Friday, May 6, 2016

November 9, 1975 The Quilt Frames, The Predicted Rain, The Wild Ideas, The Bananas and The Soup

Dear Mother,

"This may be late for I didn't get it written yesterday. I spent much of yesterday making some quilting frames and putting the quilt in the frames. It is the pieced baby quilt and the pieces are so little I was afraid I couldn't keep it stretched smooth with the hoops. I finally got it in the frames and started a little of the quilting. The other one is finally all finished but I think I'll wash it before I send it to Patty. It doesn't look soiled but so many people have looked at it I think it needs the washing.

We have another meeting coming up Monday on the quilt show so I had to make calls about that yesterday and then I worked in the yard. Can you imagine working in the yard in November without a jacket? The last two days have been just wonderful so B helped me and we worked out again this afternoon. He cut the grass for the last time and we raked leaves again and cleaned off flower beds. The yard doesn't look as bad as it did but there are some big holes and huge bare spots where the trucks came into the yard. We'll have to get a load of dirt in the spring and fill in places before we plant grass. I suppose we could have done it this fall but never dreamed the weather would stay so nice for so long. Rain is predicted for tonight so maybe it will be turning cold. If it is nice tomorrow we'll try to wash the windows after church.

The most interesting thing that happened this week was a lecture by Senator Sam Ervin. He opened our bicentennial celebration and talked about the freedoms set down for us in the U.S. Constitution.

It was very interesting and then he answered questions for 30 minutes. The students asked such good questions and kept applauding him when he answered. I was real proud of the students. They are about thru with their wild ideas. There was a reception for Mr. Ervin after the talk and we went but couldn't even get close to him. The students swarmed around him. I wanted to shake hands with him but had to give up.

No, we couldn't have come to Uncle Francis' funeral but we want to help pay for the flowers. You keep the money I'm sending and the money Buddy gave you. Beulah does so much for you that neither of us can do so at least let us share in the flowers.

Are you taking your vitamins now and eating bananas? You'd better be--especially with the cold weather coming.

It is dark so surely B will be coming inside soon. We're having warmed over soup so I'd better get it on the stove.

Hope you are fine."



NOTE: If you don't remember Sam Ervin, read a brief bio here:

Thursday, May 5, 2016

October 31, 1975 The Earned Freedom, The Basement Work, The Baby's Room, The Evening Get-Together and The Committees

Dear Mother,

"I just finished a letter to Cliffie. I had wondered all week about Uncle Francis and every time the phone rang I thought it might be someone calling me. I thought Buddy might call. Did you send family flowers? What do I owe you? You didn't mention it. I hope Cliffie can do just as she pleases now. She has certainly earned some freedom.

I haven't heard from Beulah in quite a while but I owe her a letter. I'm so sorry about her back for she'll have to be so very careful from now on. So many people have that sort of trouble.

I'm glad to know about Aunt Nora's eyes and I'm sure she feels better about it after talking with the doctor.

The basement work is finished except for the dirt and that probably won't be touched till spring. There is one tiny spot of dampness in the furnace room but the man says the water had collected in the foundation blocks and that has to seep out. It does seem to get less wet all the time and we didn't have any water the last time it poured rain. We may paint the walls sometime this winter but won't do anything to the floor until next spring or summer. The tiles are broken and a real mess so it will be a job taking them up so they can be replaced. We can't match them so it will be a whole new job when it is done.

The children are fine. Bob says Pat weighs 147 but doesn't look that big. They have started to fix up the baby's room. I'm still working on the little quilts every chance I get and am getting a little better at the quilting.

I feel like I've been on the run all week and am going to a luncheon and then an evening get together tomorrow. Some friends are visiting here from out of town so Larsens are having a party.

We had a quilt show meeting at school Monday. I have 25 women on the committee so we had a lot of planning to do. I have put a lot of time on this but hope when things get started it won't take too much.

B is helping plan the ceremony for our new minister so that is taking extra time, too. Sometimes we get bogged down with committees.

Hope you are fine."



Wednesday, May 4, 2016

October 25, 1975 The Early Letter, The Gorgeous Weather, The Terribly Busy Week, The Travel Club and The Pot of Chili

Dear Mother,

"I guess you got my letter early because I got it in the mail early. You can never tell how long it is going to take.

We are still enjoying the gorgeous weather. The backyard looks pretty good now except for the big mound of dirt over the dry well but that will all settle down in time. There isn't any way to hurry it along. The dirt was spread out and packed down over half the back yard. Every bit had to be spaded loose and raked off the grass. Some of it was thin but lots of places were 6" deep & that took a lot of work. We haven't had time to do anything north of the house but can't do that until we get a cultivator of some kind to break up the dirt. It is hard as a rock and deep. When we can get it broken up we'll rake it to the right drainage.

How old is Junie Murphy? She must be almost 100. I've been wondering about Aunt Nora's eyes. You said she went to Springfield but didn't they operate on the cataract?

My drapes are fine and look nice. They are not lined so they don't keep out much light. The old ones were so heavy they didn't let in any light when they were closed.

Bob called one afternoon and they are fine. He had been fishing with some of the lab people and of course had enjoyed that.

You must like that quilt pattern you made for the kids. I like it too but haven't even opened mine yet. I haven't had time to do anything extra. This was a terribly busy week.

Our Travel Club went to an old museum at Fisher, Illinois on Monday. That was fun and we got home pretty early but that night I had to go to the Faculty Women's dinner. They had a nice dinner and a style show. We had taken the Mustang to Peoria to have it painted so we went after that late Tuesday afternoon and then I went to a Quilt Club. It is part of Faculty Women's club and a small group of young women. I didn't know any of them but it was fun. Wednesday morning I had a meeting at the art gallery to do more planning for our quilt show.

I stopped to get lunch when B came home and then ironed so now it is almost time for him to come for supper. We are going to have chili. I made a big pot of it this morning and will put some of it in the freezer.

B was supposed to have meetings all day tomorrow but they have been cancelled. It is probably too wet to work in the yard because it has been raining this afternoon. There are always so many things to do around here and on the cars that he is happy to have meetings cancelled. The Mustang looks real pretty--same color as it was and the rust spots have all been taken off. There were two big places which they cut out and welded in new metal. You can't tell it was done. Standing in all sorts of weather isn't good for it but we can't do anything about that.

I meant to cut a dress today but haven't touched it. I have a new shirtwaist pattern and I've had the material a long time.

I hope your weather is still nice and you are fine."



Tuesday, May 3, 2016

October 17, 1975 The Real Mess, The Nice Evening, The Bug Quilt, The N.Y. Times and The Nice Fall Weather

Dear Mother,

"Maybe I'll get this mailed a little earlier than I did the one last week. It is cloudy today and looks cold but I don't think it is. The leaves are practically off our trees but they always blow from other yards so it will be awhile before we get them cleaned up. We raked a lot out to the curb last Sunday afternoon and the city trucks came along mid-week and vacuumed them up.

The men have been here all week working on the waterproofing so we are in a real mess. With all the digging and trucks in the yard it will take us a year or more to get the yard back in shape. The men come early so it seems as if I've been up for hours. They are supposed to be finished today and I sure hope so.

I had my hair washed and rolled up before B went to the office so there are some nice things about getting up early.

We had the new University Dean and his family come for supper last night and it was such a nice evening. The children are 9 & 11, I think, and it was fun to have them here. They played the organ and made themselves at home. I was supposed to go to another meeting last night but we had been trying to have these people here since last summer and I thought we'd better do it. Time goes by too fast when you put those things off.

I have the bug quilt all put together now and will have to get started at quilting it before long. It is really pretty but more junior size than baby size. Maybe it will be more useful for a longer time. I've been quilting on the other one and it is going pretty fast. My quilting is getting easier and better but my stitches aren't very even. It sure is hard on the fingers.

Your letter hasn't come yet but we had one from Ann & she said they had been to see you. Before we know it, she & Bob will be all through at M.U. and will be moving off someplace.

Last Sunday was a beautiful day and we went to the Quilt Show at Rossville, Illinois. It is a tiny little town that is nothing much but antique shops. The show was in a big room over some of the stores and looked like it might be a meeting room for lodges or other groups. There were lots of quilts--old & new. Some were for sale and people were buying them. The average price was $95. but others were $200. & up. The quilts were very, very nice and beautifully made--not shoddy like so many I saw while we were on our trip. We got to the show early & stayed about an hour. That was plenty long to see all I wanted to and then we drove back to Champaign to eat dinner. Then we got us a Sunday N.Y. Times and came home. It was a bright, warm day & the leaves were beautiful. We were home in time to rake leaves and work outdoors a while.

We're going to a dinner tonight and sometime today I need to go to Bloomington to get some drapes at Wards. I ordered drapes for the bedroom about 2 months ago and when they came they weren't made right. They re-ordered for me and they are finally at the store. I hope they are right this time. I looked a long time before I found the pale green I wanted to match the walls.

I had a good letter from Beulah yesterday. It won't be long until their little one will be there. She seems so excited about it.

I hope you are fine and that you are having some of this nice fall weather."



NOTE:  The baby quilt Mom made, pictured above, is known as the Pretty Bugs pattern. She photographed and documented each quilt she made and kept the information in a quilting notebook. Pictured is one of the snapshots of the quilt when it was finally finished. The red quilt pictured was part of a feature in the Woman's Day magazine.

Monday, May 2, 2016

October 12, 1975 The Hectic Week, The Trips & Gardens, The Flag Program, The Good Gingerbread and The Baby Quilt

Dear Mother,

"This will be late probably, for it didn't get written yesterday as I've been trying to do. This week has been hectic. There has been so much going on. Our book club met Monday morning and I gave the review. Then I went to the opening luncheon of Travel Club. I'm program chairman for that group but we didn't have a planned program for this first meeting.

The women told what they had done this summer and most of them had taken trips but some talked about their gardens.

On Tuesday I went over to the University Art Gallery to talk with the director about the quilt show. That is going to be a lot of work but it should be very nice. I've been on the phone every free minute since the meeting asking women to help with it. Only one said she wasn't interested but offered to make phone calls for me.

On Thursday I gave my program on the flag for As You Like It. Everyone enjoyed it. The hostess served gingerbread and it tasted so good. I don't know when I made gingerbread last.

Today is homecoming and we went to see the parade early this morning. That was real nice. We've been running errands the rest of the day and are going to a potluck supper in a few minutes. I'm taking rolls & relishes but I bought the rolls. I am taking a loaf of homemade brown bread, though.

Bob & Pat are in Williamsburg this weekend. It is homecoming at Wm & Mary and this is the first time they have been back since graduation. Pat's mother has been visiting them so she was going, too.

Pat is taking sewing lessons but doesn't like it. Bob said she's making a maternity outfit and he just hoped she got it done in time to wear it.

I worked a little more on the baby quilt this week. It is going to be pretty big but will be useful longer than a little one, I guess. I'm piecing the border now. It is a vine and I have to look at the design constantly or it doesn't come out right.

The weather is simple wonderful. I don't remember the trees being more beautiful and all changed color at one time. Our yard is full of leaves and I think they'll all be off the trees soon.

Our minister seems all right. He's very different from the last one and I guess it will take us a while to get used to him. We had a church board meeting Wednesday and he gave us a typed sheet of things he'd done his first week. It was pretty full.

I don't see any time when we can come this fall. There aren't any long weekends coming up. Ann & Bob are wishing they could come home but they don't have any time either. She has another piano student--a blind girl from Woodhaven. The girl's parents sent her a piano for her room so she could take lessons. Ann says she does pretty well.

It is almost time to go to supper so I must stop. Hope you are fine."



Sunday, May 1, 2016

October 4, 1975 The Beautiful Morning, The Good Frost, The Finished Dresses, The Art Gallery and The Growing Balloon

Dear Mother,

"It is such a beautiful morning. We just finished breakfast and plan to work in the yard today. There are iris and ferns I want to move away from the foundation before the men start working on the waterproofing. He said they'd come in a week or so and we want to be ready. There are two big evergreens they will lift out and set back for us. I don't know whether they will survive or not but the man said they'd do this for us.

We have had a good frost this week and the leaves are beautiful. I'd like to take a ride around the lake before they are all fallen. I couldn't stand to see my white geranium freeze so I dug it up and potted it. It is so big it wilted right away but looks now as if it will live. My flower pots look pretty bad but I may take the paint brush to them like you always did. I used a wire brush on them but it didn't help.

I finally finished my dresses this week except for getting a belt buckle for one.

I had my hair cut Wednesday then spent all morning yesterday giving myself a permanent. I'm terribly slow about it and the woman had cut the bottom row so short I had a time rolling that up. It looks fine, though, and is certainly as good as I can get at the beauty shop.

The director of the art gallery at the university called me this week and we're going to start planning the quilt show next Tuesday. I haven't any idea how we'll go about it.

Bob called one evening this week. He was at the lab--said he'd been to a class and stopped to check on something before he went home. The doctors (older) there have classes on different topics which others want to learn about. Bob is taking two but I don't even know what they are about. I wouldn't understand anyway. I don't even understand his research even if he tells me but it does concern viruses. He said Patty was fine and growing like a "balloon". That was the way he said it.

We haven't heard from Ann but I know she is swamped with work. She said it is not hard and real interesting but lots of it.

I wish we could bring your little radio but I haven't any idea when we can come again. B says it costs practically nothing to run that little radio so you aren't saving anything by not having it.

Why don't you take apples off the tree if you can reach them? They would be better than the ones that fall and you aren't going to use all of them anyway. There is no use in picking up off the ground if you don't have to.

Our new minister is here but I haven't seen him. He'll preach his first sermon tomorrow. He wants to meet with the deacons at 9:00 so B will have to go to church early and then there is to be a coffee after church. I hate those coffees right at dinner time but lots of people like them. I don't know whether we'll go or not.

Next week is so full I dread it but I guess it will be o.k. I give a book review and a program. I'm trying to get my program out of the way early so I'll have time for the quilt project.

Hope you are fine and that you are enjoying beautiful weather."



Saturday, April 30, 2016

September 26, 1975 The Indian Summer, The Knitting Group, The Big Time, The Patty Hearst Mess and The Truman Movie

Dear Mother,

"This has been a busy week but there really isn't much news. It is still cold even if the sun is bright so maybe we aren't going to have Indian Summer at all. Every few days we talk about building a fire in the fireplace but haven't done it yet. We still have wood left from last winter but will probably have to get more before winter is over. We used the fireplace a lot last year.

We had a letter from Ann and I guess they are really busy but she does like her work. Their landlord put a coin operated washer & dryer in the duplex so they don't have to take their laundry someplace else to do it. That saves a lot of time besides it being such a nuisance to do.

Our knitting group met Monday night. I'm still working on a needlepoint piece but I want to start on the quilt blocks one of these days. I want to do one at home before I try working on it in a crowd. It is hard to concentrate when everyone is chattering.

It sounds as if you had a big time while Aunt Jane was there. I'll bet you were tired but know you enjoyed every minute of it. I had a nice long letter from Bessie & she told me what a nice time all of you had at Beulah's.

I did get the short letter you wrote while Aunt Jane was there. I hadn't worried because I knew why you hadn't written.

The Patty Hearst mess goes on and on, doesn't it? It probably will be years but I don't believe she should be out on bail. If she is as mixed up as they claim, she'd soon be hiding again. I do feel sorry for her parents. This has been awful for them.

Our As You Like It Club had its first fall meeting yesterday. We each took a salad and had lunch together. I took a bowl of melon balls. Melons are just about gone but we had a watermelon so I thought that would taste good. It takes us a long time to eat a whole one.

The program was a book review about schools in 1776 and was real interesting. My program on the flag will be the next one in two weeks but I have it ready.

B was invited to a fraternity house for supper last night and got home so early we went to a movie.  It was the movie about Harry Truman and I'm sure you've read about it. It started as a stage production-one man acting as Harry Truman--and then it was filmed for movies. It was really good. We need another Harry Truman right now.

We finally found a man to talk about waterproofing the basement. It will cost about $2500. but I guess we'll have to get it done. It is a big and messy job so our yard will be ugly all winter. They will dig around the house and lay new tiles and do some special coating on the foundation. He said the dirt would all be put back but it would settle for months so we can't do any planting until Spring. I dread the mess but will be so glad to get it fixed.

I want B to mail this so I'd better finish it. Hope you are fine."



NOTE: Watch of bit of the Truman film here.