A Whale of a Lot of Ironing Done

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.



Wow, it taxes my patience 1-10-57

January 10, 1957

Dearest John,

It doesn’t seem possible that Christmas vacation that we looked forward to for so long has come and gone and that we have no definite time to look forward to having you home again. I must confess that I really dreaded seeing you leave this time. Before it was with the hope that we would be moved by the end of Christmas vacation, but now I’m about convinced that we should stay here the rest of the school year. And actually I would rather stay here now then move into a new community and be on my own as much as I would have to be during the next semester when you will keep so busy.

It was stormy when we left for prayer meeting last night – roads all slippery – and humanly speaking it seemed foolish to take six children out in such conditions. Coming home was worse. The youngsters were alarmed and I said, “Think of the Damers they have so much further to go.” “Yes, but they have a man driver,” was the reply that I got. I reminded them that we need not trust in my ability, but in the Lord to see us home. It must be 18 inches deep infront of the big window where the wind blew it. It is two feet deep in front of the car – next to the shed! And bare in some spots. From the radio reports you have about the same.

It was a wet deep snow the night before when we went to the Women’s Missionary meeting. Mrs. Storms stopped for me and Karen stayed here. Karen stayed home from a basketball game at Bronson to baby sit for me, and she won’t accept anything for it either. I really appreciated that – Sturgis won this time.

Danny [2] kept saying Daddy was home every time he heard a car for the next couple of days, but now he says Daddy at school, or Daddy Chicago. He is really attempting big words. He stayed in the prayer meeting with me last night. Sat pretty still, but kept every one amused, as he tried to do just what the others were doing. Jimmy [4] got hit with the flannel board on the nose. It spurted everywhere. I’ll have to get his coat cleaned now. I guess that it is good discipline to have all six of my own in the class, but wow, it taxes my patience. As Bill Cathers said, “it is much easier to have patience with someone else’s children than your own.” On the other hand most children try to please another teacher more than their mother, with the exception of Mike Miller. I had Joyce stay down stairs with me last night.

Been cleaning house – got under the refrigerator and found the letter from Mother with the check in it. What about that? I told Joyce about it and she said, ” We have several Bibles that we carry to church. This week, Bill picked up one that he had not carried for awhile and found a Christmas card in it, with $25 and just marked from joint-heirs in Christ. He can’t remember how he got it, although he faintly remembers getting one at the Chapel sometime, but can’t remember how or who gave it to him.” Now how about that? He has found a house – half of a duplex, with no yard, in Elkhart that they might take. I’m praying the something will be provided, more to their needs. With her pregnant again, it is too much to be put in such quarters. The Lord is able to give what they need. Rents are very high there too.

Next Feb. I’m supposed to be leader for the missionary meeting. Got any information about any available missionaries that could come to speak. Africa is the assigned topic, but if a speaker is available any country represented would be appreciated. Mrs. Wolcott has been wanting Gertrude Koppel to come. Mother said she doesn’t enjoy speaking at meetings, or Sally Deans, but I know that it is on a school night and would work a bit inconvenience for her to come. Joyce was the leader this month. She said that they must be afraid that we were going to move so worked us in right away! Rosie Gross came up and hugged me and thanked me with tears for what we had given her.

Gertrude King is going to have us over for dinner on Sunday. I offered to make some pies for dinner. Will use up the apples.

The youngsters have been doing very good on the chores – the magic of stars on a chart has done it. David and Johnny gallantly carried the water out on Monday. “Daddy specially asked us to do it while he was gone,” I was told. David is very good about cleaning the windshield on the car, etc. I hate to do that, so I’m glad for him to do it. But we have troubles too. One is the dog. Several messes this week. I think that she is p.g. again!

The furnace is working fine. And it was so good to have the hose fastened on. And a clock, although I didn’t heed its warning this morning, and didn’t have time to pack lunches.

The salesman for the World Book was here Monday and said he would pay for the phone call as he said that he knew you couldn’t get them any other price there. He said that he has only sold one other set of the blue ones as most people don’t want the clothe bindings. I imagine that the higher price set they sell the more commission they get. I’ll buy some clear plastic and make covers for the books and for the New Testament that you gave us. I can do that for a lot less than $20.00 difference in price, and I can’t believe that it is necessary to put 20 or 50 dollars more into a set of books just for cover! The youngsters are real excited about getting the set.

Bill MacPherson preached on Sunday night – he had a mighty message – gospel. Some think that he should prepare for the Lord’s work instead of being an engineer. Good material, outline, presentation – and most of all it gave even me the feeling that you once mentioned about listening to your Dad – “If I weren’t a Christian I surely would decided to night.” He is able to quote scripture too and has clear illustrations. It is nice to hear a fellow that is as good as everyone says he is.

I mailed your things yesterday. I considered sending them with Bill McDonald on Sunday, but for the little trouble it takes to mail them, I decided not to bother him.

Borrowed Millers clippers yesterday and last night I cut David’s hair and trimmed up the other boys, so that if ours don’t come soon, I won’t need it for awhile. David has a butch this time. I sure don’t like that as well but it is what they want and surely much easier to care for.

I had better close. I have lots of letters to write, but wanted to be sure you got one first. Maybe I’m going at it backwards, but I would rather write you than the others. Your folks anniversary is soon. O.K. if I send them some money along with a letter – they would more appreciate a letter from you though. We love you and are praying for you and of course looking for you to come home again. You gave me a real vacation from a lot of the daily chores while you were here, which I enjoyed and seeing you go ahead and do it so willingly made it easier for me to step into them after you left. Je t’aime beaucoup, beaucoup.

Nellie and children