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

A Sharp Turn of Events

Monday 11-4-57

Dearest John,

Johnny expressed my sentiments this morning: “I sure wish Daddy could be here every day.” When I suggested that perhaps we had better pray for a house near school [the college where my Dad was teaching], he agreed, adding, “Only one thing is wrong, it is awfully hard to go to new schools.” Which I heartily agree. I changed once in the 5th grade and for weeks I actually felt ill and begged to stay home in the mornings.

A sharp turn of events in our laundry this morning … and after all our rejoicing over it last night. The first load went fine and was in the dryer. I went down to check the second load (diapers) to give a second deep rinse. Water was running all over the floor. I don’t know what happened, but the water did not seem to shut off after filling the deep rinse. That or it kept draining out the suds saver hose as fast as filling up. Anyhow the suds saver tub and washing machine tub were both overflowing. I pulled plugs and drained what I could. No, later I did that. Carol was crying for food so I went upstairs to her and to decide what to do. I also had found that the dryer wasn’t working. Pilot switch wouldn’t go on. “He that thinketh everything is perfect — take heed.”

After Carol was cared for I went down again to analyze the situation. Behold, the dryer started working. “Thank you, Lord,” I said. So I turned to the washer. It is a strange noise and the water all pumps out the suds saver hose. The hole in the floor won’t hold it, so I had to stop experimenting to locate the trouble and wrote to Kendallville [a town in eastern Indiana]. The diapers are done, so I can wait to do more washing until after Wednesday.

Cheer up ………………..!

Carol is sleeping all the time and not eating so much. Her cold may have something to do with that. No new aches for me – but I am going on a fat-free diet, for general principle’s sake. Will close to meet mail man.

All my love,
Nellie

I Believe We’ll Get Along

Wednesday, 10-23-57

Dearest John,

The baby is sleeping past her feeding time, so I’ll grab these few minutes to write a note to you. I felt better after calling you last night, as I didn’t want you wondering what had happened to us. Danny is running a temp today, and has the bad throat and stuffy nose that the others have had with this. But he doesn’t complain of a headache, muscles aching, or chills like they did. Jimmy hasn’t complained about that either, though they both have had pretty good temps.

They have had some rare dreams during this siege. Johnny asked me one morning, “Why did that man give us all that money last night?” A dream. Last night I dreamed (with no temp) that you had gone to Litchfield and they were so happy to see you they were in tears and raised a special flag to let everyone know you were back!

This morning I gave the youngsters baths and clean clothes and am washing up the other pajamas. And I’m also making some cinnamon rolls for lunch.

When Dale was out the other evening to look at the washer, Danny grabbed him and took him in to see the baby.

Well, I had better sign off – lots of things I could chatter about, but time is at a premium these days. I am letting some things go and getting to bed with the children so that the calls during the night aren’t too much for me. So far I feel fine and am thankful for that. Keep praying for us, but don’t worry if you don’t hear much. I’ll call if any trouble develops, but as things are now I believe that we’ll get along all right.

Right now the older ones are not too sick, but sick enough to be touchy and quarrelsome. I’m keeping them in separate beds and rooms upstairs most of the time with different things to do, which eliminates most of the fussing. Glad the weather is mild enough that I can do that.

Love you sweetheart, and it will be so good to have you home for a whole weekend again.

All my love,

Nellie

A Bawl Game

10-19-57

Dearest John:

What a morning!

We are using the automatic, but we can’t get the suds to return to the machine, so we are lifting it with buckets and it is a high lift. Dorothy just suggested that we may have the hose too near the bottom. An idea and we’ll check at the end of the load. I have a letter ready to mail to Sears if that proves wrong. We are using the new gyrator and it works perfectly so far. And what we have washed dries in half the time it did with the wringer. When we get caught up and organized it is certainly going to make wash day easier.

Margaret was so tearful this morning that it finally dawned on my to check her temp and it was over 101°. By that time she told me she was cold. The house was cool because the wind is blowing, but she was definitely chilling. So I guess she is down with the bug. But you know kids. Wanting to play games while down.

If we have the flu, Mother better not come here and get exposed. With sickness we couldn’t can [we canned up to 100 quarts of applesauce every year] much anyhow, and Daddy depends on her too much to risk getting down with it. Besides, as it is now, I don’t see how we can afford apples and sugar. Perhaps things will change by then. I spent more than I should have yesterday on groceries; also bought a bushel of apples for eating, Jonathans, so we could have them for lunches. They need the fruit and in the long run this is very cheap eating.

David got up before breakfast and dug the rest of the potatoes this morning. A good start for the day, but as of now, I’m sure the day is not continuing or going to end as well. In fact one would thing we were having a bawl game [<<— !!] and I didn’t misspell that. With Margaret down, Jimmy and Danny with nasty colds, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Johnny were getting something. Well, it is no wonder. Dorothy has been a jewel and a lifesaver.

Now I will close and get lunch ready. Tomato soup and toasted cheese sandwiches.

Very interested in Tozier’s message yesterday. Some questions to ask you when you get home. Wonder where women without husbands get their questions answered? I could get along without that, but I couldn’t get along without you and your love. I still marvel that you love me, but so very glad that you do.

Carol Ruth weighed 7# 3oz last Sunday. Today, Saturday, it is 7# 10 oz. so she is going along fine. I got orange juice and Similac yesterday. Can’t get her stuffy nose cleared up.

All our love, mine especially,

Nellie

Rutabagas and Our Rat

10-09-57
Wed. a.m.

My Dearest,

Oh, it was good to hear your voice and so unexpected. Lots of times when I pick up the phone I hope it will be you, but last night it took me by surprise and you sounded so close that I could hardly believe you were still in Oak Park.

If you got my letter of Monday on Tuesday than the mails are improving. [!!] You should get these letters before you leave. I’m sorry that you will miss the meeting on Saturday night. I know how you enjoy them and how comparatively few support much missionary endeavors.

Cloudy today – looks more like winter is around the corner. We went out to the garden this morning just to look around. I did bring in a cabbage head and two rutabagas. In case your folks come in they will be ready to fix — but can’t you hear the family yell clear down there! I fixed squash on Sunday, like we had at Bad Axe [a city on the “thumb” of Michigan]. They ate their spoonful when I put it in their mouths. Johnny and Jimmy, that is. So yesterday I put the rest into pies. Johnny tasted it and was sure that it was pumpkin pie and enjoyed it. Jimmy wasn’t sure and wouldn’t eat it. But then Jimmy never has liked spicy things like pie or spice cake.

Our rat [??!!!??] still evades us, but we do know that there is some way for it to get on the back porch from the basement, and perhaps from outdoors by way of a tunnel under the porch. We saw it on the back porch and it acted slightly sick then [??!!!??] but it disappeared and we don’t know how or where.

I’m feeling better each day which is encouraging. The youngsters have been doing very well in helping out. David is going to make a good fireman – he has done it all this week and the house has been just fine all the time.

The baby is waking up for her feeding so I’ll close and get this out to the box. She has certainly been good — we’ll have to get the scales down this week to see how well she is gaining. I’m sure she is.

All our love,
Nellie

Clothes Conundrum

Nellie’s great-granddaughter, Aria, modeling in 2014

Saturday, May 25, 1957

My Dearest,

Johnny brought home this story yesterday. Mrs. Lewis told them to write what they wanted and sound out the words they didn’t know how to spell. Not bad, eh? [I wish I could read it]

Haven’t been to town all week so I must go today in time to get to the bank. I started cleaning out drawers, etc. yesterday and today feel swamped with work. Keeping this size family’s clothes in shape is a huge task. If we only lived in the mountains where jeans were proper for everything.

Windy and cool today – I may have to start another fire. Except for colds, the family seems about back to normal. Jimmy has the worst cold now.

I asked Gertrude if there was anything I could do for the recital and got the job of writing out the invitations and typing the programs. So I must get that done today.

I expect you feel swamped right now too with all that is coming up. In a way I’m sorry you have to speak on the second [6-2-57], but there wasn’t much you could do about that. It will rush you. We’ll try to be good and let you sleep a lot the next week!!! That’s a hard assignment for us!

Now I’d better close and get to town. David is with Marvin but the rest are going with me, which really taxes my patience in town. They haven’t gone for a long time and in the long run I feel better taking them than leaving them home alone.

This seems hasty to send, my sweetheart, but the only reason I’m writing is that I do love you. Anyone else could wait. And I miss you so very much.

Always yours,
Nellie

It Amazes Me

Monday 4-23-57

My Dearest,

Time for another epistle to my beloved. I like to write to you, but sometimes I have trouble taking time to write so that it doesn’t sound like a hasty afterthought.

Your phone call Sat. night was a real treat, although I nearly broke my back to get to the phone. I was in the tub again! My feet were wet and I slipped on the floor. Dorothy was awake and I should have called for her to answer, but I thought I could get there just as soon. Funny, I can think of reams of talk when going around the house during the day, but I almost feel like I can’t think of anything worth saying when a long-distance call comes. I do hope that you are feeling better now. Much of it must be from being tired and burning the candle at both ends. We are praying for you and hope that you’ll feel better so that the last six weeks of this [school] year might be enjoyable ones for you.

Today Johnny’s temp dropped and his measles are a little lighter. He had the full dose — awful cough, eyes matted shut, and some earache. I expect that I’ll keep him home from school all this week. Dr. Fiegel said that it is contagious as long as there are any spots at all.

While Johnny was asleep yesterday I ran the youngsters into Sunday School and asked Roger Damer to bring them home, which he did. Then we didn’t go in the evening. Today because of school vacation, Dillon came out after the youngsters for Good News Club and then Mary Lou brought them home. I could have left Dorothy here with him, but they offered and I felt a little better. It seems that I have to leave them a lot more than I anticipated doing this year, as it is.

Those capsules the Dr. gave me for my appetite may help a little, although without self-control I could eat everything in sight. But they have certainly helped that dragged out feeling I’ve had for the last two or three months. I have been able to do an honest day’s work for a change. I’m so thankful because the work was getting so far behind that it seemed impossible. Ironing to do by the bushel, etc. You’ll have to try one when you get home!

We have had some sun and showers by turn today. it was cold this morning and because of Johnny I tried to make a fire. The thing didn’t really catch until later in the morning and now we are really warm in the house. We’ll have such changeable temperatures for a few weeks.

Did you see the Sword of the Lord recently – Rice’s ultimatum to Plymouth Brethren and Pete Fleming’s book? [Peter Fleming was one of the 5 missionaries killed in Ecuador a year before in 1956.] Also McClain had an article in that. I had already read it in the Missionary Herald.

The youngsters have really been playing on their Monopoly set – I bought it for them with the money that the folks sent.

David has been out with Marv again this morning — plowing and moving some fence posts. He lives for that and his main object to leaving here is Marvin. The other day, however, he voiced a real desire to have a boy his own age to play with. I with that could be so, but I don’t know who it would be around here.

I wanted to get this in the mail this morning, but when I thought I had time between washing and lunch, Johnny demanded some attention, it was for some lunch, and I was so glad to see him hungry that I hastened to prepare it. In those few seconds he dropped off to sleep and wouldn’t eat then! I know that he is feeling better because he wants so much more attention – “What can I do?” is the question.

I’ll close for now and perhaps get more written before mail time tomorrow morning. Je t’aime (tres) beaucoup. On the week before you get home, we really count the days off until your day. We say Friday to make it sound shorter although we all know it will be nearer Saturday when we will likely see you. It amazes me, when everything seems to count to that, only Danny seems to be able to show the love and affection he feels when you get here. I can’t quite figure out why, or the remedy. Self-conscious, I guess.

[to be continued the next day]

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

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

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