Thursday, December 18, 2014

November 6, 1965 The Sun, The Leaves, The Folk Singers and The Research Department

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"When I got up I thought our nice weather was finished. It rained in the night and the sky looked as if it would start snowing any minute. It is too warm to snow and now the sun it out so maybe we will still have more of the wonderful days we have been having.

We all went to the high school football game last night and it was unbelievable that it could be so warm this time of the year.

Last Sunday we spent the day working in the yard and it looks pretty neat. The neighbors still have leaves but maybe we'll be all right if they don't blow too much. There are still some things I'd like to dig up or trim off but they can wait if I don't get them done.

Barry McQuire
With all the Xmas catalogs coming in I've been trying to get a few ideas. Can you tell me a few things you and Daddy would like? I won't promise that you'd get them but it would help, anyway. ha!

I've been trying to think of ideas I might give you since I couldn't when you asked me last summer. Bob and Ann would both like a record--one of the folk singers--Bobby Dylan or Peter, Paul & Mary, or some of those.

Cher, "Some of those"
Bob needs handkerchiefs. He doesn't have any & will have to have some to take to school with him next year. B needs undershirts--large, 42-44 and ties or black or dark sox. Ann suggested a dresser scarf one time, too, but that's a lot of work.

Larsens are home and so happy about the Mayo report. Faith was at book club Monday and it was just like a cloud had lifted off her face.

Art is just on leave for one semester and will go back to work in January. He will be doing different work, though. He is going to set up a research department within the University. It is something that had been talked of for a long time but they had never really looked for a person to do it. It is a challenge for him and he is interested and excited about it. He will also be teaching one class--something he hasn't done for years.

I enjoyed the church bulletin. Ann is going to play the organ for part of the community Thanksgiving service. Other students will do the rest. We will have to stay home Thanksgiving. B will probably have to drive to Minn. because it would be so hard to get to this town any other way. He will be driving home in the night but at least can be home for Thanksgiving day. One of the other men on the team is from Iowa and B may pick him up on the way. It would be much better than traveling alone.

I must stop and get dressed. B is waiting for me to go to the store with him.

Hope both of you are fine."

                      Lots of love,


Parent preferred music, 1965

NOTES: The gist of the feature on Bob Dylan was that in the summer of '65, he was shifting from folk with a cause, to serious folk-rock, with a cause and then some.  I took my mom's advice and got a "plain guitar" eventually, playing a lot of Blowin' in the Wind, as did everyone else I knew.

What struck me, however, in this issue of Life, was the feature on UNICEF, the 1965 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.  As younger kids, if we went Trick or Treating, it was expected that the pennies for UNICEF came first, then candy for ourselves.  This organization, and others benefitting children remained favorites of our mom throughout her lifetime.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

October 31, 1965 The Big Ordinary House, The Smaller Children, The Old Centerpiece and The Change of Pace

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"No one is up yet but none of us ever seem to get enough sleep nowadays. Yesterday we got up early and went to Rock Island to see Edna & Woody. It is a 2½ hr. drive so the day couldn't be too long but we enjoyed it and the day was beautiful. The school owns the house they live in but they have done the decorating and have the same furniture they had here except for some extra things they needed to fill the house. It is a very big house but very ordinary. Rock Island is hilly & the house sits on the edge of a big hill overlooking part of the campus. Edna & Woody are real happy there.

The kids were all out trick or treating last night. I lost count but we had a lot of them--all smaller children.

Once I got started on that comforter it didn't take too long to finish it. The tacking went faster than I thought it would. Bob says it is so ugly it will keep us awake but I think it looks pretty nice.

That old centerpiece you gave me has really come in handy. I have used it all fall and have had so many compliments on it. The colors are just right with the walnut table.

I have started knitting a sweater out of the leftover yarn I have. Ann & I will wear it--well probably just Ann. It is going to be real gay but I found a pattern that would use up yarn I already had so that's what I'm doing.

Ann liked her guitar all right but not enough to practice & get to where she could really play. If it had been a plain guitar she probably would have been playing it & never thought of selling it. She wouldn't have that kind though when we bought it.  Bob does pretty well with his. We told her she should buy a plain guitar with the money but she doesn't seem interested. The piano & organ are plenty for her to practice anyway.

Images Ladies Home Journal, Oct. 1965
Bob will be lucky if he gets to go to school where he chooses. He'll do all right on the tests but the schools take a certain number of freshmen and always have two or three times that number of applicants. Then they choose the best prospects. It is hard on everybody.

B is going to Minn. but he hopes to get there without driving. His expenses will be paid but it will be hard work.

B had a letter from Art on Monday or Tuesday and Mayo found nothing wrong but fatigue. Art said he felt better already. Isn't that wonderful? A change of pace and rest will take care of it in time. They are coming home today or tomorrow.

I can hear Ann up so will say bye. Hope both of you are fine."

                       Lots of love,


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

October 24, 1965 The Tablecloth, The Japanese Comforter, The Applications and The Surprise

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"You'd better hang out the flag or something because I finally finished that tablecloth and have it done up & put away. I went after some yarn but they didn't have anything I wanted right now so will wait a bit.

Today is a beautiful, crisp day. B is putting up the last of the storm windows and replacing some weatherstripping. We had to have glass replaced in two storm windows and they were $9 each.

This was homecoming weekend so there was a lot going on. The kids had company for lunch yesterday and then we went to the football game. The day started out bright and pretty but clouds blew in before the parade was over and it was blue cold and grey the rest of the day.

I am trying to recover that big Japanese comforter (futon) and it's a job. I bought the material last summer but couldn't get started on it. The material had to be matched which hasn't made it any easier. I didn't think of that when I bought it. I'll tack it when I get the cover on and it should last another 10 years.

I have a light weight suit cut out, too, but no telling when I'll get any sewing done on it.

I don't remember what I've told you about Bob's college applications.  Anyway, his Yale application is complete except for tests in Dec. and Jan.  B took him to Peoria Thursday afternoon for a personal interview with a banker there. We don't know what the man will report on Bob but Bob thought he was very nice--especially since the man had some of the same interests--oceanography and the guitar, for example. The tests in Dec. & Jan. have to be taken for any college so Bob will have to just wait now until March or April before he knows where he will be accepted. He plans also to apply to Florida State but hasn't received any blanks yet.

Ann sold her guitar. We were completely surprised but when we got home from church last week the kid had come after it and she had the money.

B had a letter from Art this week and the Drs. haven't found anything wrong (except age) yet. Maybe it will just be fatigue after all.   We hope so.

It doesn't look as if we can plan anything for Thanksgiving. B is going to a college in Wisconsin or Minnesota to study their program the first part of that week and we don't know when he will be home--maybe not until Thanksgiving day. He is one of a team checking to see if this school is up to par. It is an awful chore for the team & the school but has to be done every so often to keep standards up. We had one last year here and the school worked five years getting ready for it.

Hope you both are fine."

                       Lots of love,


NOTES:  I don't know how to photograph the tablecloth and do it justice.  No wonder it took years to complete.  The repeating pattern of the border (similar to the small section on the left) extends along the entire perimeter and the tablecloth is 66 x 120.  There are a dozen napkins with the same pattern in a tiny version.

As for the futon, it has lasted 60 years.  Here is its story:

Monday, December 15, 2014

October 17, 1965 The Beautiful Day, The Apple Dumplings, The Blue Crepe and The Brown Cotton

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"It is such a beautiful day but I haven't had much chance to enjoy it. I had to help fix communion this morning so didn't get home till almost 1:00 from church. Then had to go back at 2:00 for a committee meeting. Ann had to finish cleaning up the kitchen but that didn't hurt her.

There was a concert at school this afternoon that I wanted to hear but couldn't fit it in.

Yesterday morning we left at 8:30 to go to a Pen Women art show in Decatur. B drove a car full of women but he didn't go to the show with us. He checked on a water proofing company but we don't know whether we'll do anything or not.  He wasn't very impressed.

We got back from Decatur a little after noon but there were a dozen things I had to do in the afternoon besides making a dessert to take to potluck. It was after 4:00 by the time I got started on it so I really buzzed around. I ended up by making apple dumplings and they were real good.

Ann went to a party and planned to wear her new green dress but the weather was so warm she couldn't. We did some hunting around here for something to wear & I finally just let out some seams of an old dress and she wore that. She has lots of clothes but very few really dress-up things. Every time I think I have her fixed up with clothes she need something different.

I finished that blue crepe I bought at Plimmers. It made up real pretty and I wore it to a dinner at school.

Did I tell you I finally finished that brown piece of cotton I got at Plimmers? It was a big disappointment & I'll have to use it for a housedress. B & Ann call it my Brownie Scout dress & it does look like a Brownie uniform.

I'm going to babysit with the little girl next door in the morning. The regular sitter has to attend a funeral so I'll fill in.

I haven't heard from Buddy & Bessie in a long time but I haven't written to them either. We haven't thought much about Thanksgiving. B may not want to do a thing but rest. His work is never finished. Art is at Mayos now and we are all anxious to hear the results.

B thinks he found the roof leak. At least, we haven't had any more. He is raking & burning leaves now. The flower beds are left for me but I don't know when I'll do it.

I'm still working on the table cloth but don't find much time to do it. I guess I should have let you finish it like you suggested. The border is about half done and it is the slowest one I have made. There is much more work on this one. I still haven't bought my yarn.

I must get this to the box before the mail is picked up or it will be later than ever.

We are all fine and hope both of you are."

                    Lots of love,


Sunday, December 14, 2014

October 10, 1965 The Fast Trip, The Melody, The Noise and The Pope

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"We are really lazy today. The kids are both gone and we didn't even get up in time for church. I don't now when we have just ignored the time and slept. B said he could use a week of it and I guess he could.

Ann stayed all night with a girlfriend and Bob went on a camping trip with Malcolm. There is a teachers' meeting Monday and they won't have school. They were going to sleep in Malcolm's station wagon. I wasn't too happy about them going but they went and will be back tomorrow afternoon. They didn't start until after 5:00 because we were in Chicago. Malcolm was here waiting & had hunted up most of Bob's stuff and they took off.

We made a fast trip to Chicago to get Bob a guitar. There wasn't much choice here except the real high priced ones and we wanted to talk to someone that would tell him something about selecting one. We found a beautiful one and he's real thrilled with it. It was used, but you couldn't tell it. Bob likes classical guitar (something with a melody--not just noise) and couldn't get very far with Ann's electric. He got interested in Florida when one of the professors, (a physicist) talked to the group about guitars and music. We are happy that he has stayed interested for I think he needs something in the way of music. He enjoys the lessons and practices every day.

Ann has been asked to play with a group (one of those noisy guitar bands) but she would have to have a portable organ. We looked at them in Chicago but didn't find anything we could buy. She didn't go with us because she had to accompany the chorus. They were singing for a retired teachers' meeting. She didn't want to go since there was a big school party last night and she had to wash her hair and such.

This was homecoming weekend for the high school so a lot has been going on for the kids. Bob didn't care about it but Ann went to the football game Friday night and to the party last night.  She had to have a dress of course and I spent a lot of the week making it. It was green wool with a white collar and really was a beautiful dress. It wasn't hard to make but took a long time because it had to be lined. They really hold their shape better when they are lined.

B has been up on the roof looking for a leak. It wasn't hard but it's there somewhere. First it's the basement then the roof. I asked him if he wanted to sell the house and move into an apartment.

I hope the apples are worth the stiff backs. They would keep better if they didn't have worms in them but the worms were bad in the ones I brought home. I don't know what can be done about it, though. One of the orchards here sprays 12 times during the spring & summer.  That's real work.

Things are still a mess around the high school. There is a shorter way to drive now but it's between barricades and I'd probably knock all of them down. Progress is wonderful but it seems that streets here are torn up half the time.

I didn't see the Pope on TV but I guess he really sobered the entire U.N.

One of these days, I hope we have a little portable TV so I can watch when I iron or get the news when I'm in the kitchen. Our TV is operating on borrowed time, I think. B and Bob keep coaxing it along but one of these days it's going to stop and stay stopped.

   I must stop and fix some lunch. Ann has come home and the kids will start coming or calling soon."

                      Lots of love,


NOTE:  The caption for the Pope's address to the U.N.:

U.N. SPEECH.  The Pope's next stop was the U.N. , where he made the plea for peace that was his main purpose in coming to New York. There he was met by statesmen from 116 nations and, among other notables, an incandescent Jacqueline Kennedy...

In his 30 minute speech in the assembly hall, the Pope--speaking in French--quoted President Kennedy's words of four years ago:  "Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind."  To an assemblage troubled now by the war over Kashmir, the Pope advised: "If you wish to be brothers, let the arms fall from your hands."

Saturday, December 13, 2014

October 3, 1965 The Furnace, The Little Chair, The Old Tablecloth, The Faculty and The Wives

Dear Mother & Daddy,,

"It is a beautiful, cool day. We have had to have the furnace on most of this week and had more rain. It didn't come in this time, though.

I started working on the little chair this week. That's the messiest and hardest job I ever saw. There was more varnish on it than one would think and I worked all afternoon. I still don't have it all off but am going to try sanding. I won't have to do that outdoors but it may take me all winter.

We had our potluck group here last Saturday night. My table seats 12 people nicely but my tablecloths are too short. B's mom gave me an old linen one long ago that is extra long and luckily I hadn't cut it off and it is just right. My other cloths will be all right with one leaf up. I couldn't find any table padding long enough either so just used a sheet. Then I ordered some cotton flannel padding from Sears. It came today and is real nice (and about half the price of the pieces I did find in Bloomington).

We went to Sunday School but didn't stay for church last week. We have never seen the old man but a big crowd went and then went to a tea for him that afternoon. We went to school that afternoon to a reception for new faculty. Our student union was so big looking when it was built but it was jammed Sunday--so many new faces. There are about 150 new teachers and with their wives they made a good sized crowd.

I hope Beulah doesn't decide to sell her piano if you don't take it. Charlotte will want her organ one of these days & then Beulah would wish for the piano. I would like to see the old organ. One of my old friends has one and it is real pretty. The piano would be awfully heavy for you and Daddy to worry with. It would need to be tuned after you move it, too.

Bob started taking guitar lessons this week. He goes to Bloomington on Tuesday evening and seems to be enjoying them. He is going out to Bruce's to help put up hay this afternoon. It really is a nice day to work outdoors.

Tomorrow is Beulah's birthday but I haven't had a chance to get her package off.

I'd better get myself cleaned up.  Hope you both are fine."

                  Lots of love,


Friday, December 12, 2014

September 25, 1965 The Rain, Rain, Rain, The Busy Sunday, The Dinner and The Basement

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"While I rest a bit, I'll just write to you. We have the potluck group here tonight so I have been cleaning. The carpet has had a real test this week and I don't think it is going to show dirt very much. The weather has been just terrible this week--rain, rain, rain. And that means mud for the kids can't get in and out of their school without getting in mud. A new highway is going in beside the school & the dirt constantly washes over the walks. It is a mess. We are less than three blocks from school but we have to go so far around to take the kids when it is raining that it takes thirty minutes to get them there.

Our Pen Women meetings started last Sunday. It was so hot and now it is real cool. The furnace has been going. The sun is out, though and that helps.

We also went to two receptions last Sunday so it was a busy day.

I sewed a little this week but can't seem to get much done. There are too many interruptions. I had company come two mornings and As You Like It Club started their year on Thursday. I'm president and I don't enjoy being an officer at all. Everyone is expected to take her turn so there isn't much I can do about it. Everything has to be done as it has been for 50 years (and it actually is 50 years old) and that's a little hard sometimes--for me, anyway.

The dinner for Larsens was Monday night and we went to that. It was really nice and Art was very grateful.

I have also been pretty busy dipping water out of the basement like everyone else in town. We had more than we've ever had and it is all seepage. Lots of people had sewer water. If we ever find time we're going to see about some water proofing. There is a company in Decatur that does it and we want to talk to them. So far, the water hasn't hurt anything but we must get something done before it does. That floor tile was really put down right.

I haven't done a thing to the chair yet. Every time I think I can get started something happens. I must get it done before the weather gets cold, though.

We still have potatoes you gave us and I've been cooking a lot of them, too.  That box was awfully big, but they are keeping real well.

I'd better get going with the sweeper, so bye for now."

                         Lots of love,