Going to Bed Before Dark

Wednesday, May 8, 1957

My Dearest John,

I have been sitting at the desk this morning getting things ready for prayer meeting tonight and will take time to get a note off to you before starting the more mundane tasks around the house.

I believe that I will tell the children the trip that H. LaBuff has told about in the Fields that came yesterday into the tribes of the Laos country. In case you haven’t seen it, you will be greatly interested in it and probably read it several times as I have done. Among other reasons is that Orville Carlson was one of the fellows making the trip. How often I think of the way the Lord has rewarded Hazel in giving her a real man of God for a husband when she obeyed Him. Not that Leonard wasn’t, but that she chose the Lord’s will first. Makes me wish again, and again review our lives, to see what has kept us from the foreign field when workers are sorely needed and there are places that are still offering human lives in sacrifices. Somewhere it seems that we have chosen second best – may He take what is left and use it to the fullest.

Nothing new around here in the way of news – just staying by the stuff and trying to take care of it. The youngsters are anxious for school to be out as they don’t like going to bed before it is dark, but they almost have to in order to get enough rest, especially when they play outdoors. Danny is out today – and he loves it. Seems to be about well. Has a couple of coughing spells a day, but that is all.

Mrs. Warner called and asked what the records cost. I told her six dollars. I couldn’t remember what else you said. They like Tennessee Ernie. She will be sending the money to you. I found the camp folder and will enclose it. We haven’t heard a thing from the folks and are wondering how they are.

I think I will close now – except to remind you that we all love you and are praying for you. We are earnestly praying for you these days and for the decisions that must be made. I read the book “Sister Abigail” last night – how the Lord directed and provided and used here. The same Lord is ours and is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.

All my love — Always,
Nellie

Down to a Few Cents

[No date. Between 4-8 and 4-13]

My dearest John,

About time for me to get another letter off to you. I didn’t intend to wait so long, but each morning has been busy and I’m no good in the evenings. Makes me wonder if I will be good at anything this summer. Just now I was sweeping — rather, trying to get the downstairs swept up in time to get a letter written before the mailman came. And suddenly I broke out in a sweat and got so weak that I had to quit. I’m glad that I go to the Dr. on Monday and maybe he can help me out.

Margaret is home again today. Had a little temp. but nothing much seems to be wrong outside of that. So many things are going around that I decided that I had better keep her here and see if anything develops.

More snow last night. It seems that spring will never come.

I’ve been thinking about the summer. I can think of worse things than living at the school [In Oak Park, IL] all summer. Just being here without you for instance. With a gym and swimming pool handy. An office for you to study in when you wished. I suppose we’d be eating and cooking in the kitchen for those around. The little ones could play down there. Perhaps eating with others would be good training for our mannerless crew. Might be embarrassing for awhile, but they are not so dumb but that they would catch on. And you will be in the position to get ready for fall better than if you were at camp. Of course being out at camp all summer seems almost ideal, but I actually doubt if I would be up to taking Girls Camp responsibility.

I’ve just been thinking on the typewriter. I’ll be glad when some decision is made as I’ll know what to do and what to work towards.

Tomorrow I’m invited to a shower for Wanda Garden down at Twitchell’s. They are the folks across from Millimans. She is expecting next month. I want to go because it will be a chance to get acquainted and I feel that I’ve not been a very good neighbor and you certainly can’t witness if you can’t neighbor to them.

Looks like Easter [is when] Fluffy is going to have her family, if she waits that long. A big mess all over the place again this morning. Yesterday we had wash water all over again. Just one mess after another. If she has them in the house some day, I’m likely to do something drastic, even if it puts me in the dog house!

I hope to hear from you today. No mail tomorrow under the new postal curtailment plan [?]. And we are down to a few cents. Rather awkward needing the money here when it all goes to you there. This is really the first time this has happened though. Usually there has been more here than I need. And if I don’t hear from you I’ll not be surprised as I know you have that income tax to work out this week besides all your other tasks.

Well, I’m about at the end of the page, and I’ve quit trembling so much, so I guess I had better close and get back to the work here. I love you and miss you so much. I would like to have a week or so together with no other responsibility but to catch up on all we’ve missed this winter. But we can only dream of such a time with all the cares of this world upon us. Take care of yourself – I’m afraid you’ve been going too hard and it will tell on you sooner or later.

All my love,
Nellie

Depressed and even bitter

Thursday 4-4-57

Dearest John:

Just a note – you may not even get this before you leave. In case you do, why don’t you stay over until Saturday a.m. in case your folks do get in on Friday. They might, for a rehearsal. We’ve been praying for them in this stormy weather.

About groceries – some of the usual things: oleo, cereal, etc. Nothing special that I’m out of that I can remember. Clothes starch.

If you have a spare minute (!) stop at Millers and tell them I’m getting a dinner ready, something quick since there is a rally in the afternoon. Already have rolls made and in the freezer. Making apple sauce, etc. They need not bring anything.

So glad to hear from you yesterday — I’ve been sorta down all week, physically, which makes me depressed…and even bitter, I’m ashamed to say, for the first time this winter.

If you must make a decision concerning this summer now, then go ahead and do it. The Lord will work things out and I’m praying here. Psalm 48:14 [For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.]

So glad Dean is coming. Banquet is 6:30. I sent a card to him.

Now I’ll close – all our love, it is so good to count on seeing you again soon. Lots of hugs and kisses saved us to deliver then.

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

Getting Paid to Read

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I have repeatedly said, I would love to get paid to read!

What I really mean is: I would love to get paid to read whatever I want on my own schedule. Basically, I want a stipend to breathe air.

Because having to read what someone else has chosen is too close to being back in school.

At times the promise of free books has tempted me to consider pursuing review copies from the publisher, but the obligatory nature of reviewing has slapped me on the cheeks and snapped me out of it.

Because of my reputation as a reader, I am often given books to read. People love a book and they want me to love it with them. Which obligates me to read that book. [This is fitting payback, because I’ve been that friend/acquaintance/stranger who pressed unsolicited books into hands with the words You. must. read. this. book.] Don’t get me wrong: I love gift books and I love loaned books. I love the discussions they engender. I just don’t like feeling disloyal to my books which migrate to the bottom of my pile.

Recently, I started following Anne Bogel’s blog Modern Mrs. Darcy. This girl reads for a living. She is fun and welcoming: a literary, book-loving version of The Pioneer Woman.  Anne’s content is beautifully linked to Amazon and I’m sure she gets sweet monthly referral fees. It hit me one day: She gets paid to read!

My next thought was But. She must read newly released books to get Amazon referral fees. You can’t recommend Anthony Trollope (whose books are free on Kindle) and make money. And I am quickly back to contentment. I get to read the books on my shelves, yay!

Anne has a podcast called What Should I Read Next? While I am probably 38% compatible with Anne’s picks, the moment I wait for is when she describes her guest’s reading pattern, based on 3 books loved and 1 book hated. These diagnoses are often Aha! moments; guests use words like uncanny, crazy, I’ve never thought of that before!  It’s as close to book therapy as you get. Here is a sample analysis:

You’ve chosen books about women who had to learn to be strong, because life threw some stuff their way. And they had to rise to the challenge. And they did. And whether the story is written in first person or third, these books show us these women’s lives through their own eyes. We get their side of the story, their version of events, and we, as the reader, have the privilege of walking alongside them as they get a little older and a little wiser and really come into their own.

I have my own What Should I Read Next? dilemma, but not in the way of needing a book recommendation. My question stems from having far too many choices staring at me from my bookshelves. I want to read them all. The job doesn’t pay well, but there are benefits.