Tuesday, February 9, 2016

February 16, 1974 The Comforter, The Bug, The Gas, The Lobby and The Driving

Dear Mother,

"My comforter is all done and it sure is pretty. It took longer to finish it than I thought it would but I just let everything else go until I got it done. I know it will be warm.

We had letters from the children this week. Ann is back at school but is still taking medicine. She said that bug really took her pep. She had made cupcakes for her kids and I guess they had a Valentine's party.

Bob & Pat are fine but they are having trouble getting gas just like everyone else in Chicago. They are still having lots of snow so have ridden the train part of the time. Pat has to change several times and it takes almost twice as long to get to school as it does to drive.

They had been babysitting but didn't comment on it so I don't know how they enjoyed it.

B & I went to a dinner in Eureka last night honoring the college president. He has been there 20 years and it was a nice affair. B has gone back to a board meeting this morning. Thursday night we went to a play at school and are going to a concert tonight. It is almost too much for one week.

On Monday we are going to Chicago. B has two meetings so we'll be there until Saturday afternoon. Monday and Tuesday nights we'll be at the Howard Johnson's International Motor Inn. The phone is 312-671-6000 and then from Wednesday afternoon until Saturday noon we'll be at the Conrad Hilton Hotel. B could be paged at either place if you need to get in touch with us. There won't be anything for me to do at the Howard Johnsons so I'll just read or do my needlepoint.  It is fun to just sit in the lobby and watch people. When we go to the Hilton I can shop for it is right downtown and I can walk where I want to go.

You never did tell me what happened to Aunt Nora. How did she hurt herself? B's mom finally wrote about Mae Sellers and she really had a fall, didn't she? You be very careful when you go to the basement.

I did my driving for H.E.L.P. yesterday--took a girl and her baby to the doctor. These trips take a long time because I take them back home and that means waiting a long time. I did go to the grocery store yesterday while she was seeing the doctor so that helped but it isn't always close to a grocery story.

I'd better get dressed and get the bed made. I haven't done a thing this morning but write to Ann."



Monday, February 8, 2016

February 9, 1974 The Better Weather, The Older Women, The Oil Company Profits, The Summer Dress and The Book Club

Dear Mother,

"Here I am under the hair dryer again, but I'm at home this time. I never go to a beauty shop unless I need a permanent and sometimes a haircut. My hair is so hard to curl now that it takes a half day to get a permanent.

The weather is bad again and I guess yours is too. Today seems better, though, with the sun out so maybe the temperature will go up a bit.

I gave my quilt program again Thursday but sure hated to get out that day. The Mustang was covered with ice when we got up and it took over an hour to get the windows cleared but by afternoon it was pretty nice outside and there was just slush on the streets. There is still ice on the walk though.

There was a club meeting notice in the paper listing my program so I've been getting calls about it. I've been asked to give it three more times but one can't be until next fall. In March I'm giving it for the Golden Age Club which should be real interesting. I don't know much about the group except it is for anyone over 60 so I suppose that includes men. It should be fun for the older women will have a lot to add about their quilts.

I had a letter from Polly yesterday. She and her husband live in Chicago and she sounded real happy. Her Dad is still unable to work but is doing all right. The cast is off now but the bones of one foot are all fused together and the doctor is going to take out a bone in the big toe so it will bend and he can get his shoe on. Right now, he can't get anything on that foot. The bones were all so crushed he is lucky to have a foot. It hurts pretty much but he has to walk on it so it will get well. He uses a cane and hobbles around in the house.

I talked to Polly's mother yesterday. My quilting lady has done a quilt for her and I wish she'd get back to me. She has so many I will just have to wait.

Keep your house warm no matter what your gas costs. Hospital bills would be more. This fuel business and trucking business is a mess. I don't blame the truckers half as much as the oil companies. There is a long article in the Consumers about the oil company profits and it makes me boil to think of it. We gave 51¢ plus tax for cut rate gasoline this week for the Mustang. No wonder the truckers are mad. The government always seems to support the moneyed groups, though, so the truckers are catching it.

Our woodpile is still holding out and we have enjoyed the fireplace. I'd really like to use up the old wood for some of it is several years old & full of bugs, I guess.

My suit is finally done and I have a red blouse and a gold colored one I can wear with it but it still is awfully light colored. I guess the weather will determine when I can wear it.

The while dress I made from the one Charlotte gave me is all done but the hem and some braid trim. I may have to refit it a bit because it seemed pretty tight yesterday. I think I'll just wait until summer to finish it and then I can tell better what needs to be done to it. I might lose a little by then. The braid will spruce it up and I think I'll get red/white/blue of some kind. It goes around the sleeves, neckline & around an inset belt.

I cut out another light summer dress this morning but may not touch it again until this summer. I had started to cut out some cheap sale material and found flaws all over it so didn't want to spend time on that. I'll use the material to line a lace tablecloth I have so it won't be wasted. It looks like tiny ink spots on the material so it must have been a poor dye mix. It would show in a dress but won't under the lace. The lace cloth is green & the material is gold so it will be pretty.

My book club met here last Monday so I have one more group to entertain and then it will be about time to start over.

It is about lunch time so I'd better stop and fix something. Hope you are fine. We talked to the children last week and all were fine. Ann had been sick a week with a bad throat but was planning to go back to school on Monday. She had seen a doctor and was getting o.k."



NOTE:  The clipping included in the letter doesn't have any notations on it.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

February 2, 1974 The Beauty Shop, The Knitting Group, The Other Things, The President's Speech and The Canadian's Editorial

Dear Mother,

"I'm in the beauty shop under the dryer so I'll use my time to write to you instead of just sitting here. I have been getting a permanent. My hair was so hard to manage I had to have something done.

Our cold weather is back and snow is predicted after a few nice days. B knocked the ice out of the evergreens but it is still in the yard.

I gave my program about quilts on Monday and it went real well. Everyone was so interested. I had intended to take some of my quilts to show but it was such an ugly, rainy day that I didn't.

Our knitting group met Tuesday night and I went to a luncheon on Wednesday. January was a busy month and I hope this month will be a little easier.

In between other things this week, I have been making a suit with a long skirt and it is about finished. The skirt is all done and the jacket is ready for the button holes and lining. I hope to finish it this afternoon if the phone doesn't ring all the time.

We are going to a dinner later this month to honor the president of Eureka College so I hope this outfit looks nice enough to wear. It is cream colored with some flecks of black, red & yellow in it but I hope when I get a red or black blouse with it that is won't look too summery. I already have a cream sweater that looks pretty with it but it is terribly light.

We haven't heard from Ann this week. Bob & Patty sent back a carload of stuff with Chip when he went to visit them. They don't have much storage space and some of it was books. B said they hadn't learned to throw away books but I told him he hadn't learned that either.

Did you hear the President's speech? If all of the things he said could only be true we would be in fine shape. I keep wondering how things will be this time next year. He blames everyone but himself when he could straighten everything out in a hurry if he'd keep his promises to cooperate and do it. I just can't understand it at all.

We still get all the gas we need but Chicago seems to have trouble. Bob & Pat haven't complained so they must be alright. Of course, we don't drive to work or use our car as much as many people have to but some of the stations stayed open last Sunday. They had plenty of gas.

Our Mustang is all fixed up and runs fine. We use it practically all of the time since it doesn't take much gas.

Has your grass stayed green all winter? Ours looks like spring but B said the deep snow cover had kept it warm and growing. Someone said the few warm days we had brought the peonies up but I didn't go out to see. Everyone is wishing for an early spring and this is February already. Time sure flies by in a hurry!

I had heard and read the Canadian's editorial and it is really special. Sometimes I feel exactly like he does but I guess the world is far too small for us to ignore the rest of it. So things probably won't change.

It is almost noon and I hope I get home in time to fix B's lunch. He likes to come home even for a few minutes.

I hope you are fine and that your basement is dried up. There doesn't seem to be any answer to that and we've just been lucky."



NOTE:  The President's speech...

Saturday, February 6, 2016

January 26, 1974 The Slow Thaw, The Dirty Windows, The Formal Initiation, The Spring Sewing and The Fried Pies

Dear Mother,

"It looks as if it is going to pour rain any minute and it is supposed to rain today. We still have snow because it just doesn't stay warm long enough for it to melt. The thawing has been slow but it is a good thing. We haven't had a drop of water in the basement and if we'd had a fast thaw we'd probably have had water everywhere.

This has been a real busy week. As You Like It Club met here Thursday so I had to get ready for them. It was a beautiful bright day and all of the dirty windows showed up but no one cared because we had such a good time. One of the women brought her husband to show pictures of Norway so that was interesting. They went last summer.

I am being initiated into a sorority along with a lot of college students and this week has been full of things to go to. Sunday night I went to a party where the girls live and met them all. I'll never learn all their names. Tuesday night there was a barbecue supper and I left that early to go to a ballet at school.

B met me there and that was a beautiful program. They were all Mexican dancers and their costumes were so bright and beautiful--flowers, feathers, embroidery, lace and all kinds of pretty stuff was used. Last night there was half of the formal initiation at the church and then a reception. The rest of the initiation is this morning and a banquet tonight, and tomorrow will be another reception. B will go with me to the reception tomorrow but that is the only thing he's been in on. I thought about this a long time before I said I'd do it but it is a chance to work with students and this is the only time the sorority can take in honor members.

I'm getting ready to do some spring sewing so have the dining table all spread out. Yesterday I cut out a suit with a long skirt. I wish I had enough material to make a short skirt too but I don't and I can't get any more since I bought it last summer. Maybe I'll get the pieces pinned together sometime this afternoon.

B has taken the Mustang out to Sears to have the muffler fixed. It should be in good shape when that is done. We had the transmission fixed and that was a big job and took several days. It has been a good little car and this is the first big job we've had to do.

Your letter came right through this time. I guess the weather made the difference.

I tried making Aunt Nora's fried pies with the canned biscuits but am out of practice, I guess. I fried them too fast so had to put them in the oven awhile. They tasted good though and I'll make some more one of these days.

Daylight savings time doesn't bother me too much but I guess it is a problem for little school children. It would be a simple matter to start school at 9:00 like we used to do and I don't see why that idea hasn't been used. It is just silly for little ones to get out in the dark.

I'm glad you got to church last week. It helps the day go by. We went in the rain. The weather here doesn't seem to keep people at home.

The Watergate hearings are supposed to start again next week. I hope I can listen to them. If Nixon loved this country as he says he does he would resign and fade away so we can get ahead with our other problems. He could have ended all this long ago if he'd answered questions himself but he's put the country thru all this agony instead. I have more admiration for Agnew even if he did some bad things. At least, he didn't keep lying and string it all out as he could have. Maybe it will all end one of these days. I hope soon.

I guess I'd better get myself ready to go to church. I have to be there at 10:30.

Hope you are fine and that the weather is better."



NOTE:  As the University continued to grow, more student housing, including sororities and fraternities were built in the neighborhood. Two of them were directly across the street from our house. This was both a blessing and a curse to B & Bonnie. Tri-Delta sorority invited Bonnie to be an honorary member, as a good-will gesture I'm sure. After a couple of years she commented, "I'm not so sure about that sorority business."

Remember CBS Mystery Theater on the radio?  If interested, see below.

Friday, February 5, 2016

January 19, 1974 The Volunteer Driving, The Other Things, The Student Crowd, The Nice Letter and The Christmas Goodies

Dear Mother,

"Things have warmed up and part of the snow is gone but there is just so much of it, it will take awhile. The rain has started now so maybe that will help wash it away.

I'm doing my volunteer driving today so I am parked at a doctor's office waiting for a young mother & her tiny baby. We took the Mustang to the garage early this morning so I'm driving the Buick. We never have had to get any work done on the Mustang but it hasn't been shifting right so we thought we'd better keep it in shape. I'd hate to give it up because we use it most of the time.

I have my program on quilts all ready now so will have some time for other things. I did a little more work on it this morning & think it is ready. The wool comforter is going to be real pretty. It is all basted together and I've tacked a couple of blocks. That is hard to do because it is so thick. It is still spread on the pingpong table so I can work a little bit at a time but I am anxious to get it all finished.

I went to a luncheon yesterday and both of us are going to a dinner tonight. Last night we went over to school to hear Ruckelshaus speak. He was very interesting and most of the crowd were students. It was a free program for anyone who wanted to come so there was a big crowd.

Today is Bob's birthday. He is 26. That doesn't seem possible. We had wanted to go see them this weekend but he has to work all weekend so we'll go another time. We had a nice letter from him yesterday and they are fine. They had stayed several days with some children they have sat with several times. Bob asked us to send his clarinet and we can't imagine why.

They all seem to be getting interested in music. Ann said Bob had bought a harmonica and was playing that. She hadn't had school several days because of the bad weather.

We're about to finish up the Christmas goodies except a few things I put in the freezer. B has taken his lunch twice this week so that uses up cookies and potato chips.

There really isn't much news and we are fine. B's mom wrote that Horace's family has had the flu. I sure hope you don't get it. If that is going around, maybe it is just as well that you can't go to church. Stay in where it is warm."



NOTE:  William Ruckelshaus was the head of the Environmental Protection Agency from 1970 - 1973.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

January 12, 1974 The Weather Map, The Retired Husband, The Quilt Program, The Today Show and The Pingpong Table

Dear Mother,

"I haven't had your letter this week but I have watched the weather map so know what you have been having. Just stay indoors no matter how long it is between letters.

Our weather is terrible too but we didn't get 6 inches of snow last night as they promised. We have snow piled everywhere and it is getting so high I can't toss it over. Together, B & I have kept the porch and part of the walk clean but it has been an everyday job. They say it will be warmer next week and then we'll have mud but we'll all be glad to see it.

I have enjoyed staying at home, though. We had As You Like It yesterday for the first time since early December and one of the retired husbands took us. He wouldn't let his wife drive and I couldn't get out of the driveway. We'll dig out tomorrow.

I've been working on my program all week. I think I told you I was going to do it on quilts. There is so much to read about and it is very interesting.

I pieced some samples and that really takes a long time. One block was like the one I told you about that is finished as you go and doesn't have to be quilted. It is pretty but it is hard to do. Of course, it would get easier with a little practice.

This is Saturday. The telephone rang and I didn't get back to my letter. B has gone to the office. Registration for the new semester started this week and students couldn't get here so it will go on for awhile. Classes start next week anyway but some students may be late starting.

I'm sending part of last Sunday's church bulletin. I thought it was a nice prayer. We had a good crowd in spite of the cold and the change in time.

We didn't have any trouble getting used to the time but I'm slow starting every morning because it is so dark when B leaves. It seems like the middle of the night so I've been watching the Today Show. It is nice to have the long afternoons, though.

We've been enjoying the fireplace during this cold weather. We have kept wood on the back porch so it is easy to get but I've used all of that and so today I hope we can shovel a path to the woodpile on the patio. The snow would be over my boot tops. The weatherman said it would warm up next week but the sun is on the thermometer now and it is still 2º below. I think it was 10º below when we got up.

I have my wool quilt spread out on the pingpong table ready to start work on it but I don't know when that will be. It is so pretty & I can hardly wait to get it done. I think I told you I'm putting a dacron batt in it so it will be extra warm.

I'd better see what I can find for lunch. B should be coming soon.

Stay indoors as long as the bad weather keeps up but keep warm.  Your letter just came so I'm glad to know you are o.k. "



NOTE:  Pictured are a few of Bonnie's quilt blocks. I believe she made 12 blocks for her presentation. By the 1980s, her collection of quilt books was nearing 150 volumes.

About the time change: On January 4, 1974, President Nixon signed the Emergency Daylight Savings Time Energy Conservation Act. On January 6, 1974, everyone set their clocks ahead.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

January 5, 1974 The Mountains, The Quilts, The Race, The House and The Dress

Dear Mother,

"We all seem to be having the same kind of weather. It is terribly cold so we still have every bit of the big snow we got before Christmas. There are mountains of it piled everywhere and you have to wear boots every time you go out.  I haven't been out a lot but went out by myself to run some errands one morning. It is slippery on lots of streets and parking is bad but I didn't have any trouble.

Mrs. Follick finished my quilt and I went after it. It is just odd scraps but it is pretty now that it's quilted. I will give it to Ann and hoped it would be finished before she came home but Mrs. Follick moved so didn't get it done. She didn't want me to bring another one yet so I'll have to wait my turn again. I wish she'd do all of mine and get done but I'm really not in a hurry so she works others in. She'll call me when she's ready for one. I did go ahead and order batts for all my tops. Sears had them on sale so I just ordered them so I'd have them ready any time.

Yesterday I finished all the feather stitching on the big wool quilt you made for me. I have to press the material for the lining--it's red--and then I'll be ready to tack it. I'm putting some dacron batting in it so it should be a real warm cover. The bed in Ann's room is oversized and I haven't had enough covers for that bed and ours too. This should be plenty warm and plenty big for that bed.

I have really enjoyed having the free time since New Years when I didn't have to go anywhere, no one came, and no one called. I told B I'd like all of January to be like that and I could get caught up on a lot of things. My clubs start next week and then the race will begin again.

I've started working on a program I have to give for two groups in the next month or so. My subject is quilts and I'm going to use it for both programs. It is real interesting and I'm learning a lot but don't have all my reading done yet. There are loads of books on the subject since quilt making has become so popular. Ann says there is a new store in Columbia that sells only quilts or makes them for people. It would be interesting to see the place.

It seems like months since Christmas. We had a wonderful Christmas and it is always so nice to have the children home. The house really comes alive and looks it. B gave me some beautiful earrings and a robe and I gave him an electronic computer. He's wanted one a long time. I don't know a thing about them but he has already used it several times at home and at school and says it will make income tax figuring easier.

All of the Christmas stuff is put away except a gingerbread house that Ann brought. It is real cute so I'm going to pack it away and hope bugs don't find it. You can't eat it but it is made with cookie dough and frosting.

We bought a chair for the living room and it's to be delivered today. Everything is on sale right now so we just stopped at this store to see what they had and found it. It is called russet but it is simply a light orange. It should look nice with our dark green couch. I also found my red shoes on sale. That just happened, too. I didn't dream I'd find any but just walked back to the shoe dept. of a new store we have at the shopping center and they had some.

The shopping center has sure grown this last year. It has a whole new wing with lots of stores and one in Bergner's Dept. store like the one in Peoria. It is a nice store.

We're still eating Christmas leftovers so I haven't bought many groceries except milk. I think I'll use up things out of the freezer now because I don't like to keep meat too many months--especially pork. It gets to tasting old.

Larsens' New Year's Eve party was real nice. There were 24 of us and most of us have been together for many years. We went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner and then to Larsen's house where they showed pictures of their trip to Japan last summer.

I spent one day this week taking Charlotte's white dress apart. It was so big on me it has to be re-cut so I tried to buy the same pattern in a smaller size but the pattern has been discontinued. I found another pattern in the last book you gave me that is cut much the same way so I'll try to get that one.

Don't worry about your letters being late. Just stay inside when the weather is bad and don't take any chances."



NOTE: The making of gingerbread houses became a long tradition and I tried to bring one home each year. We often made them on the day after Thanksgiving.

As for the "computer", I assume Mom meant "calculator".

The patchwork quilt is nearly worn out after years of use, including being in the trunk of the car for "emergencies". I recognize scraps of fabric from my grandmother's aprons, Mom's shirtwaist dresses, baby quilts, etc.