Sunday, December 21, 2014

December 4, 1965 The Big Turkey, The Extra Plane, The Fast Heart, The Stubborn Kid and The New T.V.

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"Your letter just came and I'm so relieved to know you are both all right and able to be out again. I don't know why we didn't get the letter yesterday but I guess the holiday made the difference. If it hadn't come today, I was going to call for I was worried about Daddy.

We had a nice Thanksgiving all by ourselves. We had asked two families to eat with us but neither could come. We went to church at 9:00 and Ann played for the first part of the service.  She did real well.

I spent most of the day in the kitchen but had cooked a big turkey and boned it to put in the freezer. It has been so long since I've done a lot of cooking for one meal that I spent most of Wednesday cooking, too, but I made an extra pie and salad for a friend who is sick. She is Mrs. L.G. Taylor's niece and has a fast heart. She hasn't been able to do much all fall (and summer) and now her Mother died last night. I feel so sorry for her.

B flew home Wed. evening.  Ann & I met the plane even though we didn't know he would be on it. He was on a waiting list when he left but they put on an extra plane. We were really glad to see him but he had had an interesting trip.

Bob & Malcolm are on a camping trip in Indiana. Malcolm's folks went to a State Park Lodge and the boys took the car and are sleeping in it. They may get their toes nipped tonight for it is getting awfully cold. I don't think Bob cared much about going but Malcolm was determined. He's a stubborn kid.

I've been making myself a red dress. It is all ready to hem when B has the time to measure it.

We are finally having to replace our T.V. Our old one has certainly been good and hasn't had any major repair jobs but its' use is limited now. Bob complains about it all of the time and B has been coaxing it along for months. When the wind blew the antenna down that settled it so we bought one this morning. Bob will be surprised when he gets home. It is in a small walnut console. We had a choice of a portable or the console at the same price (last year's model) and B thought the sound was better in the wooden case. It is very pretty.

Ann wants a skirt hemmed and I need to run the sweeper so I'll say bye."

                     Lots of love,

Saturday, December 20, 2014

November 21, 1965 The Broken Rib, The Broken Neck, The Baby Next Door and The Very Fine Boy

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"I'm so sorry about Daddy's accident.  The Mirror explained it a little more than you did, Mother, but what caused him to fall? How did he get to the doctor? I hope, by now, the rib feels better & the cut is healing. Watch it, for the rocks around the barn would be covered with nasty germs.

B left this morning at 7:30 and things always seem so quiet when he's out of town. I don't know why I should feel lonesome, when he goes to the office everyday, but it seems different when he's a long way off.

I went to Sunday School & came home to get my basket of food. There is a dinner after church. I hadn't intended to go, but Ann was asked to play for the singing and I didn't want her to go alone.

Ann & I went to a strange church in Bloomington Friday night to an organ lesson which was conducted by a big name organist.

He is here to dedicate the church's organ and is giving a concert tonight. We would like to go but there's a program at school, too. There is also a piano recital at school this afternoon but I have to attend a church committee meeting. There is always something.

Ann went to Champaign yesterday to a Student Council convention. I almost broke my neck getting her dress done--had it all ready to hem when she came from school Friday but it was too tight. So I had to lift up the skirt. I hemmed it finally about 11:00 Friday night & she wore it Saturday. It is cute but I think I'll let the hem down an inch. The short skirts are all right for standing up but it's a different story when you sit down.

I have my dress about half done. Both dresses would probably be finished but I kept the baby next door one morning while her mother went to the store. She is real good but is a toddler & has to be watched closely. They expect another baby in Feb. and that little mother will be busy.

I have misplaced your letter so I don't know whether you asked any questions or not.

Life, November 19, 1965
Bob is still taking guitar lessons and says he's learning a lot but doesn't want to play for us. We can hear him practicing, though. He has invited three boys that he met in Florida to visit us after Xmas. One of them says he's coming but I don't know about the others. He is from Alabama but not a native. His father retired from the Army last year and is teaching in a college now. The boy has lived in Japan as well as many other places. He seems like a very fine boy.

It is rainy and cold today. We had some snow flurries on Thursday but then it turned nice again. This rain today will probably turn to snow.

I must stop and get ready to go down to the church. Take care of yourselves."

                      Lots of love,


NOTE:  Dominating the news was the black-out (5:28 p.m.) experienced by New Yorkers on November 9. I am surprised that it hasn't been mentioned in the letters because we had a lot of dinner table conversation about it. The power came back on at 4:44 a.m.

"Hotel lobbies were favored roosts."

Friday, December 19, 2014

November 13, 1965 The Quiet, The Tests, The Festival, The Sweater and The Blanks

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"It is quiet around here because everyone is gone. B has gone to get his plane tickets to Minnesota. It is such a round-about business to get to this town of St. Joseph but a school car will take him to the Chicago airport. He'll fly to Minneapolis, take a bus from there to St. Cloud and the school will send a car for him. The expenses are paid but there is no pay for all the hard work involved.

Bob is taking tests this morning to send to colleges. Most of the Seniors are taking them. B took Bob & Malcolm this morning & he said kids were piling in. The University gives the tests & kids come from lots of little towns around here, too.

Ann has gone to a Music Festival at Champaign. The high school sent a bus load. She is singing in the chorus--about 12 went from each music group--band, orchestra & chorus. They join with students from over the district & then give a big concert together tonight. The bus left at 7:00 so she will be very tired tonight.

Ann's sweater is going pretty fast. I have started on the front now which is the last piece. I wanted to use up old yarn but I'm going to be disgusted if I run out.

I can't quite figure out where the Warren property meets yours or were the surveyors just working from your corner?

I didn't realize I should have written to Bessie about Thanksgiving. I hadn't heard from her but I'll write right away. I've been intending to write & send them one of Bob's senior pictures.  I'll send yours today.

Almost HS Graduation Day
We had three poses because we thought they were good but one didn't finish up too well & we wish we hadn't used it. The retouching wasn't as good as it should have been.  The glasses make it harder to do, I guess.

 Well, I've had company and now it's past noon.

Bob has his application blanks from Florida but doesn't have to hurry about them. This afternoon we plan to fill out blanks so he can enter the Westinghouse Science Talent Search  contest. That's a stiff one but if he won anything at all in it he would be pretty smart.

 He is home for lunch now so I'd better stop & feed him.

Hope you both are fine."

             Lots of love,


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,