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.

Putting the Tree Up

12-18-1957

Dearest John,

Just a note that I should have written several days ago. I’m busy as a bee and still a lot is going undone. I can’t remember what we decided about your folks’ gifts. I got the things off for Washington (her relatives) and Wheaton (his relatives) and sent a check to Harold’s.

Mrs. Grif. told me that Gertrude was operated on and they found a malignant tumor and just had to sew her up again, and in their tests they also found that she has Hodgkin’s disease. She doesn’t know all this. I took time to write her a letter.

We got our tree and put and lights on this a.m. Changed furniture around some. Danny is so happy — children will put other decorations on tonight.

Don’t stop to buy groceries on the way home. I bought considerable to stock up and we’ll need the money. I’ve been paying bills and getting gifts—goes so quickly. Afraid the Lord will not get His rightful share of this Christmas.

Now I must close. The mailman comes early. What shall we get David? He wants a horn or a watch. I have got most of the other children’s gifts. Clothes from us and trucks, etc. from what Grandma gave us.

Lovingly, Nellie

P.S. I’m busy but want to tell you again how much I enjoyed the banquet and appreciated you bringing me home. Hope you get back O.K. and get ready for Monday’s classes. The banquet was such a treat – from beginning to end.

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

Daddy Come Home to My House

 

Thursday
12-05-1957

Dearest John:

You must wonder what is wrong with me for not writing more — but honestly, the time just flies by and there is so much that never gets done as it should. I have a little time before the mail man comes and I’ll see how much I can get written.

Yesterday morning and this morning Dorothy had dentist appointments. That takes about two hours time – really more if you count the extra effort to get the youngsters ready to go along and then unloaded at home. Tomorrow afternoon it is a trip to the Dr.’s so a lot of time will be gone then.

Sorta looked for a letter from you yesterday as I knew that you would send any money you can in order to pay the rent. But Tuesday a letter came from Joyce Miller with $25 in it for us so I sent a check down that night to pay the rent. And last Saturday I didn’t get gas. It slipped my mind and by the time I got the things needed I didn’t have much more than enough change for the Sunday School offering. I could have written a check but gas never entered my mind. We had been riding on zero for a long time. Sunday night Nita handed me $10 —although she gave the impression that it was not from her but she wasn’t saying whom. On the way out of the chapel Dorothy asked me about gas [yay Dorothy!]. I still hadn’t thought about it, but I stopped and got some. And a dollars worth didn’t even budge the needle, so we must have been completely out. The Lord took care of that for me. I’m glad that He does take care of me as I get so confused by myself.

I believe the washing machine problem is solved. The other soap worked wonders. The machine hummed along beautifully ever since I have used it. Dale was out and I asked him about it. He said that Maytag tells the customer to use a low suds soap on the suds saver models. The reason is that when the suds returns, the agitator is working and it beats up such a storm of suds that the machine gets what is called a suds lock. I don’t know why they didn’t mention that when giving instructions. Dale came out to see if he could get the car to work on the clutch. I’ll surely appreciate that, because on the icy spots I have quite a time getting started.

Jimmy wanted to take some cut out cookies to school. So one morning we took time out to make them. Takes time but those things mean so much to him. Only he said the boys and girls asked him to do that again some time – but I’m not so sure.

The house looks like a tornado struck it, so I had better get to work. And my time is about up for writing. Danny took the key from the front door and lost it — and it is locked. Let’s hope it turns up or I’ll have to learn the art of breaking locks (or picking them is the term, I believe).

Bye now, Honey. I love you, and am certainly not neglecting you on purpose, but there is so much to do and so much that is always waiting to do. It is the same with you, I know. Poor Danny came down on Sunday a.m., took one look around, and cried. Daddy. Daddy, come home to my house. After about 30 minutes he seemed to snap out of it and accept the situation, but he sure hoped it wasn’t so when he woke up.

Lovingly,
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

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