Spiritual depression

Monday a.m. 5-09-57

My Dearest:

It was so good to get your letter on Saturday and the money enclosed will take care of all bills to date. How faithfully the Lord has supplied our needs this year. The news of the house sounds encouraging, however, I haven’t even mentioned it to the children until you know more about it. One thing I have noticed is that they often pray for a house now, and before, they just weren’t interested in one at all. Leave it to Mother to find a place.

My heart aches when I read about how down you feel spiritually. I know exactly what you mean, but I somehow believe that the physical has something to do with it. Read Mueller – the appendix – on getting the needful rest for the body. And then one of the reasons he started the orphanages was to show people that the Lord would supply what was needed, because in that day people were working 14 to 16 hours a day, leaving only time for a hurried prayer and a verse a day. He believed they should cut down on the work, even if it meant trusting the Lord for some of their needs so that the inner man could be fed and grow.

Teaching all week, traveling on week ends, with trying to take your place as a father in the home is perhaps more physically than you can do and keep the spiritual life warm and vibrant. I’m praying that your need will be met – if it is more than this, may the Lord show you and help you to yield all. Both of us lack self-discipline and I know that leads to defeat.

I stayed home from all services yesterday. I never thought, but I could have left Dorothy with Danny during morning meeting and gone and then taken them to Sunday School. Next time that happens I will do that, as I miss not being out – three weeks now for me.

Danny is up and around, but his eyes are still weak and he tires easily. Has a great ‘My’ complex. ‘My Daddy’ tops them all and no one else can shout him in that claim. He also claims the bike, which causes Jimmy some trouble. Jimmy still has no sign of measles and declares he is not going to get them.

Mary Lou MacPherson brought me about six lovely m. [maternity] dresses. I’ll be the best dressed for this one than I have ever been. Maybe the Lord is providing in case we are going to be working more in the public this summer.

The rally was fine yesterday according to the children’s report. They enjoyed it all and Dorothy gave her Welcome O.K. she said. Her brothers tormented her about being so nervous, etc., but she said that she really wasn’t. Had the center section of the auditorium filled.

Beautiful weather again today – makes me want to forget the house and get outdoors. I will do some while Danny sleeps this afternoon. Now I had better close. I love you so very much and do pray that we can be together not only this summer, but this coming year. More perhaps tomorrow.

Always yours with love,
Nellie

He Throws Off Trouble

[The last post (4/18) was out of order. This one, and the next, come before it.]

Monday, April 15, 1957

My Dearest,

This will likely be just another note as I have several irons in the fire and have to be at the Doctor’s office at 1:30.

The weather is so lovely. I have to mention it, although it got down to 11° last night. We must get the yard cleaned up.

Gertrude took the girls to the auditorium yesterday to hear the American Piano Trio. They got autographs on their program. I had to laugh — Dorothy went out without a hat and Gertrude wouldn’t take her that way!! Fortunately, Mrs. Wolcott had just given her one or she would have been out of luck.

Lennie Noss came out and said that John and Bill McPherson and Al had spent a long day at camp on Wednesday and poured all the footing for the new cabins – a huge day’s work donated. She brought me two M. [maternity] dresses – and has she ever lost weight. She looks grand.

David was home with a sore throat yesterday a.m. so we just went to S.S. [Sunday School] and only left him alone that long. By evening he felt good, so we all went. He is really healthy and throws off any trouble in a hurry.

I dread the ordeal this afternoon (at Dr’s).

Now I must get to work – washing. Wish I knew how the income tax was coming along. The youngsters want to drive down early Sunday (Easter) and come back Monday a.m. They have no school Friday or Monday. I’ll tackle it if you O.K. it and let me know by return mail. Lennie has asked us to dinner on Easter and I have to let her know. Would be wonderful to see you, but quite a trip for me and the car! Now I must sign off.

All my love,
Nellie

Measles

Thursday, 4-18-57

My Dearest John,

After yesterday’s sketchy note, I will try to do a little better today. I have three youngsters on the sofas in various stages of measles. Johnny causes me some concern as he has more fever and quite a cough with his. Margaret will soon be better and Jimmy is just starting a little fever. I take it for granted that he will be next. Dorothy stayed at home with them last night while we went to prayer meeting. I don’t feel quite right about leaving them, but I couldn’t get anyone to take the class. Not so many out either. Lots of sickness around.

Your reply certainly came back promptly. It came in Wednesday’s mail. A long time since service was so good. But as you have figured out, with the measles we’ll be staying home. Some of them may be better, but you never can tell when they will pop out on one of the other youngsters. I had hoped to plan a surprise for the youngsters and drive up to camp one of these days, but that is out, too.

I reported the furnace draft again, and Mr. Blanchard put another one on today. Because we have not had good draft there seems to be a lot of soot, so I’m going to buy some that stuff to clean that out.

Fluffy is getting huge – really wobbles around. She has been demoted to the porch again. She won’t stay in the house long because Danny won’t leave her alone and she is touchy.

You’ll have to buckle down and get your work caught up. Rather have a Hoyt reputation than a Bauman one, eh? A lot more satisfaction in the job done, also. Good thing that you are staying there because there is not much joy with sickly scrappy youngsters. The house gets a mess in a hurry. They are not sick enough to lie still and keep things in order. I guess that you know what it is like.

Millimans have changed to diesel tractors. Mrs. Milliman said that they figured they could save in fuel in three years the price of the tractors. Green John Deere’s.

I stopped taking the vitamin capsules, and take just the mineral tablets. Those vitamins seemed to increase my appetite, which is totally unnecessary. Dr. Fiegel told me to go ahead and diet and even gave me a prescription for capsules to take away my appetite. Everything seems to be O.K. with me. But I sure feel icky most days. I carried Danny too much on the weekend and hurt my back…so from now on he is walking on his own legs.

Almost forgot to tell you that he is progressing in this training business. “Big boy,” he says. But just part of the time now. He won’t let anyone sit on one of the dining room chairs at the end of the table in the kitchen. that is what you always use and he fights to save it for you!

Now I must get lunch. Tuna salad sandwiches. Only starch I’m supposed to have is one slice of bread each day. Leave eggs out too, unless I want just the white. Report cards came yesterday, but only Dorothy’s showed improvement. David brought one up and went down in two. I surely miss you and look forward to summer. We’ll be praying for you on Easter [4-21-57]. And we will surely miss you on that day. Love from all of us, me especially.

Nellie

The Oil Gage Flopped Down

March 18, 1957
Monday a.m.

Dearest John,

The bus has come and gone and breakfast is over. Jimmy has even had his little sit on my lap which is almost routine every morning.

Before I get to rushing around today I want to get a little letter off to you. Saturday was a nice, although a little cold, day. I decided that we would go down to see the Millers in the afternoon. I knew that we have been promising that we would come some afternoon, probably Sunday, and it was almost two months since they had moved, so we took off. Had no trouble finding them and it was like a family reunion. Bill has to come up early tonight for his glasses, so they may all come up here for supper. It is an effort [for them] to do that on a school night.

I’ve been watching that oil gage like a hawk because I can’t understand how that [?] happened. But something is drastically wrong with our oil consumption. All of a sudden just as I got to Elkhart the gage flopped down, so I stopped and bought a quart. But that barely kept the gage where it is supposed to be. And when we got home the thing showed only about a half inch of oil and it took about four or five quarts to fill it. And that all in one week. I noticed that whenever I slowed down it really put out a smoke screen. So yesterday I kept my speed down to about 30 or 35 all the time and the smoke screen was not as bad. The man in the station at Elkhart said he could see no leak and I haven’t either. So is it rings that we need? The floor has rusted out — we can see the ground from the inside — I almost feel that we should look for a trade-in in better condition. Or get moved where one car is all we need.

We had a nice time with Damers yesterday. My admiration of those folks goes up each time I meet them. The youngsters really had a good time and didn’t want to come home. And Becky cried because we had tea!

Sturgis was beaten on Friday night by Greenville. And Dick didn’t get the title because the coach would not let him continue wrestling on Friday and he had to forfeit a match. He had been quite sick and it was too much for him. They were all pretty disappointed, but I think they accepted it as from the Lord. I did not get to talk to any of them.

Dorothy has to have some cupcakes for a school party today and i want to get ready for Millers, besides doing some washing, so I had better sign off. I think I have covered the news. Except to let you know again that we surely do miss you and look forward to seeing you. We thought of you a lot yesterday out at Wheaton. I do wish that telephone calls weren’t as expensive. I love you and I just can’t get used to having you gone so much — howbeit the Lord has given joy and peace just to know that you are busy for Him.

All my love,
Nellie

[In honor of my Mom’s 100th birthday on March 23, 2020, I dug out her letters to my dad and started reading. In 1956 my dad took a job teaching at Emmaus Bible School in Oak Park, IL. The college was young and didn’t have funds to pay a regular wage. So there wasn’t money to move the family from Sturgis, Michigan to the Chicago suburbs. So Mom stayed at a drafty farm house with six kids: Dorothy 10, David 9, Margaret 8, Johnny 6, Jimmy 4, and Danny 2. She was pregnant with me.]

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

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

Get them to do their best – 1/15/57

Wed. noon 1-15-57

Dearest John,

Your letter came yesterday just as I was on my way to the schools to visit the teachers. So I mailed the card back to the bank right away.

It was good to hear from you, and I know that if I was up until 12:30 after a busy day I would not get any letters written. Thanks so much for all that effort when I know that you were tired.

The teachers had favorable reports for the youngsters. Dorothy’s grades are good but the teacher said they are not up to what they could be. She has a tendency to spend too much time reading and not on her lessons, but what she does is quite quickly done, and she is no problem as far as discipline is concerned. David’s work is fine. Mrs. Rerick says she is so happy that he was put ahead last year, while he is not the top one of his class he is among the top. She wondered if he didn’t bring too much of his work home to do as he seemed to have lots of spare time during the school hours. She was surprised when I told her that he only brought work home once a week at most. Spelling is his lowest subject. Margaret is all roses as usual. Just can’t say enough about her. Has a disposition that will wear well all through life! While she is doing excellent work, she keeps busy and is happily adjusted, so the teacher thought she should stay where she is. I said that Margaret takes the attitude that school is one big lark and nothing is hard – I wondered if she was getting lazy habits like David was doing. Johnny is another story. He seems capable, although the class nor Mrs. Lewis are able to understand him in his speech. But he fights (literally) to be first in line for everything. But she says when he is corrected – he is a gentleman and does not sass though she is sure he bites his tongue some times! So I don’t what we can do to help him. Last night we tried making ‘s’s’ sound. But Johnny just can’t seem to do it. I wonder if we should seek trained help for that defect.

All in all we have nothing to really worry about, but we should try to get them to do their best and not be satisfied with just good. I asked about David’s play time and getting along with others. She said she hadn’t noticed any agitation, but that she wasn’t with them much of that time. She said that he likes to do a good job on his work.

In the Metropolitan I.Q. test given each year about this time all of the youngsters were a couple of years ahead of schedule. Dorothy had the average that is required at the end of 7th grade. etc. But that doesn’t indicate too much, certainly not that she could step into 7th grade work.

The sun is shining again today, but it was down to zero this morning. Really uses the coal. This hard pioneer has now shoveled 3 tons of coal this winter, and I still sleep between sheets upstairs! ahem! don’t you dare chuckle.

How’s the diet and the vitamins. Please take them, esp. if you are cutting out meals.

Oh, Yes, the Plymouth has been starting just fine. No trouble at all. I told you about the brakes going out, and getting fluid put in. And the thermostat on the furnace continues to work, and no smoke at all since you cleaned it. I’m so glad for all of that.

I have a dozen letters to write yet, and when I do that the housework goes to pot. So I guess that I will close not and give the kids pancakes for dinner. I splurged and bought some smoked herring and an avocado yesterday so we eat cheap for a couple of days. To discipline us.

Lovingly, Nellie