we can afford apples and sugar. Perhaps things will change by then. I spent more than I should have yesterday on groceries; also bought a bushel of apples for eating, Jonathans, so we could have them for lunches. They need the fruit and in the long run this is very cheap eating.

David got up before breakfast and dug the rest of the potatoes this morning. A good start for the day, but as of now, I’m sure the day is not continuing or going to end as well. In fact one would thing we were having a bawl game [<<— !!] and I didn’t misspell that. With Margaret down, Jimmy and Danny with nasty colds, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Johnny were getting something. Well, it is no wonder. Dorothy has been a jewel and a lifesaver.

Now I will close and get lunch ready. Tomato soup and toasted cheese sandwiches.

Very interested in Tozier’s message yesterday. Some questions to ask you when you get home. Wonder where women without husbands get their questions answered? I could get along without that, but I couldn’t get along without you and your love. I still marvel that you love me, but so very glad that you do.

Carol Ruth weighed 7# 3oz last Sunday. Today, Saturday, it is 7# 10 oz. so she is going along fine. I got orange juice and Similac yesterday. Can’t get her stuffy nose cleared up.

All our love, mine especially,

Nellie