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

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.

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

It’s Convenient to Have $$

Saturday 4-13-57

My Dearest,

Your sweet letter came yesterday. I surely appreciate it and having you get the money here. With music lessons, eggs, etc. it is really convenient to have it.

Yesterday I heard on WMBI radio school of the Bible – Bill McDonald’s course on “Good News.”

As soon as the youngsters hear “Back to the Bible” we are going to town. A few bargains this week – sugar is one.

Psalm 37:5 [Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.] came to mind as I am praying about this summer. We need to also be concerned about deciding in time so that others concerned will not be inconvenienced.

The ground is white with frost every morning. We still haven’t gotten outside to clean up.

Margaret is OK today. David has a sore throat. We played checkers last night. They can beat me without much trouble!

I’ll close now and try to get a letter off the first of the week. Guess I shouldn’t write on the back of this paper; rather hard to read. Thanks again for writing – I surely appreciate each letter from you!

All my love,
Nellie

A Whale of a Lot of Ironing Done

Monday
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.

Nellie

Spring Right In the House



March 15, 1957

My dearest John,

Time flies on and my letter writing is neglected. A few interesting things have happened. The weather is one – spring yesterday, and so windy and cold today. The house feels so drafty even though I spent some time stopping up cracks this evening.

I took Margaret to the eye doctor last night. He made quite a thorough examination, it seemed to me. She seems to have a farsightedness that is not too serious – often comes in the first three grades of school and can be corrected. If let go, though, it can develop into more serious trouble. So, $29.50 for glasses. Nothing can do but take their word for it. I watched her testing in reading and identifying things and she did miss a lot. He said that eye trouble follows certain patterns in growing children: the first three grades, the seventh grade, and the last two years of high school.

Sturgis won the game on Wednesday night, and now must win one tonight over Greenville in order to play tomorrow night for the regional title. They are handicapped because Steve Boyle had to leave the game Wednesday night with a bad knee and is out for the season, and two other have the flu. Dick Bunce has been sick, but the Dr. last night said he could wrestle this Saturday for the state championship.

Dave wasn’t there Wed. night to keep prayer meeting rolling according to schedule. They got involved in some business about the Belman house, etc. and it lasted until 8:25 – which makes problems downstairs [where the younger children are]. We managed to keep them reasonably quiet, but it is hard.

Damers asked us to come over for dinner on Sunday. They said that they would like a time when you were home, but that seemed impossible, so they asked us to come. So hurry home and you can come along!

There is one beautiful daffodil now and buds for six more – spring right in the house. I’m surprised how the youngsters enjoy it.

I’m really out of news so I’m going to close now. As usual it seems like a month since you have been home. I’m really looking forward to summer and trust that we’ll have more time together. The camp suggestion sounds good, but I sometimes wonder how effective our help would be. If it is a caretaker they need, our lives are not along that, judging from how we have cared for any place we’ve lived in. I’m glad we can pray and trust the Lord to work it all out for us.

Now, all my love darling. We miss you. The children have been good this week. Danny has a huge goose egg above his left eye. The wind blew the door knob into his head. Jimmy and Danny were like young colts the two days they could play outdoors.

Lovingly,
Nellie

Danny has graduated – you are now in Oooooook Park – not Chicago!!

Talking Crooked 3-12-57

John and Nellie, circa 1944? Dad was in the Navy.

Tuesday, 3-22-57

My Dearest,

If your cold got any worse, I can’t imagine how you felt by Monday a.m. Thought of you so much.

Here’s the tract with Dean’s address and some clippings from the paper. Ray Smith paid a real tribute to Dick [Bunce, a high school wrestler friend and hero of the kids] on last night’s program. They had the drawing for the regionals last night and I believe Sturgis got Albion for the first game on Wednesday night. Accordig to Ray it was the least favorable drawing.

Jimmy has a cold now — pretty soon we’ll all be talking crooked!! Kids think I sound funny with my cold.

Lots of rain yesterday, but very warm sunshine today and the birds are really swelling today on trees.

Margaret’s appointment for her eyes is Thursday at 4:00 p.m.

Now I’ll close and let Jimmy put this in the box. It was so good to have you home — be nice when summer comes. But the trip takes so much that you better not come until April 6th. The time gets long for all of us, but summer seems closer now.

All my love,
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

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