Thursday, April 17, 2014

November 19, 1961 The Last Flute Lesson, The Real Cold Weather, The Whole Weekend Off and Nothing to Write

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"I will write my letter while I dry my hair.  I am going to a luncheon today & didn't get my hair washed yesterday.

B was glad he got to see all of you and I really wanted to come too.  He has gone to the lake to get Bob.  The Scouts camped again last night but Bob wanted to come in early today so he could go to the football game after lunch. 

Ann has gone to a piano workshop.  I told her she had to stop the flute lessons because she won't practice & it's a waste of money.  She has a lesson today & I don't know what she'll tell her teacher.

The weather is real cold but the sun is nice.  Everything was white with frost this morning.

All of us are excited about your coming next week.  I'm so glad Beulah is coming & wish they all could.  B probably told you he will have the whole weekend off.  They are doing some electrical work at school so his office will be closed from Wed. noon.

There isn't anything to write so stay well & we'll see you soon."

                    Lots of love,


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

November 11, 1961 Making A Day of It, Wondering About Thanksgiving, Kind of A Busy Week, Coke & Doughnuts and Better Dead Than Red?

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"It feels like spring outside but is cloudy & rain is predicted so that will start the cold all over again.  We never did get the holes filled in the yard and need to do more raking but I don't know when it will get done.

Today is visiting day at school.  All the high school seniors come in to look over the college & make a day of it.  I don't know how many they expect but B will be there most of the day.

Ann stayed with a friend last night & probably won't be home till noon.  Bob is never very noisy so it is quiet around here.

I have been wondering if there would be any way all of Beulah's family could come Thanksgiving?  It would be so nice if all of us could be together.  I don't know whether or how they would manage their cows & I wouldn't beg them but I wish they could come.

I haven't heard any more from Buddy but I wrote to them & I know they'll come.  Did you write and tell them when you're coming or have you decided?

Bob was just invited to go to a ball game so I will be alone.  Today won't seem like Saturday.

I think B's mother & Horace are going to meet B in Springfield & have supper with him.  That will be the only free time he'll have.

Ann likes her hair short because she can comb it herself.  The girl didn't cut it as short as we wanted & that was disappointing but we'll have it cut again one of these days.

This has been kind of a busy week.  We had a group of students Wed. night so I had to get ready for them.  The Y.W.C.A. sponsors conversation groups in faculty homes twice a semester.  They select a topic to discuss & anyone can come.  You never know how many will come.  They talked about this question of "Better Dead Than Red?" this time.  I had coke & doughnuts for them.  Then most of them wanted coffee so we'll still have cokes when you get here.

Hope you both are fine."

                      Lots of love,


NOTE:  Both phrases, "Better dead than red" and "Better red than dead" were common in Cold War era discussions of anti-communist sentiment and nuclear disarmament.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

November 5, 1961 Tornado Warnings, Trick or Treaters, Tomatoes, Teachers and Top Cat

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"We've been having a lot of rain but we did have one real warm day.  The wind blew like March & there were tornado warnings out but none developed.  I cut off the peonies & worked in the yard part of the day.  There is still a lot that needs to be done but it is real cold now so I doubt if I get to do anymore.

Bob went to the dentist again yesterday & then B took him out to the Scout camp.  A few of the boys were trying out some plans for a big camp-out this next weekend.  They had a cabin & B said it was cozy warm.  They will come home this afternoon.

Ann had a friend stay overnight with her.  They are watching T.V. 

Did I tell you B will be in Springfield on the 14th?  I can't remember whether I mentioned it or not.  He is going to represent I.S.N.U. at the inauguration of the new S.M.S.U. president.  We wish the kids & I could come to Richland while he's there but we would have to take them out of school.  B will fly so it will be a quick trip.

I wish we had some of your tomatoes too.  They are 19¢ a lb. in the store so we haven't had many in a long time.   I can't see why they stayed so high in the stores.

We certainly had lots of trick or treaters but they were all real well behaved.  We had lots of little ones & I get a kick out of them.  Some of Bob's friends came too & a lot of kids I never saw before.  Ann didn't go out.  Her room had a roller skating party that day & she had blisters on her feet.  Bob dressed up & had fun but said it would probably be his last time.  He thinks he's getting a little big & so do I.  

I have a rough manuscript written now.  It is for a real little book but it's hard to say much that is important in such a short one.  I have worked on it some almost every day between other things.  I'm not about to give up my church work to write but I'd like to go to a Sunday School class again to hear someone else teach a lesson.  Teachers get in such a rut & I never get to church.  I look & feel so messy when I finish my class & church has always started by the time I get the paste & crayons put away & the children have all been taken care of.

I must stop & wash my hair.  That's a big job & I want to get done before noon.

Have you talked to Dorsey?  Better get it done."

                  Lots of love,


NOTES:  Marilyn, a reader from Springfield writes:  After reading your post today, I just had to look in my book on the history of MSU (in 1961,  known as Southwest Missouri State University). In 1961, Dr. Leland Traywick became the 4th President of the University. I see that he earned his doctorate from the University of Illinois, so perhaps that is why your Dad came for his inauguration. The parliamentary room in the student union is named after him. That room is where the Board of Governors and Student Government meet, as well as various other meetings. However, he wasn't the President for very long, he was fired in 1964--a fact I didn't know about until just now. Your blog encourages curiosity!  Thank you, Marilyn, for the interesting information and for reading!

Watching T.V. on Saturday mornings would have meant cartoons...mainly creating background noise except for a few newer premiers, including Top Cat.

Monday, April 14, 2014

October 28, 1961 Homecoming, Holidays and Hamburgers

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"My hands are so cold I can hardly write.  We have been to the parade & it is cold & rainy today.  This is homecoming & we had hoped for a nice day.

Last night we drove around to see the houses decorated & the parade was this morning.  The floats were real nice & I guess they had all been parked inside all night or they would have been ruined.  It rained quite a bit last night.

We have had some frost & the dahlias are ruined.

Images from The Index, ISNU Yearbook

I wish Beulah could come Thanksgiving too.  I keep intending to write to her.  I know how she'd feel about leaving Nobel & Jerry--especially over a holiday.  Ask her anyway & see what she says.  I don't suppose they could get anyone to do their work so they could all come.

We have had several meetings this week & B went to Eureka College to give a talk in Chapel.  I teased him about preaching the sermon & sure enough, his talk was listed on the program as the sermon.

I am on a writing binge again & have spent every spare minute writing this week.  I got a letter from an editor saying she was interested in a little book on Japan.  She sent me one on Alaskan Eskimos to show me the kind of book she wanted.  So that is what I'm doing.  It will take a long time to do a manuscript so I'm working on it.

This isn't much letter but I have to fix lunch for company & then we're going to a football game.  Tonight we go to Potluck.  I'd better get my hamburgers started."

      Lots of love,


Sunday, April 13, 2014

October 21, 1961 The Thanksgiving Plans, The Yard, The Birthday Party and The Usual Full Week

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"We have been talking about Thanksgiving & then Buddy called me this week and talked a long time.  He said he'd asked you to come to our house with them & we think it's a wonderful idea.  Don't you think you could come if you started planning now?  He said he wanted you to come to his house on Sun. & then you could all come here on Wednesday.  Even if you didn't go to St. Louis till Tuesday it shouldn't be too tiring since Daddy wouldn't have to drive all the way to Normal.  I told him to bring Francis Jr. & his family, too.  We'll have a wonderful time & we have plenty of beds & plenty of room.  It has been so long since you were here.  Dorsey can take care of things just fine & if you have milk customers just tell them ahead of time that you are coming & they can either get extra milk ahead of time or buy at the store.  It wouldn't hurt just once.

Bonnie, Beulah, Buddy & their Mother, 1937

Ann & I have been to piano class & Bob is raking leaves.  They are wet but we want them off the yard.  The city had a tree cut down & the crew is supposed to repair the yard.  They made some big holes & we want them to see what needs to be fixed.  I get so mad.  You give them permission to use your yard & then they take over.  They ran over our garbage can lid & ruined it & broke a block in the sidewalk.

It is misty & cold today & I'm afraid our Indian Summer is over.  We drove to the lake last Sunday but the leaves weren't turned enough to be real pretty.  The trees in town are prettier.

B is working at school this morning & had a dinner meeting last night.  Ann had a Halloween party last night.  We decorated the basement & the kids had a wonderful time.

This has been the usual full week.  I've tried to squeeze in my ironing but haven't finished yet--may do some today & tonight.

Monday was Etta's birthday so we gave her a party.  I took the ice cream & we all went together and bought her a sweater.  She was so overwhelmed and happy she didn't know what to say.  She stammered & her eyes clouded over & then she began to pray.  You remember that she was the old Catholic lady.  She prayed a beautiful prayer.  It made us cry & I told B that was the biggest dollars worth I ever had.  She lives in a nursing home & is so bright and pretty.  She must be almost 90 but we will never know.  No amount of teasing will induce her to tell.

Then we each went to two dinners, a tea & the PTA meeting & I went to a dessert for the wives in our department.

Ann has a flute lesson at noon & some Scouts are meeting here this afternoon so I'd better think about an early lunch.

Hope you all are fine."

                   Lots of love,


NOTE:  I loved it when either or our parents got together with their siblings--always fun and entertaining!  The above photos are 2 of only 3 I have of them together.  We'll see the 3rd one when they get together in 1962.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

October 14, 1961 The Haircut, The PTA Report, The Letters and The Lunch

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"I'm waiting for Ann, as usual.  She has to wash her hair & is getting dressed.  She suddenly decided last Sunday night after she was in bed, that she would have her hair cut.  So we spent Monday (they were out of school for teachers' meetings) on her hair.  She picked out a picture & went to the beauty shop.  We had it cut & shampooed & set.  It looked cute but has to be rolled up every night.  We're going to give her a Toni when we get to it & then it will stay in.  She likes being able to comb it herself & so do I.

Bob has a friend here for lunch.  He stayed all night, too & Ann has her flute lesson at noon.  It keeps me jumping to get them all in the right places on time.

B has gone to a cornerstone laying for a new dormitory.  I wanted to go but couldn't get ready in time.

We have had some wonderful days & the leaves are all colors now.  I would love to go someplace--even to the lake.  We haven't had a chance yet.  Last Sunday was so nice but I had to work at the church most of the afternoon.  We had our big supper Wed. night & made almost $500.  I didn't have to do a lot this year but was tired when it was over.

I had to make a report to the High School PTA Tues. night.  We've been working on a loan project for PTA & it has been a lot of work and worry.  I think things like that make you tired.

Bob had the wires put on his lower teeth yesterday afternoon.  He says they are sore today & I know they are.

Granny Watterson was here one afternoon for me to fix a dress for her.  She never asks Toni to do anything like that but she could do it if she would.  Granny plans to go to Arizona before long & I hope she can.  It will be good for everybody.  She is pretty well but the arthritis bothers her & the sun would be helpful.

Ann is still coughing from her cold.  These colds & sore throats act so peculiar.  She never did have a fever but felt awful.  Our paper has been telling people to get flu shots.  This is to be a bad year.

I had a letter from Charlotte & one from Beulah last week--just about keeled over.

Surely the shoe factory can be used for something.  It will sure be hard on Richland if they don't figure out something all those people can do.

I must get some lunch.  The boys didn't get up very early but they say they are hungry anyway."

                              Lots of love,         


NOTE:  There were many shoe factories in Missouri, and many were in operation longer than the one in Richland.  I haven't been able to find any information about it, so if any readers have photos or information, I'd love to hear from you. 

It was a relief to have my braids cut off and to be free of the painful nightly detangling and brushing! 

Friday, April 11, 2014

October 7, 1961 The Wonderful Day, The Pie, The Book Club and The Chemicals

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"This is such a beautiful day.  It would be a good one to work in the yard but I'm too tired or lazy, one.  Bob has gone camping with 300 other Scouts for the week-end & they couldn't ask for nicer weather.  The nights get pretty cold but I opened the doors yesterday afternoon.

The Optimist Club is having its annual auction today & asked me to make a pie so I just took that to them.  B belongs to it but never gets to go to any of their meetings.  They are raising money to build a permanent ice skating rink for the park.  They have been buying plastic liners to make rinks but these don't last but a season or two.

Ann is sick with a cold again and I'm afraid I'm going to get it.  Bob had one but it never got very bad.  Now Ann has it & she is all stuffed up.  She stayed in bed almost all day yesterday & can't have her flute lesson today.

Our book club started meeting again Monday.  I joined the Book of the Month Club & have 3 new books.  When they have been read by our club you can read them if you want to.  They are Russia and The West, Japanese Inn and The White Nile.  I'm trying to read one before I have to lend it but I can't get very far.

Bob was happy with the stamps.  He doesn't have much time to work with them but still saves the different ones.  He spends every spare minute in the basement with his chemistry stuff.  You should see his laboratory.  I don't even pretend to know the chemicals but he knows what they are & what he can do with them.

I don't think Marjorie will get homesick at all.  There will be so much to see & do that she won't have time.  I think it is wonderful that she could go.

B has been to a meeting all morning and just got home.  Schools are closed all day Monday for teachers' meetings.  Maybe Ann will be over her cold by Tuesday & Bob will be rested up from the camping.

I've been trying to get hems fixed & keep buttons sewed on so I haven't done any work on my other tablecloth.  Maybe that will have to be my project next summer.

It is lunchtime so I'd better see what I can find for us to eat."

                       Lots of love,