Daddy Come Home to My House

 

Thursday
12-05-1957

Dearest John:

You must wonder what is wrong with me for not writing more — but honestly, the time just flies by and there is so much that never gets done as it should. I have a little time before the mail man comes and I’ll see how much I can get written.

Yesterday morning and this morning Dorothy had dentist appointments. That takes about two hours time – really more if you count the extra effort to get the youngsters ready to go along and then unloaded at home. Tomorrow afternoon it is a trip to the Dr.’s so a lot of time will be gone then.

Sorta looked for a letter from you yesterday as I knew that you would send any money you can in order to pay the rent. But Tuesday a letter came from Joyce Miller with $25 in it for us so I sent a check down that night to pay the rent. And last Saturday I didn’t get gas. It slipped my mind and by the time I got the things needed I didn’t have much more than enough change for the Sunday School offering. I could have written a check but gas never entered my mind. We had been riding on zero for a long time. Sunday night Nita handed me $10 —although she gave the impression that it was not from her but she wasn’t saying whom. On the way out of the chapel Dorothy asked me about gas [yay Dorothy!]. I still hadn’t thought about it, but I stopped and got some. And a dollars worth didn’t even budge the needle, so we must have been completely out. The Lord took care of that for me. I’m glad that He does take care of me as I get so confused by myself.

I believe the washing machine problem is solved. The other soap worked wonders. The machine hummed along beautifully ever since I have used it. Dale was out and I asked him about it. He said that Maytag tells the customer to use a low suds soap on the suds saver models. The reason is that when the suds returns, the agitator is working and it beats up such a storm of suds that the machine gets what is called a suds lock. I don’t know why they didn’t mention that when giving instructions. Dale came out to see if he could get the car to work on the clutch. I’ll surely appreciate that, because on the icy spots I have quite a time getting started.

Jimmy wanted to take some cut out cookies to school. So one morning we took time out to make them. Takes time but those things mean so much to him. Only he said the boys and girls asked him to do that again some time – but I’m not so sure.

The house looks like a tornado struck it, so I had better get to work. And my time is about up for writing. Danny took the key from the front door and lost it — and it is locked. Let’s hope it turns up or I’ll have to learn the art of breaking locks (or picking them is the term, I believe).

Bye now, Honey. I love you, and am certainly not neglecting you on purpose, but there is so much to do and so much that is always waiting to do. It is the same with you, I know. Poor Danny came down on Sunday a.m., took one look around, and cried. Daddy. Daddy, come home to my house. After about 30 minutes he seemed to snap out of it and accept the situation, but he sure hoped it wasn’t so when he woke up.

Lovingly,
Nellie

Down to a Few Cents

[No date. Between 4-8 and 4-13]

My dearest John,

About time for me to get another letter off to you. I didn’t intend to wait so long, but each morning has been busy and I’m no good in the evenings. Makes me wonder if I will be good at anything this summer. Just now I was sweeping — rather, trying to get the downstairs swept up in time to get a letter written before the mailman came. And suddenly I broke out in a sweat and got so weak that I had to quit. I’m glad that I go to the Dr. on Monday and maybe he can help me out.

Margaret is home again today. Had a little temp. but nothing much seems to be wrong outside of that. So many things are going around that I decided that I had better keep her here and see if anything develops.

More snow last night. It seems that spring will never come.

I’ve been thinking about the summer. I can think of worse things than living at the school [In Oak Park, IL] all summer. Just being here without you for instance. With a gym and swimming pool handy. An office for you to study in when you wished. I suppose we’d be eating and cooking in the kitchen for those around. The little ones could play down there. Perhaps eating with others would be good training for our mannerless crew. Might be embarrassing for awhile, but they are not so dumb but that they would catch on. And you will be in the position to get ready for fall better than if you were at camp. Of course being out at camp all summer seems almost ideal, but I actually doubt if I would be up to taking Girls Camp responsibility.

I’ve just been thinking on the typewriter. I’ll be glad when some decision is made as I’ll know what to do and what to work towards.

Tomorrow I’m invited to a shower for Wanda Garden down at Twitchell’s. They are the folks across from Millimans. She is expecting next month. I want to go because it will be a chance to get acquainted and I feel that I’ve not been a very good neighbor and you certainly can’t witness if you can’t neighbor to them.

Looks like Easter [is when] Fluffy is going to have her family, if she waits that long. A big mess all over the place again this morning. Yesterday we had wash water all over again. Just one mess after another. If she has them in the house some day, I’m likely to do something drastic, even if it puts me in the dog house!

I hope to hear from you today. No mail tomorrow under the new postal curtailment plan [?]. And we are down to a few cents. Rather awkward needing the money here when it all goes to you there. This is really the first time this has happened though. Usually there has been more here than I need. And if I don’t hear from you I’ll not be surprised as I know you have that income tax to work out this week besides all your other tasks.

Well, I’m about at the end of the page, and I’ve quit trembling so much, so I guess I had better close and get back to the work here. I love you and miss you so much. I would like to have a week or so together with no other responsibility but to catch up on all we’ve missed this winter. But we can only dream of such a time with all the cares of this world upon us. Take care of yourself – I’m afraid you’ve been going too hard and it will tell on you sooner or later.

All my love,
Nellie

Blinking Lights in Farewell

Wednesday a.m.
March 20, 1957

My dearest John,

Your big long letter was such a treat on Monday. After Joyce called and I could relax more, I sat down and read it several times.

Before I forget it – your Dad’s birthday is next Tuesday. I’m going to leave the gift-sending up to you and if you’ve not written do it. Let my letter go and write him. I’m going to have the youngsters send cards. We don’t know how many more times we can remember his birthday. [He died in 1963]

Oh — spring is here — with snow on the ground. Rather chilly, too.

I’ve got flannelgraph spread out before me in preparation for prayer meeting tonight. I enjoy this, but it becomes more of a chore since I’m always tired now. Feel OK, just the draggy feeling, which goes with all my pregnancies. I feel guilty sleeping 8 and 9 hours a night when you get so little. I thought of you last night and wondered what time you got home from Champaign.

I watched last time you left and was sure I saw you get on the toll road and blink your lights. I could get confused, so many cars and lights. Glad you mentioned it.

My cold is hanging on and so is Danny’s and Jimmy’s. The older ones did not seem to get it.

Made some yeast rolls Monday – they were good this time and I’m nearly proud with all the nice things the children said!!

Time to close – wish you were here to talk to instead of writing. Take care of yourself these busy days. We love you and your name is mentioned umpteen times a day. I’m learning that when you really love a person you never get used to having him gone – it gets worse instead of easier. Hurry up, summer!

All my love,
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.]