It’s Convenient to Have $$

Saturday 4-13-57

My Dearest,

Your sweet letter came yesterday. I surely appreciate it and having you get the money here. With music lessons, eggs, etc. it is really convenient to have it.

Yesterday I heard on WMBI radio school of the Bible – Bill McDonald’s course on “Good News.”

As soon as the youngsters hear “Back to the Bible” we are going to town. A few bargains this week – sugar is one.

Psalm 37:5 [Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.] came to mind as I am praying about this summer. We need to also be concerned about deciding in time so that others concerned will not be inconvenienced.

The ground is white with frost every morning. We still haven’t gotten outside to clean up.

Margaret is OK today. David has a sore throat. We played checkers last night. They can beat me without much trouble!

I’ll close now and try to get a letter off the first of the week. Guess I shouldn’t write on the back of this paper; rather hard to read. Thanks again for writing – I surely appreciate each letter from you!

All my love,
Nellie

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.]

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

My Own Daddy


[date unclear, March xx 1957]

Dearest:

We’ve had lots of greetings from you last night and today. Which was nice, but as David said at breakfast “That’s not like kissing my own Daddy.” Someone suggested he could kiss Dan Ball and have him deliver it to Daddy! Which brought the giggles.

I’m sending these coupons to you and if you want to pay the full amount, do so immediately. Our 60 days are up in a day or so. I haven’t the money here. If you decide against it, please send in the monthly payment, then bring it home and I’ll continue the payments.

Really enjoyed the meeting last night and Mr. Van Ryn this morning. But I nearly wept at the few last night. Only Danvers (sp?) and us with children – no families.

Mr. Petke asked me to ask you about living at the camp all summer. They need someone to stay on the grounds and work, so badly that he has considered quitting his job and doing it. A big house there.

Now we must get to meeting.

Love,
Nellie

Valentines and all the mess 2-13-57

2-13-57

My Dearest,

I don’t know why I’m writing you except that I like to. I have much to do; I am way behind again because I spend too much time on Wed. night preparation and preparation for the missionary meeting last night.

Some startling and sad news came yesterday in the Seminary alumni news. At the conf. they received word that Jim McRoberts had suddenly taken ill and died. For the life of me I can’t remember his wife’s first name and I feel that I should use it when writing, so I hope you can remember it. I wish that we could take some time to drive up to see her in Kalamazoo, but I don’t suppose that is possible, or that it would accomplish much except to show our interest and to know more about circumstances.

Beautiful outside today – some snow on the ground and the sun is shining. A rather cold windy snow yesterday.

Valentines and all the mess are in full progress around here. Margaret diligently got hers already on Monday. Johnny took his this morning. Dorothy has all of hers to do yet. They each have to make an individual decorated box to put them in. I about fainted when I heard that, I was so busy with other things I didn’t see where, when or how I was going to get that worked in. Dorothy’s and David’s are not done yet. I’m hoping that they will show some initiative and do it themselves.

Hesper gave us some corn out of her deep freeze. It is positively delicious. I’m saving some for you – just like out of the garden. The youngsters got so excited when they sniffed the odor of fresh corn! Gave me inspiration to stay out here and to have a garden. I almost talked myself to moving into to town where I could avoid all that heavy work.

Now I must sign off and write letters to Millers and Kreimes to acknowledge money sent.

I love you sweetheart – guess that is about all the Valentine that you will get. Maybe I’ll cook up some caramels for you, but when trying to lose weight that probably isn’t a kindness. But I love you heaps and heaps and it is so good to be looking forward to having you home again.

Nellie

Miscarriage Scare 2-11-57

2-11-57

My Dearest,

Again it is Monday morning and as usual I hate to settle down to real work on Monday, so I’m doing things I like to do. Fixed up my Jungle Doctor story for next Wed. night and listened to Back to the Bible. Now I’ll write and will probably be here until Dr. Culbertson’s message. Brought the typewriter to the kitchen. Don’t tell anyone but the desk is piled up like I said I wouldn’t let it get. But Karen is coming tomorrow night to babysit so I’ll have to get cleaned up.

Mrs. Wolcott called me shortly after she got home on Thursday night to tell me about their visit at school. She had lots of nice things to say about the trip. She would like to get there some time when she could visit classes.

Saturday we really worked, did a washing, went to town and the youngsters started to scrub down the bathroom. They did a lot of it, but it was supper time, so I went in to finish, and it took more than I had anticipated. Dressers to move, floor mop up and a little of the walls to finish. I noticed that my back was hurting and didn’t pay too much attention to it until I came out to get supper, and down low I seemed to have spasms of pain. It dawned on me the possibility of miscarriage. I hurriedly flattened myself out on the davenport and let the youngsters take over. I started to chill and didn’t get warmed up until the night sometime. The youngsters can take over in emergency – they got their own supper, took baths and Dorothy helped a lot. I couldn’t eat and in the morning still felt badly – had the most terrible night’s sleep that I ever remember.

But by S.S. time I got dressed and took them in and stayed in the nursery myself. Winnie invited Dorothy and David to their place for dinner and Manns had invited Margaret over. So I fed the little boys, put them to bed and lay down myself. Then Mrs. Wolcott and Mrs. Bunce came over. I just told them I had a back ache, but they wanted to bring out a lamp of some kind and were so concerned that I told them what I was afraid of and why the caution on my part. I wasn’t going to tell folks that I was pregnant because so many are concerned about me staying here now and that would just add to their concern; but sometimes it gets complicated to try to evade the real trouble. They’ll know sooner or later anyhow.

David made another good chocolate cake and Dorothy tried her hand at pies and they came out very good. I guess that I should go to an orchard and try to get a bushel of apples again. I’ve been buying some in the store for their lunches, but they cost so much that way. If you can shop on the way home, vegetables would be the best thing to look for. I have a good supply of shelf goods, but the veg. are really good.

Goodpasters gave me some carrots from the garden and potatoes. Ours are getting low. I bought some smelt Sat. Time for that again.

Judy and Jack have an apartment on Jefferson Street and the chapel is considering a shower for them. They never come to the chapel now, but we would like some way to show an interest in them. Oh me – young people. Someday we will have six or seven, or eight if it is twins after all these years. Think we’ll be able to cope with all the questions and problems that so many young people will bring with them?

I well know that these years of perhaps harder physical work are by for the easiest. Little Danny so busily engaged with a jig saw puzzle and Jimmy sitting here waiting for a turn at the typewriter (to type Vickie a letter — they start early these days) are really a pleasure at this age.

About the music lessons. Dorothy and Margaret take them on alternate weeks. David has not started in again. Mrs. Bunce asked if Gertrude was patient with the youngsters. She said that at the Baptist church she has quite a rep. for her impatience.

Mr. Irvine is quite a person – I guess all Scotchmen are. The youngsters sat up and listened to him and enjoyed it too. A good message and livened up with the Scotch sense of humor and keen way of expressing themselves.

Well, I had better close now. Only five days until you’ll be home. Oh yes, there is a chapel fellowship meeting Saturday night – potluck supper and they gave us a special invitation to come. They are working hard to make it a family affair again – for all the chapel and not the clickish – note the new way of spelling that – way it was started. Wouldn’t that be a good time for you to get with the people to visit with some of them? Potluck supper. I know they would very much appreciate having you there. They seem to sincerely miss you and your influence around here.

Chuck Monroe was laid off work – might remember that in prayer. Barbara expects the last of March and will keep on working until the first of March.

All my love,
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

A Siege of Diarrhea 1-21-1957

Margaret, David, and Dorothy a few years before this letter

1-21-57

My Dearest,

Monday’s wash is done and the noon news is on, so I should have time to dash off a note before the mailman comes.

You are probably wondering about David’s note. He begged me for a pencil when down at the Gospel Book Store and I refused him, because he has several now, and I had already bought him a new Sugar Creek Story. Mrs. Gage gave him a liquid lead pencil to try out and he just kept it. I didn’t know anything about it until somehow he came out on Saturday. One of the other youngsters mentioned it and he finally admitted that he had one and first told me that he thought she meant for him to keep it. But after a while he told me he knew better and had just kept it. So I asked him to write Mrs. Gage and tell her and send the money for it and also to write you and tell you what he had done. He really hated to do that.

But after they were in the mail box and he sat on my lap and talked to me about it, he was so happy to have it out in the open and taken care of. Several times during the day he told me he was glad about that. I do believe he gets his love of pencils from you. It always amazed me how many different kinds you kept around and ready for use. He said he was really tempted to take an eversharp that he saw down there but he didn’t and now is glad that he didn’t.

We have been having a siege of diarrhea around here. Dorothy was seized with it last night just before time for church so we didn’t go. Jack Dillon and Dottie Mann were here for the day so I took them to church and then came home. But while I was there Dave came up to me and said that the Men’s Meeting that afternoon had decided to offer us the Bollman house to live in, and rent free, and the men would move us. It is up to us to decide what to do. Now what? I’ve started praying, but I surely don’t know what the Lord’s will is in this matter. They still would like to sell it, but would not as long as we are in it.

Danny took sick with the diarrhea during the night and doesn’t feel good now. Funny how it hits all at once – the stuff just poured out of him for about two hours. Just kept changing him. He didn’t complain or cry, but Dorothy was in pain last night.

Millers are leaving tomorrow. I’ll keep Mike and Bobby all day until they are ready to leave. Their address is on the bulletin.

Mrs. Goodpaster’s mother is worse so she took the two boys and went up to be with her. The girls are going to get off the bus here and stay until Roy gets off work at 6:30. Edith and her husband are going to move in and stay until Hesper gets back. It may be two or three weeks.

Judy Johnson and Jack Krontz were to be married yesterday. I was talking to Karen Smith a while. I believe she is doing fine. Says she feels sure now the Lord wants her to be a nurse. She said she couldn’t see how the above couple if they were saved could stop school and get married like that.

Well. I will close and get my boys down for a nap. Danny really needs one after last night. Much love from all of us – pray for us and we have to decide about the Bollman house right away.

All my love,
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