Thursday, October 11, 2012

October 11, 1952 Awfully Close, A Little Scar, Anchoring Blinds and Potatoes Hopkins

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"It has been cold & snappy all week but the sun has been bright.  Bob has been raking leaves and then we burn them when he gets a big pile.  The children all like that.  Bob & Lynn go to school by themselves now & come home by themselves.  Of course, it's awfully close but they have to cross a street & we were cautious about it at first but they started coming home if we weren't waiting at school for them.  We watched them cross the street (when they didn't know we were) & they are very careful. 

I wore my suit to the tea last Sunday & B said it looked real nice.  I'm real pleased that it came out so well after all the work it took.  I've hardly touched the green dress.  I simply haven't had time.

We went to a concert Mon. night which wasn't very good.  B was gone Wed. afternoon & all day yesterday so I haven't accomplished much this week.

Ann was real sick with a stomach ache yesterday & I held her most of the day.  It was luck that I had plenty of leftovers in the refrigerator.  I called the Dr. & he had me get some medicine for her.  She is about all right & has been good all day today.  Her lip healed up right away but she has a little scar.

B is anchoring a venetian blind on our front door window.  It is so long & I can't keep a glass curtain clean or looking neat so I got a blind for the door.  It looks nice but bangs every time we open the door so B is anchoring it at the bottom.

I had planned to take the pottery course in adult education again but the class was too full.

We had an announcement of Francis's baby this week.  As soon as I can I want to send it something.  The name was nice, didn't you think?

I told you that all our gold fish died, didn't I?  The boy next door gave us two minnows he caught in the creek.  They are about an inch long & are really fun to watch.  We've had them a long time & they seem to be doing fine.

Here is my potato with cheese recipe.  I should call it Potatoes Hopkins, I guess.  We first had them at the private boys' school in New Haven where B taught.

Boil potatoes & cool in skins so they peel & cube easily.  I usually do this the day before or when it is convenient.  Start the cheese sauce with about 1/2 cup milk in a heavy saucepan over a low flame.  Add cubes of processed cheese food (Velveeta) and melt.  I used about a pound of cheese on those pota. I fixed at your house this summer if you can remember which casserole we used.  Put plenty of cheese in & it can be thinned with milk.  The sauce thickens when it cools.  You have to use your own judgment.  I haven't any real measurements.  It has to be stirred a lot while the cheese is melting or it will burn on the bottom.  Put a layer of 1/2" cubes of pota. in a casserole, salt & pepper the layer & spoon cheese sauce over it.  Don't be too free with sauce at first.  It will run all thru during cooking anyway.  Fill the casserole with three layers having cheese sauce on top.  Bake at 350 about 45 min. or till it begins to brown on top--long enough to be hot thru & look good.  Pour a little milk over the pota that are left over & warm again.  You can do this as long as any are leftover."

               Lots of love,


NOTES:  Over the years, this recipe evolved so that it often included sauteed onions, peppers, bits of crisp bacon, horseradish and often some kind of cracker or potato chip crumbs on the top.

Last week I spent some time visiting Hopkins in New Haven.  I doubt if the dining room still serves potatoes with Velveeta!  The building pictured above is where B & Bonnie lived while B was teaching at Hopkins.  Due to a serious housing shortage after the war, the school converted part of the 3rd floor to an apartment for them.  For a description of the apartment (June 1, 1946), use the following link:

And in the national news for Oct. 11, 1952:  Truman received his 2nd FDR Memorial Brotherhood award.  His acceptance address in Harlem focused largely on civil rights progress with a strong endorsement of Adlai Stevenson.  To read the speech use this link:

As I prepare to post this entry, it occurs to me that this letter was written 60 years ago today.   What would have cost $1.00 in 1952, would cost $8.52 today.   I don't know what the tuition at Hopkins was in 1952, but today it is $33,700., not unusual for a quality private school education.  In the election news, the campaign is heating up today,  just as it was in 1952.  

Bonnie's Parmesan-Paprika Potatoes

Mix together well 3/4 c. grated Parmesan, 1/3 c. flour, 2 T paprika and 1/2 tsp. pepper.   Cut 8 potatoes into 8 wedges each.  Put in a bag & shake to coat.  Spread potatoes in a 13x9 baking dish and drizzle with 1/2 c. melted butter.  Bake @ 375 about 50 min. till tender.  Turn midway if needed.

Bonnie's Ricotta & Potato Pie

Mix together 1 lb. potatoes, peeled, cooked, drained well, mashed and cooled with 1-1/4 c ricotta, 3 whole eggs, 1 egg white beaten stiff, 1 tsp. cornstarch and salt to taste.  Butter a baking dish and sprinkle with bread crumbs.  Pour potato mixture in and smooth top.  Bake @ 350 for 20 min. or till brown and toothpick comes clean.  Serve with pot roast. 


  1. Do you still have the scar from your lip accident? Or has it faded by now?

  2. It is long faded. Most of my scars of childhood are from chronically skinned knees:-)


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