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