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

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

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

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