Shoveling coal like mad – 1/18/57

January 18, 1957

My dearest John,

Just a note today and will enclose some letters that have come. I meant to write yesterday but got busy running the sweeper and didn’t get it done. Really got cold Wed. night. I couldn’t get the car started and so called Dillons, and they came after us. David wanted to run to Milliman’s [a neighboring farm] but it was so terribly cold, I didn’t want to get them out, when I knew that some of the folks at the chapel would be out anyway. 2 below zero at supper time with a good wind blowing. The boys’ room is closed up and they are on the davenport. That helps to keep the other two rooms upstairs warm. It got to 10 below that night and, while not that cold, it hasn’t been above 15 above zero since. Shoveling coal like mad (16 tons).

Yesterday Milliman’s went up and down the road starting the neighbors’ cars with the Jeep. The bus wouldn’t even start so Heitchers down the road picked up the kids and took them to school. Herb McLaughlin brought them home in the old greyhound the school owns.

We have been way off schedule this week since the youngsters are home every afternoon. Seems like another vacation. And it has been nice not packing lunches. We get a decent breakfast this way. Guess I should start earlier in the morning, but it is so cold. I have to get up though now in order to have a fire. I put 4 big shovelfuls of coal on last night at 11 and at six this morning there was just enough fire left to start some coal burning. And the house wasn’t above 65.

I delivered your message to Ralph. I think that he will write Mr. Little. At the farewell the young people gave Millers two beautiful lamps. The chapel gave them one of those pictures of Christ that have a bulb to light or plug in to put a light behind the picture, and a nice electric skillet. For such a cold night and such short notice, quite a few people turned out. Not as many however as if it would be on Sunday night. They would have had it then, but word got out that they were moving on Sat.; in reality it will be Tuesday. (if they can get a van – that hadn’t been arranged yet yesterday) Margaret Snook suggested that Harpers move in the house – if they do consider that, what shall I say? Since it is on sale perhaps they will not consider it.

Danny has an imagination. He calls that little peg thing that the rings fit on his “this I know”. He puts the rings (records) on and twirls it around! How about that?

Now I’ll close – . Oh, about the money, don’t bother to send any now. I have plenty for a while. Damers gave me 10, Moores handed me 10, and the check from Cathers was signed to me, so there is plenty. I have acknowledged all of those already. I don’t know if it was impulse or the Lord bidding – but all day Sunday I felt I should give Arnie $10, so just before I left on Sunday evening I saw Ralph and asked him to give it to Arnie anonymously. I was going to skip it thinking it was probably impulse but as I drove out of the yard and nearly bumped into Ralph, I had the thought to handing it to him to give – now how do you know?

I went to the book store in La Grange yesterday to get a little more material for Wed. nights and bought the youngsters a few more books. Wanted to get Milnot [evaporated milk] but forgot. Did get some day old bread and gas at Howe. Gas goes sooner when you have to run the car a while to get it warmed up each time.

W.S.T.R. has already sent your income things here. Mike Strong is taking your place at night. Dick Bunce won his ninth match last Wed. night. Sturgis plays East Lansing tonight – they are tied for first place so it is a big game. Millers invited the girls to go and David is about dying he wants to go so badly. They might ask him if he and Pat weren’t so goofy about each other. But I can’t take him, so he is mad and says he won’t even listen on the radio! But I’m going to!

Now I will close – Loads of love from all of us. We sorta have our hopes up that you’ll get home the 27th. But don’t do it if you are to preach someplace else – Unless you have the whole weekend it is too much. It is almost too much to come so far to preach and get back. Would you consider the train to Elkhart – I’d come meet you there. It would be so much easier traveling that way. Could study while riding.

As I said before, I must close. The chicken backs and necks for soup must be overdone by now.

Lovingly, Nellie

Mom’s Letters: 12-10-56

Sunday, 12-10-56

Dearest John,

Here is something that you will like. We went out on the front porch one
Sunday and took this picture. Only 5 of the 8 turned out good. David is learning
and will be doing better all the time.

We celebrated something today and had steak for dinner. Lyle’s had rib steak
for 39 cents so we got one. And the youngsters were so extra special today that
I broke all the rules and got them some ice cream. We went to morning meeting too, and they all sat very nicely.

Mike Miller is getting better so they are not going to even explore to find
out if it was the kidneys or bladder that was injured. He has stopped bleeding
and the pain has subsided. The petrol boy that drug him along on his bike was
relieved of his duties. He will come home from the hospital tomorrow, but have
to keep down quiet for awhile.

I enjoyed Mr. McNeil this morning. They announced that Mr. Fuller has a
program on the Kendallville station. I was in the nursery but Dorothy said that
it is a 15 minute program at 1:45 on Sundays. She told me after it was over:
I’ll try to listen next week.

Dean Cornell called today and asked about you. He said he would try to see
you when you were home during vacation.

the Bill McPhersons are out of service now and home until Feb. when he wants
to go to Ann Arbor to school to be a Physicist – he has aspirations of being a
Dr. in that field according to his wife – which means 8 years of study. Chemical Engineer.

Quite a lot of snow yesterday out it is beautiful today. From the forecast I
wondered if we would get out as it was drifting a lot. However, the storm fell
far short of the prediction.

Friday I picked up the kids at the high school and took them up town to see
Santa and a team of real reindeer, with an eskimo in his native garb to care for
them. Each of the children (over 2000 candy canes were given out) were allowed
to get in line, speak to Santa, and receive a candy cane from him, walk up on the
float and by the team of deer and down at the other end where the eskimo was.
They weren’t so interested in the Santa as they were in the deer, which was something
to see. They were on a conveyor belt on this float (which made them high enough
so that they could be seen better) and when the float was moving, so would the
belt and the deer had to keep stepping to stay in place. It gave the appearance
of them pulling Santa and his sleigh. After that we went and shopped. I let them
pick out a good many things to send to the cousins. That night after the 3 youngest
were in bed the others wrapped gifts. How they love to do that.

[Handwritten] Now I must close. Danny just got up from his nap. Yesterday we made Christmas cookies! Lovingly, Nellie

Carol’s note:
On March 23, 2020, we celebrated my mom’s 100th birthday. Nellie Stover Harper died suddenly when she was 48, most likely from undiagnosed Addison’s disease. She left behind her husband, John, and seven children.

After my dad died in 1987, my brother Jim collected letters my mom wrote my dad while he was teaching at Emmaus Bible College in Oak Park, IL. For economic reasons, my family stayed in a farmhouse outside of Sturgis, MI, while he was working in IL. This letters are our family’s jewelry box, displaying the gems of my mom’s work and devotion. My goal is to include these letters on the blog so they can be searched by word and enjoyed by all of Nellie’s descendants and friends.

At the time of this letter, Nellie had six children at home: Dorothy – 10, David – 9, Margaret – 8, Johnny – 6, Jimmy – 4, and Danny – 2.