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.

The Stress of Christmas

DSC_9875

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

Shoe Through the Window

11-29-57

Dearest John,

A snowy Saturday morning — and the house is buzzing with restless children. I guess that we’ll get something done, because some mail came for Granddaddy [my dad’s dad who was a traveling evangelist] and so he must not be far behind. So that gives us all an inspiration to give an extra push.

We also got a package from Aunt Betty [my dad’s sister in South Africa], which reminds me that we haven’t sent her anything for this year. [I think they sent support $$]

The doctor yesterday found most things in good shape. As far as my heart he said that everything seemed good. But for the record and to see if anything had happened, he recommended an electro-cardiogram. I didn’t make any appointment for it: said that I would wait until the holidays when you were home to see about it. I was afraid to ask what it cost. Money is getting to be a touchy subject!

Mrs. Warner was out on Thursday and left the chapel check here with me. Then Friday a.m. Kessler and Emerson came out to put the new control on the dryer. Monday I about called them to check it again as I couldn’t get it to start at all. Then, later in the day, I tried it and it went without any trouble. Well, his bill was $32.08. I debated whether to charge it or pay it, and decided to pay it. Since we don’t have an account there, it didn’t seem good to start one and then have a hard time getting around to paying it. So by the time that was paid, the Lord’s portion taken out and a few groceries bought, I have not much left. Three dollars for eggs and Sunday School offering, and milk money at school.

I guess that it is a good thing that you didn’t come home this weekend just from the point of traveling expense. The Lord must have some purpose in it. Maybe we didn’t prove faithful in using all that He sent us last year. We certainly spent more on ourselves than we would have in secular work. Well, whatever it is, I hope we learn our lesson, so that this will let up. To have so many bills, and right at Christmas time when each time I turn around it is someone needing more money for gifts, etc. Teachers, bus drivers, etc. all around.

Well, I don’t think I’ll write more now. David kicked off one of his black shoes and it went through an upstairs window. [!!!] That is not fixed yet. I should have done it yesterday, but the wind was so strong that I hated to take it out and I was short on time. We had a flat tire one morning when due at the dentist. Dorothy and I were hustling and changing it, when Mr. Milliman drove up and he helped lift the tire on. I had it fixed and David changed it. Dale fixed the clutch and in addition filled the gas tank and put a quart of oil in it. I certainly appreciated that. Clutch works fine now.

Johnny just came to tell me that he and David are going to help now and try to be peacemakers. They are doing the bathroom. Well, I must close. Jimmy says that he has been talking to Carol [awwww!], but she is fussing anyhow. She is tired so I’ll get her to bed. Sure do miss you but we are looking forward to a nice long Christmas holiday. Would like to have a birthday party for Margaret this year [12/28] — she always comes out short on the birthday celebration.

Love from us all,
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

Now I Must Close (x3)

Friday 10-18-1957

Dearest:

It was good to get your letter yesterday — and I should have had one in the mail to you, but I didn’t. Listening to Paul Harvey ruins my letter writing time. I used to do it as soon as Jimmy left on the bus and would have time to finish before the carrier came. Incidentally, I don’t think Paul Harvey sounds as good on these broadcasts. The commercials are evidently taped and it gives an unnatural ring to them, a change of quality in voice.

The radio has been on the fritz today. I managed to hear most of Tozier’s message by staying right there to punch the buttons or do otherwise to get the contortion out of it – not on the line, but in the radio. Danny is good at tuning it in. He has also been a good dish wiper this week. His cold isn’t any better – just get some improvement when he plays in the water or runs outside without a jacket.

The mailman just came and brought the part for the washing machine. I don’t know whether to try it out by myself or not. I’d hate to ruin something or get water all over the place. Later I’ll go down and see how things go. I want to finish this and then go to town to mail it, as well as spend some money. Since I have been so pokey about getting some money sent to you, why don’t you just put in the overseas Lit. money that you get on this coming Sunday. I’ll still set aside $25 for the Lord’s work: put part in here on Sunday and send some to the Fields for B. McDowell as we have mentioned before.

I’ll pay the telephone bill today (that is nearly $8 – several long distance calls on it). And then the rest will get some gas, baby food [Similac, see below], eggs, and groceries. Sort of hard to figure out just what are the most important things on the list.

You asked about bills. Besides the car insurance, your insurance notice came yesterday. Two months of milk bills, the gas bill make up the most important. Dentist, rent, etc. will come next. We will have to get some winter clothes for Dorothy and John. I don’t know about overshoes yet – we haven’t tried them on to see who has outgrown what or if they have grown into any!

It would be nice to get some meat in the freezer. It has really been going down when we are eating out of it instead of buying much. Mr. Milliman took the 24 chickens out that he had in, so that left a gap, too.

Had a card from Mother – guess I’ll just send it to you instead of trying to tell you what it says.

The youngsters are out of school next Monday and Tuesday for Institute. [?? who knows what that means?] I’m just itching to take off to visit you Tuesday – but of course I won’t. If wishes were horses, you know — or in this case an airplane! I did ask Marion if she would consider going then so Chuck could visit the school, but she said he has to stay for football practice. Game is canceled for tonight because of Flu. It is on the increase in the school here. Each day more out, and our youngsters have all been exposed now with someone in their room coming down with it during school and being sent home with a temp of 103° or so. I refuse to worry – I could get sick just thinking about what would happen if we all got it. I have been trying to see that we all get the necessary rest and been using plenty of orange juice and vitamins to keep their resistance up. It is in the Lord’s hands and He gives strength when needed. You cause me more concern by your irregular living, if you should get it.

Now I must close – surely do miss you. Guess I didn’t write partly because I was just too lonesome and didn’t want to sound sad. Those spells come when I feel as though I just have to see you and anticipating a weekend without you seems too much. I just must not think ahead to weekends but take each day as it comes. And the thought of you using so much time and energy and losing out on your studies just to come home doesn’t cheer me either. All in all it is not the most satisfactory situation, but it is the best one for us now or else the Lord would change it, of that I’m sure.

Now I must close. Danny has been dialing around on the radio and is quite amused at some of the programs. Jimmy has learned how to do something new. I said I would write you about it, but he suggested I write about something else so he could tell you himself when you get home…so you will have to wait to find out.

Carol continues to be good. One night and one day she was fussy, not from losing sleep, but the day I did the washing myself seemed to be what caused it. Dorothy said she would do the washing tonight so that wouldn’t happen again but I’ll get some Similac to help me out or help Carol out, as the work piles up too high when I have to wait on the children for all such jobs. Her nose is still stuffy too. She broke out with prickly heat on Monday from being too hot so much of the time. This has cleared up now.

For the third time, I must close; I love you honey, we all do, and we are praying for you daily.

Always,
Nellie

I’ve been reading my instruction book on the washer and I guess I’ll give it a try tonight.

Je t’aime beaucoup, beaucoup

The only baby picture of me that I know of, probably taken around Christmas 1957

Tuesday 10-5-1957 10-8-1957
[one week after I was born – see the next post for the 10-7 letter]

My Dearest John,

It is such a beautiful day that I feel like working in the yard – but not really as my back is not yet strong enough for that.

David is feeling better this morning and wants to go to school this afternoon. Their room has a football game this afternoon. But this morning they were fixing shredded wheat and a bowl of the hot water tipped on him —his stomach— and really blistered it. A large patch just above the navel. So he won’t play. He had hoped to even though I said that it was too soon for that after being sick. [A Harper weirdness? We ate the pillow-shaped biscuits this way: pour boiling water over shredded wheat, let it sit 30 seconds, drain off the water, add a pat of butter and a spoon of sugar.]

Dorothy went to a 4H meeting last night to see what it was about. Hesper took her and Norma, for cooking and sewing. They would enjoy it, but I was disappointed when she came home smelling like smoke. She said the leader smoked right during the meeting.

Mary Dillon came over last night to see if she could help any. They had a CEF [Child Evangelism Fellowship] class at her place yesterday – 19 children came out. David was home sick and Dorothy didn’t stay, as I had asked her to come home to do the washing, which she did. They have really been helping out very well, and I have been getting my rest. Little jobs are piling up, but I hope to soon be able to do more and get at them.

I made some home-made noodles last night. The children really went for them with some boiling beef. I’ll have to do that from now on – very simple and good.

Strat Shufelt has a 15 minute program on WSTR this week – 8:30 a.m. I didn’t know about it until Margaret mentioned it. So I listened today. I think he is using some of his own recordings of music and then the message part is live. I am going to try to get out on Friday night. I haven’t told the youngsters yet, but if I feel up to it, I will try that.

Now I must get lunch ready. Scrambled eggs for my invalids. Danny, the clown, holds his stomach and groans, so that he can crawl up on the davenport with David! That was yesterday as David has been up today doing school work.

Je t’aime beaucoup, beaucoup – that will fool David; he has been looking over my shoulder.

Always,
Nellie

A Hot Sultry Day

Saturday, 8-3-57

My Dearest,

I just returned from town — took your magazine in to the library (and Dorothy checked out two books), and took the keys over to Bert Smith to take up to camp. Mary said that he was going up this afternoon for a board meeting. I also asked him to bring David home with him, if David was still there when he got there.

What prompted me to write so soon was that I found your flash attachment under the chair this morning. I imagine that you meant that it should be in your brief case. I’ll not mail it up, but if, after looking the situation over up there, you decide to stay the second week [what?!! The woman is 8 months pregnant; I’d be saying “Get home now.”], drop me a card and I’ll send it up with Bunces for the second week.

Danny can’t understand where you are, but he wants to go see you. He thinks that you should be in camp or Chicago, and this new place is a little confusing to him. [I don’t know where Dad is; I’m guessing another Bible Camp in the Upper Peninsula.]

Mary asked me to contact the folks along this road about Vacation Bible School next week. Duane Jacobs requested that, as he used to have classes in Bogen school. I don’t know how much we can get done today and tomorrow, but we will try. [Again: 8 months preggers!]

It is a hot sultry day again. I hope it is cooler for you going north. Store up a little of that for me!

Well, I’ll sign off and get these letters out to the mail box and get some lunch ready for us. All we feel like doing is drinking something cold, but I suppose that when we get to the table we’ll do better than that. Got to get those scales down this week —.

Lovingly,
Nellie and children

Some Household.

May 22, 1957

Dear Daddy,

I am home today and probly tomorrow with scarletina [strep throat with a rash or scarlet fever]. Margaret has lost her voice and Jimmy has the measles. So I am writing you instead of her writing you.

Mrs. Wolcott came over last night and ironed lots of clothes for us. I can’t spell nothing today [n-o-t-h-i-n-g, haha!]. I as asking Mother everything.

[Mom’s handwriting] And she asked me to finish it! Ralph [Wolcott] had a meeting so Louise came over here and how it helped out. …

Jimmy is not very sick yet, but I can’t keep him down. Danny can’t throw off his cold. The girls are not so sick but, you know—just bad enough to not stay in bed all the time, but bad enough to be restless and cranky. Some household. Wish I didn’t have prayer meeting tonight – hard to get prepared in this atmosphere.

How I miss you—last night we had a terrific storm. Rain and wind. Children slept through it all, but I didn’t. Ralph suggests we go to commencement and return that night in their car as he gets off work that night. It is the only way I could come, as the girls have a recital on the [page cut off]. I’ll have to be here.

Talking Faith with a Salesman

[No date]
Another hard rain last night

My Dearest,

Lots of confusion around here. While I was getting ready for prayer meeting yesterday Dale Sowers [Fuller Brush sales guy?] came in – and talked and talked. He always brings up scripture and the sum of it was 1. Can the Bible be all true? 2. He believes Jesus is God’s Son – but not God. Sounds foolish to us that have always believed, but I can understand that.

What seemed to impress him most was just before he left he asked about your salary – not what it was, but what denomination paid it. When I told him how it was received he really gasped. “You mean – before I come back to deliver you will have to ask the Lord for enough for this?” I said that that was precisely what had happened the last time — and it came in the mail before he came!! “Now,” I said “Do you see why I can unreservedly believe the promises of the Bible as God’s word and true, and that Jesus is God?” But I sometimes feel his interest is insincere – just a good salesman. He actually sees no need of a Saviour.

As he left Danny came downstairs from his nap – with a case of diarrhea drooling all over the room. Just cleaned that up when David came in from school white as a sheet and dropped down sick. So I called up and said I couldn’t get to prayer meeting. David was back to normal this a.m. and went to school. Jimmy seems to be getting over the measles like it was the three day ones. Dorothy is up today. I’ve been mending.

Counting the days,
Nellie